Rosicky evokes memories of Pires

Tomas Rosicky opened the scoring with a very Pires-like finishArsenal 3-0 Sparta Prague Match Report

Arsenal beat Sparta Prague 3-0 in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier in a match that saw Eduardo da Silva score his first goal for his new club. Tomas Rosicky had opened the scoring in the 7th minute with a clinical finish from a Theo Walcott cross and Cesc Fabregas fired home after some superb build up by Eduardo before the Croatian rounded off the scoring. The clinical victory meant that Arsenal won the tie 5-0 and ensured their passage into the group stages of Europe’s most prestigious competition. The draw takes place later today and Arsenal will be one of the eight top seeded teams along with AC Milan, Barcelona, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United. Just looking at the format of the draw if Arsenal get lucky they could have it as easy as Benfica, Steaua Bucharest and Slavia Prague and if they don’t it could be as difficult as Valencia, Stuttgart and Rangers. Eek.

Anyway, back to the game. There were five changes to the side that took care of Manchester City on Saturday with Philippe Senderos, Theo Walcott and Eduardo returning and Abou Diaby and Justin Hoyte making their first appearances of the season. Due to Senderos’ return, Gilberto Silva formed a central midfield partnership with Diaby whilst Eduardo partnered Robin van Persie up front. There was much speculation about whether or not Arsene Wenger would use the match to rest a few key players and looking at the changes it appears that way, but in all reality this was the best team at Wenger’s disposal aside from two notable absentees in Fabregas and Alexander Hleb.

The tie was virtually over after Rosicky fired home early on with the type of finish so typical of the great Robert Pires. Walcott’s little move to create space was followed by a marvellous low ball that Rosicky dispatched with great confidence. But in a moment displaying the respect the Czech has to his old club, Rosicky refused to celebrate. The goal really killed the game off as a spectacle but still gave the likes of Diaby and Hoyte to dust off some cobwebs and attempt to build towards match fitness. I thought Diaby had a particularly useful first half, consistently finding space with neat turns and showing good awareness of his surroundings. I felt he held the ball for too long at times during the match and his passing was a little bit off, but I’m sure those flaws will be ironed out with some more game time. Gilberto and Diaby were a good midfield combination and hardly put a foot wrong defensively but in all reality, they were rarely tested by a Sparta Prague side that seemed to have already accepted the defeat.

Fresh legs ensured that Eduardo got his first goal for ArsenalFresh substitutes force late goals

Not much happened in the match until van Persie, Diaby and Walcott were replaced by Adebayor, Fabregas and Denilson respectively. Although he was one of the three who were replaced, I thought Walcott had a very encouraging game. He was a little bit hit and miss with his dribbling skills but the pace he showed was thrilling and when he did create space for himself his delivery into the strikers was consistently good. The shape of the team seemed to change to a 4-3-3 after the substitutions, and with Eduardo and the three fresh players doing most of the attacking, it wasn’t long before a second goal was scored. Eduardo, who moved to the left of the front three, collected a pass and skipped delightfully round his marker before crossing to Fabregas who smashed home after a fine first touch.

Eduardo looked more comfortable in this position on the left and it seemed to me that he really enjoyed buzzing around Adebayor, feeding off his headers and flicks. I thought he struggled to connect well with van Persie in the first half, but that may have had more to do with the tempo of the game being much lower when van Persie was on the field. Things were sewn up just a few minutes later when Adebayor combined well with Denilson before a fine cross was cleverly turned home by Eduardo. It was great to see the Croatian score his first goal for the club and you could see in the players celebrations just how happy they were for him. Three goals on the night, five goals to none in the tie and qualification to the Champions League completed with the minimum of fuss. You couldn’t ask for more, really.

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal’s comfortable win by leaving a comment.ikoni



  1. For the first time I feel like we don’t miss Pires. I thought it was a huge mistake to let Pires go before last season, and the lack of goals from midfield affirmed my suspicions, but it looks like we’re finally over that.

  2. To me Rosicky is definitely a goal scoring midfielder but he is a different player to Pires.He works harder than Pires and is a more solid midfield player,on the other hand,Pires could produce moments of pure genius.
    Anyone who cared about Arsenal and knows anything about football would tell you that if Rosicky gets a run in the team without niggling injuries which blighted his season last year then you would see a genuine goalscoring midfielder.
    Rosicky is potentially a world class player.
    If he can adapt his style during a game he will become one of the most fustrating players to face if you are a right back as he will become more unpredictable.

