Arsenal 4-1 AZ Alkmaar: Arshavin the Assist King

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It’s just a very short blog tonight as I’ve got to race around at home and get through a couple of chores.

The Arsenal boys produced an excellent performance last night to dispose of AZ Alkmaar 4-1 and all but qualify for the second round of the Champions League. Cesc Fabregas scored two, Samir Nasri got his first of the season and the scoring was complete when Abou Diaby fired home our fourth. Alkmaar pulled one back very late on – Aaron Ramsey, Emmanuel Eboue and Manuel Almunia all could have done better – but it mattered little with the game well and truly in the bag at that point.

Fabregas was absolutely superb last night and fully deserved his two goals, the second of which from the sort of finish that only a player who is high on confidence can produce. Nasri and Diaby’s goals were equally as excellent as Andrey Arshavin showed his value to the team on the night with a hat-trick of assists. The little Russian improved on a solid performance against Spurs at the weekend to put in Man of the Match honours despite Fabregas’ brace.

Kieran Gibbs had a good game in place of Gael Clichy, almost grabbing a goal, while I also thought Emmanuel Eboue and Abou Diaby put in improved performances. The defence looked solid throughout and although Almunia probably should have done better with the goal, he showed his worth to the team with a fantastic reflex save to deny Alkmaar with the scores at 3-0.

The win sees us on 10 points in the group, four ahead of Olympiakos and six ahead of Liege with two points needed to secure top spot in the group. Let the good times roll…

Have your say on Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Alkmaar by leaving a comment.


50 thoughts on “Arsenal 4-1 AZ Alkmaar: Arshavin the Assist King

  1. it was an outstanding performance out there,arshavin his really the assisting king,fab is just too much showing the good character of a leader.his really among the best mildfielder in the whole world.

  2. Goodmorning to u guys over there,hope u are all doing pretty
    fine?The young Gooners did well last nigt hope the can continue with this type of performance till
    end of the season.Also i advice wenger to always know when to change Diaby especially during 2nd
    half of every game. Thanks

  3. Perhaps this is going over old ground a bit but once again i was disgusted to see everyone get up and leave almost ten minutes before the end. Must be pretty demoralising for the players who put on a great show to walk off at the end of the game to a half empty stadium. There’s no excuse for this and would only be understandable if we were losing 4-1. I don’t want to hear about avoiding crowds etc, i live in West London and have a horrible journey back but I still stay to the end.

  4. so arshavin showed us what he can do centrally. somehwere i have longed to see him play. i was a bit confused at our formation because i swear sometimes nasri and arshavin would be wide and other times very central. arshavin 3 assits great. maybe he just hates playing on the wing. nasri’s composure for his goal was sublime. diaby is now showing consistency and discipline. i was right the guy does just need games. hes heading in the right direction. song played really well again. his passing really impresses me and his choice selection. also when a right back or centre back gets exposed he immediately fills in for them i like this. it shows awareness. we was cruising its a joke to be crusiing and then bring on two world class players in eduardo and rosicky. our formation is working wonders its so less predictiable and koemans outfit looked organised and tight but we still cut through like a knife through butter. the inter changing and flair of our attacking players are so dynamic they just seem unstoppable. bring on wolves another thumping and a chelsea man utd draw. lovely jubbly.

  5. I absolutely loved the performance but Cesc’s second assisted by Arsh (who had an immense game) was class…I loved how he opened his body as if he was going to go far post but lashed it home near post! Sweet stuff. A finish full of conviction. He did the same against Tot’ham on the weekend. It’s a little skill that will gift a player a few more goals than the average player. That guy is only 22…we have a side and squad that can dominate football in England and Europe once we stay together. I feel as if we can do it this season of course. Glad Samir got on the score sheet and credit to Diaby…he said after training, he practices his close range finishing…he showed it 2nite. C’mon Gunners…y’all look very very good! Starting to look fearless!

  6. The moaning brigade has, in recent weeks chosen two new victims. Diaby and Arshavin.

    Useless, not interested, not good enough, should never play, off to Spain … these are the things that we can read on many blogs.

