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bendtner_1

As expected Arsene rang in the changes. Only Theo Walcott, Philippe Senderos and Eduardo Da Silva remained in the side after the weekends 5-0 demolition of Derby County.

The Carling Cup has been Arsene's testing ground for fringe and young players. And the likes of Song, Traore and Fabianski were looking to impress because they know that getting Premier League matches will not be easy.

Newcastle made a few changes because they played 24 hours earlier, something that fat Sam was moaning about during the pre game build up. But they had many first team players such as Given, Taylor, Smith, Faye and Martins. So it would be hard even for Allardyce to come up with any excuses.

I had a lovely view of the pitch and was looking forward to watching the likes of Diarra, Bendtner, Eduardo and Walcott on the left. All players had something to prove.

The game started quite well. Both sides were involved early on and enjoyed some possession on the ball. I was wondering what the rhythm and quality would be like without the likes of Cesc, Rosicky, Hleb etc and I liked what I saw.

It is quite clear that Arsene has every team throughout the club playing the same way. From the under 16's to the first team. Everybody has to pass and move.

Newcastle had the first clear chance of the match from a Jose Enrique left wing cross to Martins who directed a header at goal but great reflexes from young Polish stopper Lukasz Fabianski stopped our side going behind for the first time since Gareth Bales goal at Shite Hart Lane.

Shortly afterwards Eboue sent a right foot cross from inside the area over Shay Given's head who was caught out of position but the ball dropped behind the post and Eduardo could only hit the ball on the stretch into the side netting.
Is it a coincidence that we have started crossing the ball far more often since Thierry Henry has left the club? We have already scored a number of goals from crosses so far and it continues.

Diarra making his first start in the holding role for the team was the star of the show in my eyes. He has a wonderful low center of gravity, very strong and has wonderful technique. He seems to have a wonderful knack of rolling opposition players with his strength and finding the correct pass. This display showed me that the future for Arsenal will be Diarra and Cesc in midfield. It is only a matter of time. 2 Million?? What a bargain!

Obefemi Martins had a snap shot high over the bar when he should have done better. He has alot of power and pace but does seem to lack composure at times.

Eduardo had a chance to get his name on the scoresheet when he raced through on goal after some wonderful approach work between Eboue and Diarra but the Croazilan International over ran the ball and Given blocked with his feet at the edge of his penalty area.
Sometimes I feel that Eduardo just lacks that extra pace that turns a player from quick to fast. He has had many of those moments in an Arsenal shirt already where he just doesn't quite get there.

Eboue hit a fizzer from outside the box which Given turned away.

Theo Walcott also struck from outside the box following good work from Bendtner on the left side of the area but he blazed over the bar.
Theo Walcott had another of those hit and miss matches. Walcott had a wonderful chance where he was played through on goal but for some reason he came back on himself and didn't have a shot. Perhaps it is confidence, maybe inexperience but what we do know is that Theo Walcott is not quite ready yet. He is like sports car with three wheels. He can look great but it just isn't working. I am hoping that Arsene can develop that fourth wheel.
With Eboue back from injury, Theo started on the left where I think he is actually a better player. He has more passing options from that position and can move into his natural striking position easier. I think he could turn into another Marc Overmars if he played regularly in that position.

Eboue had another snap shot saved early in the second half after more good work from Bendtner. Unlike Walcott, Bendtner is a player full of self confidence and had a very good game last night. He has quick feet, very strong and holds the ball up well. Wenger says that he needs to incorporate something in his game that he doesn't already have. Arsene will never say publicly what this is and I have no idea what this could be. Workrate? Awareness? Skill? I saw it all last night to be honest.

We started to turn the screw during the second half and chances were coming thick and fast. Eboue's run with the ball fell to Walcott who was on the right hand side of the box his stinging shot was parried once again by Given who was playing well as he does on his trips to Arsenal.

Senderos had a header cleared off the line by one time target Charles N'Zogbia

Theo Walcott had a run on the left wing and his left foot cross actually headed toward Shay Given's goal but the Irishman turned it over the bar.

Diaby came on for Eboue who is probably being rested for the weekend and slotted back on the left wing with Theo moving back to his usual right wing spot.

It was Diaby's footwork which began the move for the first goal in the 83rd minute. He touched it to Eduardo who saw Traore overlapping on the left. Traore swung in a wonderful cross to Bendtner who leapt above everyone to power home a John Hartson type bullet header past Given! 1-0, cue mass celebrations. Bendtner's first Arsenal goal.

Martins had a great opportunity to level immediately when he was put clean through, he rounded Fabianski but his finish was weak and far to causal, Senderos powered back to slide the ball off the line. A match winning piece of work from Senderos.

The wonderful Diarra won the ball back from Martins and started the move for our next attack and Denilson found Diaby who side stepped a couple of challenges inside the left hand side of the box and rolled it back to Denilson who was lurking outside the box who wanted to be included into goal of the month which will surely be mostly Arsenal goals. His right foot shot arrowed into the top corner of the net and ferocious pace. 2-0 game done and dusted.

It is also a coincidence that we are shooting from long range alot more since Henry has left. Many times Thierry would throw his arms up in the air in disgust if one of his little team mates would have a go. But now we are seeing the benefits. Cesc, Diaby, Denilson, Adebayor have all struck from distance this season.

In injury time Bendtner showed great feet to get away from two Newcastle players and fed Diaby inside the box. He tried to lift it over Given but the keeper blocked. Bendtner obviously has been watching Thierry Henry closely screamed at Diaby and threw his arms up as he wanted the ball rolled back to him. The whistle went straight after that chance and the two players hugged.

This shows the depth of quality that we have under Arsene. Who can go on and get better.

A quick word on Alex Song. I thought he had a fantastic match and I am quite ready to dish out a big plate of humble pie if he can continue doing that. He played alongside Senderos at the back and was a rock. Arsene sees that as his position and I have to agree on that display. His distribution isn't the best and that is why I think midfield does not suit him but he is strong and good in the air. He managed to nick his foot infront of the Newcastle strikers on more than one occasion. God, when I start praising Song you know things are very rosy at Arsenal.

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more