Our resident season ticket holder at the Emirates (South Stand: Row 5) was with the away supporters at the Lane! Here are his “hands on” impressions about the game (which do not necessarily match those of the earlier blog on this fixture)!
“Late Friday evening I got a call from a friend asking if I wanted a ticket for the game on Saturday lunchtime. I almost jumped inside the phone and snapped his hand off!
Firstly, I have to say I don’t completely agree with what was posted on this blog regarding some aspects of the game. For a start the formation employed on Saturday was 4 4 1 1 with Freddie playing just behind Ade and not a traditional 4 4 2.
I do agree however that for the personnel available now, 4 5 1 is probably our best formation; but it’s not a formation that we can adopt when Fabregas is not on the pitch. Cesk is literary the engine of the Arsenal machine and dictates the tempo of the game extremely well. He has a calming influence on all the other players and makes every single player on that team look better than they actually are. The sign of a great player. Also, Rosicky got injured; it was not a planned substitution.
I have a bone to pick with everyone now, regarding Hleb.
I generally agree with the criticism he got over the last few games and I also agree that in the first half he was very poor. This, coupled with the fact that Eboue was more worried about Lennon than going forward, made our right side almost obsolete.
However this was rectified when Cesk began running the game and Eboue decided that Lennon was not a danger worth considering. As a result both Eboue and Hleb came much more into it, tormenting The Queen and Rocha. Especially Rocha, who had no clue how to deal with this attacking threat from the right getting himself stranded, mostly in between the two, allowing them to tear him apart.
Ade should have had a hat trick at least! The good thing however is that at last we scored from a set piece. I have been to a few away grounds over the last few years, Old Trafford, Craven Cottage, Villa Park and Stamford Bridge to name but a few. I have never heard a ground go so quiet after the Adebayor goal. It was like being back at the Highbury library!
Baptista came on mid way in the second half and was anonymous, but even with 10 players we proceeded to pass them into oblivion continuing to miss chance after chance. But when Baptista headed hopelessly wide with Robinson in no man’s land we all knew deep down that they were going to nick one!!!!! Surprisingly even after we conceded very late on our whole away section was relatively upbeat.
On the other hand the wildly excessive celebrations of the Spuds helped us realise what a really huge gulf in class still exists between the two teams!
Despite what Robbie Keane is spouting on in today’s press.”