Feb 23

Squillaci header gives Arsenal win at a cost

Sebastien Squillaci’s eighth minute header gave Arsenal all three points against Stoke, but the win came at a cost after injuries to Theo Walcott and skipper Cesc Fabregas.

French defender Squillaci scored from close range following a dominant opening spell of play by the Gunners. However, they dropped off and allowed Stoke to come back into the contest in the second half.

But Arsene Wenger’s men held on for the win to move within a point of the Premier League leaders Manchester United, while Stoke remain in mid-table on 33 points – six clear of the relegation zone.

Szczesny
Sagna – Djourou – Squillaci – Clichy
Fabregas – Song – Wilshere
Walcott – Bendtner – Nasri

Arsenal made a storming start and should have gone ahead in the second minute when Jack Wilshere finished a mazy run with a pass to Cesc Fabregas, who played in Theo Walcott but the forward hit his strike off the post with keeper Asmir Begovic beaten.

A minute later Fabregas’ high ball was headed down by Nicklas Bendtner to Walcott who fired wide of the mark.
Arsenal were rewarded for their early pressure on eight minutes when they took the lead.
Stoke could not clear a corner and Bendtner’s ball back into the area was headed in from close range by defender Squillaci.

Fabregas was forced out of the action on 14 minutes and it affected the tempo of Arsenal’s play.

However, Stoke barely threatened until the 36th minute when Jon Walters’ knocked the ball down to John Carew and the on-loan Aston Villa hitman’s half-volley from 25 yards was brilliantly saved by Wojciech Szczesny.

Stoke improved after the break and almost levelled on 48 minutes when Ryan Shawcross’ header from a Jermaine Pennant cross deflected off Johan Djourou and dropped wide of the goal.

Robert Huth headed over inside the area from a long Rory Delap throw-in on 58 minutes.

Arsenal did create chances with Wilshere firing at Begovic and Walcott firing wide from eight yards with just the Stoke keeper to beat on 64 minutes.

Pennant fired a free-kick into the side-netting on 89 minutes for Stoke but they could not find a way through giving Arsenal three three points ahead of Sunday’s Carling Cup final against Birmingham.

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11 Responses to “Squillaci header gives Arsenal win at a cost”

  1. Merlin96 says:

    I don’t like this match as it gave us an inkling of what BRUM tactics will be like at Wembley.

    Thsi team is suffering from “2nd halfitis”, strugglignt o score, desperately defending with opponents over-running our MDIFIELD and a toothless strikeforce with “Invisible Man” as Lone Striker.

    Worse, we are too predictable and Pulis reshaped the team with Wenger having no answer to counter Pulis to regain the initiative as in 1st half.

    We are certainly struggling to score goals, and the worrying part is that this “goal scoring” deficiency can be cruelly exposed by BRUM and maybe our downfall in our pursuit of a piece of silverwar, any kind including a tin cup.

    1 – Must disrupt Arsenal passing rhythm by hook or by crook with plenty of intelligent fouls and rotational fouls.

    2 – Go in hard at Nasri, Wilshere or Van Persie to provoke a reaction, which certainly thes ehot-heads will do.

    3 – Adapt Stoke City tactics like during 2nd half of deliberately running into players with elbow or knee or shoulder extented out as a “hard point” to knock down the Arsenal player.

    4 – Go in hard for every 50:50 ball and use your body weight to flal on top of Arsenal player to deliberately pin him down to prevent a quick counter-attack.

    5 – Shunt Arshavin and Nasri into the flanks and blind alley and let Arsenal plays Crab Football with 20+ passes around the box before they telegraph their final pass into the box, knowing that Van persie or Bendtner or Chamakh prefer to run from outside the box and none of ‘em has the predatory instinct of Eduardo or even vela to snap up all those rebounds.

    6 – And of course, try to maintain a clean sheet in the 1st half as the present trend is that Arsenal tends to collapse in the 2nd half when you start hsutling snd get into their faces as what Stoke City did.

