Cesc gets a scoring boost

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Cesc celebrates his goal with Eboue and CoIt’s a rather exciting Monday post today due to the launch of Arsenal FC Weekly podcast. I’ll talk more about that a bit later but before then is a review of yesterday’s game. 

As a warm-up for the big game against United this week, yesterday’s 2-0 win over Middlesbrough could hardly have gone better. 

Two goals for a previously goal-shy Cesc Fabregas, successful returns of Manuel Almunia, Johan Djourou and Emmanuel Adebayor and a confidence-boosting clean sheet for the defence capped an excellent afternoon at The Emirates. For a team as close to relegation as Boro are, I was surprised with their lack of intensity and effort throughout the match as our boys cruised to the sort of relaxed victory that Manchester United and Alex Ferguson would have craved against Tottenham on Saturday.

Almunia had very little to do and we never looked like conceding once Fabregas scored in the first half. He added a second for himself and the team midway through the second period and from that point on the game resembled something of a training match as Djourou, Adebayor as well as Abou Diaby were given vital match time to prepare for the far more important trip to Manchester.

I was a little surprised to see Fabregas start with the United game only days away, but he was joined by Denilson and – surprisingly – Samir Nasri in an intriguing midfield trio. The manager’s decision to play Nasri a little deeper than Fabregas worked well as the Frenchman scuttled around in characteristic style and Fabregas pushed forward to make his mark on the game. If these post-match comments from the manager are anything to go by then he may stick with that option against United, with Alex Song coming in for Denilson to play the holding role.

The trio were joined by Andrey Arshavin and Theo Walcott on the flanks while Nicklas Bendtner started as the target man up front. Bacary Sagna was given a rest, replaced by a much-improved Emmanuel Eboue at right-back while Kolo Toure, Mikael Silvestre and Kieran Gibbs made up the rest of the defensive four. An injury in the first half to Silvestre means he is a big doubt for the United clash and saw him substituted for Djourou at half-time.

In terms of a performance there’s not much to say. We were comfortable in every sense of the world and always looked likely to win. Both goals were well taken by Fabregas as he finished off beautiful interplay between himself, Arshavin and Bendtner for the first and rounded the keeper after being put through by Eboue for the second. 

If someone had told me before that one of our players would score two goals and I was able to choose who I wanted it to be, Fabregas would certainly have been my first pick. He had only scored one goal in the league before this game and the brace will certainly have given him a confidence boost ahead of the United game. While we will be missing the four-goal Arshavin for that match I think it was good reminder from the captain to his team and the supporters that there other, more eligible players who have the ability to have an impact at Old Trafford.

I think the manager’s starting team and substitutions have given us a massive indication of what side he will send out on Wednesday night. With Silvestre 50:50 and Djourou coming through OK I think the Swiss defender will start, while Toure and Gibbs should continue and a rested Sagna will surely return. There is still a possibility that Wenger may want a more experienced player to take care of Cristiano Ronaldo which could see Eboue continue and Sagna play on the left, but that looks to be the only matter for conjecture. 

Song will return to join Fabregas in the middle and the pair will surely be joined by one of Nasri or Diaby. I think it was telling that Diaby was rested and Nasri was played in the middle and I can see the manager putting Diaby on the left with Walcott on the right. Adebayor will surely start up front to complete what looks a well-balanced line-up.


37 thoughts on “Cesc gets a scoring boost

  1. My team for wed nite almunia,sagna,toure,jd,gibbs,song,theo,nasri,cesc,diaby and ade also why havent we seen eduardo at all in the last few games is he still injured? nice relaxing win against boro.

  2. @ georgetown – That is the exact team I would go for. I’d like to see Diaby play on the left and Nasri help out in the middle and I think Wenger might go for it.

  3. Almunia
    Sagna Toure Djourou Gibbs

    Song Denilson

    Walcott Fabregas Nasri


    Man Utd have problems in the fullback positions at the moment. I think it is very important to have nasri on the right, where he gave them problems in the league match.

    I don’t necessarily agree with a Song/Denilson midfield but i think it will happen.

  4. He should play on the left and trouble their right back like he did in the league! I think i’ve corrected myself properly this time.

  5. I agree with Michael SF, but great show nonetheless.

    Great review. I thought Nasri was brilliant as a DM yesterday. He wasnt kidding when he said he can be a “box to box” player like Flamini. He impressed me alot.

  6. I think it should be:
    Eboue – Toure – Djourou – Sagna
    Walcott – Song – Diaby – Nasri

    Eboue had a great game so I think Sagna will take on Ronaldo with Clichy unavailable. If the Song – Diaby midfield doesnt work then AW will move Nasri and Diaby around so Nasri will be in Cm and Diaby on the LW. Its a shame that Arshavin will be unavailable because he is one of our best players but we got here without him and we can get past this hurdle.

