Bendtner Hat-Trick Ensures Progress Is Made

UEFA Champions League, Round of Sixteen, 2nd Leg

Arsenal 5 – 0 FC Porto
Arsenal win 6 – 2 on aggregate

1 – 0 Bendtner (10)
2 – 0 Bendtner (25)
3 – 0 Nasri (63)
4 – 0 Eboue (66)
5 – 0 Bendtner (90 pen)

There are times when football is a cruel mistress; there are times when she is full of love and benevolence. Nicklas Bendtner experienced both extremes in the space of four days, a double hat-trick of chances missed against Burnley, a hat-trick to ensure comfortable progression on aggregate through to the Quarter-Finals of this season’s Champions League. Charles Dickens summed it up rather nicely indeed, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

The final outcome cannot be argued with, Arsenal deserved the win for an expansive game although the clean sheet masked some defensive frailties. The argument will go along the lines that had the Portuguese been more ruthless or even a better side, Arsenal would have been punished. All hypothetical and in a sense irrelevant yet these observations cannot be blithely dismissed. A lot of the defensive issues are down to concentration, something which the individuals have to work on.

Last season’s semi-final encounter with Manchester United exposed the defence, lessons which need to be learned. However, is this relative weakness a price to be paid for the attacking game which brought rich rewards last night and has served well in the domestic game?

An early goal was just what the doctor ordered and Bendtner duly provided it, reward for Arsenal’s early dominance. Arshavin had served an early warning of the storm about to hit the Porto defence, his header forcing Helton into an early save. It might have been confidence building for the goalkeeper but any hint of a stubborn display was brutally smashed when Bendtner scored from close range following Arshavin’s outstanding run onto Nasri’s header.

Any hint of Porto seeking to enlongate the evening into extra time vanished fifteen minutes later Arshavin capitalised on lax defending to square for the unmarked Dane who had managed to remain onside despite the visitors claims for offside.

Arshavin should have made the evening more comfortable following Nasri’s run, his cross through a defenders leg came to Russian, the goal gaping, the ball flying high over the bar. If a player that talented can blaze high and wide, perhaps those who were overly critical of Bendtner following Saturday’s efforts will reconsider and tone it down in future. Probably too much to hope for.

Having had a couple of long range efforts, Porto were going to be in need of something more tangible to deliver parity over the two legs. Clichy made a complete pig’s ear of intercepting a long pass, Hulk’s lack of awareness deflated the PR balloon surrounding a summer move to the Premier League as he shot tamely into Almunia with a colleague better placed to reduce the deficit.

Before the interval, Porto were once more pegged back. Bendtner and Diaby brought saves from Helton whilst Nasri should perhaps have tested Helton rather more than he did before the interval.

If Arsenal had dominated the first 45 minutes, they let Porto have their moment in the spotlight during the opening quarter of an hour of the second. Almunia spilled Falcao’s effort whilst the crucial moment came just past the hour mark, lax defending forced Nasri to clear off the line into Almunia’s grateful hands.

Moments later, the Frenchman ensured Arsenal’s progress with a stunning third. Picking a pass from Diaby, Nasri slalomed with an ease that would have brought envious glances from Franz Klammer, three defenders left trailing in his wake, cast asunder before Nasri drilling home a low shot into the far corner.

An Emmanuel Eboue goal is always welcomed in these parts, something he should perhaps do more often given the verve with which he attacks these days, Arshavin’s direct run and excellent pass allowing the Ivorian to waltz past Helton and score. The turnaround in Eboue’s fortunes is pleasing to see and a testament to the hard work he has put in to convince people that he is a worthy squad member.

Eboue would remain a pivotal figure in the scoring, brought down for the penalty which gave Bendtner the opportunity to complete his hat-trick. The Dane stroked the ball home, a fitting reward for two hard-working displays in which he greeted adversity and triumph as two equals.

Progress to the quarter finals is always welcomed, a pity that Uefa has lengthened the number of weeks for completing this round, our opponents should be known sometime shortly before Christmas with the fixtures still to completed. A crowded football calendar needs competitions stretched in much the same way that football needs Sepp Blatter.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 10, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 180 Comments.

  1. Fantastic display from the whole team, as its been said Arsenal are a way different team with out Cesc lol, nice to see bendy cashing in after his previous mishaps the russian Maradona is looking to have a better last part of the season, Sagna is just one of the best defenders in the league period..
    Special shout out to Nasri mesmerizing runs and goal his balance is breath taking really nice to see him showing some of the form which made him young french player of the year and scoring a goal his idol Zizu would have been proud of. If Walcott wants to have more chances playing on the left he better start using his left foot to control the ball, Nasri’s def-touch weak foot control building up to his goal was just is exposing glimpses of the amazing technique he possesses..

  2. I agree with KS

  3. nice display from a lickle weapon..

  4. On sure about your point on theo though.

  5. Great to see AA covering clichy a little better and what can you say about song and diaby excellent yet again seem to saying that every time they play lately but its true!!

  6. For me the most impressive part about Bendtner’s hat tricks – those both missed and made — is not just the quality of service he has been receiving, but that in each game that service came from completely different sets of players – first from Theo with Cesc in charge, thenfrom Arsha with Sami in charge.
    And there’s still Abou, Tomas and the E-man hanging about to provide on another day as well.

  7. Yogi, I think you are being a bit hard on our defensive element.

    I thought Sol was immense last night, he seems so strong mentally and his will to win is unsurpassed. It’s as if he knows what is expected of an Arsenal team and will not settle for anything less, when tripped whilst defending on our by line, the Porto player offered his hand, Sol just looked at him with utter contempt, this show and display of strength is exactly what this young team needs to flourish further up field.

