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Lucky Arsenal

This is a game that defies analysis in many ways, but those of us in attendance at the Grove last night were served footballing caviar....on diamond encrusted cuttlery, with dancing girlies gyrating in front of us. Probably. What is clear is that Slavia are not on our level, however, that is not to dismiss the magnitude of the result or the performance. How many 7-0 scorelines do you see in the Champions' League nowadays? Not many and the manner in which we put Prague to the sword was really quite impressive.

In a match as uneven as this one int erms of quality, an early goal for the home side is imperitive, and Arsenal delivered a lip smacking apiterif of what was to come. Alex Hleb collected a Gael Clichy pass down in the by the left corner flag, teased a couple of Praha defenders, before biding his time and delivering a precise diagonal ball to Fabregas on the edge of the box, as soon as the space opened up there was only one result as Cesc duly curled the ball into the corner with barely five minutes played. With the home side at the top of their form, there was only ever going to be one result as Slavia gave the Gunners room to strut their stuff. A second arrived before the quarter hour watershed, when Fabregas' corner found its way to Alex Hleb on the back post and the Belarussian's left foot shot deflected in off of some Prague defender or another. Adebayor's header from a Clichy cross was smartly saved. Emmanuel Eboue nearly scored the goal of the century, flicking the ball over the ehad of the left back, before hitting a deliberate forty yard volley from the touchline which whistled just wide. But a third arrived before half time. The Praha left back, for some reason, contrived to smash a pass back venomously towards his own keeper, who panicked and attempted to connect on the full toss with Walcoitt baring down. His clearance was miscued and fell straight to Theo who showed commendable composure to skip round the stranded goalie and slot into an empty net for his first home goal in the red and white of Arsenal. The keeper's blunder put one in mind of Lehmann's indiscretion in Kyiv four years ago. It would turn out that Lehmann would commit another horrific blunder, this time without even playing.

At this point I was begging Arsene to remove Fabregas and Adebayor from the action, a warm cup of cocoa and a huge swab of cotton wool on the bench welcoming them. Arsene had other ideas and Arsenal did not relent. Prague looked a little more determined in the early minutes of the second period, closing down the midfielders with more gusto. But another goal early in the second half put paid to their new found vigour as the lactic acid kicked in. Fabregas and Hleb were twin pivots as ever. The former sweeping a delightful ball over to Hleb on the left hand side, who feinted past two defenders before delivering a low shot with his right foot which easily beat the keeper. In the past, many have criticised Hleb's hesitation in front of goal, but it's worth pointing out that, on this occasion, playing on the left, he was able to cut in on his favoured right foot and made no mistake. The fifth was a byword from an era passed. Cesc Fabregas and Alex Hleb linked up again to play Theo Walcott in through the left channel, with renewed confidence, young Theo skipped towards goal with gazelle like poise before delivering a beautiful low finish from the angle. Those of you who suffer from cateracts would have been forgiven for thinking that the Henry of 2004 had briefly ghosted his way back into our side.

If the fifth had a touch of Henry about it, the sixth had the grubby paw print of the invincibles all over it. Prague won a corner, which Arsenal duly cleared. Tonight Matthew Alex Hleb was Robert Pires as he raced down the left toucline, leaving his defender for dead. He looked inside to Dennis Adebayor, who wonderfully wrong footed his man by opening his body out and delivering a short pass to Thierry Walcott, a deft touch from the Franglish striker/ winger was timed to perfection for Freddie Fabregas' perfectly timed run and sweet finish. It was a goal of footballing genius and the epitome of a team that is loving playing together at the moment, the audible gasps at every point of the move were punctuated by a raptuous applause from an appreciative crowd. If that goal was sex, it would have been a six way gangbang with Girls Aloud. Total football at its finest, and a goal you will never see at Stamford Bridge.

