Theo Walcott’s Introduction Was Electric…
There was a sense of ‘Deja Vu’ when Hamburg’s Rafael van der Vaart scored the opening goal after only 4 minutes but a clever tactical change from Arsene in the second half over-turned the deficit and Arsenal came out 3-1 winners.
Even though they left it a bit late!
Arsenal were average in the first half, seemingly without any confidence after several poor results at the Emirates this season.
Flamini replaced Gilberto in the holding midfield role, Freddie started his first game after coming back from injury and Senderos replaced Gallas in the middle.
Great credit to Arsenal though after going a goal down – they attacked, attacked and attacked and they got what they deserved 5 minutes after the break.
Cesc played in Van Persie with the perfect pass and the Dutchman comfortably slotted the ball home into the near post with his weaker foot. Was this going to be yet another 1-1 draw at the Emirates?
With Van Persie switching to the right at half-time Arsenal had better of the play and created more opportunities, but it wasn’t until the introduction of the super-sub Theo Walcott with 15 minutes to go when Arsenal looked much more dangerous.
Walcott may have only played 15 minutes but his impact was fantastic.
His sheer pace was frightening and his willingness to run behind the Hamburg defence caused all kinds of problems. He started the first couple of minutes on the left-hand side for the substituted Freddie but once he switched to the right his partnership with Eboue was electric.
Theo’s first major contribution was to slide in Eboue just inside the penalty area. Then the right-back dropped his shoulder, gave a brilliant burst of pace and smashed the ball low under the Hamburg keeper.
Arsenal had finally come back!
It was a superb goal and for some reason reminded me of the winning goal Belletti scored for Barcelona against us in the Champions League Final last season – that goal also made the game 2-1.
Finally Hamburg had to commit men forward, and just before the 90 minutes were up Theo was released down the right wing and played a well-controlled cross to Julio Baptista in the centre to score a cool header and finish the game 3-1.
Is the Emirates curse broken?
Who knows, but Arsenal are scoring goals again!