Hleb stands out in Arsenal rout

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Arsenal absolutely destroyed Slavia Prague 7-0 at the Emirates Stadium to equal the record for the biggest winning margin in the Champions League and in-turn virtually ensured qualification to the second round.

Cesc Fabregas opened the scoring as early as the 5th minute, firing home a delightful effort after some quick feet from Alexander Hleb on the left flank. It was 2-0 in the 24th minute and Hleb was again involved, forcing Slavia defender David Hubacek into conceding an own goal. Theo Walcott made it three before the break after capitalising on a dreadful error from Slavia’s goalkeeper Martin Vaniak.

Fabregas and Walcott celebrateThings got even better after the break when Hleb finally got on to the scoresheet, finishing sweetly after receiving a pass from Fabregas and turning cleverly in the box. Walcott then got his second of the night, getting in behind the defence with great speed and producing the sort of finish that Thierry Henry would have been proud of. Fabregas then finished of a perfect piece of team football to make it 6-0, before substitute Nicklas Bendtner put the icing on the cage after receiving Emmanuel Eboue’s backheel and barging his way through to goal. You can check out all the highlights here.

This really was an unbelievable night. A lot of the pre-game talk surrounded whether or not Walcott would start up front, and indeed he did. Subsequently, Eduardo da Silva was dropped to the bench to make way for the Englishman in what was the only change from the weekend match against Bolton. The decision proved to be a good one as Walcott grabbed two goals but, although the headlines may have suggested otherwise, I felt he was not the real star of the show against Slavia Prague and those accolades should’ve been given to a certain blond Belarussian. Nevertheless, it was Walcott who manager Arsene Wenger singled out for praise after the match.

“Theo’s in good form. I wanted to give him a start. He played well. He’s calm in front of goal. We know he’s clinical and when he gets inside this position, he’s composed.”

And so he proved to be. His second finish, in particular, was incredibly well-executed. I mentioned yesterday that I really wanted Wenger to play Eduardo alongside Adebayor for this match to give the pair as much chance as possible to click before the crucial game with Manchester United in just over a week. You have to think now that it will be Walcott who maintains his position up front for the matches against Liverpool and United. Whether or not Walcott can have the same impact in those games as he did against Slavia Prague is questionable, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

Alexander Hleb was outstanding against Slavia PragueHleb a cut above, Lehmann digging deeper

Going back to Hleb for a moment, I thought he was absolutely outstanding last night. It was the type of performance that makes you realise just how devastating he can be when he is full of confidence and deployed in the correct position. His speed, dribbling and creativity was a delight to watch and what’s more, he provided a consistent scoring threat throughout the match. The performance of the whole team was excellent – you would normally expect that in a 7-0 victory – but I just felt that he was a cut above every other player on the pitch. The fact that his confidence is so high at the moment will no doubt have Liverpool and Manchester United a little worried about the damage he might cause them in the coming weeks.

There was, typically, enough time for Jens Lehmann to do his best to spoil the day after he made some more ridiculous comments in a pre-match interview with a German Pay-TV company. Lehmann suggested that he has been humiliated by manager Arsene Wenger’s treatment towards him and again spoke out against his rival for the number one position, Manuel Almunia.

“I think – and this is directed towards my dear coach – that you should not humiliate players for too long. I am an Arsenal player and I will not just fade away quietly. I am convinced I will soon be playing again. Almunia hasn’t shown that he can win us matches just yet.”

I’m sorry, but to suggest that Wenger has humiliated Lehmann is just ridiculous. Lehmann humiliated himself when he made two awful errors against Fulham and Blackburn and compounded things by rubbishing his Spanish teammate. As I’ve said time and time again, Lehmann lives in his own little world and if he does not get a grasp of the reality of the situation then I really think he will be on his way out of the club in January.

Anyway, I’m not about to let Lehmann ruin Arsenal’s delightful performance against Slavia Prague. This was football at it’s very best and in all honesty, I’m feeling very confident about the side’s ability to go to Anfield this weekend and get the job done. Only time will tell.

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal’s scintillating 7-0 win by leaving a comment.