    Perhaps BRUM ahd watched that video of 2006 FA Cup Final; and the interesting question is which team will devise a “Rope Da Dope” tactics to go to penalty shoot-out to win Carling Cup.

    a – Cesc has a hamstring twinge. WIll Wenger dare to risk him or reserve him for Sunderland and barca 2nd leg?
    b – Theo is definitely out with a sprained ankle.
    c – Can Djourou play 2 games within a week?
    d – Koscielny to recover from his back injury?
    e – Van Persie may recover form hsi hamstring injury. Will Wenger risk this injury-prone player or reserve him for Sunderland and Barca 2nd leg?
    f – Will Diaby stands up and be counted and play to his full potential a she can?
    g – Will Arshavin be fully motivated to play as he cna and destroy BRUM like what he did at Anfield in his 1st season?

    May all the Football Gods and Lady Luck stays in our corner like in 2005 FA Cup Final if Arsene Wenger decided again to rotate squad like against CHelski in 2006 CC Final:

    ……………………..Almunia

    …EBoue…….Squillaci………Koscielny……Gibbs

    ………………Song…………..Diaby
    …………………….Wilshere

    …Nasri……………..Bendtner…………Arshavin

    I dearly wish to win that tin cup, simply to get bragging rights and shutup all those cretins gloating “6 trophyless years” from our deprived neighbour hoping to ape their betters by going into bankruptcy to build their 450-mil of a chicken farm called the KFC Bucket.

    ReplyReply
  2. Odu says:

    too bad! We need our best players at this point in the season.

    ReplyReply
  3. News Arsenal Soccer - Squillaci header gives Arsenal win at a cost says:

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  4. Sjeille says:

    Some people will never be satisfied, namely merlin, we can’t expect to dominate every game. The result was what we wanted… three points.

    ReplyReply
  5. jhnhgs75 says:

    too many (must win) games taking toll…

    ReplyReply
  6. GunnerMKD says:

    it was obviolsy wenger`s tactic to score a goal and keep passing the ball without giving it away. he wants his players not to be so tired ahead of sunday. three points are three points, none will remember how tha game was played, but how it ended :D
    chesney is the best :D not too much work to do, but when he was needed, he responded well. what a save for the carew shot
    i expect this to be the lineup for sunday:
    chesney
    sagna-kos-djourou-gibbs
    song-wilshere
    nasri
    bentner-chamakh-arshavin

    rvp cesc and denilson to come in
    2-0 arsenal :D

    ReplyReply
  7. french gooner says:

    merlin, go and support the spuds.have a look at the table.you say we cant score.weve scored more goals than anybody in the league.we needed 3 points and got them.i for one will rather have us play attacking football and take risks than play a wrestling match like those pie eating thugs from stoke .we defended very well when we had too and won the match.as for birmingham we beat them twice and im sure theyre more scared than us.lets bag that league cup.im a proud gooner !!!

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  8. Merlin96 says:

    yesh..yesh..French gooner…can’t debate logically and any criticism of Wenegr will render you an automatic S*CUMS supporter.

    I will not hold my breathe till April during Easter Weekend where all semi-finals are played and wheat are separated from the chaff.

    Come back and tell in April how the table look like will you.

    Go to my thread at Arsenal Times “WIll we score 130 goals in 2010/11 season?” and observe the trend since August 2010 where during December to February, the team is struggling to score more than 2 goals per match.

    Wenger’s philosophy is absed on Attacking Football, not defence as when you kept possession and pressurised opponents high on the pitch, you drastically reduce their chances to threaten your goal area. That is:
    “If you score 3 goals, we will score 4 goals to win the game.”

    And with an attacking 4-3-3, playing with a Lone Striker, statistically and ideally, MIDFIELD should contribute 50% of the goal tally.

    Presently, we had played 43 games and scored 97 goals; with MIDFIELD contributing about 45% and STRIKER about 42%…quite an even split but MIDFIELD should contribute more goals.

    As a comparison, during our Unbeaten 2003/04 season, basing on 38 league games played:

    Henry scored 30 league goals, about 41% of the 73 league goals scored.
    Pires scored 14 goals.
    Bergy scored 4 goals.
    Freddy scored 4 goals.
    Gilberto scored 3 goals.

