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Arsenal 1-0 Udinese – 16/08/11 – (Champions League Qualifier 1st Leg) 17 August, 2011

Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.

Well all you can really say about that is it’s a decent first leg result. We just about managed to not concede and we go into the second leg one up. Szczesny can take some credit for a few great saves, the defence made some good interceptions and there was some good work from Song and Ramsey.

And that’s really all the positives.

It does seem that I managed to watch the game through shit-smeared spectacles rather than the rose-tinted glasses I’ve been accused of wearing in the past. Maybe it’s just me but I thought we were pretty shit last night and the whole way home I couldn’t help thinking how bad this season could potentially be.

I’ll get onto the game itself in a minute but yesterday I spoke about how weak this squad is and it really did show last night. The defence was actually quite good again I will admit, however after last night’s injuries to Gibbs and Djourou, plus Traore’s the night previous and Eboue’s departure we’re incredibly short at the back. I’m worried.

As for the midfield we just lacked any creation. Cesc Fabregas said as he was unveiled as a Barcelona player that he would be watching Arsenal last night, if he did then he would see how much we’re missing a player of his qualities. Tomas Rosicky was the man given those duties last night and I’m sorry he’s just not up to the job. I feel bad because he seems like a nice guy but I just don’t think he’s first team quality and last night he showed it again. We’re screaming out for a signing in this position or for some miracle to happen with Nasri with him signing a new contract and he and fans are holding hands skipping through daisy fields again. But that’s not going to happen. We’re really missing Jack Wilshere at this time but he’s still out with the injury that kept Vermaelen out for the whole season last year. A friend of mine won the programme competition last night and met Jack afterwards who is still in a protective boot and said, “Really not sure when I’ll be back.”

Up front wasn’t much good either. Well on the flanks we did okay, Walcott obviously got on the score sheet and should’ve had two. Theo had some good movement at times, as did Gervinho who was happy to try things and switch into the middle when needed. However it’s still not looking great for Chamakh, he was totally anonymous last night and didn’t look like he had a clue what he was doing. No offence to the lad, but any one of our attacking options down the middle last night would’ve been more effective. It’s a dilemma because we need to play him in order to get his confidence up but on the back of performances like last night’s that we have seen so many times before it doesn’t look like he’s going to produce anything that might give him a bit of a boost. Robin can’t come back soon enough and if he could manage to stay fit for an entire season, what a time to do it.

Onto the game then and we were ahead in the 4th minute. Ramsey got down the right and whipped in a low cross which Walcott slipped inside the near post. Was a well-taken goal and with it coming so early we all hoped there would be more to come. However a long 86 minutes passed with no addition to the score and it ended 1-0. There weren’t a lot of chances created but the best of them fell to Theo with 20 minutes to go when Gervinho presented him with a shot at goal but his curving shot was tipped just passed the post. It was a nice move but a better save.

Udinese looked pretty decent and as expected Di Natale looked dangerous. He came closest to scoring for them with a free kick that hit the bar and was also denied early in the second half when Djourou came sliding in. Szczesny made some great saves to keep Udinese out but they’ve showed how dangerous they can be and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them score at home next week.

This tie is far from over and I worry if we perform like last night again in the second leg then we’ll be in trouble. I dunno maybe I’m being a little harsh but we’re weren’t exactly amazing were we? We’ll have Robin (and Nasri?) back for the second leg which will make a difference, and you never know fingers crossed we could have a new signing or two to field.

Thanks for reading, join me again this week where we’ll be trying to figure out who we can find to play midfield and left back for the Liverpool game this Saturday. Exciting times. Who’d have thought we’re just two games into the season!


1. rellends - 17 August, 2011

can’t see us keeping a clean sheet at their place. we looked very ordinary last night. i know the tabloids aren’t entirely accurate with their transfer gossip but it’ very worrying seeing us linked with virtually nobody. sure, all the usual suspects are mentioned but those names were the ones that were linked at the end of last season and there is no movement on those. what a surprise! our perpetually injured left back got injured and was replaced by our perpetually injured centre half who then got injured. i’m hoping for a transfer to sneak in under the radar – benzema, as we are clearly lacking in that department. at first, i thought it was my stream freezing and playing up, but no chamakh really is that bad. could be a long winter.

2. bob mcnabs cat - 17 August, 2011

if we looked “ordinary” we would have pissed it.

We were woeful, no creativity, flare or shape. We certainly were lucky to get away with a clean sheet.
Rosicky and koscielny arent fit to wear the shirt, they were both beyond poor and struggled to find a team mate when it was harder to give the ball away.

What has happened to the free flowing football that we have become famed for? We play now like a mid table team without any shape or pattern. No leaders just midgets who are too easily shoved off the ball. Song has learnt nothing from last season, he is clumsy and labourious and lacks a footballing brain. Our midfield looks in utter disarray and short of any flare. Wilshire might plug a gap but lets face it we have got season after season of speculation to come about where he will next ply his trade.

3. bob mcnabs cat - 17 August, 2011

….. and as for chambolikh, a freebie
say no more!

4. Kash. - 17 August, 2011

Agree with Bob McNab’s Cat.

Seems like this is going to be one looooong season, full of frustration.

5. Gregor - 18 August, 2011

Well our defence, the major struggle, is fine at the moment. Szczesny organizes it greatly. We’re just lacking creativity. If we find a good replacement for Cesc everything’s gonna be ok. Also, we need to get rid of Chamakh. Such a failure..

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