Walcott had the taste for more and was narrowly denied a hat trick. Cesc Fabregas' perfectly weighted cross found Walctt, but his close range effort was thwarted by an instinctive save from Vaniak. Rosicky dummied his way past an onrushing defender for the rebound, but smashed his effort against the bar. The seventh was typically executed with panache. Bendtner drifted wide to the left, played the ball into Eboue, who delivered a deft back heel, Bendtner ran onto it and dinked the ball over Vaniak. Slightly concerning that he celebrated the goal largely on his lonesome, with his team mates more eager to acknowledge Eboue. Bendtner noticeably did not join in the huddle at the end of the match either. Walcott ran onto a Toure ball, but screwed a volley well wide. But the final whistle was greeted with hige sighs of relief, seven nil is a dangerous lead in football, but Praha's late comeback would not materialise. It's a great set up for Sunday, especially with Liverpool playing a must win tie in Turkey tonight. But Praha are clearly a long stick short of Liverpool's standard and we will have to guard against overconfidence. But if you'd have given me 7-0 before kick off, I might just have taken it.LD.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday October 24 2007

Time: 1:57PM

Your Comments

Liverpool will win easily if Wenger plays last nights team. Walcott is still too timid and over-rated while Flamini is being carried by Fabregas and Hleb, he wont provide the cover like Gilberto can to keep Gerrard at bay. Liverpool to win easily 3-1 then ManU to win 2-0 at the emigrants...we'll see how smug yous are then
sport
Mate, you'd really be better off getting on with your day job and tying some kangaroos down.
Little Dutch
Don't be so bitter sport, sure the spuddies have had a tough start to the season but next year will be a totally different prospect for you guys, Jol will prove he is one of the leagues finest managers and you will have the leagues other London clubs in awe of your awesome awesomeness, yep Crystal Palace, QPR and Charlton will all be terrified I'm sure.
nikolaijns
Hleb was instrumental in 5 of the goals last night. The pass to Fabregas while facing two Slavia players and still getting it past the defender marking Cesc was sublime in its simplicity. The pass for Walcotts second with absolutely no margin for error in timing, weight or precision looks so straightforward that it is easy to overlook its sheer brilliance. Heady stuff from Hleb.
Amos.
I was a the game last night and it was amazing. Best money of any description i've ever spent. Just like to say well done with the article Tim. Having been suitably hung over from last night i have split my time equally between dome well overdue filing and reading through every article possible regarding the match. My opinion is that even if it was in Swahili you couldn't write about it without making me happy but i have to say the girls aloud comment made this one my favourite to read. Well done mate.
Fab04
btw yes I know I posted the same thing on the spurts page but some things are just made for repeating, ie AK47s curries and Fawlty Towers to name but three, ps don't even think about questioning my wisdom, here is a thread from vital spuds from back in August where I predicted your current sorry arse situation http://www.spurs.vitalfootball.co.uk/article.asp?a=79847
nikolaijns
i will still be smugger than if i had a relegation battle on my hands no matter what the results are over the next 2 weeks.. 3-1 vs pool and 2-1 vs utd methinks!
Unwell
unlike 'sport' i refuse to stoop to such pitiful attempts to draw a reaction. A truly majestic performance last night, and goals to leave any fan purring, regardless of whether they support arsenal or not. The approahc play was superb, and during the 45 - 65 minute period, you really did feel that Arsenal coudl score whenever they wanted to, such was the rapacious style and verve of our attacking play.

Liverpool this weekend will be a tremendously diffficult encounter, one in which our cause will be aided by Liverpool being forced into a dogged and determined 90 minute display to secure the three points they so desperately need to aid qualification from the CL group, and by the fact they shall have a day's recuperation less than Arsenal.