    A stunning, stunning performance

  8. His dribbling chocolate foot balance simply is genius..

    its obvious why Bendy considers him the best deluder of defenders in the side..

  9. I said if AA focuses on attack,he has the cutting edge and can rival messi&cr9 with his talent.pundits say we are lightweight in mf but show me amf stronger than song-diaby axis;athleticism,guile,finess and strength.i have been a critic of nasri since he doesn’t use his talent to maximum at all times but today he showed what he can do;deft touch,balance,close control and shooting technique all in one slalom movement:take a bow son.

  10. Clichy is back!he is gaining form right in time.apart from a few hairy moments he had a good game as he intercepted porto’s balls alot and his pace was there for all to see.sagna is a rock!he and clichy’s crosses were improved yesterday.verminator threw his body to block all shots,he reminds me of a young cannavaro with his attitude.sol played well;what he lacked in pace he made up with experience.it was hilarious to see hulk trying to outmuscle sol!

  11. hope you put some money on it the ktr7

  12. A top match summary as always, thanks for all the hard work. But pedant alert: Ingemar Stenmark rather than Franz Klammer surely…?

  13. what’s so encouraging is the fact that despite the missed chances on sat bendy doesn’t let his head drop and was duly rewarded.Full marks to the team and Arsene for the inspired & timely substitutions

  14. Well done lads!

  15. cw

    It was tempting to put Stenmark but he would not have been envious, merely appreciative.

    Klammer had the speed but he couldn’t twist and turn like Nasri!

    YW

  16. Guildford Gooner

    Fantastic win last night.But my elation is tempered by the fact that we appeared vulnerable on occassions in that game.We need to learn to ‘keep it tight’ or else I worry that we’ll never make it past more ruthless opposition.

  17. I predicted a goal rout and quietly backed nick for a hatrick with odds 40 / 1,i am rich.TR7 is getting his magic back,his skills,turns and movements were too much for porto;he will be crucial in the run in.Eboue’s u-turn is testament to AW’s coaching and faith in his players.he is becoming a cult-hero.the fans who applauded nik on saturday despite misses vs burnley gave nik the confidence to score that hattrick vs porto;don’t boo your players please.

  18. I predicted a goal rout and quietly backed nick for a hatrick with odds 40 / 1,i am rich.TR7 is getting his magic back,his skills,turns and movements were too much for porto;he will be crucial in the run in.Eboue’s u-turn is testament to AW’s coaching and faith in his players.he is becoming a cult-hero.the fans who applauded nik on saturday despite misses vs burnley gave nik the confidence to score that hattrick vs porto;don’t boo your players please.Robben scored a scorcher vs fiorentina,wonder why chavs/madrid would let such a talented player go.

  19. My greatest joy last night was watching a direct break from defense to attack for Eboue’s goal. No turning back, no sideways lay-off, just memories of Pires and Ljungberg

  20. well the times when we looked vulnerable were when we tried to keep up with their pace. they wanted to play it fast, we played along and ended up losing the ball. that put us under pressure. we could have dealt with it better by taking the pace out of the game, slowing things down and passing around to toy with them.

    as it was, nasri toyed with them before scoring that goal that really killed them once and for all.

    great goal. i watched it again and again. it was really simple, the way he did it. body feints, no spectacular tricks. just very basic technique.

    simple is best.

  21. and now the ladies against duisburg tonight.

    now can you imagine what it would be like, to ahve both our teams playing in madrid in may!

  22. I agree with YW.

    Great performance. Take nothing away from anybody, but we will have a tougher proposition in the quarter finals. The test is if we can pull off a defensive performance then.

    I am nervous. You only have to look at last year where Liverpool thrashed Real Madrid 5-0 in the 2nd year, only to succumb to Chelsea in the quarters.

    I think we need Gallas back, and the availability of key players to provide a physical balance, including Diaby, Bendtner and Song. That and few injuries, and players hitting form, we have a good chance of progressing.

  23. Couldn’t agree more about the defence –
    Except that it’s not individuals, it’s the team’s ability to defend. It’s easy to see what the players do that’s good blocks, interceptions, tackles in the box but put it all together the team is built to leak goals – not that that should stop the push for the lewague where we will probably, hopefully be able to outscore opponents In the CL it’s completely different

  24. 2nd year = 2nd round

  25. Wow… what a match. had to wait till 1030 pm in the US to watch. and boy was it worth the wait!!!

    right from the get-go, I knew the team had it in the them to turn in this kind of a performance.

    while i agree that there were some moments of anxiety defensively, too many balls flashing across the face of goal, it was far from our flimisiest displays at the back. but could anyone argue that porto really “deserved” a goal in this match? id say they had 2 legit chances, and thats being nice i think.

    Sagna provided the ying to Eboue’s yang at RB, must be so nice for a manager to have 2 top class right backs each with unique attributes. one is hitting the form of his life going forward, and the other is a brick wall at the back. ahhhh the arsenal

    AND ITS ARRRRRRRRRRSENAL……….. ARRRRRRSENAL FC!!!!!! WE’RE BY FAR THE GREATEST TEAM, THAT THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN

  26. Yogi:

    Another great post in a long line of great posts. Awesome game. Bendtner, Nasri, Arshavin were superb. Nasri is really coming into his own. Makes me feel safe when Cesc goes out that we can not just cope, but we can prosper with Nasri pulling the strings. Great for the long term health of the team. I hope Eboue gets lots of playing time during the run in he certainly adds something to the team.