    After the game against Spurs it was told once again by some and despite the fact that our arch-rivals were easily beaten, they barely had 1 dangerous shot on goal in 90 minutes and we could have won by much more.

    Because it was such a nice game and thanks to modern technology we now have at our disposal, I viewed the game again in a relaxed manner this time. Because we must not forget the way we look to a game live. Especially against the Tiny Totts it is full of tension and nervousness. And that’s usually not a good way to properly review a game. So I looked a bit closer at some “moaning victims”.

    “Arshavin, not interested”. Arshavin is a special player with a special body language. When I re-watched the game against Spurs Arshavin really showed how much he was involved in the game. But the problem is that Arshavin wants to do special things and that can go wrong sometimes.

    Passing a ball in to the space of a tenth of a millimetre at a certain player, with the outside of the foot. Those are things we should not even dream of but Arshavin does and he tries it. And if that fails a few times in a game then the moaning brigade steps in.

    What Arshavin does sometimes is run or stand still with his shoulders hanging down in a pose of “do what you want, I do not play anymore”. It is just a way to deceive the opposition.

    If you are an opponent and you see it you could think: “We have eliminated him, he’s finished”. And one could have the tendency to lose him out of sight and that is deadly.

    Remember Liverpool last year? The first half hour the game passed him by completely, he just walked with drooping shoulders over the field and nobody noticed him and suddenly he stood there and was unstoppable. Arshavin is the type of player where anything can happen and sometimes there are those days that it works and sometimes it doesn’t. For those who forget easily: Not every ball that Bergkamp played in his days turned in to gold.

    Now, how can one see that Arshavin is interested? If an attacker, like him, very regularly runs in to our own defence to help or tracks back with an advancing defender then you know that he is interested. I saw him working hard against the Spurs with moments and it tells us something about his commitment.

    “Diaby, not good enough”. Diaby is a player who last season was notable for his regularity. He came back from injury, played an awesome match (the tiles of the roof as we call it over here), then played two decent games and then …. He fell back with a new injury for several weeks and so it went during most of the season.

    This season, so far only one minor injury and for the rest always fit. Again great games (e.g. Portsmouth) and some lesser games. In reassessing the game against the Tiny Totts, Diaby played a very unlucky first half.

    Misunderstandings, the ball that was not being played at the right speed and so it seemed he was doing really badly. Gradually however, he worked harder and harder and came into the game in the second half and he was really doing well. Of course, the moaners had found enough ammunition in the lesser first half to shoot him down.

    Good advice: Review the game again in relaxed conditions and you’ll see things you have not seen the first time.

    A very clever man made the comparison between Song last year and Diaby this year. If we could find web pages from last year we would now simply replace the name Song by Diaby. What was said last year of Song they now say of Diaby. However it is now for the first time since joining Arsenal that it appears that Diaby finally is fit enough to play weeks in a row without injuries.

    And maybe now it’s his year to develop like Song did last year together with Denilson. And then maybe next year the enormous potential that Wenger sees in him and that we get to see in some games, comes completely out in the open for everyone to see.

    If we should believe the moaners on Saturday’s match against the Spurs and that we only played with 9 players and to think we still won so easy 3-0 then that’s just a sign of our power and our strength. We should be happy with the fact that we have played only “moderately” and yet so easily won against a team that “would push us out the top 4″, once again.


  7. As usual, so much being said. I think the real test is how we play after a high like this. We need to keep our feet on the ground and not get ahead of ourselves. A professional beating of Wolves is exactlyt what we need. They’ll be fired up and getting stuck in. Can’t help feeling that we should rest Cesc from time to time so that he doesn’t burn out. But hard to do that when he’s in such irresistable form.

    Players getting used to formation and we seem to have so many options. I’d like a few more clean sheats, though. We are definitely heading in the right direction and with Arshavin and no negative forces in the dressing room like Adebayor, we can finally start to believe!

  8. Albert Einstein once said, “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” Understanding God as the all-doer and ultimate authority is one of the fundamental truths of our Upasana. Imbibing this principle in our lives, in situations of despair, struggle and pain is challenging. Only one who is immersed in God and has surrendered to him is able to inspire others to believe and realise…

  9. No Wolves wont be a thumping. Arsenal’s record away has been relatively disappoitning this season. 2 losses, 2 draws. I fancy a 1-0 over Wolves. Wolves are a organized and solid time. Dont forgot they won the championship, so dont expect a rout at Wolves.

