- Written by Scott Richardson
Arsenal make it through to the fourth round of the Carling Cup after a hard fought win over a strong Shrewsbury Town that at times gave us a run for our money. At half time I tried summing up our performance so far and I truly struggled to come up with a list of positives that could balance out this match report to prevent it from becoming a negative affair and a trend on how our season has started so far. However, the Arsenal came out fighting in the second half and gave us plenty to go home happy about.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
As expected a host of changes were made to the Arsenal starting eleven, which looked to line up as 4-4-2.
Fabianski, Jenkinson Djourou Miquel Gibbs, Chamberlain Coquelin Frimpong Benayoun, Park Chamakh
- Written by Shane Thomas
A woeful second-half performance resulted in Arsenal's third defeat of the Premier League season. After leading 2-1 at half-time, the defensive frailties that cost the club so dear at the business end of last season came back to hurt them again at Ewood Park.
Dominant early possession led to a fine goal from Gervinho - his first for the club, but the warning signs were sounded as Chris Samba missed two headed chances from set-pieces. Added to this, the back four still look as if they are defending as individuals rather than as a unit. They were caught completely square as Yakubu marked his debut appearance for the club by equalising.
Just as Blackburn begun to get a foothold in the match, a wonderful move from Song, Ramsey and Arteta led to a super goal for the Spaniard. The midfield three were working in tandem impressively, especially Song who played a major part in Gervinho's goal as well as Arteta's. As well as providing a roadblock for Blackburn's attacks, his passing was unusually incisive, with a lot of Arsenal's best attacks coming through him. They were also getting a lot of joy down Blackburn's right-hand side, with Bacary Sagna building a concatenative relationship with Gervinho - Gael Givet had a thankless task as he was often outnumbered, with David Hoilett looking disinterested in doing any defending.
- Written by Shane Thomas
A moment of late inspiration from Ivan Perisic grabbed a late - and deserved - point for Borussia Dortmund in a raucous Westfalenstadion. While a late equaliser won't be easy to swallow, the primary emotion will surely be relief, as a draw was the least that the German Champions deserved.
Dortmund showed exactly why their stormed the Bundesliga last season, imposing their high-tempo, one-touch game on Arsenal. For neutrals, the interplay between Mario Gotze and Shinji Kagawa was a joy to behold. After Mats Hummels made an excellent challenge to deny Gervinho, Dortmund missed two great openings, with first Kagawa, and then Kevin Grosskreutz firing over the bar.
More sumptuous play from Gotze put his centre-forward Robert Lewandowski in the clear. With the Arsenal back-line caught square, the Pole rounded Wojech Szczesny, only to be denied by a goalline clearance by Bacary Sagna.
As well as their slick passing, Arsenal struggled to find an answer to Dortmund high pressing. Similar to Barcelona, the Germans pressured the ball from the front, often hunting in packs. When Arsenal tried to use Gervinho and Theo Walcott to ease the pressure, the wide-men often had to beat three men just to find space. They failed to retain possession, and defended too high up the pitch, making it easier for Dortmund to play through them.
But completely against the run of play, Arsenal grabbed the lead as half-time approached. Robin Van Persie dispossessed the dozing Sebastian Kehl, and latched onto Theo Walcott's well-timed through ball. The captain missed an earlier chance when shooting too early, but didn't repeat that mistake, waiting for keeper Roman Weidenfeller to commit himself, before bending the ball into the net, and sending his side into a 1-0 lead at the break.
- Written by John Charalambous
As Arsenal prepared to meet Swansea on Saturday, there was much excitement in anticipation of seeing a quintet of new players make their bow for the Club. Gunners’ fans were treated to an unheard of end to TDD (that’s Transfer Deadline Day, in case Jim White didn’t bellow it loud enough the first 700 times). Wenger signed 5 players in the wake of the 8-2 mauling at Old Trafford and the reasons for this are debatable. Two of those signings started the match, with German International Per Mertesacker starting in central defence after the unfortunate injury to Thomas Vermaelen, ruling him out for around 2 months. In midfield, Mikel Arteta donned the famous red and white for the first time – an experienced Premier League player with almost the perfect characteristics to play at Wengers Arsenal. Other new signings Park, Benayoun and Andre Santos were named as substitutes, £15m Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain failed to make the squad and there were further injuries/suspensions for Wilshere, Song, Jenkinson and Gervinho.
- Written by Jimmy Gossard
After building much needed momentum on Wednesday night in Italy, Arsenal headed to Old Trafford hoping to turn around their domestic season. Missing key squad members through suspension and injury, the Gunners youth would be on display. Could Arsenal pull off a shock result at the Theatre of Dreams?
It was a shock result, but not the one the Gunners had hoped for. Arsenal suffered an embarrassing loss at Old Trafford, conceding eight goals to champions Manchester United. It was the worst loss by Arsenal under Arsene Wenger.
The last time the Gunners surrendered that many goals it was 1896 and Queen Victoria sat on the throne of England.
Poor Defending Puts the Gunners Behind
Manchester United’s first goal came from comical Arsenal defending in front of the goal. Comical in an “I’m laughing because this is painful” kind of way. Unfathomably, a United chip into the box was allowed to bounce as two Arsenal defenders watched, leaving Wojciech Szczesny in no man’s land. United’s Danny Welbeck had an easy header for the game’s opening goal. The extremely frustrating part is that play came right through the middle of the Arsenal defense.
From there Theo Walcott drew a penalty, and things started to look up for Arsenal. However, Captain Robin Van Persie had his attempt saved by United’s young keeper, and all the momentum was back with United.
Goal number two, though a brilliant shot from Ashley Young, came about as the defense did not close him down properly. You simply cannot give players of United’s quality an inch and not expect them to take advantage of it. The same can be said of the third goal. After a poorly taken foul just outside the box by Arsenal, Wayne Rooney stepped up for the free kick and made it 3-0. Arsenal cannot afford to give away cheap fouls in such a dangerous section of the field against any opponent, but especially not against the champions.
The last real event of the first half was the Walcott goal, a gift from De Gea, as it passed through him as if he were a hologram. It was Arsenal’s first league goal of the season.
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