Fabregas spares van Persie’s blushes

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Fabregas was the matchwinner against Manchester CityArsenal 1-0 Manchester City Match Report

Arsenal continued their unbeaten start to the season and ruined Manchester City’s perfect record with a thrilling 1-0 win at Emirates Stadium. Robin van Persie had a penalty saved by the surprisingly excellent Kasper Schmeichel but it did not prove to be costly for Arsenal as Cesc Fabregas hammered home the winning goal in the 80th minute. Manager Arsene Wenger was absolutely delighted with the manner of his side’s hard-fought win which leaves Arsenal just three points off the top of the table with a game in hand.

“We won in the last seconds at Fulham, we scored a second goal at Prague in the dying moments, we missed a penalty and still won the game here. That is a recognition of what is going on in this team and how we are progressing.”

Arsenal were forced to call upon Gilberto Silva to play his first game of the season at centre-back after Philippe Senderos injured his ankle in the warm-up. Emmanuel Adebayor was recalled to the starting team to support van Persie up front in the place of Eduardo da Silva whilst the midfield quartet consisted of Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini, Alexander Hleb as well as Tomas Rosicky, who returned from injury. However, a reshuffle was in order when right-back Bacary Sagna injured his back in a collision with teammate Flamini and was forced off in the 25th minute to be replaced by Denilson. Flamini moved into Sagna’s position at right-back and Denilson slotted into the centre of the park to support Fabregas.

Gael Clichy (pictured) and Kolo Toure were the only first-team defenders to finish the game against CityThree points and two injuries

Unfortunately I was unable to watch the game – due to a dodgy Sopcast stream – and had to make do with the audio commentary provided by Arsenal TV Online. Whilst the commentary was surprisingly good in terms of getting me involved emotionally in the game it hasn’t really provided me with enough insight into Arsenal’s performance to give a fair assessment of the game. Instead, I’ve decided to run through the positives and negatives of the result and some of the key incidences in the match. If you’re after a very detailed analysis of the match I encourage you to check out the one by Goodplaya – it comes highly recommended. 


  • A win’s a win The win was a great result for Arsenal and maintains their unbeaten start to the season. As I mentioned earlier, with the club trailing Chelsea by just 3 points and with a game in hand, the platform has been set for Arsenal to challenge for the Premier League title.
  • Clean sheet for Almunia– It is not often that Arsenal score first at Emirates Stadium and the patch-up defence must be credited with keeping Manchester City at bay and paving the way for Fabregas’ winner. It was great to see Almunia keep a clean sheet in his first game oh his spell in goals and by all accounts his performance was faultless.
  • Another goal for Fabregas – Last season Fabregas was accused no end for failing to score enough goals in the Premiership. It is great to see him get off the mark in the Premier League and score his second goal of the season in all competitions. Arsenal will hope for more accomplished finishes from the Spaniard after his fine strike in this game. 


  • Fresh injuries – Injuries to Senderos and Sagna mean that Arsenal are incredibly thin at the back. With Djourou still out on loan it means that Gilberto will need to fill in for Senderos for the time being. The extent of Sagna’s injury is unknown at this stage but with Emmanuel Eboue already out injured it would mean either Flamini or Justin Hoyte will be required to play at right-back. If Arsenal weren’t quite suffering from an injury crisis before the match, they certainly are now.
  • Van Persie’s miss – There will be many people hoping that van Persie won’t take another penalty kick after his attempt was saved by Schmeichel. Personally, I am happy to see van Persie continue as Arsenal’s designated kicker, but the effect this miss might have on his confidence is an issue that Wenger will have to take into consideration.

Anyway, that’s all I feel confident commenting on. If you have further comments to make about the match such as who played well, who missed what chances then I encourage you to voice your opinions. Hopefully the Sopcast stream will be a little bit friendlier to me next weekend. To summarise, three points against a very decent Manchester City side means Arsenal have seven points from their opening three matches – a 700% increase from last season and despite the injuries, I think that’s a pretty good start.

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal’s win over Manchester City by leaving a comment.


31 thoughts on “Fabregas spares van Persie’s blushes

  1. Yeap, pretty good start indeed. Almunia looks confident and Gilberto looked comfortable at the back.
    Kasper Schmeichel wasn’t excellent imo, he was erratic in handling crosses and the saves he made was pretty straight forward other than one or two. And it should be called a penalty miss rather than a penalty save. RvP went for power rather than placement and had to pay for it.
    And good to see fab getting on score sheet. If he can get some more vital goals like these, it’ll be great.

