Given how early last season lost its meaning for us, this was a season which Arsenal fans would have been very eager to see kicked off. Surely, this year things would fall into place? But the picture has looked far from rosy. The transfer story so far has hardly made us look any stronger – if anything, we seem to have taken one step forward and two steps back. We need to get past Celtic to qualify for the Champions League group stages. And, our season’s first game was away to Everton. Not quite a recipe for confidence.
As the match got underway, things were beginning to look increasingly gloomy over the first 15 minutes. Everton were dominating the match, with our attacking triumvurate of Arshavin-RvP-Bendtner not getting much of a chance to confure up chances. The only good sign was our solidity in defense. Vermaelen was looking well settled and cleaned up just about everything that came his way. A solid backline will only sharpen the attacking prowess of a team like Arsenal, and the much awaited moment of magic came before the half-hour mark.
Bendtner, received a long ball, shrugging off Leighton Baines, who had no chance to match his physical prowess, and soon, Nick outdid his marker for agility as well. Tricking his way into space, he fed the ball to Captain Fabregas. With a typical touch of killer simplicity, Cesc moved it on to Denilson. The Brazilian may still appear to be the weak link in our midfield, but he has never been afraid of shooting. Today, he proved that once again with a clean strike which swerved into the goal with unstopabble accuracy. 1-0 to the Arsenal!
We had a terrible habit of conceding minutes after scoring last season, and old ways nearly came to haunt us again. An Everton corner was met by Fellaini, who managed to avoid damping the ball too much with his Ronald McDonald hair style, and fired a bullet header at goal. Denilson was in no mood to see his goal canceled, and cleared the ball off the line, much to every Gooner’s relief.
The set piece appeared to give Arsenal players a few ideas though. By the time the half time whistle was blown, Arsenal capitalized on a couple of set pieces to head in two priceless goals. RvP found a flying Vermaelen, while Cesc partnered with Gallas to make it 3-0. Having both center backs score in a match is certainly the kind of thing that bodes well for the season to come.
Arsenal had far from finished in the second half though. Not long after the restart, Cesc added his name to the scoresheet, profitting from a slick counter-attack involving Arshavin, Denilson and RvP that brought back memories of the glory days. Everton looked devastated after this and bereft of ideas. Arsenal controlled the game neatly – it was a delight to see the crisp passing that makes us such a force to reckon with. Fellaini tried his luck again from range, but Almunia calmly collected the ball and flung it out to Cesc, who charge forward and struck a wonderful shot into the bottom corner to make the score 5-0.
It was a crazy scoreline, given the nature of the match, but it didn’t end there. Arshavin tried to score a cheeky one by toe poking the ball past Tim Howard only to see it come off the post. But Everton were not to be saved further embarrassment, thanks to the presence of our fox in the box Dudu. He is back from injury, and back in the list of Premier League scorers.
6-0 would have been a great score to start the campaign, but we have to be satisfied with 6-1 due to a late strike from Saha, following some good work from the impressive Piennar.
The match would have certainly given us more cause for optimism. Vermaelen looks fantastic. Song does an awesome job as DM. And the new three-pronged attack combination looks like it will get us goals. Bendtner was full of toil, RvP was slick as ever but Arshavin was a bit subdued. If all three are on song, they could well be irresistible. All in all, the squad looks good, though questions of depth and consistency remain. Some strengthening will surely happen before the window closes, but nothing major needs to be fixed.
So you have it my fellow Gooner’s, 6-1 to the Arsenal is how this season begins. Things have begun with a bang, and on today’s evidence, the pieces are in place for a successful assault on all silverware. C’mon you Gunners!
By rvtheace from the goonersworld forums click to visit