    I think it is vital that we keep ourselves on the ground. I rmb Barva last year, even after that beat some club 4-0 at home their players and Guardiola still comes out and say that they needed to improve. This is the mentality of champions, to be consistent.

  10. Cesc Fabregas is just such a diamond for the gunners and again proved that against AZ Alkmaar. Coming to Arsenal at a young age and now captain what more can you say.Look at 2006/07 season he played in every single game for the club. Just hope we dont see any repeat injuries…

  11. Andy I don’t know what u mean Diaby has Improved. Is it b’se he scored a goal?

    To my own point of view, the man has not improved in anyway and Arsen needs to look into it very fast, not matter their nationality or else some team may capitalize on his Incopetence as did Man.U.

    For God and My country.

  12. I salute Walter Broeckx. Are you a philopher? I think so. However, it was a wonderful and entertaining game. The lads played very well. Thumbs up to Cesc, Arshavin, Nasri, Song, Varmalean, Galls, Eboue, Gibbs etc. Guys you made us proud by your performance.

  13. Man seldom ponders upon the rationale for his actions that, in hindsight and reflection, appear somewhat strange. Take for example, a tourist paying a fee to reach the summit of a tall building. The same tourist would then place money into binoculars to see objects that are situated on the ground. Yet, despite such anomalies, one does not question such actions

  14. It was a good performance last night but don’t let us kid ourselves on yet, there are far tougher tests ahead. Tony Adams was interviewed on tv here in the UK last night and he basically said he’d been speaking to Arsene and the system he is playing is
    4 – 1 – 4 -1

    The diamond formation, which if I remember correctly a high number of you fellow gooners said wouldn’t work? This system is working as it is allowing for players to be used in slightly different roles when required without taking away from the overall team performance. I agree Diaby still concerns me, but Gibbs played well and Eboue was pretty solid. Nasri will take a little more time to hit top gear. I think however we’re not even seeing the best of Arshavin yet! He was fairly quiet last but still assisted with three goals. Song was again very good and Cesc is beyond “mere words”. One little moan we need a top class keeper, Almunia had a brilliant save followed by an equally spectacular blunder, the rest of our keepers don’t have the experience.

  15. We should forgive and forget any bad transactions of harm that even a close relative or friend may have inflicted upon us. Harbouring a grudge or nursing malice is the source of further karmas and eventual suffering when they ripen.

  16. thers a very dark cloud hanging over the emirates today in my opinion. it is not the prospect of eboue and diaby playing, it is not the end of the world signalled by highburyfan prasiing the team – it is kronky. i am very very worried by this mans share growth. his slow chipping away at shares makes me feel like something scary creeping up on me menacingly in the dark. i dont know enough of this mans character to label him a disaster waiting to happen but i have seen enough of outright foreign ownership to know it is a route i dont want to go down. for every randy lerner there are 4/5 other cases of it going very very wrong and i dont see we need to take that risk. we are financially sound & surely will only get better in this area with the debt being payed off and the highburysales coming along (i think!). why do we want this man or any man taking over? what do we benefit? the idea of a sugar daddy is not somehting i am deperately calling out for & i would hate to see our beloved established badge tainted this way. i dont think this guy would be a sugar daddy anyway and the uzbek option would be more likely to deliver that. the guy has as much knowledge of football as i do his beloved baseball. he does not have a record of creating hugely successful teams in the steates either so i just dont get it. i take great pride in our club not being foreign owned like over half of the league now. while i cetrainly dont love our board they dont have anything harmful to the club in the forefront of their minds & im absoultely desperate for us to fight this take-over. i know his reaching 30% means nothing except he has to make a bid & that can be rejected. However it is too close to discomfort for me & for the first time a glass half emopty man like me is seeing some light at the end of the tunnel – sadly it is being blocked out by a very big pornstar tache with a chequeboook.