  2. I partly disagree with you NicktheGooner on Schmeichel. Kaspar showed quite a bit of nerve, especially in the second half – stopping the penalty, then immediately making 2 or 3 fine saves. Sure, his high ball clearance wasn’t the best – however he has only had one goal scored against this season – much less than Van Der Sar, Lehmann, and Cech!

    Arsenal did look pretty awesome going forward in some stages. I thought Adebayor was a bit weak, though I must admit I’m not a huge Adebayor fan – he misses far too much for my liking.

    Also, for the time being, Man U are in the relegation zone! Imagine that.

  3. NicktheGooner – Fair enough about the Schmeichel comment, as I said I’ve had to go off what I’ve read rather than what I saw. I mentioned in the match preview that he’s been pretty erratic so far this season and it appears he continued with that against Arsenal though.

  4. Eduardo looks like he’ll need more match experience in this league before we can judge him. One good thing about him is that he’s very determined.
    Darragh, I like Ade a lot for his work rate and commitment. But yes he was a little ordinary yesterday, but i think most of it was down to the fact that he just recovered from an injury. And Eduardo and Bendtner waiting for chances, It’s upto him to keep his place by putting in some fine performances.

  5. The best thing about our attack is the options. I think Adebayor is an outstanding all-round player who just needs to work on his finishing. Eduardo looks sharp but – as you said – does need time. Personally I think Bendtner has earned the chance for more game time but Wenger seems reluctant to throw him in the deep end. He’s looked the most impressive second striker after van Persie so far this season.

  6. the fact that schmeichel has only conceded one has more to do whith the type of players who have been playing agaisnt him and the quality of his defence than his quality.

    most of his saves (agaisnt us and manu – remember the nani shooting straight at him) have been straight forward with the ball hit straight at him.

    hi handling of crosses was way off and with bendtner and dudu playing he may have conceded a number yesterday.

    about the penalty save, he was way off his line and even the linesman flagged it for a retake but the referee ingored it. the referee should start making sure the keepers stay on their line.

    with the power of the pk, if he was on the line he may not have saved it. poor penalty though.

  7. for some reason we make keepers look good at the emirates, because we always shoot towards them.
    it was a gritty performance, we did not get punished but if we play the top teams we will get punished.
    but we got a result which only matters and well i like man city, they played well, very positive too, sven bought on 2 strikers, he did not pack it up, so we still had a chance.
    but what worries me we aint ruthless enough, our strikers are not direct enough for me, eduardo has not played much but looked sharp and hungry. but like rvp and adey, bendtner still has not played much but he has changed games we he has come on. he deserves a start i think.
    again, wenger may not buy this week, but we need something because the defence is getting thin again and well he let djorou go and already we regretting it, does he have a recall clause??
    but am happy we got more points then last season but we need to be more clinical and ruthless in the penalty box.
    hleb plays well, but he does take that extra touch when he should just shot.

  8. anyways there will be no transfers, but then again wenger said ljungberg wont leave as well and he was 80% certain of that.
    but we do need a wide player and now maybe a defender.
    but we need 1-2 players for us to compete in the major competitions.
    liverpool have got a strength in depth squad, but we dont. just look at our bench.
    diaby needs to return, am looking forward to seeing him, whats happened to him.
    eboue is always injured the crybaby.

  9. hleb is a good player and good players adapt to their situations. when hleb first came he dribbled circles round players without any direction. now he jets through defences towards the goal. what d’u think he’s next evolution would produce, shots on target and goals from his darty dribbles

  10. hleb is a good player, i like him, but he has chances where he can shot or final ball, its the only let down, if he can do it on a regular basis he would be one of the best players in the PL

  11. Spanish Fry – Eduardo didn’t get many touches of the ball, but was willing to make the runs which was a positive. Hleb had a great chance during the second half and it was only centimeters outside the right hand post – but the positive to take away is that Hleb is actually shooting!

  12. I don’t like the partnership RvP + Adebayor. Both players like to drop too deep at the same time. Good to see the strikers to help defending but I reckon the striker main role is to score goal so to play 4-4-2 my flavourite partnership should be RvP + Bendtner or Dudu + Adebayor. As far as I know Bendtner is more “lazy” to trace back but with him standing at the opposition D area, they will always worry of the cross from the winger/wing back to reach him. That would give more room for RvP make the run or shoot. The other partnership means Ade has to drop deeper. In my opinion, Ade’s positioning isn’t that good and he need few touches to shoot. Dudu offers totally difference option. His positioning is the best amongst the 4 and even with half chance he will shoot (a bit selfish but that’s we are lacking). Give him more games, the goals will flow. Dudu can be a poacher too. RvP missed the Fab pull back and RvP’s pull back all should hit the back of net if Dudu was playing. He has the instinct and good positioning sense that’s explain why he score like fun in Croatia and International, both with his feet and head. Remember he is only 172cm, so positioning is the key!

