Wednesday, 1 December 2010

An Arsenal performance without the bells, whistles and poor cracker jokes

Yesterday's awful weather prevented my attendance at The Arsenal's win over Wigan.

Being stuck at Gatwick Airport wasn't much fun when I was supposed to be enjoying the atmosphere at the Grove and a Carling Cup fixture I was looking forward to.

After all it was our first home domestic cup match of the season.

Instead I was forced to watch on a poor internet stream. When will the football powers realise there is a huge market for watching football online and do something about it?

The game wasn't being shown on UK TV so why not offer fans the chance to watch it from the comfort of their own home?

I know that some might have chosen to stay at home to watch the match online instead of go to the game, but if you are a true Arsenal fan you would do everything to be at the ground to support your team.

So watching the match, it was clear to me that Arsene had adopted to keep the 4-2-3-1 system we've been employing this season.

Robin Van Persie was playing off Nicklas Bendtner in what is now commonly known as the Cesc Fabregas position.

And the Dutchman started well, making good contributions from dead balls, the first of which you would have hoped Bendtner would have tucked away.

I thought the Dane had an OK game. He's clearly not in the same league as Chamakh at the moment, but like most of the forwards playing last night, Bendtner is clearly working his way back to full fitness.

Theo Walcott found it hard to get into the game in the first half but his contribution in the second period was much better. We got to see him running at defenders more, which is always good to see.

For all the concern that many, including myself had over Carlos Vela, the Mexican tried his best to be involved with the game and looked very bright in the second half. You could argue he could have done better with some of his chances in front of goal.

In the middle of the park, Jack Wilshere and Denilson both did their jobs well if not over extending themselves.

And I thought the central defenders did well with whatever they had to cope with.

Johan Djourou was immense and Laurent Koscielny showed why he's continuing to be picked with a good performance which neat passing, quick interceptions and important recovery.

Emmanuel Eboue was rusty. His play last night was of someone who hadn't had much training and he was being particularly targeted by the Wigan attack.

On the opposite flank. Kieran Gibbs did well and worked hard alongside Vela. I think Gibbs is going to be an excellent player. But I still think he needs time to develop and putting him in to the Premier League side too soon would be detrimental to his progress. He also needs to stay fit.

In goal Wojceich Szczesny continued his good run. He's proved to be a good understudy for Lukasz Fabianski. And his performances in this competition have shown us glimpses of the kind of goal keeper he'll be when he's won the right to be our first choice.

Overall the performance wasn't anything to write home about. It wasn't going to knock the result of the night off the back pages. But we went out and did a job.

We're now through to a two legged semi final and we'll find out who we face after tonight's games are played.

Arsene has warned his players that the Carling Cup isn't the only competition we're going for this season. I think it's important that the manager puts out this message. I would be really disappointed if the players focused on winning this competition and it became detrimental to our focus on the league and Europe.

The manager has also stated he has no plans to enter into the January transfer window. Now I find this hard to believe. But we will wait and see.

There was also the release last night of the amount of money Arsenal paid to agents.

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