  17. That was a great work done by our beloved guns. For me I would like the team to focus on Wolves because they have proved to be a very complicated team this season. I love the attitude of our beloved captain, he is indeed becoming a motivating leader the team for long needed. What we need most is away wins especially against small teams like wolves. So guys calm down and lets focus on the way forward because the journey is still long!

  18. Sorry borthers – on a lighter note – So what about most likeable team? I’m going to go for David James (actually an intelligible individual, with some interest in things other than football, such as art, culture, shock horror. Something one of the editors couldn’t bare, I noticed). Figueroa. Simply because he’s incredibly underrated. If this guy played for a top four side, we’d be talking about him being a top class player, but because he plays for Wigan, he doesn’t get noticed. Vermaelen – who needs a centre forward when you’ve got Vermaelen?! Moritz Volz – don’t think he’s at Fulham anymore, but deserves a place. Actually an intelligent individual who says interesting things and doesn’t have to rely on the cliché to get him through. Yossi Benayoun – I love him because a) he’s a brilliantly talented and underrated individual, and secondly, he’s Israeli, so I’m biased. Frank Lampard – endlessly booed and jeered, one of the most mature individuals in the league. He is calm when others lose their heads, and is an example to the younger, spoilt youth of how to live life as a footballer. Mikel Arteta – what a player. One of the best outside the top four, doesn’t get enough credit. Luka Modric – ditto for Arteta. Peter Crouch – I just feel sorry for him, because teams always lump the ball at him when he’s playing, even though he’s a very good player, which ironically makes the team play badly. So he is in himself a catch 22. Fernando Torres. In an age of footballers behaving as if they are trying to grow the greatest ego, here is an example of a world class player who is modest and respectful of his opponents. Never whinges, just gives 100% and produces quality every single week

  19. man. are those goals great or what.
    i keep watching them over and over again.
    Gallas, masquerading as a striker, Arshavin pass, Nasri’s feint and scores!
    Cesc shifting his body slightly and tricked the goalie with a brilliant goal,
    the cheek of dudu, with that backheel and lo behold, its Diaby who scored!

    I personally love Gibbs but a friend (not a Gunner’s fan but well versed in the Brazilian influence), she commented on how lucky we are to have another Gilberto on our hand. Is Song brilliant or what?

    I’m watching those goals again.

  20. It’s a funny blog today!

    The realisation of the fact that we are perhaps the most inform team in Europe has sent you all mAd with delerium.

  21. Wow what a crazy blog today. Andy did you hit it off with a group of scholary football fans on your travels? Here I was waiting for the Diaby debate and I get debates over God, and truth and knowledge. Not complaining mind you but funny all the same. I just popped in to say I think Gibbsy did a great job and Clichy might have a bit of a worry there

  22. This is why I like this blog. The various opinions from so many different people and places around the world.

    The game was exactly what we needed as the team learns that we need to keep scoring as we can’t hold on to a 1-0 lead or 2-0 lead relying on defense or goalkeeping. Great team display and very efficient going forward. The other thing is that it seems they are working for each other very hard. This has to be a result of harmony in the dressing room.

    @Walter, as intelligent as your analysis is, we are not really moaning about Daiby. I do acknowledge (on previous blog too)that Diaby may turn out to be great next year. And the only way for them to be better is if they are given the chance to have an extended run of games (Eduardo needs it too). But, as hungry as we are for some kind of trophy this year, we all know the margin of error is very little. At the end of the season if the cumulative effect of the errors from him and the goalkeepers is more than the margin of error, we are screwed.

  23. haha an interesting bunch of arsenal fans tonight i guess!
    but anyways i just dont want to stop celebrating this wonderful team that professor has given me, i have never been prouder of being an arsenal fan, and the sudden change in attitudes of my friends who are fans of manures, chelski, lets not even talk bout looserfool ones haha!
    they are eating their words, we have given football its new emperor, with the name of cesc fabregas ..
    a motivating leader, an amazing individual, and an even better leader ..
    i dont care enough about champions league but now i think we are surely good enough to win the premier league.
    we can beat any team at the emirates, its just that we need to go to some difficult places and bag some important points!
    we shall not be complacent though, and cmon guys give diaby some time, hes gonna be a revelation soon, when have we ever trust the professor ? he has always proved us wrong hasnt he ?
    so just let the things go on the way they are going ..
    these guys are loving each other’s company ..

