Good Start, High Benchmark Set. Now Match It Every Week.

Everton 1 – 6 Arsenal

0 – 1 Denilson (26)
0 – 2 Vermaelen (37)
0 – 3 Gallas (41)
0 – 4 Fabregas (48)
0 – 5 Fabregas (69)
0 – 6 Eduardo (88)
1 – 6 Saha (90)

Nothing like setting the bar high. A solid defensive performance, dominant midfield and livewire passing. Pretty much all that Arsene could have wished for from the opening day. And a bit more thrown in. No matter what excuses pundits and hacks might like to make for the paucity of the Everton, no matter how many times we will be told that it was an aberration, the truth of the matter is that Arsenal can only beat the opposition that is in front of them. And annihilation would be a better description.

6 – 1 flatters Everton, both in the number Arsenal scored and the Saha goal in injury time. Even before Denilson’s opener, Arsenal were on top, retaining possession well and moving with the freshness of Spring lambs. When the first came, it was a marker for the rest of the season. Bendtner worked well before feeding Fabregas. The Spaniard moved the ball square before the Brazilian set himself, rifling the shot past Howard. Everton must be wondering when the midfielders of Arsenal decided shooting from distance was a tremendous option for technically gifted players.

If the midfield scoring was not expected, the brace that followed came from equally unlikely sources. van Persie’s swirling free kick was met with power as Vermaelen rose unmarked at the far post to guide the ball across Howard. Five minutes later, Fabregas repeated the delivery from the left to find William Gallas unmarked on the six yard area, Howard left as helpless as he had been with the previous goal.

Three goals to the good and no doubt Arsene warned the players to keep it tight to weather the expected storm before taking Everton apart in the final quarter of the match. The storm duly arrived but not from Everton. van Persie set Fabregas for the fourth three minutes into the second half with a well-placed shot. Twenty minutes later, picking the ball up in his own half, the Spaniard ran half the length of the pitch before taking up the Everton invitation to shoot, in doing so he left Howard grasping at air.

The rout was completed when Eduardo poked home from close range after Arshavin’s bobbler hit the far post. Having been involved earlier in the move, the run that Eduardo made into the area in case of a rebound was pure striking instinct: follow the ball in, wait for the rebound. Nine times out of ten, it does not arrive but always be there for the one that does.

It would be easy to be carried away with the victory or be too ‘safe’ with praise. A mixture of both should pervade the Arsenal air today. An excellent performance that brought out everything that is good in their football yet it is only the first game, the start of four tough away games at teams deemed or pretending to be title rivals. The confidence gained from the performance should not be underestimated.

The first time that Wenger has used 4-3-3 in the Premier League was resoundingly successful but only because the players worked exceptionally hard for each other. Maintaining that work rate is going to be key. Vermaelen exuded an air of quiet authority in the centre with Gallas. The Belgian probably expecte more of a test and that will no doubt come but whilst he is working his way into English football, such games are highly welcomed.

In midfield, Song and Denilson worked well in tandem to support Cesc and allow him to move forward not unimpeded but certainly with relative ease. For the former duo, it is too much to expect detractors to revert their stance since it is only one match but surely a relaxing of their beliefs is necessary? Denilson put forward another strong case for regular inclusion, indicating quite how far Diaby must raise his game when he is fit. The Brazilian offered the right balance between attack and defence, as well as a good understanding with his colleagues. Song meanwhile was quietly efficient in his work, the trio providing a strong base for springing forward or recovering positions.

The forward trio worked to close from the front, Bendtner in particular on the right was excellent in that respect. Crucial to all of this is the ball retention. Some stray passes are to be expected but the accuracy of the team was of the highest order yesterday. Arshavin and van Persie worked hard to put pressure on the defence and link with supporting players when attacking. It was a mouth watering taster of what may come for the rest of this campaign.

With that in place, the counter-attacking masterclass was handed out. It allowed Wenger to rotate the squad with Celtic in mind without detriment to the result. Three points were gained with goals from midfield and defence. When that happens early in a season, confidence builds as the momentum grows. A solid base to start from which leaves a very satisfying few days before the next match.

’til Tomorrow.

331 thoughts on “Good Start, High Benchmark Set. Now Match It Every Week.

  1. Poliziano says:

    Denilson was a tough competitor last season. If he looks different to some spectators now, perhaps it is because the veil of prejudice has been lifted from their eyes over the summer.

