How does Wenger keep doing it? No, I’m not referring to the extraordinarily good start to the season, nor am I referring expressly to another ‘giant killing’. I refer to the line of youngsters that he keeps on producing in such a Fordist way, it’s as exciting as it is scary.
So Arsenal overcome Newcastle in a 2-0 win to advance to the fourth round of the Carling Cup. A bullet-header from Niklas Bendtner and a scorching 25-yard drive in the final minute from Denilson sealed a match where the Arsenal ‘youngsters’ dominated Newcastle in large spells, but it was not without a fair bit of heroics neither.
It seems no-one can make up their mind about Senderos’ form. At times, he’s worryingly short of confidence and doesn’t emit much of an assured aura in matches. I still cling onto the brilliance he showed in 04/05 and 05/06 – the old ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire’, but ‘Ponderous’ is too annoying a nickname to shake away. Phillipe let in several chances for Newcastle early on in the game before Arsenal grabbed the ascendency – but he then balances it all out with a brilliant goalline clearance straight after Bendtner’s goal. Obafemi Martins went completely around Fabianski (who had a good debut), but Senderos arrived to dramatically maintain the 1-0 advantage.
Senderos also escaped a penalty incident when Martins bungled over him – he’s a character events happen around, certainly. Once they got settled, the football produced by the young team was exciting, if slightly unsure at times. Bendtner and Eduardo didn’t exactly hit it off, though they started to form the remnants of an understanding later on into the game, hitting one-twos resulting in a scuffed volley from Eduardo.
It’s tempting to use the phrase ‘first to last’, here – but the team dominated this Newcastle team quite comprehensively, bar some expected hiccups. Eduardo had a shot cleared off the line, and Eboue a shot blocked as well as being denied by a last ditch Taylor-tackle. It was good to see the Ivorian back; Eboue, Fabianski, Senderos and Song all had good games (I really can say that as matter-of-factly as I like).
It’s good to see Bendtner get some vindication at last. And what’s to say about Denilson’s goal? More of the same, you rip-roaring kid. I’m asserting he goes by the name ‘The Real Denilson’ – as Real a Denilson as a certain Manc is a fake.
Awaiting the draw very confidently, now – Chelsea would be a fantastic draw at this moment in time. I do have a ‘pull-your-hair-out-of-scalp’ streak, though.
In other news, Gilberto’s concerned about his place in the team, especially considering he’s on the wrong side of 30. He’s quoted as saying:
“I’m not sure whether I will resign when my contract runs out in 18 months. I know there has been interest from Valencia and Juventus. We will see but I still have an ambition to win the Champions League.“
And to be sure, playing him in central defence isn’t to anyone’s liking. The return of Gallas (crosses fingers) will see to that being sorted out, but amazingly enough, Gilberto would be kept out of the side by Matthieu Flamini. Who’d have thought? The midfield terrier is having a storming season thus far, and if his competition (I’ve loved Gilberto far too much to ever envisage him as ‘competition’, more like ‘mainstay’) is Gilberto, then the team is rather healthy. It’s a development to watch out for.
On the side, Thierry reckons we have the right stuff to challenge for the title. It’s a bit of a circus over in Barcelona, which is good, because I’ve never ever liked that club. The animosity (instigated by Myles, I presume?) towards Thierry these days is definitely unfounded by some quarters of Arsenal fans – ironically, I think the media have actually got it right when it comes down to highlighting Wenger’s ‘huge gamble’ in letting Henry go. And that’s exactly it, it was Wenger who had the big red button of ‘Sell Thierry’ in the end, not Henry. He gave us season upon season of glorious football, and should only ever be remembered for that. That and his hilarious ‘frenchness’.
Cesc may be ‘liberated’ by his departure (and how!), but Henry should not be made into some kind of bogey-man. We’re doing too well to care.
Rest well in the meantime. And enjoy the new graphics that are patching themselves onto the site, slowly but surely.