  24. yea but the only thing i am worried about is almunia.!
    i think its high time he gets a kick out.
    david james is not bad at all, is he ?

  25. I think a lot of people are rightly worried what the future holds if and when Stan Kroene offers to take over Arsenal. I think we should all worry as to what kind of owner he will become. But one critical point I thought should be addressed is who is really selling him the shares? Aren’t these the same people who bleed Arsenal and have been with the club thru thick and thin?

    @Andy, this subject should be debated, don’t you think, may be during the international break? I would like to hear what everyone feels about this. This has become the 800lb gorilla in the room. May be interview someone with better knowledge of the inside story and some financial background. Just a suggestion.

  26. Great game well done lads, my concern is Almunia disposal of the ball nearly every time he kicked it it went to the other team which puts us on the back foot thats were we miss bendtner.much prefer Vito as keeper he prefers to throw the ball out to the back line keeping us in position what do you think guys.

  27. Did we see the goal ALMUNIA conceeded? No talks now right? U guys only talk when he makes such mistakes and we loose…God forbid.

    Its so funny everyone keeps on talking about the sweet stuff all the time

  28. gunnerboss
    about almunia, u know how i feel mate its just i dont wanna keep downin the guy,i do hav the upmost respect for him as a professional,in this regard i feel he is a great role model for the two young guys,but he is so limited in ability and has such slow reactions both physically and in his concentration…i feel we hav made our point on him at this stage and there is nothin to be gained by arguing with fellow fans who dont share our opinion ,i mean ultimately it has been AW who has been selecting him all this time,that is the real mystery my friend…i mean wer in a lose-lose here because we call it as we see it and get labelled as bashers and negative but when,and i MEAN when this guy gets exposed again in the near future an ‘i told you so’ will not be worth it as hel hav cost us by then
    really mate it is somethin that is completely out of our control,my only issue is is that when we come in and vent that people will actually use their brains and be honest when hes botched something
    nice one pal,but do i really see torres as a model pro???i mean when their losin or under pressure i think hes as snide and petulent as rooney,dont get me wrong hes world class but i could do without some of the flared nostriled faces and posturing when hes bettered by a def

  29. great news fran merida has reportedly agreed a new contract in principle with the club…nice work arsene

  30. Great gunners ,great football , great manager. Arsenal is too gr8 we fans in NIGERIA are loving d gunners . Dis gunners are gr8 in d match( arshavin , persie ,rosicky ,diaby , eduardo ,nasri , vermaleen , gibbs , gallas & d great capt himself fabulous fabregas ) arsenal is too much.

  31. I spoke at length at the beginning of the season and it would be very fair to wait and see as things unfold.
    So far, ALMUNIA has disappointed me, he’s the only player I did not expect to flop.
    Right now, seriously I just want us to win the Champs League.
    I’ve seen Inter, Real and Barca play. I guess we could win it without DIABY playing from the knock out stages.
    This is another topic entirely.
    May God help us

  32. @GunnerBoss about Diaby: You are absolutely correct! we can win without him my gosh everytime I see him in the first squad I need to relax and meditate myself otherwise I could send my negative vibrations to the players. Well? both Diaby and Eboue I guess. I need to pray hard that they will not make a mistakes, somewhat like own goal? I wish Diaby would only play as sub ..if we have already 4 goals…
    About the ecstatic win for the first time i saw them playing with an exceptional attacking angle. They are superb.And Eduardo mannnn!! he is a professor of technques and tricks because if he cannot make a goal? he can do many things to help his teammates make a goal. 3x I repeatedly watching it.
    To our beloved philosopher Walter, you are like a moon who gives us light in the darkness of the night! You are like the wind who blows away the dark clouds that keeps us blind….and….may you live long to keep giving the gunners’ supporters and fans’ wisdom to melt away their faltering Faith with the Arsenal Team!