    Thanks for your thoughts about our defense. Darius made the same point several months ago. I always have a pragmatic view of defense. If you do not concede you played well. However, I share your concerns going forward. I think we have talented players but for some reason we tend to loose our concentration. To really challenge for top honors you have to be good on both sides of the pitch. Saying that we play great offense so we do not have to play defense is a cop out. The invincibles had the best defensive record in the league. United is an excellent attacking team yet they were top of the table in goals conceded 2 of the last 3 years and barely missed the top in the other. Barcelona has conceded 16 goals this year and gave up the fewest in La Liga last year. Barca conceded 1 goal in 3 games vs Chelsea and United in the CL last yr. You can have it both ways. History tells us that the teams that win major championships do have it both ways. We must keep our attacking flair. If we stay organize and concentrate and really “put the pedal to the metal” on the defensive side of the pitch we will have a glorious season.

  27. Yogi,

    Well I for one am glad that you’ve balanced the piece with a look at the defense. I don’t, with respect, accept the point that our defensive frailty is a price to pay for such a wonderful attacking force. There is no reason why we can’t have both. It would certainly make many of our games much easier to win and put in a very different position in both competitions. We make far too much work for ourselves than is necessary. The bottom line is we’ve won nothing yet and if were really honest with ourselves, whenever we’ve come up against top sides – we’ve been well beaten. Of course, nobody wants to talk about that.

    Don’t get me wrong. Its remarkable to find ourselves in this position in both competitions. But we need to push on and deliver. We need to capitalize on the expectations that Wenger has set for himself, the club, the fans, the shareholders. I just hope we not nearlymen again.

    On the match – Nasri, Song and Diaby were magnificent. While all the headlines go to Nik, it was Arshavin who laid on 3 goals last night. He is a top class player who has the ability to influence games at this level. Nice to see that he’s brought a little discipline to his game too by doing some of the grunt work.

  28. Good news. Now Stevie G can help us win the Premier League title. 😀

    “Steven Gerrard will not be subject to disciplinary action from the FA as a result of his alleged gesture at referee Andre Marriner.”

    For once, I support the FA.

  29. Yogi/cw
    I think Nasri went between the guy in blue boots and one in red, instead of between the two in blue boots and therefore missed a gate – so definitely Klammer rather than Stenmark, but pretty good on the football pitch nevertheless!

  30. I think gallas will be needed against quick and mobile opponents.AW looked nervous at times on the bench and he even acknowledged it wasn’t a perfect match.it gives me hope that AW saw the defensive frailities and should aim to be much tighter at the back.last night we needed to score hence more gaps.nasri played well but we missed fab who could have controlled the game better in our favour.

  31. Great post YW and a great night to be a gooner. I wondered why AW said he would like us to daraw either United or Chelsea. To prove a point, or does he feel we have progressed so much. Personally, I think there is a possibility that both will not qualify.

    The defensive lapses are still there, as we knew beforehand but there is a new resolve in the team and as others have said Nasri was outstanding along with Diaby, Bedtner and as usual Vermaelen.

    Why did theo come on when it was reported he had a slight knock ?

    If anything my main critism was Song venturing too far forward in the later stages of the game.Job well done otherwise.

    On Sky Souness was trying to find fault with us, before,during and after the game, yet we may not win the CL but last night was one of those special nights.

  32. i think what is clear about the defensive performance last night is that AW had it in their ears that they needed to drop and defend with same fervor and excitement that they attack with, especially focusing on the two wing players supporting their respective backs behind them.

    Also, TV was a blocking machine!! bet Almunia just loves that!!

  33. By: K-TR7 on March 10, 2010
    at 2:32 pm

    “it gives me hope that AW saw the defensive frailities…”

    You are giving too little credit to AW. He needs not share with us everything that he sees and knows of this Arsenal team. Right?

  34. Bill and Joe.

    Can I suggest that you both take leave from being Arsenal’s defensive crusaders and just enjoy the football. We have a few days to enjoy before talking about defensive frailties.

    I don’t think the team are mugs not to acknowledge what they could have done better, but the way everyone is going on you’d think that we lost 5 mil. Actually, if it wasn’t two individual mistakes that could have been clearly avoided, Porto didn’t offer a viable threat to Arsenal’s goal in the 2 games.

    Yes, they offered a threat, but the threats were not critical and they were dealt with either by our defense or by Almunia. Isn’t that what they’re there fore?

    I think it’s naive to think that a team will go 90 minutes without attacking our goal.

    Sometimes we spend our energy looking for holes while we should be celebrating what went right.

  35. Yup Darius.

    Perfection seekers will always find some imperfection in a vintage wine to whine about.

  36. Darius at 2:54:

    Thanks for your comment. I was just commenting on what Yogi said. I agree with his assessment completely.

    Regarding your last paragraph. I know myself and I suspect that Joe can do both at the same time. Certainly the celebration was by far the main theme from last nights game and has been for the last several games.

  37. Some of you people are very small-minded indeed.

    That was a superb result last night and the football we played was scintillating. Any lesser comment is meaningless.

    AWs comments in the press conference was simply a warning to the team that there is no such thing as a perfect performance and there is always room to improve as a player and a squad. A philosophy which all great sides hold.

    I doubt if anyone here, in the papers or on radio/TV/internet has the faintest clue what is really in AWs mind when he refers to ‘improvement’.

  38. What was the problem with the defence last night. It was a clean sheet for god sakes.

    Arsenal just can’t win, before the game it was all how we would struggle, Porto would give us a good game, we’re vulnerable to counter attack, we can’t keep a clean sheet.

    Today after completely annihilating Porto and keeping a clean sheet, I’m hearing that Porto was never that good anyway, and our defence was wobbly.

