Arsenal 2-0 Standard Liege – 24/11/09 – (Champions League) 25 November, 2009Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
We’re through to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the 10th season in a row thanks to last night’s 2-0 win over Standard Liege. Quite an impressive achievement, much more impressive than scoring nine goals against some shitkickers for example. That said, I doubt we’ll be bringing any DVDs out marking the occasion.
It was a slightly under strength line up but still enough to do the job. Eduardo was rested and Vela started as the centre forward, he was flanked by Nasri and Arshavin. Denilson returned to the starting line up for his 100th appearance and had a good game scoring a great goal for our second. Alex Song also had a good game, in fact he had a great game and was my man of the match by far. It’s just been announced he’s signed a new long-term contract which is great news. He’s come so, so far in the last year or two and has won over literally hundreds of thousands of Arsenal fans including myself. Here’s to a positive future!
We got going straight from kick off, keen to finish this one off early and get qualified. We could’ve easily been 3-0 up inside 15 minutes we were creating that many chances. Nasri should’ve scored in the 9th minute when he was put clear but pulled a totally unexpected Alex Hleb impression and decided to pass. A few minutes after that there was one of the most incredible goalmouth scrambles I’ve even seen including a powered shot from Vela six yards out blocked on the line and a Vermaelen volley only stopped from crossing the line by hitting Arshavin.
Whilst still at 0-0 there was a bit of a shock when Liege had a rare trip down our end and hit the post with swerving long-range effort. Ashburton Grove let out one of the biggest sighs of relief you’ll ever hear.
With half an hour gone there was a bad clash of head between Arshavin and Gallas. Although Arshavin looked to come off worse with blood streaming down his face, Gallas seemed a bit confused as to where he was and had a massive swollen eye.
Both were still receiving treatment when our opener came. After all our nicely built up moves it was a defensive error that lead to the first goal. A long ball was put forward and right at the vital moment the centre back slipped. Samir Nasri was close by to out a cool finish past the ‘keeper.
10 minutes later it was 2-0, Denilson marking his 100th game and return to the side with a dipping 30-yarder. The ‘keeper might’ve done better but credit to the Brazilian for the shot.
So we were 2-0 up at half time and cruising. It could’ve been plenty more but then again we could’ve easily been 1-0 down earlier in the half. Gallas was replaced by Silvestre at half time, I was surprised he was allowed to continue as long as he did really but hopefully he’ll recover ok to face his former club this Sunday.
We took the foot off the gas a little in the second half – there was just a two-goal lead (and we know how to let one of those slip) but we were by far on top and there never looked like there was going to be a come back from Liege. We didn’t stop trying or anything like that, but I don’t think anyone was worried about the result.
Theo Walcott replaced Nasri on the hour and a few minutes later Denilson came off for Thomas Rosicky as we pushed to consolidate our win. Theo looked alright, he still needs more games though before we start seeing the best of him again. He had one chance with an early shot from the corner of the box but it went the wrong side of the post.
Clearly not getting back in the game, the visitors resorted to violence in the second half. As the clock ticked on, they started flying in more and more. They had a player sent off late of for a clash of heads with Fabregas, the two squared up face to face after a challenge and Cesc did well not to react when he was ‘nodded’. You’d see a lot of others players rolling around on the floor but there wasn’t much in it, it was still head contact though and the red card was shown.
Right at the end we paid for Liege’s strong challenges. Kieran Gibbs, who has just come back from a bruised metatarsal has now broken his foot and will be out for 2-3 months. Just when he thought he had a bit of luck just coming off with a bruising with England, he’s now really going to miss his chance whilst Clichy is out. It’s a terrible shame for Gibbs and I hope he makes a strong recovery.
It means that either Traore or Silvestre will have to fill in. To be honest I think I would prefer Sagna and Eboue to play wing-backs against Chelsea but we’ll talk more about that in the build up to that game this week.
Thanks for reading.