Another convincing win by the mighty Arsenal, that’s three on the trot, although this one was all the sweeter from having the pleasure of watching it from my own seat at the home of football.
Three nil up from the first leg meant that it was very unlikely that the good guys were ever going to bother getting out of second gear and indeed they didn’t, it was, in fact, a bit a cruise from start to finish.
The mystique that Fenerbahce might of held prior to the first leg was gone; the unfamiliarity of the Turkish team and its unknown strength, the hostile atmosphere, the ferocious fans; all this had evaporated, they were poor and we knew it, all that was required was the patient dissection of our inferior opponents.
But Wenger was not taking any chances; he could have gone for Carling Cup team in order to rest as many players as possible for the coming, more important, game at the weekend; indeed many supporters on this blog championed that view when the debate was in full flow a few days ago but there was one esteemed blogger who pointed out that if they were to score in the first fifteen minutes it would be game on.
If anyone ever wanted proof that Arsene reads this blog here you have it; he predictably swapped Wilshere for Rosicky, gave Gibbs a break, allowing Monreal a chance to get back up to speed and surprisingly kept Sagna at CB presumably to give Koscielny a bit more time to recover. This was a very strong team, belt and braces stuff, Arsene protecting his precious run in the Champions League, well it worked; we are through.
Ramsey’s confidence is soaring and important goals are coming at the right time, his first was a poke in after it fell kindly to him, his second was thing of beauty, opening his body and guiding the ball into the corner past the open mouthed, helpless Ferner keeper.
Szezceny stole the show in the first half pulling off wonder save after wonder save, the second half was only tainted by the loss of Podolski, a hamstring strain is always a minimum of three weeks; it possibly could have been avoided. He came out of the blocks at the beginning of the second half at break neck speed, tearing down the wing faster than he has done so in the last six months to add to an early attack, I am all for showing a bit of commitment Lucas but we were four goals up – relax.
Gibbs replaced Podolski and was interestingly moved into the middle, could he be our next DM? He can tackle, has a defensive mindset, although he can obviously play and add to the attack when needed; Arsene likes his players to be multi functional so who knows?
Sanogo then came on for what was I think his third appearance and got a big round of applause when he finally got his first touch. I now it is early days but I can’t see what he is good at: control, touch, movement, pace, speed, I don’t see any of those.
Theo went off to a massive applause from the fans who bothered turning up and had bothered to stay to this point; it really was heart felt stuff though. I am very pleased for him; the man is really learning how to make the most of his other abilities rather than just relying on his natural gift of speed.
Ryo came on and if some of us, like me, hoped that he might be able to fill in while Podolski recovers we quickly had to think again; there is still a lot of work to be done there.
By this time Fenerbahce were systematically kicking lumps out of Wilshere, I wish, as Slim said, that he wouldn’t roll around giving the impression that he is likely to be out for the season every time he goes down, we need to establish a secret signal, we need a sign Jack that you are alright, some of us with a nervous disposition can’t take it.
The final whistle came and all three of us who had stayed to the very end clapped the boys off.
Job done; now let the signings begin.
Written by LB