  3. I agree with Andrew, Pires was a great team member and when we sold him i wasn’t convinced Wenger had done a good thing. and last season Gilberto was our highest scoring midfielder with 9 goals, Sadly Fabregas, Rosicky and Hleb got little over that between them. But positive start to the season this year. So far we have scored 9 goals and 6 of them are from midfield and Fabregas is Arsenal’s top goalscorer :
    Fab – 3
    RVP – 2
    Hleb – 2
    Da Silva – 1
    Rosicky – 1
    I am confident that our midfield can fire us to Victory in a cup final ( Champo League looks a bit above us this year, then again who thought that the gunners would reach the final 2 years ago whilst knocking Madrid and Juventus out of the competition, anything can happen.)

    It also seems that when i said i wanted AW to send Ade on loan it caused quite a stir and a lot of comments were against the idea, i hope Ade can prove me wrong in the next couple of matches, and ill comment back on Ade after the next match.

  4. i felt a little worried with the way we allowed sparta space to crawl back on a few occasions. at the back senderos looked abit shaky, hope it stops right there. hoyte showed steadiness though.
    despite all the walcott ravings i still think he lacks confidence or maybe, guts to cut in more where it hurts most, instead of forcing himself to cross all the time. yes one of them connected nicely but u wont see eboue needing that kind of routine. rosicky gladly opens his accounts and he looked very at ease indeed. its really unfair for hleb not to get a few minutes to keep up with the scoring bet as u can see, fabregas’s gonna run away with it soon. eduardo? he should be up there alone, not van persie. i vote for 451 to 433.

  5. i don’t think Da Silva should be a lone striker, RVP is the striker that is always going to be on and a lone striker formation is really hard to pull of as well. Although from what i saw yesterday, Da Silva has pace and skills.

  6. Im not a fan of a lone striker at all, but if you use one, it has to be a player who holds the ball up well. This can take the lone player out of the build up, and RVP and eduardo are too crucial to the final movement for them to be stuck holding the ball up. they need to be making the runs off the lone striker. Ade is a great target man for me, as he showed again on several instances last night. Yes, the game was all but won, but he has so much quality its amazing. Bendtner can do the same, but RVP and Eduardo need to be making runs off of them.. not as the lone player…

  7. Also, the CL draw is 5pm today.. this years 2nd tier teams are as strong as I can remember.. 3rd tier looks scarily strong too. Should make for some amazing groups.

  8. in other news.. David Dein has sold his stake in Arsenal to Russian billionaire Alisher Uminov for £75m. Hmmm…

  9. This years Champo League is going to be amazing, the 1st tier is ruthlessly strong, but so is the 2nd tier with teams like Lyon, Valencia and Porto, third and fourth tier have dark horses. Not going to be an easy group stage this season.

  10. Champions Lg of this season is going to one of the toughest in past recent yrs but arsenal with players like VP,Fabregas,in think they can make it to the trophy.

  11. i think we should just be satisfied with our performance so far and find a way to keep on urging the players to put in their best, even if we are cruising 3 nil up cuz aprart from the goals i was a lil bit disappointed with our play overall with prague! i just wish the players knew how much people are backing them all over the world, people really love arsenal! they just have to be strong. da silva is my main man tho’ the guy is good!

  12. i believe Arsenal will be amazing in the UEFA CL………..Fabregas will be our key player with RVP……………Come on gunnerssss!!!!!!!!111

  13. wow- so sevilla will probably be in out group too.

    i’d imagine they will be pretty hungry for CL sucess after being in the cup for so long.

  14. i’d say out of the teams that were in the CL we got a fairly easy group, if sevilla go through then it will be hard but if Athens go through we will defo top the group. Either way we will qualify.

  15. When it’s all said and done we’ve drawn the easiest group imaginable. I think it’s good that we will probably face Sevilla though, a great test against a top, top team should give us a good indication of where our team is at.

  16. I am happy about our group and actually agree with SF if sevilla go through it will give us a good game so that we don’t hit top flight.

  17. I think it’s funny that we’ve draw two of the teams that I said were the easiest in the pool; Slavia and Steau. And if AEK got through it would be an absolute cakewalk for Arsenal. I am hoping Sevilla progress though, after the tragedy of Antonio Puerto it is the least they deserve.