    On the odd occasion where Porto presented some form of danger to our goal, that danger was dealt with. There will always be a threat to our goal at some point, the defence is there to handle that threat which they did.

  39. Porto are always dangerous on the break and especially so with the open style of both teams. But apart from a period after half-time which I feel was as much down to our concentration and tactical understanding than Porto’s dangerousness, it was pretty good.

    Don’t complain about Song bursting forward – he’s allowed to once in a while and if he does so, so must the others be aware that he is not going to be in that position.

  40. Frank: “I doubt if anyone here, in the papers or on radio/TV/internet has the faintest clue what is really in AWs mind when he refers to ‘improvement’.”

    They may not know, but they can sure write and talk alot about it in their blogs. 😉

  41. 5-0 last night. 5 goals to Nil in the Champions League. 10 Clean Sheets in the Premier League so far this season too.

    God I wish our defence would tighten up.

  42. Clichy’s performance was a sparkling reminder as to why he’s the most devastating left-back in the country.

  43. LOL Limpar my friend , I love your sarcasm on clean sheets.

    We should get Ashley Cole back – word has it that since his mother in law moved in, he’s kept more clean sheets than Aston Villa and Chelsea combined.

  44. Sol was like some sort of Titan for us. Vermaelen was lionhearted as always. Bacary Sagna made some of the best sliding tackles of them all – and he had the hardest job of the night against their left-winger; and Almunia was like a big, impenetrable Iberian mountain range.

    Take your defensive frailties and fuck off.

  45. Woah, Darius. ZING!

  46. Also, your points half an hour ago were very measured. Well done. I resorted childishly to sarcasm because I’m flu-ridden and irascible.

  47. Darius u are right .dont matter who u play any team must and will get a couple of chances ,once the defence deals with it that is all we can hope for . great team performance though .

  48. European nights don’t get any better than that….

  49. LOL Limpar. I refuse to let anyone bring me down from my high – last night was one of the best football matches I’ve ever seen. I’ve written about it as the Samir Nasri show.

    The thought that we can go 90 minutes without an opponent attacking our goal is naive and vain in equal measure.

    What I saw last night was a defensive display from the whole team that professionally dealt with the threats Porto presented – and the clean sheet suggests that what we did worked. WTF do we want Arsenal to do? Stop the opponent from entering our half of the field?

  50. Isn’t it funny that when we beat in milan in 08 they were poor but when they destroyed utd in07 was because they were world beaters.last year manUSA needed ronaldo’s rocket to scrap through but when we destroy them its because they are poor.the double standards in the media is comical.even chavs could only win one nil at the bridge.we may have looked fragile but our players tracked back admirably and lets hope AW will polish the rough edges.

  51. Apologies for this link, but it really gets me incensed. I can’t believe the purported Arsenal “fans” in the comments still abusing Clichy/Almunia/whoever. One idiot even said Arsenal need a “genuine defensive midfielder”… Dear god.

    With friends like these, who needs enemies?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/philmcnulty/2010/03/wenger_eyes_revenge_mission.html

  52. nasri really made them look like fools yesterday.

    it was no fancy footwork, really. just brilliant basic ball control and a faster reaction to go the other way when the defenders committed themselves.

  53. taeryn.

    I’ve tried that link in both Internet Explorer and Firefox.

    Both browsers have told me to fuck off as they don’t serve up diatribe.

  54. I gave up reading it, it’s not good for my blood pressure.

  55. @ kelsey

    I wondered why AW said he would like us to draw either United or Chelsea.

    He didn’t say that – he was asked if he wanted to avoid them, and said he had no choice about our next opponents, and all the teams in the last eight were good teams. Then he was asked if he wanted to meet them and get revenge, and he gave pretty much the same answer. Mystery solved!

  56. Those with the inability to smile and enjoy the performance without doing any fault finding, hear what Wenger had to say:

    “If I don’t smile tonight I will never smile.”

  57. The defence was outstanding last night, actually from the whole team including Bendtner who went bounding back like a big angry great dane ANY time he lost the ball. Clichy – fantastic. Sol, man oh man! Verm, outstanding. Sagna — wow! Song and Denilson, what a stunning defensive display.

    Defensive frailties exist only in the prejudice of the observer. Wake up, man!

  58. I didn’t mean you Yogi W, you are wide awake. Your comments always appreciated.

  59. FG

    Wenger is the master at motivational psychology. His comments on drawing Chelsea or Man Utd was meant as mental preparation to instill an unshakable resolve to meet any and all challenges.

    He used the words “negative obsession”, which I see as an attempt to neutralise it should such an obsession or sub-conscious fear reside in the minds of the team.

    “a negative obssession with not drawing Chelsea or Manchester United.”

    Those are my thoughts.

  60. FG,

    funny how the journalists twist his words. i listened to his post-match interview, and he didnt say anything about wanting to draw an english team, just that he has no control over it, and should it be the case, then it will just be an opportunity to set some things right.

  61. @ no7

    Exactly!

  62. Darius @ 2:54 pm, Frank @ 3:07 pm , Wengerball @ 3:11 pm – I had a similar disagreement with a sibling who kept complaining about defensive lapses and Song advancing to far forward, and the ultimate insult to my mind, was to rate the team’s performance at 3.5 out of 5. Good naturedly. I described him as a critic rather than a supporter of our football club. (I save my fire for those who go public with b*llsh*t.)

    My point to him was, to quote Frank, it is very “small-minded” to be picking faults when in fact the team decimated Porto. In fact within 30 minutes we should have been home and dry, such was our dominance and the clear goal scoring opportunities created. After reading Darius blog earlier today, his pride in the team was so evident, I emailed it to my sibling, with a note that it was the view of a supporter, not a critic.

