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Marseille 2 Arsenal 5; match report

By Tony Attwood

Of course one doesn’t like to boast, and I am well aware that quoting oneself is a sign of a thoroughly deluded mind.

But nevertheless, if I may quote from yesterday’s preview.

“I thought Koscielny played well on Sunday, and when Vermaelen returns we will have three centre backs in good form which is a novelty for recent times.”

That was me, yesterday before the game.

And indeed last night he was terrific.   So, Mr Wenger can’t find centre halves?  And yet we have in the squad, Mertesacker, Koscielny and Vermaelen with Djourou as a backup, and Miquel coming up through the reserves.  I really don’t think that is too bad.  (And you never know, Squillaci might recover the form that he had in earlier days).

(Actually I must also point out that I did suggest that Gervinho might be dropped.)

As for the 2-5 –  that was the number of shots on target – at least according to one of the stats floating around this morning.  These numbers are however always very dodgy, something that has been noticed since the BBC gave Morecambe 1 shot on target when they scored six, but such matters are of course details.

We have another full back problem, but I am told that Koscielny can play there – although quite what we do against Stoke I am not sure – maybe Djourou goes in at right back again.   Or perhaps Coquelin.

But that’s for next weekend, for the moment, let’s just watch all the negativists say “yes but it was only one match” and “yes but the ref missed a penalty call” and “we still won’t be able to cope with Stoke’s kick-the-ball-high and kick-the-player-on-the-ground approach, now bolstered by a certain Crouch”, and all the other catchy slogans that they will come up with.

Let’s give everyone 10 out of 10, and smile and think, maybe this season might turn around after all.

Because there’s just a few players who are really finding some form at the moment.  Apart from the central defenders and Van P whom everyone thinks about, what of Rosicky?  I don’t just mean this game, I am thinking of his performances in general.   He really is fighting his way back into the starting XI for each match, in my view.

Oh, and we have rather a nifty goalkeeper too – apparently Wenger couldn’t pick any of those either and was out trying to buy every keeper on the planet, but couldn’t get it together.   I wonder if any of those bids were real, or just something to lead everyone else astray while we tried to make other deals happen. After all it is what other clubs do to us all the time.  Put in a silly bid just to unsettle the squad and give the AAA something to moan about.

Anyway, my point is, even after such a horrible transfer period this summer, we seem to have emerged with a side that has actually got a few nifty players in it.    How on earth did we manage that?

17 comments to Marseille 2 Arsenal 5; match report

  • WalterBroeckx

    We still have to review it Tony so we deal with the penalty call(s) later 😉

    The Rosicky moment of the match for me was when he lost the ball in the first half just in our own half. The Marseille player had a free run at our central defence and it could turn in to a possible dangerous situation. And Rosicky after losing the ball didn’t just stop and watch. He ran after the player who dispossessed him and made a tackle from behind which the ref judged correct and took the ball back. (Still have to review that also so it could have been a foul 😉 ) But that was so telling for me and gave an indication on the fight that is in the team.
    At times we slowly are seeing back the Little Mozart we have seen play at Dortmund and for his country and the one we knew before his injury. And you know what: I didn’t realized until yesterday that he not only is a fine ball player but that he also is one that will fight if needed.

  • Solomon

    Tony what a game. We are seeing the come back of the Rosicky that we bought from Dortmund. I think Santos also did very well yesterday. Yes a had a nervy start but as the game progresses the Santos that they told us that enjoy going forward but not good at defending turned out to be a good defender and in my opinion played just like Ashley when he was our left full back. I think Djourou should just man the right full back and let Koscieny remain in the position that he has be playing. The guy has really impressed me this season. For now he’s the heart of our defence with all those timely inteceptions etc. The match against Stoke will be a continued revelation of our progress. We will overcome them irrespective of what they do to us on the field of play.

  • Amr

    The Pepe Reina & Mark Schwarzer deals were real…. #justsayin’
    The thing is though…which ever way you put it…we had a stronger team when Cesc and Nasri were in the side…and as it stands now, yes we can turn around the season & definitely finish in a champs league spot at the minimum, but realistically we don’t stand a snowballs chance in hell of winning the league title…which should be what EVERY supporter wants for Arsenal.

    I thought the team were excellent yesterday, hats off to Koscielny and Mert. in particular! Both have the attitude and ability to become Icons and or Legends for us in the future.

    …It was fun singing 1-NIL to the Arsenal at my television last night, brought back memories of yesteryear:)

  • nicky

    Although we were a yard slower than Marseille throughout, we lost possession too easily and our crosses were abysmal, there were clear signs of increased gelling (if there’s such a word) by the new boys, and in turn a tad more confidence, particularly in defence.
    Our Summer of Discontent is now behind us and the future is beginning to look brighter. The only dark side stems from our lengthening injury list.

  • Shard

    A largely unremarkable match, but that makes the victory even sweeter for me. I thought we deserved it in the end, simply because Marseille were being too defensive, and conceding the midfield, wanting to only play on the counter (like Wenger had said) and not managing even that. Which in part was down to how our full backs got forward to support the attack, and how Arteta, Song and Rosicky covered the wide areas when our attacks broke down and the fullbacks were caught upfield.

    The signs of the real Arsenal slowly coming back were there in the Sunderland game. The team seems to be bedding in now. Stoke will be a big test, not the least because the decisions never seem to go for us in the league, and Stoke seem to be the darlings of the refs for some reason. It’s almost like they WANT English football to regress 🙂

    Oh and about Jenkinson. At least he was walking unassisted after the game. You can see him walk past the camera during Arteta’s post-match interview.

  • Pat

    Good morning everyone!

    Yes, Rosicky’s comeback is a big positive, here’s to him getting back to his best!

