Date: 9th August 2006 at 10:25am
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Arsenal took full control of their Champions League destiny yesterday after they took a 3-0 first leg victory back to Ashburton Grove.

The mighty Gunners were without Le God, Senderos, Lehmann, Ljungberg & the ever present Theo Walcott, yet this young team strolled (almost) into the group stages. It is unthinkable, indeed laughable to think that Dinamo Zagreb will score three or more goals at our new home, so to all intents and purposes………we’re through.

Star of the show was Cesc Fabregas, carrying on his performances from last year the little Spaniard has taken the number four shirt and made it his own. He may only be 19 but he is a player who would walk into any club side in the world, such is his composure, skill & vision.

Jose Antonio Reyes was the ‘suprise’ omission of the night with growing speculation that he will now join Real Madrid after being left out by Wenger to avoid the winger being cup tied.

The match began quite lively, with the ‘Bad Blue Boys’ making all the noise and with the boys in red and white dictating the play. The young Arsenal team played the ball with confidence and in a crisp and confident fashion, although there were no real clear cut chances (or scares) in the first half, there was still much to be happy about.

Half time saw no changes for Arsenal and it wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken. Alex Hleb played the ball to van Persie in a central position on the edge of the Zagreb Area, the Dutchman played a neat pass on the volley for the onrushing Fabregas who flashed the ball across the keeper and into the corner. Quality.

Sixty seconds later and the Gunners had doubled their money, Hleb again directing play, chipped in a pint point pass over the top for Robin van Persie to run on to. On his favorite left foot he zero’d in on goal, with a flick of his boot he played the ball across the face of the keeper, who should have done better into the corner of the net. Pretty much game over.

Fabregas all but killed off the tie with a superb individual effort in the 79th minute, picking up the ball 20 yards from goal Cesc showed phenominal strength for such a slight framed young man to hold off 3 defender and finish in much the same way as his first goal.

All in all the boys were fantastic, with only Gilberto over the age of 25 in the outfield, this reletively inexperienced team showed the rest of Europe that even without our best player, we’re still a force not to be messed with. In a game that most people expected us to have a rough time with, we made it look pretty easy.

Absolutely Fab-ulous.

Player Ratings

For a player who is consistently ridiculed, he looked pretty solid – 7

Lost posession on ocassions but won it back in style – 6

Our 900th left back over the past twelve months performed the job as well as anyone – 7

The 19 year old showed pace and power and made some fantastic tackle – 8

He is now the general of the Arsenal defence, our rock and one of the best centre backs around – 7

‘Little Mozart’ certainly looked at home in the red and white, stylish, quick, inventive and not afraid to tackle back. Wenger does it again – 8

Picking up where he left off. Probably the best dribbler of the ball at Arsenal since Anders Limpar. Will come into his own this season – 7

The invisible wall, nobody notices him, but he performs his job admirably – 7

What can you say about this youngman? Without a doubt one of the most exciting players in world football – 9

Led the front line well, looked strong, held up play well and linked up to great effect – 8

van Persie
This will be RVP’s season. His left foot is as deadly as they come, took his goal well – 7


19 Replies to “We’re On Our Way……..”

  • I thought you looked quality last night – especially impressed with Rosicky – he looks class. Credit where its due – v impressed.

  • I was actually a bit suprised OLASAL, considering this was our first competitive game, Zagrab are champions and a few weeks into their season, and we missed a couple of players, I thought the team looked suprisingly fresh and the passing was crisp and compact. Really pleased that we more than overcame a potential banana skin. The home tie should be a doddle.

  • I have to be honest I have my doubts about Eboue and Hoyte at the back though – do you think they are up to it?

  • Eboue – definately. Hoyte – Not so sure, he’s been on the brink of breaking in for a few years now but has never really made it, that siad, he’s looked ok in pre-season.

  • I thought the team played really well. The main thing is to keep the ball which is what we did. Arsenal however should listen to Le Captain Henry and buy some more players. Although the team played well we need strengthening. Considerably in defence where we lack. A new centre back, left back, Defensive midfielder and possibly a attacking mid. We should go for Hargreaves as he is english and a top player.

  • on the itv coverage last night did anyone SEE the photo of “reyes” in a real madrid shirt????if thats reyes then he might as well go!

  • I think the team did well, everyone did at the very least a proffesional job, with Djourou and Fabregas making themselves known. Rosicky had a good debut, few nice touchs, showed some good vision and willingness to run and track back, with abit more luck would of opened his account, fully justified in starting ahead of Reyes. Helb was really bright all match and commited defenders while Van Persie has shown his intentions of taking this season by the throat. Hoyte did well at left back for sunderland in difficult situation during his year long loan their, what he lacks in height and muscle makes up for in heart and determination. Very good prospect and versitile. Least baring a miricale we are tho and thats what is important, just hope no injurys on the return leg!

  • i thought we were good, considering it was the first real game of the season and we were missing a few big names. fabergas was terrific. 3 away goals so we are in the cl proper now, can’t see us losing 4-0 at home, maybe now we can buy a few players, a couple of first team players like a centre back and a defensive midfielder and maybe a couple of squad players for cover

  • didn’t see the game but i think it’s a great result for us considering we had some of our first team players out. This should be a stroll at the groove. Well done boys….

  • this game has shown what the yougsters are going to be capable of, i know that they were not the best of opposion, but the team was quite dominant in the second half, but cesc this guy is going to be amazing, who said we shold not have sold paddy? the old guy has lost it, cesc is the future of the club we all love, and at 19 to be playing like he is now, whats he going to be like in 3-5 years time?

  • Reyes only come up good for us once and that was against chelsea when he scored them to screamers in the FA cup.

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