  63. I said yesterday not to underestimate Nasri’s finishing ability, and boy did he prove me right. I know there is no true replacement to Cesc when he is out, but having Nasri there sure puts me at ease…

  64. F. Frederick Skitty

    Being a Gooner is a very precious blessing.

    Last night was my best night at the Ems.

    Just being able to experience the reversals of fortune of Eboue, Song, Bendtner and whoever comes along next is priceless and a great lesson in life. One that no other EPL team can come close to providing.

    Wenger is nothing short of a genius.

    Happy days!

  65. TR7 starting his third game in a week was one of the many important moments from last nights game.

    Lovely run, balance, & finish after cutting in from the ‘wing’ by the ‘winger’,
    Nasri.

    Tuesday 15 September 2009

    Chelsea 1 (Anelka 48) FC Porto 0

    Chav$:
    Cech; Ivanovic, Carvalho, Terry, A Cole; Essien, Ballack, Lampard, Malouda; Anelka, Kalou.

    Porto:
    Helton; Pereira, Bruno Alves, Rolando, Fucile, Raul Meireles, Fernando, Guarin, Rodriguez, Hulk, Gonzalez

  66. Got this off twitter.

    “Better to follow a genius blind than a bunch of cnuts with eyes wide open.”

  67. The atmosphere seemed great last night at the Emirates…sounded great through the tele to hear our fans up for this one!

  68. CL crowds are always better, in my experience.

    Could AFC sign up some of the CL supporters and get them to replace some ‘lifelong’ season ticket holders?

    Can a club move fans around like that outside of the transfer window?

  69. I really can’t believe there’s people talking about our defense after the thumping we gave these Portu-duds. Porto are a quality European team. To expect them to be like Burnley and never attack us is ridiculous. They had their chances and the defense dealt with them perfectly.

  70. TR7 is getting his groove back.his movements and understanding with nasri was why we dominated first half.hope his injury problems are over since he along with AA will be crucial in the run in.

  71. Helton is having nightmares about the 5-0 loss.

  72. wait we’re gonna find out at christmas???

  73. what do you mean in the last paragraph yw we’re gonna find out shortly before christmas

  74. Porto defenders will never forget the roasting they got from AA&nasri.verminator threw his body at all shots reminding me of a young cannavaro.bendtner is 2nd top scorer in cl after cr9 with a goal in every 71 minutes and is the first player to score a hatrick at the grove in europe.ade are you watching?happy days to be a gooner.

  75. Delia- Block 112

    A great night to be a Gooner. Samir’s goal settled the nerves, which were frayed at the edges at that stage of the match. I’m delighted for Nicki B after the nightmare of Sat and feel his form will help determine the outcome of our season. I’m not so confident about Sol’s contributions and with Gallas absent for at least a month, the CBs will be under considerable pressure from the long ball / set piece brigade we face in the PL in the weeks to come.
    Let’s dispose of Brown’s Mob on Sat, then perhaps I can relax a little!
    KEEP IT UP YOU REDS

  76. Delia-Block are you related to Linda Block?

  77. Delia-In a way sol is more suited to long balls than gallas.we need gallas for cl qf since we may meet quick and mobile forwards and big sol may struggle.sol signing may turn out to be a master stroke and may define our season.

  78. glad to see the overwhelming response snuffing out those who are “critics” rather than “supporters”.. that was an excellent analogy.

    whenever i get angry at what some has posted from earlier in the day, instead of jumping straight to post my own comment, I see if my level headed ACLF bretheren have already done the job for me. in almost every case, i sit and revel in their renouncement of the morons who could bitch about a 5-0 DOMINATION

  79. Paulie Walnuts

    Nasri was sensational last night. Top performances from TV, Song & Diaby too.

    I love Eboue`s attitude. What a team man he is !

  80. agreed K-TR7.. all last night watching Sol, i was just overcome with feelings of gratitude that we’ve got a true master in AW at the helm. Even i was a bit skeptical he could make any significant contribution. but boy have i eat those words.

    and how come no one makes a big deal about the best signing of the year – Thomas Vermaelen for 10 million pounds? (by no one, i mean the press)

    watching him and Sol just bully Porto around, made me all the more appreciative of the genius that is Wenger… prudent and fiscally reasonable.

    best signing of the year. and 2 years in a row to boot!!!

    maybe rafa should start taking notes (aquillani, johnson, im looking at you)

  81. The thing I love about Arsenal & Arsene is I really don’t have to worry.

    I believe in the man who is running the football side in the club, and I believe in the club and it’s long long history.

    Yes, we didn’t win titles in 4 years but Chelsea didn’t win anything for 50 years and United have periods in their history when they didn’t win titles…that’s with all the money they spend and all the extra support they get from referees & FA.

    *I will only worry when I see that my team is not trying or competing.

    *I will only worry when I see my club spend money like maniacs and drowning in debt that they can’t afford to pay.

    I hope I may never live to see that day, but right now I’m enjoying every minute of it. Sometimes I stew in my own juice as my friend Frank suggested, but that’s just part of the ride.

    I hope you enjoy it too.

  82. The reason why people are banging on about our defence is because they watched the match on Sky last night.

    The whole emphasis, both in the commentary and the pre, mid and post match ‘analysis’ was on how vulnerable we were to conceding a goal. It was annoying at first and then, after we thimped them 5-O, it just became rather limp and pathetic.

    Imagine if manu win 5-0 tonight how different the coverage will be.

    Since when were oposing sides meant to not attacka nd try and score. What would be the point of signing a ‘world class’ kepper, if he had nothing whatsoever to do?

    Desperate stuff from the media and the miseries.

