And so blows the final whistle.
An excellent result to see us through for our first proper European outing this season. Seville were good value, dominating possession in patches in the match, but Arsenal’s experience in the competition (think of the age of the players we have, and put that together with ‘experience – frightening) that more than saw the Gunners home.
The game was live-wire entertainment for the first twenty minutes, before the action flick became a bit of a comedy – Flamini from centre of the box set it up for Fabregas, who from a distance decided to ‘ave a pop, guvnor’, which took a funny old deflection off the defender’s backside and dwindled past the despairing Palop. 1-0. and that wasn’t the most stylish of goals. Lampard himself may have even had a chuckle (*thinks: no. He would not, given the form of his intensive-history Team). Fabregas (the new Michel Platini, says Wenger) wont complain, though, and neither will we. The momentum manifested itself in another Arsenal corner – Rosicky swung it in, and Toure missed the goal, and at the time, it felt like a chance which should have had more in it.
The first half began to close out, with Jesus Navas and Adebayor exchanging missed opportunities, and the feeling was that there were goals in both teams for the second half. That feeling would have been justified for Seville fans, with the Spaniards starting to dominate as Arsenal seemed to switch off. Rosicky pulled up with a thigh-strain on the 50th minute, and was replaced by Abou Diaby. How serious the injury is, I have yet to hear, but an update may be forthcoming by tomorrow morning.
Seville continued to dominate possession, but could not gear into a mode of carving out clear chances. Before you knew it, Arsenal showed them at least how to get a shot on target, with Sagna bursting up the right wing to haul in a cross. van Persie followed the centre up to scoop it into the net for a goal against the run of play. 2-0, and for the moment, the Gunners were comfortable.
Seville, deflated slightly by going down by two, saw the possession even out of their favour, as the game started to pass its way into a foregone conclusion. Arsenal were lucky on a number of occasions, several of which were Senderos-instigated, and on one occassion Kanoute was called for offside when he was in fact level with Toure. Who’s to say he would have beaten the mighty Sun God, though? (erm, well, Berbatov might like to think so…)
By this time, I had felt like an orange juice (sipping one, that is, not being one), as the match felt pretty much over. Eduardo came on for Adebayor, who had another good game – a handful for Seville, and was one reason why we seemed to generate chances despite our lesser possession. Lassana Diarra also came on for his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt.
And to rub salt into both Seville and Diarra’s old We-Respect-Rosenborg club’s wounds, a mistake from Fazio saw the midfielder dispossessed by Alexandr Hleb, who passed into Fabregas, who side footed to Eduardo, to slot the ball in easily for 3-0 in injury time. If Eduardo can make a habit of never missing in injury time, as he has a 100% European record of (for us, at least), it could at least give a few teams some shaky knees going into the dying minutes of games to come.
And so a good result. I’m doing this blog early as I have no other time to do it (such is my dedication *smart face*), but any player and manager reactions can be read on Arsenal.com.