Arsenal (1) – (0) Udinese
The Emirates Stadium, London
After the turbulent few weeks and months with the Cesc Fabregas transfer, and Arsenal legends such as Emmanuel Eboue, Carlos Vela and Denilson leaving the club, the most important thing was for the players still wearing an Arsenal shirt to show what they were made of. And on the whole, Arsenal did excellently I thought.
Arsenal started brightly and within a few minutes a great cross from Aaron Ramsey picked out Theo for the opening goal, which is exactly what was required. After that both Arsenal and Udinese had spells throughout the game which was so open that it was amazing that neither side actually added more goals to the game.
Udinese were impressive considering their domestic league hadn’t started yet and their build up play was excellent. The only criticism you could have against them was that they were to Arsenal-like. They got into dangerous positions but when they got in front of goal, they were wasteful. And it was the same for Arsenal.
Walcott took his first goal well but in all honesty could, and probably should, have bagged a hattrick.
But the main aim was to score a goal and not concede so it depends on how you look at things. You can either be positive and say were lucky not to concede so a 1-0 lead is great, or you can be negative and say we should have won by more than one goal.
As a spectacle, the game was entertaining and both goalkeepers were made to make some important saves.
Personally, and this may surprise you, I feel positive about the result.
We kept another clean sheet, the defence worked well together (considering the pressure Udinese put on) and Szczesny looks more and more confident in goal. Song played well, and Aaron Ramsey looks like he could be the answer to Arsenal’s creative problems.
On the not so good side, Walcott aside, the attack was slightly powderpuff at times. Gervinho couldn’t get into the game and I hate to say it, but Chamakh looked lost. And I hate saying that because I want him to come good again. I know he’s a quality player but I don’t know why he’s so out of form. If he can find his form again then he could be like a new signing.
Another problem was the injury to Gibbs. He’s played well over the last week or so but tonight should be a reminder to Arsene that we cannot rely on him for the whole season and the left back position needs strengthening. And same goes for central defence too, as Djourou went off with a hamstring problem as well. He only lasted 10 minutes, did he not warm up properly?
The return leg in Italy will be another tough game but if Arsenal can nick a goal from somewhere then it makes our life a whole lot easier. On the evidence of tonight, Udinese will fancy their chances of getting a good result at home so Arsenal need to be focused and ensure they put in a professional performance.
But let’s be positive, 2 games into the new season, 2 clean sheets and we are currently unbeaten.
Onwards and upwards I say.