    On that note, what a good thing to have a side with so few automatic starters! What I mean is – compared to last season’s team which had, by default, Szczesny Clichy Sagna Vermaelen Cesc Nasri Robin & Wilshere as automatics (thats 8 out of 11), compared to only Szczesny, Sagna & Robin (entirely my opinion), only 3 out of 11! Feels good, must be great everyone having some competition finally!

  • Prasanna Veeraraghavan

    I still remember what I got to read about Jenkinson at the start of the season. Carl Jenkinson, the one who is not fit for the top blah blah. Am still reading about Koscielny not fit for the top. Ah I used to read Rosicky is woeful. Now the talk is about Mertesacker. I remember listening to a comment in the telecast like Mertesacker is not yet for the league. Wenger should spend and should buy big names :O and splash the cash blah blah. Its simple, the names change but the comments remain the same everywhere but yesterday’s victory should have atleast shut some people’s mouths.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    We wanted to see an Arsenal that can “win ugly” sometimes. It seems we the team rebuilding effort is starting from that point: Lesson 1: Stop conceding “cheap” goals; especially from corners;
    Lesson 2: learn to win ugly;
    Lesson 3: learn get some goals free kicks and corner kicks too.
    Lesson 4: learn to play the full range of Wengerball.
    Good progress on lessons 1&2.

  • Per Falborg

    Perhaps a bit off-topic, and not commenting exactly on Tony’s match report, but anyway:
    Being a Danish Gooner I don’t understand the enormous amount of credit Theo Walcott always seems to be given by British bloggers and journalists.
    Is it just because he is – British?
    To me he didn’t have a “decent” or “reasonable” game in Marseille as some people suggest in their match reports. He was absolutely awful.
    Terrible first touch, no technique, no physique, can’t turn with the ball, no vision – he passes the ball too early or too late or with no precision at all.
    Add to that: No passion, poor finishing and no defensive skills.
    And worst of all: This seems to be his level this season.
    I would choose AOC over Theo as often as possible. He appears to be a much more complete footballer.
    But for some reason Wenger sticks to Theo in his starting line-up (apparently because he thinks AOC is still too young and immature and shouldn’t be rushed into the first team which is strange because exactly the same could be said about Jenkinson who is still very far from PL- and CL-level).
    And sticking to Theo causes problems for the team and makes his teammates – especially the fullback – look silly because he never gets any real support from Theo.
    Don’t get me wrong: I love Theo’s speed, and I love(d) to see him make his fantastic runs behind the defence.
    But speed isn’t enough – especially now that we have no Cesc to pick out Theo with his vision and his perfect passes.
    We can’t afford the luxury of having a player on the pitch whose only contribution is waiting for the pass that never comes.
    With Theo on the pitch we’re playing 10 against 11, whenever the opposition is on the ball. Make that 9 against 11 when Arshavin – another non-defending winger – is also in the starting formation.
    Of course our defense looks shaky at times. But much of the shakiness is a result of things happening (or not happening) further up the pitch.

  • Prasanna Veeraraghavan: Don’t forget that Song was not fit to wear the shirt following an early performance at Fulham.

  • Alex

    We deserve a win and got the three points.Deservedly in my opinion. As Marseile being at home they where to afraid to attack us.

    I do notice some just some improvement from Rosiky,It is not on arsenal midfield to just pass the ball left and right on one touch.Hence i saw something that was missing specially from Rosicky on this match.More of that please please ARTETA as this is Arsenal not Everton or the likes.Yes it is a new team and needs time to gel quickly and at this level there are no excuses.

  • Domhuaille

    Per….Walcott leaves one with the impression that he is too lightweight for the EPL and he is terribly inconsistent, having a hot game one week and lately floating around not doing much the next, but you’re too harsh on him as he is capable of much more.
    AOC is definitely the real thing but AW is worried that, by pressuring him to play at the EPL level, he could burn him out. I disagree but LeProf knows best. Wenger had to play Jenkinson with Gibbs and Sagna out so it wasn’t a matter of choice but necessity.
    Arshavin is a 45-60 minute player at most and is now an impact substitute so we won’t see too much of him at the start of the game. He, like Walcott, is a roller-coaster player, having a blinder one week and a stinker the next.
    I have seen the last 5 AFC games and contrary to what you say, our back 4 and defensive midfielders have been excellent for 99% of the time. What seems to make the difference is Szcesnys great goalkeeping. While he makes some serious positional errors (on free-kicks and coming out of his goal area too quickly) he is giving the back 4 far more confidence.
    Once the Verminator and Diaby return, we will be far stronger in all defensive positions.

  • @Per Falborg,
    I see where you’re coming from but having seen what Theo can do defensively, coupled to his threat if someone can thread the ball to him at speed, I can see where Wenger is coming from. Theo and Sagna, when operating in tandem can sew up our right flank quite tidily when Theo presses the ball carrier and Sagna takes the first passing option. There is no player in world football who can get away from Theo whilst trying to dribble, they either have to try to hold him off (and he’s quite happy to get carded it would seem) or pass, in which case Sagna is usually on hand to mop up.

  • Sharky

    I’ll take a result and a perormance like that every week as long as it wins us a trophy. It wasn’t pretty football, in fact it was the most boring game of football I have seen in a long time. The thing is, what has slick wonderful wengerball won us in the last 6 years, I rest my case.

  • Paul the Gooner

    A great result.That did shut a few people up.I did think Martin O”Neill was very fair during his commentary.As he said,a win is a win, 3pts.I have to say Jenkinson has proved many wrong inccluding me.I do think he will become a England International.Pace,energy,strong not bad for 1million.
    Keep the faith!

  • Really heartening to see the applause given to Rosicky. Technically one of the best players. His form was awful last season, but really good to see him back. I hope he gets a decent run of games.

    let him score a few goals, and he is right back in the mix.