Diaby impact shows as Arsenal thump Fenerbache

That was a pleasant surprise. Three points, five goals and as good a performance as you can expect in a place like Turkey given the injury-ravaged nature of our defence.

The team selection was exactly as I predicted yesterday (hurrah!) with Robin van Persie dropped to accommodate the returning Abou Diaby to a five-man midfield. It proved to be the right move as Diaby had an excellent game and Cesc Fabregas was able to express his creativity in advanced role behind Emmanuel Adebayor. As expected, Alex Song and Mikael Silvestre formed the centre-defence partnership with Manuel Almunia wearing the captain’s armband behind them.

An utterly crazy game exploded into life in the 10th minute when first Emmanuel Adebayor then Theo Walcott both capitalised on perfect passes from Cesc Fabregas to shoot Arsenal into a 2-0 lead. Fenerbache responded ten minutes later when Daniel Guiza – who was a threat for the Turks all night – had his strike deflected in by the unlucky Mikael Silvestre. But our boys essentially put the game away when Diaby scored a marvellous goal, holding off two defenders before firing an excellent shot under Volkan.

Spanish striker Guiza continued his one-man show by having two good chances saved by Almunia and a third denied by the offside flag. But Arsenal held out until half-time to enjoy a healthy 3-1 lead and in complete control of proceedings.

Things got even better after the break when Silvestre and Song unexpectedly combined for our fourth. Fabregas swung in a free-kick, Silvestre won a header and Song smashed the ball home before celebrating in wild fashion. Guiza meanwhile continued his personal attack on Arsenal as Almunia saved again and Emmanuel Eboue cleared off the line twice to deny the follow-up.

Guiza finally got one over Almunia – literally – with ten minutes to go before substitute Aaron Ramsey scored his first goal for Arsenal with a lovely low strike from outside the box with the final kick of the match. It was a fitting end to a wonderful team performance and one that the Welshman particularly enjoyed.

I thought the return of Diaby really helped get the best out of Fabregas. Song and Silvestre did OK at the back despite conceding two goals, while Eboue and (will I get tired of saying this?) Gael Clichy impressed on the flanks. Walcott’s pace was a threat all night as he tore Roberto Carlos apart. He and Eboue seem to get along really well on the pitch and that could well be an indication of the type of relationship they share off it. It’s not unreasonable to think that Eboue’s presence in the squad has had a positive influence on Walcott over the past two years.

That’s all there is to say really. I would have been happy with a point so obviously I’m delighted with all three and a 5-2 win. Amazingly, it wasn’t the highest scoring game on an absolutely mental night of Champions League football as Villareal smashed Aalborg 6-3 and Lyon overcame Steaua Bucharest 5-3.

All in all an excellent showing by the team and another important step in the right direction.

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



  1. excellent attacking performance last night, rusty defence. song looked out of place he suits the midfield his positioning awarness wont be punished quite as much there and silvestre looked very rusty hopefully a few more games will get him into better shape, thank god for almunia who was excellent and i think he deserves a run with the captaincy it seems to bring the best out in him. diaby was a revelation only back in the sqaud and a display like that may he carry on in the same vien of form.

  2. @ Drew – Defence was rusty but Wenger admitted it was an attacking game and it definitely worked in our favour. Would you take 1-0 or 5-2? I’d take 5-2 any day of the week.

  3. Diaby was superb. Absolutely blinding.

    I agree that Almunia deserves a run at captaincy. It brought a stunning performance out of him. He seemed to take much more responsibility than he usually does.

    For the first time this season, despite that shaky defence, I actually really liked what I saw.

  4. A great night indeed. There were problems in defence, for sure. I think that they mainly came about because we were playing a high line and looking for offsides. Stuart Robson has criticized this many times on Arsenal TV, no matter who the two central defenders are. If you are going to make it work, the back four have to be well drilled and used to playing together. The 45 minutes that Silvestre & Song have played together is not really enough and that was always going to be problematic. The difficulty is, if you want to close down the opposition in their third of the field, which is a great tactic, if you don’t play a high line in defence, the team gets strung out all over the pitch. So, I guess you can’t have it both ways.

  5. One thing i notice is that Arsenal is doing better in champion league than in premiership.lets hope this January transfer window wenger brings some players to strengthen defense and midfield

  6. It was a very entertaining game to watch. It could have gone pear shaped early on if Almunia hadn’t been in some great form. Diaby was a welcome return, Silvestre was pretty good, I think if he was paired with either Touré or Gallas he would work better, Song is just a bit young and more a defensive midfielder than a centre half. Good performance from the midfield and Adebayor….

    Eboué! Eboué! Eboué! Saviour off the line. All over it.