  18. Im totally agree with the first comment.
    “”Rosicky is potentially a world class player.””

  19. yesh, i like sevilla as a team, and hopefully we can do something for them when they come to the emirates for the death of antonio puerta.
    it will be an emotional night.
    but with david dein getting involved in the club, can he just make a few blockbuster signings in ricardo quaresma please…
    am sure that russian can get £27m

  20. I quiet satisfy with the ECL draw.. We maybe in tricky group.. we cannot judge Steaua Bucharest and Slavia Prague as easy opponent to beat.. what we need is focus to be a group leader and qualify for round 16 and more.. and hopefully we will qualify to final again after 2006..

  21. anyone uncertain or confused on the Dein shares sale.. he sold them to a company owned by two businessmen. The group is called the Red & White group. Dein will chair the group. Basically, he has increased his wealth while still being in control on the shares he sold, thus thats my take at least.. He sold his stake in the club only to chair the group wgo bought them.. could be an interesting year off the pitch too!

  22. I’m very pleased with the draw. Surely matches in Prague should feel like League games by now. Sevilla are very good, and will be a good test.

    About the Dein/Arseski thing. I think we should just try to keep in off of this blog. Not that it’s not important, because I think Arsenal should only do what’s practical and keep the values of the club intact. But I don’t want this to turn into a bunch of xenophobic, ill-informed whinging. All the crap about “I’ll stop supporting Arsenal if these Russians take over” or “We’re just like Chelsea now.” This blog has always been focused on the team and matters on the pitch. I’d really like it if it stayed that way.

  23. I do wish DD would fuck off though, if he’s such a big Arsenal fan why does he keep poking his nose in where it’s not wanted? Wenger has built a great team spirit with all the Henry and DD bullshit going on in the background and just when you think it’s all over the orange faced twat pops his face up 30 minutes before the CL draw. What an arrogant egotistical twat.

    @ gunnershabz, if Wenger had wanted those players then he would have bought them, it’s been quite clear from day one since Wenger has been at Arsenal that he does not do business that way no matter how many fans keep asking for big money signings, if he had a £200 million war chest he wouldn’t spend it.

  24. Wengers way of transfers is to make them not buy them, in the next 5 years Gibbs may be a premiership starter all the time and we never brought him. Kolo Toure cost £150,000 now look at him, Flamini, Fab, Denilson all free transfers, this year he spent 6 mil on Sagna and 8 mil on Eduardo that is one of the only times hespends big money. he doesn’t buy big players, he makes them. even with Henry gone, he didn’t buy a world-class striker like Tevez or Robiho, he brought Eduardo instead and he will make Eduardo into a world-class striker.

  25. “But I don’t want this to turn into a bunch of xenophobic, ill-informed whinging. All the crap about “I’ll stop supporting Arsenal if these Russians take over” or “We’re just like Chelsea now.” Andrew.. discussing such a subject, on this site in particular, is exactly what stops people from becoming what you described. People on here who spout nonsense are usually corrected by any one of the many well informed reader/contributors.

  26. Diarra is now a Gunner !!!!!!!
    but where he will play??
    as right back is Sagna, Eboue and Hoyte and as defensive midfielder is Gilberto, Diaby and Denilson
    this was a good move???
    Arsene dont buy a world class striker and now he sign a player that we dont need.

  27. Diarra , im not sure about this. He can play defensive tho. He will do well on the carling cup run and i trust wenger to make him a star. But where will he play.

  28. I like this move, you must remember, Gilberto, Diaby and Denilson all have different styles. Diaby and Denilson are better when they attack, Gilberto and Flamini are better in defence, winning the ball back and going into hard tackles to get the ball back. I would rather see Flamini play along side Gilberto since he can go forward and score goals, altho he can play the holding midfield on his own. So Diarra is similar to Gilberto, so we have a replacement for Gilberto if he needs a rest or is injured or if he just isnt in good form at any part of the season. I dont want him to start over Flamini tho, i think Flamini has earned his chance to shine at Arsenal, and i hope this doesnt effect that. Also in times when we need a CB like in the Man City game, Gilberto or Diarra can fill in and the other can play in the midfield. You can never have too many good players!

  29. arsenal this is where you make your mark to catch up with the blues,don’t fall behind a goal that leads to a draw,like always.i feel this time your guys can find your rymthm and strike early and half way through the game.we are all with u!!!!!

  30. if dennis dein luv the club so much he would of though about the well being of the club,not the 75 million crap, for all i know the russian could go bankrupt and lead to the gunnars failure, i hope not, it’s in his name now ,so what i am hoping for is that he will c wenger plans for the future not chelsea plansof spending on great players,while youngsters play for the luv of the game and fans.