    With Sagna injury, I really hope AW break his piggy bank to buy Micah Richards. I won’t moan even if we have pay to 15 million. Without Richards we should score more goals yesterday. If you ask why Man City is so good this season, my answer are Richards & Elano. COME ON Arsene Wenger, buy Richards before the window close. Darren Bent cost 16.5m, Gordon cost 9m, by end of the season Richards will cost at least 20m. Chelski, Liverpool, ManUSA or even Sp*ds may table more than this.

  13. I think Clichy is one of the gunners best players. He runs through the midfield and defence like there is no-one there. He should get some goals this season. Cesc Fabregas scores AGAIN!!! Hleb – 2, Fabregas – 2, Rosicky – 0. I know my fav. to win the bet. I hope this is the starting line-up agains’t sparta:
    Da Silva-RVP-Bendnter


    We have already won so give the other players chances. Also I hope AW buys at least 1 more player. RICHARDS—RICHARDS

  14. I have found a transfer bid, but its not for Richards: Arsenal have made a £9m bid for Newcastle’s Nigerian striker Obefami Martins. (News of the World)

  15. I found another transfer talk, Guess What its not for Richards: Arsenal are trailing Ajax left-back Urby Emanuelson. (The People)

  16. I have more transfer news : Micah Richards is set to sign a new four-year deal at Man City that will eventually send his wages soaring to £50,000 a week. (News of the World) NOOOOO! also arsenal admitted interest in Morten Gamst-Pedersen and Stephen Appiah. West Ham are after Appiah and Spuds are after Pedersen so Bid, Wenger, Bid!

  17. Everyone pray for Sevilla’s defender Antonio Puerta, who is in very bad condition right now after he lost consciousness twice in their game against Getafe yesterday!

  18. I think everyone is Demetrio, just like evryone is saddened to hear bout QPR’s Ray Jones. I am getting the arsenal shirt for my birthday and am wondering who to have on the back, any sugesstions. SF: I know how to get transfer news, if you’d like i can get daily transfer news.

  19. I felt really frustrated watching the game, we seemed to have fallen into the same groove as last year when we pass the ball to death in the last third of the park. But I might be worrying too much as City hadnt been beaten of even had a goal scored against them, we should have won at least 2-0
    I dont know about Eduardo I think he looks a bit light on. I hope time proves me wrong but I think we need to spend a few sheckles soon

  20. a few articles ago i proposed a line up exactly as the one tht played Man City (obviously minus gilberto ) but this is what you said SF:

    “… However, Hleb can’t play centrally if there are two strikers in the side – he will be forced to battle out with Rosicky for the spot on the left…”

    Comment by Spanish Fry — August 21, 2007 #
    maybe i wasn’t very precise on tht but at least Hleb and Rosicky played with the RVP/Ade 😉

    INDIA-GUNNER: i totally agree with you on the RVP/Bendtner or Dudu/Ade combination after watching the man city game. actually Ade can’t turn with the ball but if you give him space to run in the center he becomes a big threat to the opposition like the run he made immediately before being substituted (i was mad he couldn’t finish it though).on the other hand Dudu’s small structure allows him to be extremely quick and lethal with limited mobility. In this game, i think Adebayor played well..he got like 80% of the goal kicks and cushioned them for the likes of RVP and Hleb.this means he allows us to go for the long balls and corners without wasting them. Hope he gains confidence coz that is the only thing holding him back.

    I liked our defence in tht game and i think we should give Flamini a clap for holding tight on the back right though he looked misplaced a lot of times.i would really like to see almunia as our first choice coz he played well in this game.toure/sagna/clichy are untouchables..clichy deserves a standing ovation for his runs and sagna is doing fine in the runs too.

  21. well, i believe Arsenal are still the team to beat this season and i can say that i’m very impressed by their performance this season. i hope that the team will continue with that positive start to bring the Primiership trophy to Emirates Stadium for the first time. Jens Lehmann should work out on his errors so as not to bring further disappointment.Otherwise, keep it up.

  22. after watching the arsenal game i have realised 3 obvious things….defence looks shaky at times but to be honest not as shakey as uniteds atm….Hleb is a unbelievable dribbler but lazy as…..rosiky needs to be calling the shots from them middle he struggles out wide and doesnt have the pace..

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