Arsenal’s good start continues
My less-important post-game thoughts: Diaby was impressive. Abou followed an impressive performance as a substitute against Celtic with two goals in the first 22 minutes. This continues the trend of the young guys who didn’t show enough consistency last year that everyone (including me) wanted to replace this off-season (Denilson, Bendtner, Diaby, Song) playing remarkably better this season. If two of these guys can continue their early level of play, Arsenal have as good a shot as anyone. After the game, Wenger casually compared Diaby to Vieira.
Hopefully, pulling Cesc at half was precautionary. Wenger’s post-game estimates were anywhere from two days to three weeks. While several guys have started the season well, Cesc has been the best player on the squad. Not only has he shown the well-known offensive flair, he has also had a great workrate and been willing to both create and absorb physical play. We need him at Old Trafford next week.
The first 30 minutes of the game were pretty. Hopefully, the flowing, legit-attack-every-two-minutes offense of the first third of the game becomes a frequent sight this season. Arsenal is the only team in the world that can match Barcelona in playing the beautiful game. Obviously, they haven’t shown it on the large scale that Barcelona has but an Arsenal/Barca Champions League match-up just might require a hop on a plane.
The center of the defense is susceptible to speed. Gallas should have been called for a red card when Utaka blew by him early in the second half. Someone at ESPN thinks it’s a sign that Arsenal aren’t contenders. Gallas, Vermaelen, Song, and Denilson have shown a physical and aerial presence that wasn’t on the squad last year but I’m still worried about these guys going one-on-one in space with the likes of Drogba, Torres, or Rooney.
Eduardo should offer to buy #35 another pair of shorts.
Overall, I found it another impressive performance. There was some shakiness in the middle third of the game but we were clearly the superior team. If Arsenal are a legit contender to win the title, they should beat a team of this quality at home by multiple goals. A few interesting thingss from last week: The Independent, Clichy, and Wenger heap praise on Vermaelen, Adebayor complains about Arsenal fans, and Wenger discusses bringing in another defensive player, dismisses Cesc rumors, and complains about Theo’s use in the U-21’s. We’ll know a lot more about the team in a week. The Celtic return leg on Wednesday should be straight-forward; I can’t wait for the United game next Saturday.