  33. I can’t believe the criticism Diaby is getting today. He had a very decent game. He makes mistakes but his impact on the game overall was superb – he pounced on the loose ball to set up Arshavin for Cesc’s second goal and stormed forward to knock in the fourth. His biggest problem is of course conceding possession, which I’ll admit happened a number of times against Alkmaar, but he rarely loses the ball in positions that hurt us defensively and can be exceptionally creative at times.

  34. About SONG, I said it before the season started that this will be his season, I said we didn’t need to buy a DM….didn’t I? DENILSON can deputize when that guy leaves in Jan.

    From DIABY’s goal, I saw a VIERA kind of stuff…u know? I’m sure WENGER has been showing him lots of videos to him lately.

    But, honestly why cant NASRI be there instead? Can nobody else replace DIABY in the middle of the park for now? Dont we want this Champs league cos realistically its probably the only silverware we could win without much sweat. The FA, Carling cups should be easy, but are they really?

    I said it before the season started and i’m saying it again, if WENGER plays guys on current form, we could win this cup.

    Funny, i’m not so keen on the league…. cos, if we play well week in week out, we can do that as well.

    Finally, when SHAMBO was raising hell about the goalkeeping situation and the fact that we let GIVEN go away so easy….I wasn’t very bothered….but, can we really win anything without a great goalkeeper?

  35. arsenal’s performance was absolutly brillient a total team effort but arsen wenger should play thomas rosicky more oftan

  36. Andy-your blog attracts all kinds of people and this is its niche!
    Walter Broeckx-nice analysis really! i have read some of your articles about arsenal in different blogs but where can one find the whole lot about you like we find Andys at at arsenalfcblog? You almost conviced me about Diaby but i still doubt,i have never doubted Arshavin but have doubted Walcott except for his speed. I simply have Eboue,despite not being excellent,he can play in many positions,doesnt complain and is pretty a jolly guy(i like how he likes to join in celebrating goals,etc),a “happy influence” and feel good attitude he brings to the team.

  37. What a week it has been started of with the big win over spurs top game have watched the game three times over a Classic game one to keep then a mid week win over AZ Alkmarr in the Champions league lets hope it keeps going the side are reallng on fire Fabrogas a real captains knock keep it up.

  38. This is about Diaby so if you’re bored of that debate skip to the next comment.

    Diaby had a ‘decent’ game against AZ. That’s right, Andrew, you said it yourself. Credit when credit’s due (to paraphrase). Was he fantastic? No. Was he great? No. Was he superb? – as Andrew also said – no. He was decent. 10 or so games for us this season and he finally turns in a decent performance. Whoopee-do. And how entirely typical of him to score a goal against a team already soundly beaten and in disarray.
    I have no grudge against Diaby and would LOVE for him to prove me wrong and start turning in the performances we need from a player in that position. I don’t derive the slightest pleasure from criticising him. In fact I hate it. But I love Arsenal – and this season – as a team- they have been brilliant, all round, suppassing all the pundits expectations, as well as most of the fans.
    With the excecption of Diaby.
    And that is what is frustrating – because if we had someone else in there we really could be dynamite. Instead – when Diaby gets the ball, play holds up as he passes it sideways or dribbles it into a cul-de-sac, or comes to a complete stop as he knocks it out of play or shifts to the opposition as he loses it.

    Let’s get real here – it’s not like I’m the lone voice in the wilderness. Almost NOBODY rates Diaby. Do we have offers flooding in for him from other clubs? Do you hear supporters of other clubs saying ‘We need a Diaby in our team.’ ? No. Right now – with the fantastic way our team is playing – he is the guy who would be left at the end if other teams could pick any of our players.

    If Diaby gets injured Ramsey may well take his place in the team and, trust me, you will see a different situation in our midfield. You will see action. You will see tenacity. You will see a positive defensive and offensive influence. Exactly what we need.

    If Arsenal win the Prem League this season it will be a remarkable achievement on so many levels. Possibly the greatest Premiership win of them all. But it will be all the remarkable that they did it with 10 men – and sometimes giving the opposition 12 – as when Diaby, under no challenge, nods the ball into his own net and scores the winner for the opposition.

    Arsene Wenger you are a true genius and I hope you’re right about Diaby because I can’t see it.

    Arsenal to the core.

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