A sumptuous display last night, one which we can afford to purr over for the rest of today, then back down to the prospect of a tricky match at Anfield, where we shall no doubt go out for the three points. Let us not forget that, despite the fantastic results last season at the Grove in the league, and at Anfield in the Carling and FA cups, Liverpool turned us over royally in the league fixture at their ground. We shall need to be on our game and ready to display a concentration and determination in our play to deny them the chances to secure the win. We have the game and the players to win that fixture without a shadow of a doubt - let's hope that come monday morning we are the sole team with an unbeaten record in the Premier League.
»»Arsene Knows««
Wingston75
Silly silly spud. I'll be even smugger when you're bottom of the table come December. Just remember to come back and reiterate what you said after the game vs Liverpool. You may just prove yourself to be a complete tw@. Champions league? YOUR HAVING A LAUGH!!!!! HA!!!
Gunnerman
lol, "a six way gang bang"! Good stuff man, really makes me re-live the match. Credit to the Czechs - they never stopped playing the ball, they went forward, and they didn't get nasty.
afri-gooner
We were just phenominal in this game. Beautiful breathtaking stuff. The game played how it's meant to be played. Joyous.
Gunnerman
Its not about our position its about you mugs getting spanked this weekend and next because wenger will play duds like walnut and flamini. Fergie doesnt pick fletcher or oshea in big games unless he has to because of injury... just wait and see!!
sport
They will no doubt be difficult, hard fought games, but I'm not the one making rash predictions through the bitter and twisted view of blue and white glasses. So just make sure you come back here after the game and validate your prediction spuddo...
Gunnerman
a goal you will never see at stamford bridge LD? better add old trafford and anfield as well. lets face it, arsenal ARE playing the games of their lives at the moment. how long will it last? who bloody cares!!! lets just enjoy while we have it, and if it ends up being another 03/04 season (which i suspect so) then it just means more champagne at the end of the season. lets not worry about little d**k faggots who get on this forum and is obviously insanely jealous that arsenal hosts "football masterclasses" every weekend. how sweet it is to be a gunner..........
supersof
Tonight Matthew Alex Hleb was Robert Pires as he raced down the left toucline, leaving his defender for dead. He looked inside to Dennis Adebayor, who wonderfully wrong footed his man by opening his body out and delivering a short pass to Thierry Walcott, a deft touch from the Franglish striker/ winger was timed to perfection for Freddie Fabregas' perfectly timed run and sweet finish. ex********actly
kidK
Great write up Tim, but one thing I disagree with was Walcott's second goal. If you disregard the fact that Walcott is a pacey black winger come striker, then the strike was more Pires-esque than Henry!!! Wonderful finish!!!
Rocky7
"Total football at its finest, and a goal you will never see at Stamford Bridge." I disagree with that statement. What if we play them and we score that kind of goal? :P
entropy13
Hleb was more of a linchpin for the side than fabregas yesterday. That's the first time in a long time that we can say that (well, I can say that). And Fab had a good game! I love this team!!!
afri-gooner
I felt truly honoured to have witnessed that last night, I know its been widely condemned on here many times, but what an embarassment to see so many around me walking out with so much time left on the clock, it was pitiful, how often do we get to see such perfection, thats the only negative on last night for me in a night that left me speechless on so many levels! Alex Hleb what a player! great write up LD on a great day!
TR7
Whilst us gooners are high from the free flowing football we witnessed last night Sport is high on the fumes on an aerosol can. O'shea played against us last year you numpty, do some homework plus he's better than Zakora, Jenas, Huddlestone and Tainio as a centre mid, better than lee at left back and better than Michael " desperately in need of some st tropez" Dawson as a centre back. Go back to the spuds page and debate why your star striker doesnt want to warm up or discuss what Chris Houghton has written on his etch-a-sketch /speak and spell when he sits on the bench.
iceman10
And you call Walcott a dud but he has scored 2 more champions league goals than Defoe and Bent put together and whilst they are at your club which is heading for the championship that fact will remain.
iceman10