  31. I have a feeling Gil will be used as a CB mostly. Flamster is a fan fav, but fact is he isnt the player to hold our midfield on a permamnet basis. He is the best squad player you could ask to have.. Flamini will continue in his role as super squad player. I was originally sleptical whether we need him or not, but we are thin in CB. This allows Gil to drop back. Denilson is more simialr to Fabs than a holding midfield player, and Diaby has good eye for going forward. They arent holding midfeild players. So that leaves us with Flamster and Gil. I think AW might have known he was signing Diarra for awhile. Maybe that is why he gave the captaincy to Gallas(among other reasons) as Gil might not be on the pitch as much as Diarra would be arriving… My initial skepticism adbout the arrival of Diarra has gone as I feel we may need to usher in a new DM.

  32. trust me, lassana diarra is the new claude makelele and very suprised chelsea let him join us.

    we can play so many formations now with our midfield.

    4-3-3 will work now, lassana diarra is strong and a good tackler i was impressed with him when chelsea played him.

    he played right back, but i guess he wont be playing there, he is going to sit in front of the defence.

    flamini well, he can play everywhere as well, so we got 3 players who can play across the defence and midfield including bakary sagna

  33. GS: I too am surprised Chelski let him join us. Him and Flam will fight for the DM spot while Gil deputises in defense.. Sagna, for me, is too short to play across the back 4. LB or RB…

  34. am excited to see lassana diarra in action, i know he is going to be a great player in the midfield position, it stops fabregas having a burn out.
    diaby or denilson can play in that role

    apparently in french football they think diaby and diarra can be the petit/vieira combo for france like in 98

  35. u guys they said that diarra is to take lunbergs shirt, and that might mean he will take his position, but thats just an option and besides, hleb is sick, so am really worried 4 2moro! cuz porstmouth relli killed chelsea but were unfortunate not to score and to lose! come on gunners, u guys can do this! we need to keep our composure and score early, i heard, ac milan worn sevilla in yesterdaes super cup after taking the lead! i watched the first half which was still 1 nil to the favour of sevilla, the culd have gone 2 nil up after a love pass from kanoute but the bearer failed to hit the target. they are pity strong, but comeon u guys, this is ARSENAL!……gunner 4 life!

  36. Diarra coming to arsenal, i’m still not sure what to make of it, is it good, is it bad, i heard he is starting tomorrow, is he always going to start, is he good, Cum On U Gunners, if we win then we got 10 points wiv a game on hand.

  37. Its a good move. He’s good, or Wenger wouldnt have had interest in him. I agree with sam nix, i think Wenger has had his eye on Diarra for a while now. He will be a class player at Arsenal, i dont think he will always start tho. He can play RB so with Sagna and Eboue hurt he will fill in well at RB so Flamini doesnt have to. I say 3-0 to the Gunners tomorrow.

  38. I doubt it, i think Van Persie will terrorize Sol Campbell and the Portsmouth defence, and who ever starts along side him. They are old at the back, if Walcott starts he sould be able to kill them with pace. We just gotta win the midfield battle, which i know we can do. I would like to see Diarra start when we face Chelsea and get a goal in that game.

  39. The squad Arsenal has assembled can once again turn into 2003/4 unbeaten team……!
    Abou Diaby-Patrick Vieira
    Tomas Rosicky-Robert Pires
    Gael Clichy-Ashley Cole
    Theo Walcott-Thierry Henry
    Alexandre Hleb-Wiltord
    Robin Van Persie-Dennis Bergkamp
    William Gallas-Sol Campbell
    Gilberto-Gilberto (2003/4)
    Toure-Toure (2003/4)
    Bacary Sagna-Lauren
    Arsenal 3- Portsmouth 0

  40. Great result last night (even better considering Chelsea got beaten!). I managed to watch the entire game and am going to write up my thoughts later. In short I thought
    – the arsenal midfield played exceptionally well.
    – both flanking backs – flamini and clichy had match winning performances.
    – I still think Adebayor looked a bit unsettled, however did create some chances.
    – Diaby came on and really impressed.
    – Alumnia was as solid as a rock.

    Joshua Asante – Theo Walcott = henry? Woah, thats a bit of a long shot! Possibly in a few years.

  41. gunnershabz ye let’s also buy Ronaldinho, Kaka and Nesta while we’re at it. Good luck with that. One heck of a lot of money considering we don’t much need him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.