  7. Gr8 result for the boyz I was so suprised by the score line, I mean i knew we would win but 5-2 JUST AWESOME MADE MY DAY.
    I have only 2 points to make:
    1. Have ARSENAL become a liverpool of pervious seasons where we might not play too well in the premier ship but pull gr8 results in the CL ( I know its a bit early)
    2. What trophy would we preferr to win out of the big 3 cause I know we will win one, for me I would really love to win the Champions League for this is the only one we havent got YET.
    It would be nice to win all three (F.A CUP,PREM,CL) but i cant see it happening but I would love to see the boys prove ME WRONG.
    All in all good week so far for the gunners hopefully they carry this form into the weekend.
    Oh and last but not least Cesc had an awesome game a lot better than his effort against everton, I guess his nose must be fixed now or I think DIABY had something to do with him playing how he did.

  8. The match proved two things for me – Arsenal is a notch better with Diaby on the pitch and they need to play this attacking style in the Prem.

    I agree with everyone else, give Almunia a run at Captain and with West Ham coming up, the “Young Guns” have a chance to really put a team that is struggling out of their misery.

    Follow a CL victory with an equally impressive PL victory – GO GUNNERS!

  9. Whoever said that Diaby makes no difference to us must be eating their words, what a game from him, he deserved a goal!! He also bought out the best in Fabregas which is why I see them pairing up against west Ham and Denilson dropped ‘thank you’ to the bench. Diaby is a better player than Deni and he proved that, Ramsey scored aswell :D:D:D Would have liked a Vela goal but you just couldnt moan on a night like that, Theo can do no wrong at the moment :D:D GO GUNNERS

  10. This is the only, and first time, as far as I can remember when Diaby has played without shackles and given the free role. For any player who is good on the ball, and a creative mind they thrive in this role. I am very pleased with the headaches he is piling up on AW. It should be noted that Nasri, Diaby,Rosicky are other players who can fill that void, which means when Rosicky and Dudu gets back AW would be poping a few pain-killers now and then.

    Fabregas is a very good player, but I am continously buffled by his own fans not wanting to give him his credit. Diaby did not make Fabregas better, Cesc is just plain very good. Please give him his kudos people.

    Jay: As of the last round of the EPL, Denilson has made 72 more passes than Cesc and all at an accuracy of 86% compared to that of 82% for Cesc. which means with fewer pass attempts Cesc has missed a target at least 10 instances compared to Denilson. Why can’t you give the boy his dues???. He is the youngest most regular in the side to boot.

    By all accounts, Bischoff showed some promise last time for the reserves, and with our current crop of midfielders, including the ones to come back from injuries, I am supprised that people still want signings. If we have to sign, the question becomes who do we sell?

    When will people stop looking for any execuse to bash Denilson?!?!?

    Next thing I hear will be drop Denilson and play ramsey, or get kid from the reserve.

  11. My main gripe with the 4-5-1 last season was the fact that Adebayor and Hleb were our front 2. With one fairly inefficient and one that couldn’t shoot, it left us rather blunt upfront. The attempt to have Cesc is not ideal for the Hleb role and I was hopping we don’t use it until Rosicky is back or use Nasri there. Diaby has forced me to re-think my opinion, but the best will be if our suport strikers can adapt to the MF which means Eduardo, Vela, and RVP can drop in MF(wide) and we still maintain our cutting edge upfront.
    Adebayor has improved tremendously this season so he is no longer a factor on my gripe with 4-5-1

  12. the main question i have is theo is a striker and arsne has always said that but the lad is so good on the flank running past defenders and whipping the ball in for ade or dudu when hes back will be putting those balls away. Also I know ade thinks he’s henry but can someone pull him aside as for 100k a week you would think he could learn the offside rule as henry did have that theo pace and could always break away but none the less i’m so pleased with the performance and i’ve always said that eboue is a better rb than a rm. Also thats what cost us the title last year when sagna got injured and he was still rm annd tourre shipped in a few goals from rb against chelscum in the pl and luckypool in the cl.

  13. right…going to throw in some controversy now….Ade may score but he is clearly out there for himself…not a team player….maybe om still bitter from the summer but i want him out…Theo playing on the wing is fine…Butterfingers you are right about his crossing…but he is a striker and i cant help but feel AW is trying to create a new Henry with Walcott doing exactly the same thing of playing them out of position…..Theo would be an exceptional striker.
    Vela has had some great experience gaining his permit and is now back and needs to be played regularly otherwise he will be off and our chance missed
    Im still totally confused with the defense im not sure what i want and what will work best….i like the look of Silvestre but have always loved the way Toure plays!! And gallas may be no captain but he is a great player……Almunia should have been in goal regularly 2 seasons ago and im more than happy giving him the armband!!
    right im done

  14. My problem with Ade is the missed chances… In big games he often misses some that should be scored… There is o doubting his effort out there… As for Diaby- he had a helluva game but is he the answer to our DMF problem? He was roaming around more than sticking to a holding role… Glad to have him back but maybe we still need someone alongside Cesc

  15. It was a funny game, enjoyable and of course awesome that Arsenal took their chances in the final third however I feel that Fenerbache had their own chances and it could have been much closer.

