For Arsenal to stand any chance of beating PSV they needed a good showing at home to Reading who were having a marvelous season.
The game started a little slow but got quicker and better as the game went on. Arsene made some very interesting decisions, ones that he does not normally do. Wenger likes to keep continuity, he does not like to move players around too much. Even if the players are not playing well. But against Reading he did exactly that. With the squad we had available on the match day you may have assumed that a midfield 4 of Hleb, Cesc, Gilberto, Ljungberg would be his choice. With Senderos partnering Gallas. But Wenger decided to shift Gilberto to centre back alongside Gallas with Denilson playing as the holding midfielder alongside Cesc.
Walcott started his first game for Arsenal as a striker alongside Baptista. I thought Theo was alot more involved than he has been from the right. He has more passing options from that area, he has more areas to run into. What Theo needs is a bit of Robin Van Persie's mentality. That self belief, that little bit of arrogance that alot of top players have. That may come after a few goals and good performances.
Gael Clichy's run for the penalty was superb. Gilberto placed it well for 1-0, but Bert still makes me feel a little uneasy when he steps up.
People (including myself) seem to forget the amount of injuries our squad has suffered this season.
Manchester United have been so lucky to have a large percentage of their players available to them through this season and that experience and consistency has been key to their season.
Do you think Manchester United would be top today if they had
Larsson (Van Persie)
Further Gunners like Diaby, Rosicky and Eboue have also been out, so you see that its not been straight forward for our manager.
Baptista got on the score sheet with a combination of strength, persistence and sheer luck. He toe poked the ball past Marcus Hahnemann. I saw nothing different about his game that I haven't seen before. High workrate, getting into good positions complemented with a bad touch and sloppy passes.
Speaking of which, another up and down display by Alex Hleb. In the first half he drove forward on a few occasions and was involved in chances for Ljungberg and Cesc's miss. Hleb also slipped in Baptista who could and perhaps should have got a penalty in the second half. The flip side of Hleb is this strange trait that he seems to have. He often forgets which team he is playing for and late in the second half he gave the ball away to a Reading player just outside our penalty area. Which ended up as a Reading corner kick. Lehmann was not best pleased and told him that if he didn't get off the pitch he would use his body as an example on how to clear the ball (don't quote me on that)
Wenger took Hleb off right away and brought on Senderos in his place. His first involvement in the game was to flick the corner towards our goal to which Cesc stuck out a boot and deflected the ball into our net. Why oh why can't we do this at the right end from corners? We looked pretty desperate after that and Reading and Sidwell had to excellent chances to pull them level. One strike wide and one super save from our crazy keeper.
PSV will be our most important game of the season so far, I don't have any worries about how we will approach the game, I think we will start fast and quickly. Myles Palmer from ANR seems to think that Diaby will start on Wednesday, It would be interesting if he does it just means that our shape will suffer a little but his influence could be huge. If we can get runners from midfield going beyond the front men then I think we will win the game. I personally think that Ljungberg will play wide left with Diaby coming off the bench, but we shall see.
Lets pray from a big performance from a half fit Henry and a big influence from Mr Fabregas.