Having had to get to work at sparrows’ hours this morning, I never got a chance to check on the score until a good five hours after the game concluded. It’s funny how your mind plays games and plans for the worst.
It was hardly that, though. A 3-0 win comfortably sees us through to the Champions League group stage, with Sparta nothing more than a silly memory. Rosicky opened the scoring on 8 minutes, effectively ending the tie. His very muted celebration – extremely apologetic, even – showed what kind of weight and sentiment he still holds for Sparta Prague. They used to be a great side as little as 5-8 years ago, and it’s a real shame they have that thug Repka to spoil it all for them, now. Kind of like Ajax playing with Robbie Savage, in a way. Rosicky’s finish was typical of the skill we all know he has, and just wish he’d finish like that more often – a first time sidefooted shot past the goalkeeper’s right, after a darting, dangerous dribble from Theo saw a cross cut up the Sparta defence to find Tomas.
After the goal, the team visibly eased up, with van Persie spurning a half chance, and Sparta getting past the defence once or twice. The result was never in any real doubt after the opener, and once Fabregas came on late in the second half, the pace of Arsenal’s play picked up.
The second goal involved some clever passing-to-self from Eduardo, though I question if that little dink of his down the left flank could be done against sterner opposition. Nevertheless, it was clever, Eduardo following the wingplay up with a cut back pass to Fabregas, whose finish was also rather sublime – pray to whatever deity you choose, but pray that this is a marvelous sign of things to come for the team. Finishing for the night was generally very good, and the result is giving the season some really good momentum, now. Come the 89th minute, the goal we’ve all been waiting for (thankfully, not too long neither), when Denilson’s cross from the right saw a stretching Eduardo nudge the ball in with his raised leg. Falling to the floor in relief, it wasn’t bad enough that his teammates saw fit to induce a rather carnal display on the new boy, but once they were all out of their pile, Eduardo decided to ‘go for seconds’ on Adebayor…very arousing, I’m sure. Hey, Freddie Mercury was a strange fellow, but brilliant. Let’s not get such frivolities in our way, now.
Later, Wenger was full of praise for the team, but particularly Theo Walcott, who had a blinder of a first half, reportedly. In short, Wenger went on about developing Walcott’s technique in the wide channels, which will be the same techniques he’ll need for when he begins to play centrally. The whole of what he said can be found here.
That, I’m afraid, is all there is time for today. A solid win, and one that gets us all on a bit of an ante, now. Long may it continue.