    Defence needs to be addressed asap if we are looking to challenge now and in the future. To many half hearted attempts at marking and tackles. For professional footballers the defence and midfield has a suprising lack of vision in seeing where the opposition is looking to exploit and is where we still haven’t replaced Flamini who with his engine and tactical sense would snuff out alot of attacks in the early build up and offloading to Cesc to deliver a quick killer pass counter. Gilberto also did this similarly but without the gusto of Flamini. Denilson is a good up and coming player and I know Arsene is looking to play 2 ball playing center mids but atm in my opinion he is not a strong enough midfield option without an accompanying defence minded midfielder. Don’t mean to shoot him down because some of his performances this season have been quality but I think Fabregas and him in the same midfield is a luxury option and should not be counted on come crunch time in important games.

    Playing fantasy Wenger I would of thought playing Song defensive mid and Djourou centre back
    and bringing Denilson on later if Fabregas wasn’t firing.

    Still a win’s and win and there were many good performances across the park. Look forward to see us continue the good fight in the EPL and the CL :D!

  16. It was a fabulous attacking display by the team. Cesc, Walcott and Diaby were outstanding. Ade got a goal but was abysmal after he scored. Almunia had one of the best performance in Arsenal shirt. Our defense and midfield had a big hole. A better attacking side with a good striker could have scored many goals. I wonder how Guiza managed to get past our CB’s every single time they attacked us. Winning 5-2 is always positive but we had few deficiencies too.


    1. Diaby: Had his best game in his Arsenal career after first half against Chelsea in the carling cup final. Arsenal fans including Spanshfry used to take him as a Flamini’s replacement. I always disagreed cause he is more attack minded. He can have a solid contribution for this team playing behind strikers not in defensive midfield. Hopefully he can stay fit cause he has a scary injury record.
    2. Walcott and cesc: These two are the only two players who can be world class player one day from our squad. Consistency and injury-record will be important though.

    3. Almunia: Had a big game. Could have conceded 5/6 but saved our day. I am not a big fan of him at all but he showed some glimpses of being a good worldkeeper. Big games waiting for him though. Hopefully his form will continue.

    4.Ramsey: What a finishing? His composure, physical presence and eye for a goal is so good. He has already proved us that why Wenger was so desperate to sign this kid. Vela, Ramsey and Wilshere are new breed of an Arsenal promises.

    1. Adebayor: Yes, he scored a really good goal but had an abysmal performance and was not convincing at all. I could not find anything good he did for the team after he scored the goal early. Vela/Bentdner should have come on early to replace him.

    2. Defense/CDM: We conceded two goals but it could have been 5/6 without Almunia and Guiza’s poor composure. Striker like Villa/Torres could have scored 5 goals against that defense.

    3. Wenger’s substitute policy: This is one of his shortcoming. A manager’s job is to replace a player who is playing poorly with a better option in the bench. Wenger hardly do this. Ade should have come off for Bentdner after 60 minutes.

    Team against Westham:

    Formaton: 4-5-1

    Song should not be playing at Centerback position anymore. Djourou should come in. If Gallas is available, Gallas/Silly CB pairing and Djourou playing CDM. Djourou said earlier his best position is defensive midfield. With him we will have defensive stability, aerial power and a player who can tackle in the middle. He can be as good as Flamini if he learn to pass wisely and if he stays fit. I would try him at CDM for at least few games. My team:

    Defenders: Sagna(Eboue) Gallas(Djourou) Silly Clichy
    CDM: Djourou(Song)
    Playmaker: Cesc
    Wide: Walcott, Nasri
    CAM: Diaby
    ST: Adebayor

    If adebayor fails to impress again he should be dropped against Fenerbache at home. I don’t know what else Bentder has to prove to get a starting place in this team. If someone say Ade is undroppable that’s totally wrong. He is one of the under-performer of this season despite few goals and assists.

    P.S. As an Arsenal fan if someone is masturbating with one good performance has to understand that game was against one of the shittest defense in Europe and scoring 5 goals means nothing. The season is too long. This team has to face teams who defend whole 90 minutes, team who has solid defense and team who has good attackers. Yesterday, Fenerbahche had nothing at all. Our current team is way too far from being perfect or to challenge for titles. No matter what, this kind of games are fun to watch and give morale boosting. We have a tough November in front of us. If we can manage to come on top with some good performances then we will be right back in the title haunt.

    Come on young guns!!

  17. @TayGoon – Denilson has good games and bad games. Cesc will not be dropped and Diaby hadn’t started a game for 3 months and made that game his own. Denilson is a liability. I don’t mind him as a sub, but part of an arsenal starting XI, he isn’t good enough yet. Diaby is though!!

  18. why do we cast blames at denilson? havn’t you noticed that he had being doing all the markings in the midfield. he is just one step behind flamini. he is a better passer than flamini and diaby. the work of a CBM’er is never seen until he is out. jst like d flamini loss. diaby did not influence cesc to play better, he was infront not behind cesc.

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