    You can see that when we switched from French Spine 4-4-2 to Wenger Wunderkind 4-3-3, the emphasis is for MDIFIELD to share “Henry’s Burden” of scoring 50% of the goal tally.

    When we struggle to score more than 2 goals even against lower division teams and Bottom-13 teams in the league, just prepare for more draws and unexpected “WBA and Newcastle” losses.

    This is simply due to our key players playing too many games; and too many key players being injured during this crucial Feb/March period where for the past 5 seasons, Arsenal usually imploded due to horrendous injury list and a “thin” squad.

    E.g. look at Chelski. Flying out of teh starter box in August-October 2010; scoring freely and for fun…at one stage 5 points ahead and with a superior goal difference of “22 for,a dn 2 against”…and everybodye xpected them to walkaway with the title…but just look at them now..a mere 2 to 3 months after their scintillating start.

    Like Chelski 2010, the downfall of Arsenal 2011 will be similar if we don’t guide against the following traits:
    1 – Complacency and Arrogance like 4-0 at St. James Park.
    2 – Horrednous injury list
    3 – MIDFiELD stopper scoring

    However, if we follow that 1997/98 trend where we won the last 12 games in succession to overhaul ManLeeds, then we can win the 2010/11 title by simply winning all the remaining 11 league games.

    On the other hand, if it is a repeat of 2007/08 season and subsequent seasons, then we may very well ended up snatching defeat from the Jaws of Victory by fialing to see off Bottom-13 teams like Sunderland, Bolton, Blackburn, Sotke, etc……and of course, beating ManLeeds at the Emirates.

    WHy don’t oyu go to OnlineGooner to read up on that thread “Gloomer and Doomer” to get a balanced view.

    ReplyReply
  9. Merlin96 says:

    Let’s compare our Unbeaten 2003/04 season as follows:

    Played 38 W26 D12 L0 = 90 points

    Our results against Top-6:

    01- Arsenal… 2 Everton 1 [Henry, Pires]
    02- CITEH….. 1 Arsenal 2 [Wiltord, Freddy]
    03- ManLeeds.. 0 Arsenal 0
    04- Liverpool. 1 Arsenal 2 [og, Pires]
    05- Arsenal… 2 Chelski. 1 [Edu, Henry]
    06- Arsenal… 2 S*CUMS 1 [Pires, Freddy]
    07- Everton… 1 Arsenal 1 [Kanu]
    08- Arsenal… 2 CITEH…. 1 [og, Henry]
    09- CHelski… 1 Arsenal 2 [Vieira, Edu]
    10- Arsenal… 1 ManLeeds 1[/color] [Henry]
    11- Arsenal… 4 Liverpool 2 [Henry[3], Pires]
    12- S*CUMS…. 2 Arsenal 2 [Vieira, Pires]

    ……………………..W…..D….L…F…A….Points
    1) Arsenal…………….8….4….0…22…13…..28 out of 36 points

    Against Bottom-13 teams:

    1) Arsenal……………18….8….0…49…13…..62 out of 78 points

    01- Boros ….0 Arsenal 4 [Henry, Gilberto, Wiltord[2]]
    02- Arsenal.. 2 Villa 0 [Henry, Campbell]
    03- Arsenal.. 1 Pompey 1 [Henry]
    04- Arsenal.. 3 Newcastle 2 [Henry[2], Gilberto]
    05- Charlton. 1 Arsenal 1 [Henry]
    06- Leeds…. 1 Arsenal 4 [Henry[2], Pires, Gilberto]
    07- BRUM….. 0 Arsenal 3 [Freddy, Bergy, Pires]
    08- Arsenal.. 0 Fulham 0
    09- Leicester 1 Arsenal 1 [Gilberto]
    10- Arsenal.. 1 Blackburn 0 [Bergy]
    11- Bolton… 1 Arsenal 1 [Pires]
    12- Arsenal.. 3 Wolves 0 [og, Henry[2]]
    13- Saints… 0 Arsenal 1 [Pires]
    14- Arsenal.. 4 Boros 1 [Henry, og, Pires, Freddy]
    15- Villa…. 0 Arsenal 2 [Henry[2]]
    16- Wolves… 1 Arsenal 3 [Bergy, Henry, Kolo]
    17- Arsenal.. 2 Saints 0 [Henry[2]]
    18- Arsenal.. 2 Charlton 1 [Pires, Henry]
    19- Blackburn 0 Arsenal 2 [Henry, Pires]
    20- Arsenal.. 2 Bolton 1 [Pires, Bergy]
    21- Newcastle 0 Arsenal 0
    22- Arsenal.. 5 Leeds 0 [Pires, Henry[4]]
    23- Arsenal.. 0 BRUM 0
    24- Pompey… 1 Arsenal 1 [Reyes]
    25- FUlham… 0 Arsenal 1 [Reyes]
    26- Arsenal.. 2 Leicester 1 [Henry, Vieira]