47 thoughts on “Hleb stands out in Arsenal rout

  1. why isnt this blog on newsnow.co.uk?
    anyway what a game and what a save to deny wallcot his hatrick!!!

  2. Dis is my ist comments but am a real fan of arsenal. Yesterday match brought the best of arsenal & wit the match againts liverpool & man u, the same men should be used bcos dis is our season both the premier league & champ league.

  3. wow, isn’t that a lovely picture of cesc cupping theo’s arsenal?

    anyway, so proud of our boys! everybody is talking about theo’s performance, but i still am in my unending amusement towards cesc’s game. and yeah, hleb was pretty awesome too.

  4. i love helb- what a dead set legend
    but serious man change that photo.. seems that cesc and theo are a little more than friends:P

  5. The reason why Hleb can show his full repoitre of skills is because he is allowed to unlike the pl where he is offered little or no protection.
    In the coming games against Pool and MU don’t be surprised if the ref turns a blind eye to tackles which could draw a yellow card in the cl.Until such time as the UK refs follow their counterparts in the cl,England and the other countries iin the UK will also be also rans in European nations cup.

  6. Wuz there and it doesn’t get better than this right now. Can someone please tell me if Hleb is left or right footed. He does not seem to favour either foot which makes it difficult to defend against. The man’s close control skills are an absolute delight. I noticed this last season when we were at Old Trafford.

  7. well done SF!
    i think giberto playd better than flamini last night.
    flamini doesnt have the presence that gilberto brings!

  8. I feel not comfortable for Theo to start up front against liverpool and man utd than Eduardo because of his light weight. Eduardo is much stronger to be able to hold off challenges from big center back. But Eduardo hasn’t able to gel with the team yet. A tough decision who will partner Adebayor upfront in the next 2 prem matches. Maybe 4-5-1 with hleb in the hole?

  9. Did somebody noticed that when Gilberto came on he shows a lot of tricks and composures to hold the ball. Joins attack and made runs aggressively which is not what we see from him usually. Maybe Flamini really spurs him on.

  10. brillant performance!!!,well done youngsters,it look like we will be having no injured players for sunday clash,except rvp,i don’t know but, is that not the first time in a very long while that wenger has made 3 changes?thumbs up for liverpool to lose tonight and continue that against gunnars!!!

  11. It gives u joy when ur team is doing well.no 1 though wit RVP down arsenal we go on 2 win a match 7-0 this show that any of the top striker can score if giving the chance to prove his worth.And i want this same squad to be uses againts liverpool & man u.

  12. 4 wenger it has been a long time that he will have so much weapons of destrution to play with, lets hope they will be able 2 fire wenger to convincing score from know on.man were boring last night, kiev should of beaten them, and were denied a penalty which was so visible to the refree, the commentator saying that man victory was so great and kiev did not even come close, I wonder if he was talking about the trashing of 7-0.

  13. I hate to say it but i told you so, before the game, only 1 0r 2 people wanted Walcott to start, everyone wanted AW to pick Eduardo and look what happened. He almost got a hatrick! Hleb was outstanding, the MOTM. Fabregas adds 2 more to his tally and unlucky for Hleb, his 1st goal counted as an OG. For all those people who said Almunia was dodgy and the defence always saves him. Almunia made great saves last night. Its difficult to know if i want Walcott to start agaisnt Liverpool, but it is hard to put 7 goals past ANY team, and it was in the cl, so i say play an Eduardo – Walcott, cuz Ade didn’t do a lot last night. 1 thing is clear now tho. Play G.Silva, as soon as he came on, Him and Cesc were great. Eboue done well and it;s good to see Bendtner get some minutes, but he also got a goal on his european debut, so that should keep him happy. Lehmann thinks AW is trying to humiliate him, i say sell Jens in january and bring in Boruc or Green!

  14. I agree with Jimmy Armsmith, in the last few seasons Man U have kicked lumps out of Arsenal players especially at OT where the refs want to turn a blind eye so as not to incur the wroth of old purple nose, so much so they sometimes resemble Bolton when they play us. I think the Liverpool and Manure matches are going to be a very different kettle of fish from the last game, defensively both teams are in a different league and will be much more difficult to break down.

