For one day, we can take a break from all of the negative press surrounding Arsenal (and Arsène) and celebrate a well-deserved victory over Udinese Calcio at the Stadio Friuli. While $amir Nasri was slagging Arsenal fans for being “good but not that passionate”, the Gunners did not seem to miss his presence on the football pitch. Gervinho is getting used to his new teammates in a hurry, and he did all the work to set up a gift ball for Robin van Persie at the 55th minute, thus achieving the precious away goal. Szczesny was man-of-the-match for me, going all-out to stop Antonio di Natale’s penalty kick, thereby preserving the 1-1 score. Explosive Walcott blew by a Udinese defender and sealed the deal at the 69th minute.
So tonight, Wenger & board can relax a bit, knowing that we made it to the Champions League group $tage. But tomorrow, all the media, former players, fairweather fans, and Man Utd trolls posing as Arsenal fans, will be back in full force, calling for Wenger to buy some big-name stars or else resign.
To be honest, I don’t think we’re that far off. We definitely need another midfielder (we can’t afford Wesley Sneijder’s wages, but Eden Hazard would be a good fit), and two defenders (one centre back and one at the left). “Nice-to-have” would be another central forward, as cover for RvP. Marouane Chamakh has been disappointing so far, and we can’t afford to wait too long to see if he’ll rediscover his form of 2010. Losing Cesc was a huge blow to the collective psyche, so even though we have quality midfielders (Wilshere, Ramsey), Wenger will never hear the end of it until he signs a “star” player. Emmanuel Frimpong is starting to grow on me. Not even 20 years old, he could become the next Patrick Vieira, with his aggressive but (mostly) legal tackling. Carl Jenkinson held his own tonight, but he really should be Sagna’s backup on the right side.
Thank you Cesc, for 8 glorious years of service. I don’t blame you for asking for a transfer to Barca. Heck, I visited your city for only 10 days and even I would accept a job transfer in a heartbeat. If you win the Champions League trophy (and La Liga), I will be happy for you. But I still think your club behaved inappropriately during the whole transfer saga, and should have been punished.
If I had to root for a club in Serie A, it would be Udinese. They play an all-out attacking style of football, and they run like wild dogs. Udinese Captain Di Natale was a beast tonight, and we were lucky the score wasn’t 0-2 at the end of the first half. Too bad they look like NHL referees.
A massive game coming up on Sunday, at Old Trafford. Tonight’s match could provide some false hope, but Udinese finished fourth in Serie A last year. They could hardly compare to Man Utd. Let’s get at least one point on Sunday. Come on you Gunners!