    A great night for Arsenal. A great day to be a supporter of football.

  83. Well said, G4E.

  84. Well said yourself CBob,

    I really think the commentators yesterday like Andy Gray & other were just hoping & praying we concede a goal so they can say “I told you so”. It’s in there benefit, so they can falsely assure themselves and the people who listen to them that the know f*ck all about football but the fact is they know sh*t.

    I would like to know what are their credentials for being such a f*cking “know it all”? Did they get a badge in coaching? Did they go to football punditry school? Some of them even didn’t play football at all or most likely sucked at it.

  85. One graphic that summarises the victory against Porto:

    [url=http://this11.com][img]http://this11.com/boards/1268245067747598.jpg[/img][/url]

  86. Arsenal’s victory against Porto explained by 1 graphic and 5 bullet points:

  87. haha yeah g4e i agree wit what u said!

    forza milan tonight….

    and why is it a bad thing its being stretched out? i enjoy it more, theres more champions league nights which are to savour, specially last night, glad we were first we can sit back relax and support inter and ac in their respective games,

  88. Arsenal’s victory against Porto explained with 1 graphic and 5 bullet points:
    http://u.nu/2pwj7

  89. The invincibles had the best defensive record in the league. United is an excellent attacking team yet they were top of the table in goals conceded 2 of the last 3 years and barely missed the top in the other. Barcelona has conceded 16 goals this year and gave up the fewest in La Liga last year. Barca conceded 1 goal in 3 games vs Chelsea and United in the CL last yr. You can have it both ways. History tells us that the teams that win major championships do have it both ways. We must keep our attacking flair. If we stay organize and concentrate and really “put the pedal to the metal” on the defensive side of the pitch we will have a glorious season.

    I keep telling you defending is relative. You talk as if it’s an absolute.

    For, example we conceded fewer goals than Barcelona last season, and we were 5th best in EPL in terms of goals conceded.

    Villa have concede the fewest goals in the EPL, and see where they are in terms of points.

    I think we need to fix some of the defensive issues which were apparent yesterday (mostly due to laziness in passing & positioning by 3 players), but you sometimes act like clean sheets are an end in themselves.

    To win the league, you need to have either the most prolific attack or the best defence.

  90. A goal could’ve gotten them back into the tie. This was the pressure the team and the supporters were under. That’s why whatever defensive wobble we experienced was magnified. Under normal circumstances, however, last night’s defensive display would’ve been considered a very solid one.

  91. Andy Gray is an ‘expert’ on all things football, G4E.

    Why, yesterday, after their keeper looked to get a kick in the head that needed attention he told us, “He’s alright”.

    I tell you, the man is a genius.

  92. hahaha…Ya, Andy Gray M.D. (Football pundit on the side)

  93. Porto only had two genuine chances. The header from the corner which Sam stopped on the line and the shot that went straight at Big Al. The former would’ve been reachable for Al had it been any nearer to him and the latter went through the legs of the Verminator so could only have gone straight at the keeper, any other direction on it and it would have hit the Belgian’s legs. Defense was absolutely fine, it’s not like it was a lucky clean sheet like at Fulham.

  94. Ole: @6:51

    Look in ESPN soccernet.com and look at the league tables for the last 7 years in the EPL, Dutch, Italian, Scotland Portugese leagues. Of the last 45 champions in those leagues the winner has been 1st in goals allowed 27times, 2nd in goals allowed 15 times, 3rd in goals allowed 3 times. None of those leagues had a champion that was worse then 3rd in goals allowed in the last 7 yrs.

    The idea that defense is relative seems logical. However history tells us that over the course of a season it is extremely difficult to score enough goals to compensate if your team is any worse then 2nd in the league. I contend that to win you have to be good on both sides of the pitch and with rare exceptions you can not outscore an average defense no matter how good the offense. We clearly excellent offense. What frustrates me is with the talent on this team there is no logical reason for us not to be in the top 3 in goals allowed.

    That said this year we are 8th in goals allowed and have a great chance to win. You, me and everyone else on this blog hopes this year will be an aberration to a very strong historical trend.

  95. Oh, and Porto is a good club by the way. They can attack, they can create chances, they can pressure…things like that. We are not talking about Hyde Park Sundae F.C.

  96. and have also won the champions league aswell. fools, course they’re a good team

  97. Bliss, bliss, all bliss!!!!!
    What a night!
    What a game!
    What a TEAM!

    RASERS!

  98. @ G69

    Good point – it was the situation that was precarious, rather than our defensive display.

  99. I hope Milan and Lyon can create some magic tonight.

  100. United just scored. Milan dead. Go Lyon. They still have a chance.

  101. Real Madrid scored

    I think we should just stick with Arsenal, the best team in the world.

  102. Gilles Sunu just equalised for Derby – on his loan debut!!!

  103. Well said Bob, Andy Gray makes me sick!!

    But the clowns on my link were faaaar worse.

  104. I have a feeling that the crowd have to many new songs for Eboue none of that you’ve only come to see lak.

  105. Seedrof to score!!

  106. United just scored again. As much as I dislike him Rooney is awesome. On paper other then Rooney, United are just not that good.

    I think it will come down to a battle between us and United for the title. With Essien out and a really tough run in Chelsea might fall back.

  107. Milan is useless.

  108. this is heading for the same scoreline as last night.

  109. So embarrassing for Superman Flamini and his fans really.

  110. who cares about flamini?

    wow milan are rubbish, of course nobody will point that it in tomorrows paper though

  111. The press as usual will raise MANU as the likely winners this season forgetting that when we beat them two seasons ago, they said Milan were too old.

    This is how independent the sport press in England is. MANU is the club of the establishment.