  15. Why bring in yet another keeper when we already have Fabianski? Wenger simply isn’t going to do that, if he wanted Green or Boruc or anyone else for that matter then he would have got them instead of Fabianski.

  16. Flamster is still a better pairing with Cesc! Because flamster sits back’s to protect the back four gives Cesc time to get forward and get goals/set up goals. Helb is really showing what he is made of! Great player with amazing feet!

    I really think Wenger should of brought on Eduardo, he needs more playing time. And everyone is bigging up Theo, he played well, but I feel Eduardo would of done the same maybe even got more goals the way the game was! So lets not praise Walcott till he proves it against a big team!

  17. I’m goind to praise Walcott now beacuse, it was his Starting cl debut he scored his first goal at the Emirtates and then got another and he is still only 18. I think G.Silva shud start against Pool.

    ColonelMarquand- the reason why AW didn’t bring in a keeper instead of Fabiabski is because he didn’t know this problem with Jens would occur. But Jens is unhapy and is saying bad things bad AW and Arsenal and is denting the team spirit so AW will sell him and replace him with either Boruc or Green.

  18. Yes but he brought in Fabianski as a replacement for Jens who at 37 was going to have to replaced anyway. The only thing that’s different is that Lehmans behaviour has sped up this transition process. I seriously doubt Wenger is going to buy a replacement for the replacement, that would totally defeat the object. However, Lehman will be leaving in January because he wants to be playing regularly so can play for Germany in Euro 2008, perhaps that’s why he’s been playing up, so he can engineer a transfer away.

  19. Kudos to Hleb for the dazzling performance. On an overall basis the team was excellent and i’m backing Wenger to start with Eduardo and Ade in the Liverpool game and then use Walcott in Eboue’s position. Gilberto should also start in Flamini’s position. Almunia had fine saves and as i said before Lehmann should pack and go. If i was Wanger i would bench him for the rest of the season and not even allow him to play in the carling Cup games. Fabianski is a good goalkeeper and may be wenger should add Boruc to the team in the January transfer period when we are still on top of the league.



  20. I know its a big match but i still hope that Theo will start upfront against Pool, i know people will disagree but i think he can make a name for himslef and slip intp the England squad if her plays the big games!

  21. Jay

    You mean Almunia saved many balls? What match were you watching? Did you see the flying ball above the post that could have beaten him if lower because he was far away from his line in the first half? Then the weak punch and a low shot he couldn’t push harder away and nearly slipped in the second half? The guy gives me nerves and shouldn’t be in the post against MANU and POOL. He lacks the skills as a No.1 GK to play for us.

  22. Gilberto plays very well the few minutes that he was on the pitch but I prefered the Flamster with Cesc.

  23. Agreed, MexicanGunner. I don’t understand the statement that because when Gilberto went on he did better than Flamini, and because of that he should start against Liverpool. Arsenal won 7-0! It was not the game for a defensive midfielder like Flamini, and even in saying that he still played well enough to allow Fabregas and Co to get forward. The suggestion that he should get dropped is quite strange.

  24. Howard – yeah Almunia didn’t do great about the times the you mentioned, but they could’ve scored about 3 but great, yes GREAT keeping from Almunia prevented that and he comes away with a clean sheet, i see no reason 2 put a goalkeeper that makes mistakes in goal instead of a keeper who is getting critised but getting the work done. This is a big game!!

  25. I Like Gilberto he’s been fantastic for arsenal. It’s a shame because Arsene has a different policy for over 30 players so I can possibly see him leaving Arsenal next season. Gilberto is a great player very pretty on the Ball nice touches on top of that he is a nice bloke while Flamini is a typical ball getter he’ll bite you if you go near him and that’s complement Fabregas very well and gives him a bit of protection that is why this season Fabregas hasn’t been bullied as much as last season he’s got his bodyguard. There is no way Arsene will drop Flamini the formula is working, why change it? Once again I’ll talk about Theo. Just this season how many times we’ve seen him come on and change the game. You’ve only seen glimpses of what he can do. You have to trust me on this one, there is more to come it’s up to Arsene to use him wisely but you can’t say that about Adebayor and Eduardo. they are set in their ways. You know what to expect. For Eduardo it is just a matter of settling in the premiership. He admitted it was too fast and furious for him but with time he’ll bang them for sure. Adebayor’s presence is fantastic but he needs to stay in training a bit longer and work on his finishing. Once he sharpens up he’ll be complete. As for the next game I can see Liverpool starting with crouch thank (God Senderos is not playing) we struggled against kenwyne Jones of sunderland if we can see off the balls and the aerial threat we should win this game.