    ……………………..W….D…..L……F…..A…….Points
    1) Leicester ………….01…01…00…03….02……04 out of 6 points
    2) Blackburn…………..02…00…00…03….00……06 out of 6 points
    3) Bolton……………..01…01…00…03….02……04 out of 6 points
    4) Portsmouth………….00…02…00…02….02……02 out of 6 points
    5) Boros………………02…00…00…08….01……06 out of 6 points
    6) Fulham……………..01…01…00…01….00……04 out of 6 points
    7) Aston Villa…………02…00…00…04….00……06 out of 6 points
    08) Leeds……………..02…00…00…09….01……06 out of 6 points
    09) Wolves…………….02…00…00…06….01……06 out of 6 points
    10) Newcastle………….01…01…00…03….02……04 out of 6 points
    11) Saints…………….02…00…00…03….00……06 out of 6 points
    12) Charlton…………..01…01…00…03….02……04 out of 6 points
    13) BRUM………………01…01…00…03….00……04 out of 6 points

    73 goals after 38 games.

    An average of 1.92 goals per game

    And Henry alone scored 30 goals or an astonishing 41% of overall goal tally!!!

    2003/04 season : 26 wins 12 draws 0 loss.

    MIDFIELD contributed 43.85% of goals..32 goals.
    STRIKERS contributed 47.95% of goals..35 goals.
    DEFENDER contributed 02.74% of goals..02 goals.
    “Dubious goal”……..05.46% of goals..04 goals.

    The strikers are Henry and Bergy and Kanu.
    WIltord, Pires, Freddy and Reyes are winger in 4-4-2.

    We have 13 no. Goal Scorers.
    01) Henry……………….30 goals
    02) Pires……………….14 goals
    03) Bergy……………….04 goals
    04) Ljungberg……………04 goals
    05) Gilberto…………….04 goals
    06) WIltord……………..03 goals
    07) Vieira………………03 goals
    08) Reyes……………….03 goals
    09) Edu…………………02 goals
    10) Kanu………………..01 goals
    11) Kolo………………..01 goals
    12) Campbell…………….01 goals

    13) Dubious Goal…………04 goals.

    ___________________________________________________________________________

    We were overted dependent on Henry to score and therefore that cliche of “Stop Henry and you will stop Arsenal from scoring”.
    Fortunately, Henry delivered and when he was off-formed, Pires and Freddy stepped in to take over the goal scoring duties.

    Present?
    If van Persie is out injured, who will take over that “goal scoring burden”, especially Chamakh is off-formed and struggling..and Bendtner..oh well.

    Now that it is confirmed that Cesc and Walcott are out of the Carling Cup Final.

    We need to prove to all and sundries that this Arsenal is no more a “one-man” team; and Nasri, Wilshere, Arshavin and Diaby are more than adequate to handle any Bottom-13 teams.

    In summary, we need MIDFIELD to start scoring freely now….with Arshavin and Nasri re-discovering their shooting boots…and hey..Wilshere and Diaby have yet to score for some months!!!!

    ReplyReply
  10. sad says:

    what is Merlin on about? anyone actually read his post? it looks boring…

    ReplyReply
  11. tc says:

    he needs some coke.

    ReplyReply

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