  112. Arshavin's Barber

    this result tonight a mean nothing. this milan team is a crap.

  113. Arshavin’s Barber…I think you need to concentrate on fixing his hair man….what did you do to his head? 🙂

    Just kidding…

  114. Hilarious doings a transpirin’ at the Bernabeu.

    Come on Lyon!

  115. Lyon just scored. Money bags Madrid going down.

  116. Pjanić equalized for Lyon!!

    Hahahaha, Real needs two goals in 15 minutes to get through. They have not been in last eight for what, five seasons now. Well, new manager next week and another 100 million on players next summer?

  117. Heh – and Dzeko wants to play for this shower..!!

  118. Ronaldo has to sell more of his underwear

  119. If only those idiots at Madrid spent some money to buy Benzema, Kaka, Ronaldo like I’ve been saying all year

    wait what?

  120. Wow, and our fans complain. I don’t even want to imagine how Real must be feeling. Not good enough for the top 8 in Europe and that for years!

  121. Arshavin's Barber

    if any these milano players come to my barbers they will get my oap rate.

    g4e, this is all the rage in a russia.

  122. Whatever happened to Xabi Alonso. Is he hurt or has he just bombed out?

  123. Oh, well then sorry mate 🙂 I’m not so familiar with Russian fashion.

  124. Bill, Xabi and Marcelo are suspended

  125. For God’s sake, Bill, the horse is dead. Stop flogging it.

  126. Nice Perry G. It would be more realistic if there was sound of a Spuds game in the background 🙂

  127. sacrebleu flamini

  128. does anyone know if Nasri picked up a serious knock yesterday?

  129. Real Madrid, hundreds of millions on players, world’s biggest club revenue-wise, UCL final to be played in Bernabeu. Well, 13th in the UEFA rankings and sixth season running out of UCL at this stage.

    Oh dear, what a miss by Lisandro Lopez. And now the picture has gone.

  130. AC Milan…it’s all Flamini’s fault, if he ate his super-boy corn flakes this morning this would’ve never happened.

  131. ahahahahahahahha

    Gazillion squid madrid have been mauled by lyon….at the ‘beu. And they didnt need the away goal rule.

    Oh well.

    At least Franco just got an advance gold medal for spain for the gymnastics he’s doing in his grave.

  132. milan are so fucking shit and flamini wouldnt have made a difference.

    ahahahahahah real are out. 80 million pounds well spent!!

  133. 100+ million well spent, that is

  134. Bad luck lesser Ronaldo.

  135. Ha! I tweeted this yesterday morning:

    no Fabregas is still no excuse. SuperNic52 to grab 3 to make up for his abysmal show on Saturday.
    8:33 AM Mar 9th via mobile web

    I reckon we’ll get (and beat) Lyon in the next round and once again have to listen to everyone saying that we were average but the opposition was worse.

  136. 200 million Zap.

  137. Arshavin's Barber

    g4e, yes in a russia we are cool. aa ask me for the just got out of a crazy house look. but i have a few lately people wanting the chris waddle mullett. maybe it will make comeback again since the late nineties.

  138. The Buy Buy Spend Spend crowd will come out now and say that their theory of “Spending big” only works in England.

  139. Lesser R – 80 mil
    Kak – 50 mil
    Benzema – 35 mil
    Alonso – 30 mil

  140. this always makes me laugh:

    lescott: 25 Million

    vermaelen 10 Million

  141. kaka was 62 mil wasnt he?

    And they bought someone else for 12 mil.

  142. and lescott is certainly 2 and a half times better then the verm

  143. zap,

    That is hillarious.

    So is berbatov 30 million

    Arshavin 12 million

  144. Zap

    Vermaelen’s price goes down %50 because he doesn’t carry a British passport.

    Lescott doesn’t have to be better than Vermaelen, just being English is enough.

  145. i dont even think its that gunner4ever.

    I just think man city have more money than sense.

  146. Arshavin's Barber

    bendy £3m, song £2.5m, diaby £3m,eboue £1.5m, fab £0,Ramsey £not very much, rvp £2.5m,clichy £500,000,

  147. gallas only cost a cunt.

  148. 1 loose cannon

    Shall we feel sorry for Mr Flamini? He could’ve been celebrating with us last night but he thought he are not big enough for him. He is a shadow of the player he was at Arsenal.

    Ronaldihno was an absolute disgrace he just refuses to track back, defend or do anything else other than just swishing his pony tail around “I’m worth it” sort of thing, no wonder he does not get picked for Brazil.

    Madrid have just proved to everyone that throwing extortionate amount of money does not guarantee success. Ronaldo will be sold to Milan for 12 millions (the original price) in few years time, Kaka will possibly go back to Brazil and Diarra will go back to Portsmouth in championship. They keep Buying players for silly money and sell them after 2 years for peanuts. It will be very good for football if they fail.

  149. The Galacticos thing blew up in Perez’s face once and now he’s hell bent on committing the same mistake again. There’s even talk of getting rid of Pellegrini eventhough his side is top of the league.

  150. Bill

    Look in ESPN soccernet.com and look at the league tables for the last 7 years in the EPL, Dutch, Italian, Scotland Portugese leagues. Of the last 45 champions in those leagues the winner has been 1st in goals allowed 27times, 2nd in goals allowed 15 times, 3rd in goals allowed 3 times. None of those leagues had a champion that was worse then 3rd in goals allowed in the last 7 yrs.

    The idea that defense is relative seems logical. However history tells us that over the course of a season it is extremely difficult to score enough goals to compensate if your team is any worse then 2nd in the league. I contend that to win you have to be good on both sides of the pitch and with rare exceptions you can not outscore an average defense no matter how good the offense. We clearly excellent offense. What frustrates me is with the talent on this team there is no logical reason for us not to be in the top 3 in goals allowed.