  2. James says:

    You know what I never thought about the effect of Gerrards court case but he’s going to get roasted at every ground he plays, and if he’s not 100% then Liverpool are in trouble with a capital T. Not such good news for England though, but he does deserve it, how he got off I dont know

  3. Queen of Suburbia says:

    ak – the usual on that site really. Apparently Song/Denilson were giving the ball away left right and centre, our (non-existant) problem at set pieces was there again and if we didn’t score 6 goals we may well have lost.

    Today’s post is more about the “deluded self-publicist”….very little mention of Arsenal at all.

  4. Queen of Suburbia says:

    I agree with that James, we all saw the footage, the verdict was a disgrace. Gerrard sought out the confrontation, landed the first blow and oversaw a beating, that’s a guilty everywhere but Liverpool.

  5. arsenalkabisa says:

    problem at set pieces was there again and if we didn’t score 6 goals we may well have lost.

    what Problem? for a man who is 3’4″ TV was out jumping everyone on that field!

    Cesc – 3 assists 2 goals

    RVP – 2 Assists

    Denilson – 1 goal, 1 clearance, massive performance

    Eduardo, one goal

    What more can a man ask for? long may it continue…

  6. Poliziano says:

    Forget my post at 9:48. The veil of prejudice evidently remains in its usual place.

  7. Queen of Suburbia says:

    An early goal tomorrow and I can see us hitting six again.

    Most of those that give Celtic a chance cite the crowd as a determining factor.

    Unless they run on mass and tackle RVP just as he’s about to slot home his third, I can’t see how they’ll turn mid table players into worldbeaters. If anything a noisy crowd will help keep us focussed.

  8. arsenalkabisa says:

    Revealed!

    1) Players who pass sideways at Arsenal: Denilson, Almunia, Clichy, Sagna

    2) Players who move like crabs: Song, Denilson, Arshavin

    3) Playesr who have no Brazilian Flair: Almunia, Song, Denilson, Walcot, Eboue

    5)Playesr who are not world class: RVP, Clichy, Sagna, Denilson, Arshavin, Almunia

  9. arsenehollis says:

    Having watched the game again, we were playing very well from the start, passing was excellent, and everton couldn´t really create anything.

    I hope other teams keep subscribing to the view that you get at arsenal by playing lots of high balls – just gives us possession back quickly.

    For me, the best thing though was our ability to rotate the ball through midfield, Song especially was excellent at this. We could keep passing, go side to side and wait for an opening forward. It reminded me of the invincibles at their best, toying with sides, letting them chase, safe in the knowledge that with patience they would find an opening – takes a lot of skill and confidence to make it work though, that is new this season already.

    You cant be out of the title race after 1 game, but if weren´t in it before we are now.

    New formation looks superb as well, we were never exposed through the middle of the pitch and the movement was tough for them to deal with when we attacked.

  10. arsenalkabisa says:

    Unless they run on mass and tackle RVP just as he’s about to slot home his third, I can’t see how they’ll turn mid table players into world beaters. If anything a noisy crowd will help keep us focused.

    🙂

    This team has taken so much slack, i doubt if there is any force on earth that can faze them. a noisy stadium? why not add a stupid media and faithless fans?

  11. els says:

    You cant be out of the title race after 1 game, but if weren´t in it before we are now.

    Yeah good comment

  12. arsenehollis says:

    QoS – the celtic home record is formidable, it cannot be completely ignored. That said most fo those were group games, with perhaps less pressure on teh teams already with points?

    What i dont see though is that people say arsenal will be in for a shock, blah blah. Same rubbish about no experience, we may be young but have played a lot of games.

    Look at last year, Fenerbache, kiev, villareal, and roma looking towards a home final – these are all very tough away games with hostile crowds. Or anfield 2 years ago? It mayhelp celtic, but it wont be unexpected or new for the team.

  13. James says:

    Is relating players to crabs now aceptable in a civilised football discussion?

    ‘He’s played great crab’

  14. arsenehollis says:

    I hope he plays the same 11 against celtic.

    I also hope he has the faith to rotate significantly against pompey.

  15. arsenalkabisa says:

    @arsenehollis

    TV swallowed all the high balls. My best picture was one that he had jumped so high, his knee was the same level with a jumping Felliani’s shoulder.

  16. Luke says:

    Thanks Passenal (Passenal on August 17, 2009
    at 9:31 am)

  17. LimparAssist says:

    I agree, same 11 against Celtic would see us dominate again.