  7. Almunia,Sagna,Toure,Djourou,Gibbs Walcott,Denilson,Cesc,Nasri Ade,Bendtner. I feel this is the best team to cause manure problems it gives us a great balance in defencive and attach mode without players getting in each other’s way i go for deny cesc because both players in their style of play don’t need an extra midfielder to control the midfield what they need is other players to create spaces for themselves to be passed the ball to, and some times it gets so lonely upfront for alonely striker and i want the manure defence bussy defending not going forward thats why i want us to employ 2 giant front men.

  8. I don’t think I’ve ever heard you 2 boys so polite and agreeable towards each other! All my training has worked.
    Good pod job, boys!

  9. @spanishfry Love the FUNK music throughout the podcast. I never listen to podcasts – actually I think this might be the second time I’ve EVER listened to podcasts.

    I reckon you should take even more initiative and look into vodcasting – I don’t see other arsenal blogs doing this. Of course this means a bit more setup and investment, but why not? You can also show highlights!

    re: podcast content – totally agree about Nasri and Eboue (nasri is great in a Rosicky way, and Eboue has been playing very well at right back). Thought that the analysis was great

  10. I feel if the Arsene is not intimidated by the look of utd midfield and goes for a usual 4 4 2 we will take the game to utd, i don’t think trying Sagna at left back agaist utd as a good idea Gibbs has played there against chelvscy and liverpool more consistantely than Eboue as right back Gibbs has earned his role in fact Eboue doesn’t even have a number on the bench sorry Eboue fans am just stating a fact.

  11. @SpanishFry
    Really enjoyed the blog, I have e-mailed my answer hopefully to the right address. Excellent build up for Wednesday night, I am quietly optimistic about the result. I was hoping that Silvestre would be fit to play his old mates but it is excellent to have Dujuro back. Lot of debate about Saagna playing on the left and that maybe for the best but Gibbs gives us some attacking options down the wing and he seems to able to put a good cross for ade to get on the end of. If we played Nasri in the middle aka Sunday then maybe we could put Vela or eduardo out on the left, just a thought.

  12. Great first podcast spanish fry and panda bear! Very pro. Can’t wait for future episodes (and for de nilson to score!). Feel better soon panda bear.

  13. jay-jay

    i like that lineup… gibbs v ronaldo is a scary thought. Im a bit worried that Djourou wont be ready. He is essential IMO.

  14. We live in the age of attention deficit. You might have forgotten whose tenaciousness won a tackle and then scored at Villa Park to give us a lead against the run of play. Denilson.

  15. Hey, SF: I look forward to listening to the podcast. I’m an avid footy podcast listener – Arseblog, Guardian Football Weekly, BBC 606 / Five Live, Arsenal 02 Podcast, World Soccer Daily, etc. etc. Congrats on taking that step.

    Is it available on iTunes? That’s my preferred method of downloading.


  16. Im desperate to listen to the podcast mate but having no luck…everytime i click on the link i get an error message of Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage….everyone else seems to be able to get it…what am i doing wrong!!!

  17. oh~~~~~I heard it finally~~ Was that really your voice???

    first thing first the bg music is too loud and well,seriously speaking your voice is a little bit weak …(sorry :P). As a hosts of the local broadcast,I it is a good podcast but you know…way to go huh?
    C’mon you ~~:D

  18. Just listened to the podcast and like the commentary by SF and PB. A scoring draw or narrow loss would be the ideal result for us!! We should just believe in ourselves and take the fight to Man U. We can beat anybody when our confidence is up!!

  19. To everyone who has left positive comments about the podcast, thanks very much. I thought I’d answer to some of the feedback:

    + In terms of sound, I’ll fix up the intro music and also give our voices a bit of a boost for next week’s pod.
    + Anyone who wants to enter the competition remember the email address is arsenalfcweekly@[remove]arsenalfcblog.com
    + In future episodes we will be doing things like reader interviews, answering questions from emails, commenting on peoples comments on the blog and getting other people into the ‘studio’. So keep the emails and comments coming.
    + The podcast will be available to subscribe to via iTunes as soon as I sort out the technicalities and the iTunes people approve it. Could be a week or two so until then I’d encourage you to check the blog each Monday for the new pod.

    Thanks again.

  20. Really enjoyed listening to the podcast Spanish, I thought it was great!

    The thing I liked the most about it was how indepth you went into the tactics and the players etc, you guys really seem to know your stuff. I can’t wait for the next one.

  21. And noone forget… I’ve got a long term overthrow plan for this podcast which some crazy shit might go down… He he he.

  22. it is gonna be a win fellas. Man U spters!!!! prepare for the onslaught of your life. N say good bye to the title once qwe are through with u.

  23. we good to go for the man u game on wednesday, the formation u all proposed is ok, but we all know that man u have a lot of problem at their right back, it will be very interesting to see nasri go against anybody in that posistion. i was watching man u tv last night and they wre talking about our deffence also, johan in particular was their target, we pray he does ot let us down, if every thing works out perfectly we should expect to put them on the back foot.

  24. All hands down
    Arsenal 3 – Manchester United 2

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