    First of all, can you bother to use proper football terminology.

    Now, on to the real topic….

    It is true that the team that wins the league usually concedes fewest goals, but it is also true that the team that wins usually scores the most goals.

    What you will never find is a team that’s not the best or close to the best in either category win the league.

    Defending is very important. It’s a major determinant of a team’s confidence, even in attack.

    However, it is not an end in itself. Football is a game of points. If you score goals, you are more likely to win. If you win, you get 3 points. If you get enough 3 points you win the championship. Simple as that.

  151. Not really sure what’s the purpose of this debate? There is probably a million possibilities of how a team can win a league.

    How about a team that wins 5-4 in 38 games…wouldn’t they be they have most goals scored, the worst defense and win the league?

  152. Don’t know why you bother Ole they will not change their stance, no matter what reasons and theories you give to these people.

  153. Manure in the Quarters?

    I think so!!

  154. G4E,

    But that’s my point. It’s a game of 3 points. You can become so obsessed with certain things, and then you can’t see the wood for the trees.

    It’s important as hell to defend well. What’s most important is being able to construct plausible game plans, to fit the personnel you have who would be good players, in good physical condition, who then go out and execute your game plan well, churning out points.

    It’s what football is all about, and obsession with certain elements is ridiculous. It’d be like If I went on and on about how we’re not scoring 3 goals per game like Real Madrid, or stuff like that.

    It’s all about getting points and winning games.

    Barcelona defended worse than Arsenal last season but won every title in sight. They didn’t even have to really defend so much. They were so devastating in possession their poor keeper, and relatively poor defensive organisation did not matter.

    You could look at the goals conceded column on the league table and conclude Villa have a better defence than Arsenal, but you’d be wrong. Goals conceded depends on many things, including luck.

  155. Silly old Perez, I guess they will be sniffing around our very own French superstar!!

  156. I agree with OG on this. Had we keep up our scoring levels after RVP injury we would be top of the league no doubt.

  157. I see what your saying OG.

    Football realy is far more than statistics. And a mean defence on paper can still be a bad team, the play of attack/defend are defined as separate entities but performance is collective. The truth is success depends on so many variables it is frightening so commentators, hacks and fans break it down and make things matter of fact.

    Anything can happen in football, everyone in the bernabeu were reminded of that tonight. And statistics, as compelling as they may be to read, scarcley tell the full story of what makes a team win games.

  158. And I realy hope to get Inter in the next round.

    Theres a score to settle with mister mourinho.

    Scores like 1-0 and 2-1…

    I dont see chelsea coming back the way chelsea had their back door broken in by man city.

  159. One of Wenger’s radical suggestion to improve our league is to give bonus points for goals scored so that a 3-2 win is worth more than a 1-0 win (like for the Emirates Cup). Of course, no one had taken notice so far, preferring to hold on to tradition.

  160. Although it would be good to set the record straight against ManUre and Chelski, I would much prefer that we meet European opposition on our way to the Champions Leagure title.

  161. I understand what YW says about defensive “frailties”, but I would probably call it more defensive balance.

    I think we have to accept the fact that this team currently is very attacking focused. Probably more so than any other team in Wenger’s Arsenal. Previous teams were very happy to soak pressure and play on the counter if need be. This team is much more expansive and posession based, and they like to get forward. We will always look “vulnerable” at the back, but We will always create a shed load of chances. In the games we’ve lost there is probably only one or two in which we didn’t have enough chances to bury the game early on. Certainly both games against Chelsea we could’ve been 2-0 up easily.

    That’s the team as it is, I’m for one I’m perfectly happy with it. With RVP coming back, Bendter and Arshavin and Eduardo hopefully finding some consistent form, early chances will get converted.

  162. There are no easy teams at this stage, we will be wary of any opponent, i think whats best for us is probably bordeux or sevilla/CSKA although we have a good chance of losing.

    But then again i really want to have a chance to face manu with our STRONGEST team, so maybe semi-finals if we get through

    its weird dreaming of champions league glory and suddenly remembering we have premier league match at hull on the weekend.

    cant wait

    caman arsenal

  163. Hull City have lost their last three games although they were all away fixtures. Before that they beat Man City at home and before that they drew at home. So, a better home record than away record and an ability to surprise top-half opposition. So fucking what? They will still get stuffed on Saturday.

  164. Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal, ArseNAL Arsenaaaa-aal Arsenal, Arsenal, ArsenAL-Arsenal-ARSENAL

  165. Just found this link on Arseblog. Good on yer Perry:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tv_and_radio/8558164.stm

  166. 1 loose cannon

    If we meet the Mancs or the Chavs we’re surely not going to make the same mistakes again. It just feels we are due a victory against them at some point and it might come at the biggest stage which will make up for all the bad result against them. I remember when we used to slap Chelsea around for years and their turn came when they nocked us out in the CL few seasons ago.So I beleive this time it will be our turn. Of All the remaining teams Bordeaux and Lyon are really the dark horses.

  167. the draw’s next friday we’ll see then…cant wait for saturday

  168. 1 loose cannon

    dupsffokcuf- They should try it with Wrighty he might wear that filth.

  169. 1lc, exactly what my daughter just said after she had seen it.

  170. 1 loose cannon

    Your daughter has more sense than Wrighty 🙂

  171. Ian Wright is the new face of the Fathers for Justice Campaign.

  172. This was a total kick ass and take names match. I love it. The young guys proved they are tough as nails. great win. Not much else to say. http://defutebol.net

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