    With more time for Ramsey and Eduardo once we’re three nil up.

  18. LimparAssist says:

    Oh yeah, top of the ACLF league baby.

    Big in the game.

  19. Joe says:

    Hollis,

    What impressed me most was how we closed players down at every line, especially up front. The way everyone fought for each other – was not something that I’ve seen in a very long time and if we continue to maintain that throughout the season – we’ll win silverware. Vermy looks a real player and hats off to both Song and Denny – they were superb!

  20. arsenalkabisa says:

    @LimparAssist

    Me thinks Diaby and Theo will come in for Song/ Denilson. the possibilities are limitless

    Bendtner too might play, but be rested on saturday. Wish i saw JW on Saturday. I pity Portsmouth…

    Think Cesc, Bendtner, RVP were all rested for this game.

  21. Alex says:

    LimparAssist,

    While we will definitely put Celtic under a lot of pressure and probably come away with a win, its going to be a tough game in my opinion.

    Its not just the atmosphere, their central midfielders are very tenacious (Brown especially) and their wingers know where the goal is. I will be happy if we win 2-1.

  22. arsenalkabisa says:

    Line up for Celtic

    ………..Almunia

    Sagna Gallas TV Clichy

    ……..Song Diaby

    ..Theo Cesc Arshavin

    ……….RVP

  23. LimparAssist says:

    Alex, frivolity aside, I am expecting a tough test. You’ve got to think though, that with Mowbray’s attacking pretensions and a home crowd urging Celtic forward – it’s going to be an open game – and if we’re up for it, which we will be, we will dazzle them silly.

    AK, while I’d like to see Diaby, I think the smart money’s got to be on Denilson – bearing in mind how much of a mainstay he’s become, and how solid we are with him and Song working together.

    Why risk an un-match-fit Diaby in a massive game like this?

  24. arsenehollis says:

    Joe – yep, if we can win the ball back well and keep it for long periods it will be tough for teams to play against us.

    Be good to see just how well we can pass against celtic.

    Everton are a team that always overachieves slightly through a season when you look at their players, great heart and very well coached though. However, playing them early was always going to be a bit easier than when they have their focus and are fighting every week.

    If we can go away again and assert our passing game it will be a true statement.

    What i really liked yesterday was that we could get the ball into our strikers and then play from that. Last year when we struggled there was very little play between midfield and attack with the forwards looking very lonely. All the front 3 saturday were looking for the ball and comfortable when they got it.

  25. els says:

    Late to this discuss havn;t been on all weekend.Too excited to operate a keyboard maybe.

    That game ooooooohhhoo now i’m excited. I know it’s only 1 game, and they were not on form. But for me all our problems from last season have been addressed in that game, it seems wenger is right as usual the defensive probs were not necessarily height but Galla and Vermo just dominated. The formation looks to be fantastic a great work ethic song and denilson busting a gut to free fab and what an effect it had to. NB played the greatest game I’ve seen him play what a start (I totally revoke that I said he was a slow starter). Great to see some lovely team goals and play. The one from eduardo nearly got me misting up.

  26. els says:

    My team for celtic

    Al

    Sagna – Gallas – Verm – Clichy

    Den – Song

    NB – Cesc – Arsh

    RvP

    hahhaa thats a spot on team, no one needs to be rested lets get some momentum and bring on Ed and theo at half time.

  27. LimparAssist says:

    “Upon joining Tinytottnum Hotsperz Football Club, Bentley stated that his new team would definitely finish in the top four and that he’d replace Beckham for England and get lots of Japanese girls’ bras in the post.

    Instead, his team have done fuck all and David sits on their bench wondering why people post him turds and punch him in restaurants.”

    from Gingers for Limpar

  28. GunnersMan says:

    Well, we’ll see how we go against tougher opposition, but what a start.

    I loved how the Everton defenders basically just stood around and watched Cesc score his second goal with Fellaini’s half-hearted attempt at tracking back, then just letting Cesc get on with scoring.

    Better opponents there will be, but if psychology is half the battle, this is the start you’d normally only dream of to create positive team spirit.

  29. Alex says:

    Alan Hansen after Liverpool’s defeat and our win –

    “I still fully expect Liverpool to finish above Arsenal and Manchester City, however. Arsenal have a long way to go to bridge the gap from fourth to first, despite their emphatic victory at Everton. Bigger tests will come and I still believe that there are flaws in the way they play the game.”

    Hope we stuff these words back where they came from.

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