  26. One more thing. To all defnders out there it’s Halloween be afraid be very afraid BENDTNER is coming.

  27. AW always says it takes 1 or 2 seasons for a new player to get fully used to the Premier League and I think we are expecting too much from Eduardo st the moment because of how well he’s playing for Croatia. Give him time. 🙂

  28. I got a different view on Wallcot’s performance SF..i think he played quite well and it is really good for his confidence BUT it was a game against Prague not Man U or the bastards Blackburn. Yes am happy for him but i ain’t screaming out his name yet coz he still got a lot to prove. I mean, naturally a game where more than 4 goals are scored by a single team seriously implies that the other team has a big big problem (technically or otherwise) or on the contrary, the other team is far much below callibre (as compared to the scoring one – sadly our case here). So guys let’s smile coz we won BUT let us not, under any condition, think that this is a game to grade our players by. Let’s talk about that after Anfield and Emirates later next week and if all is well only then will we toast our excellent performance. Won’t we?

    Le Gunner, i agree with you on Flamini, Eduardo and Adebayor. It’s not that Gilberto lacks anything in skill and ability but he just doesn’t have that flare and spirit that Flaming Flamini posseses at the moment.

    For Anfield am seeing Almunia, Clichy, Gallas, Toure, Sagna, Cesc, Flamini,Hleb, Rosicky, Eduardo and Adebayor as the favourites to start with Wallcott, Ebuoe, Jens, Diaby and Gilberto on the bench. What do you think?

  29. knightman – i see your point! but Walcott was on his european start debut. If your are playing in the champo league it is hard to get braces yet Walcott a brace ( almost a hat-trick aswell). Any team in the champo league is a good team, admittedly, Slavia are in no comparison to Liverpool and i hope no-one expects another 7-0 rout at Anfield, but to hit 7 goals in a cl game means that YOUR team are doing great and are playing football from heaven, regardless of how good the opposition is!

  30. You would think Eduardo would start along side Adebayor but we saw in the Bolton game it just didn’t work there was absolutely no communication between them. I don’t know on what basis they should start unless Arsene puts his faith in them again and hope they’ll click , at the same time you think Theo has done no wrong at all if anything he was the one who changed the games for us. On top of that his form against Slavia was brilliant. To drop Theo for no reason other than the fact that the other strikers have more experience would be harsh. So I won’t be surprised if he starts against Liverpool.Who Knows maybe Eduardo Will run riot at liverpool.Another player who would fancy a riot is Bendtner.Its Great to have all these options after losing RVP.

  31. Wow. Only just got to watch the highlights. SP – you’re spot on about Hleb. I’ve always been a big fan of him, and think his footwork is supreme. I must say Bendtner’s goal, why perhaps not as spectacular as some of his counterparts, was well taken – he showed a lot of strength to beat the defender to get the tap in.

  32. He looked so sharp. I would absolutely love it for Hleb to score the winner against Liverpool – it would make his confidence sky high for the match against Manchester United.

  33. Hleb has been our drean player throughout this season, yet we don’t give him enough credit as we do Fab, RVP pr Ade. Yeah they score the goals, but he assists. he breaks away, he scores aswell, he is doing brilliant for Arsenal at the moment. I want Walcott to start agaisnt Liverpool.

  34. helb is a fantastic player and i think he should definitely get more praise than he is getting now.

    he did assist fabregas in the liverpool game…didnt he?

  35. i love fabregas core i dnt knw were he get those looks from he is fitt carla ere i cum to still him awayyy from yhuu xXxXxXxXx 😀

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