with every great historic arsenal result you will always find a bitter twisted spud trying to burst our glorious bubble. Sport, instead of coming here and trying to burst something that is made of sterner stuff than your defence, i suggest you go to your own site and cry with the rest of the arrogant babies down at white part time lane. LD on a more positive note, i did enjoy that read, i was wondering in what vain you would write up last nights game, for me there is not enough webspace to say what i thin of arsene and his terrific boys, you however summed it up beautifully !
PUREGOLD
iceman do you think he is jealous that we have an englishman that can score goals and more so score in the champions league, something spuddies won't see this decade.
PUREGOLD
That's just it PG, I didn't even try! A mere description of the action blow for blow was all that was required, our boys did all the arty stuff themselves. On another note, those of you who buy the Arsenal mag, check out who won the spineline comp this month and a copy of last month's mag signed by Wenger :-)
Little Dutch
Great write-up LD, must say I look forward to them very much. I normally go to every game but couldn't yesterday - oh well! The ITV commentators were absolutely drooling, I've never heard any commentators like that! Credit to Jim Beglin, he was able to give Arsenal unreserved credit unlike some of his begrudging ex-Liverpool colleagues on the TV. I have no fear: even if we lose both games to Liverpool and Man Utd, this team will not go away quietly, and has it in them to bounce back. PS - remember when we dominated CSKA (I think) last year with 30 odd chances and Rosicky's open goal miss? Well this game was what should have happened then, but wasn't. The footballing Gods evening it out? :-)
Gooner_Vin
gooner vin, i was the same, felt off colour and stayed at home, with a text during from simmo during second half sayin " bet ya wished ya had gone HAHA " ******** !!!
PUREGOLD
I've never seen such a fluke :P
rk1888
PG I think he is jealous of everything Arsenal. Our stadium, our financial results, our style of play, our manager. Whats he got to be happy about? 4 new kits a 2 titles in 125 years (thats 1 less than Wenger has won in 11 years). Im struggling to think of anything that could cheer a spurs fan at the moment but I guess if Liverpool or Man U beat us that will make them happy, How sad is that?
iceman10
excellent performance by the lads. couldn't ask for anything more than this. however not being critical of our team here, just that we set our standards so high, and that i expect our lads to be even better on sunday than last night. Clichy needs to work on his defensive side a bit more. on most occasions when Slavia caused us problems, it was down the left side, and The Hurricane was caught out of position a few times. he's been superb this season, i just want him to work a little more on his defensive side and keep improving every game. bring on Liverpool, here come THE GUNNERS!!
luckys_10
Puregold - how gutted was I when I've been to every other home match this season?! Even a guy I play 5-a-side with, a Man Utd fan, managed to be there - and he said it was 'scary stuff!' That was a kind of performance this side has been threatening to produce for the last two seasons
Gooner_Vin
LD - was that really the case with noone really celebrating with Bendtner, nor Bendtner not joining in the group huddle at the end? Do we read a lot into that?
Gooner_Vin
Dennis Adebayor, Thierry Walcott, Freddie Fabregas i love it i had to settle for a replay of the game but i was just as amazed i dont think i have seen a game like that in 4 yrs or so if that
anonymous
Man I hope liverpool "plays" on Sunday like they are right now!
SUX2BU
the liverfools lose!!!! sux, hope so too. what a time to be a Gooner!
KenyanGooner
i hope this is a new level of play that will become "normal" for Arsenal. If it was a once-off, that's great, most teams never ever play like this, but this sort of performance turns into a habit, a lot of teams will incorporate brown shorts into their kit, if you know what i mean
afri-gooner
regarding Bendtner: He seemed to pick up a minor groin injury very close to the final whistle and he was about to make a move to go join the other players in the center of the pitch but Gary Lewin (who was next to Bendtner) spoke to him and motioned at him to go down the tunnel. Just thought I'd clear that one up. He also celebrated with theo for his goal.
Youngest in Charge
All we can do is hope that this form can continue against Liverpool, who lost their Cl game and don't look like hey have much form at the moment.
AB_Arsenal
afri-g, i agree with your thoughts, i have a feeling we will be seeing more of these sorts of performances. we know they are capable, its just our finishing thats missing. but what a game, lets enjoy it til sunday where we will hopefully have a new reason to celebrate.
supersof
Roll on pool! They looked shattered after the CL defeat, but never mind, Rapha will rotate them again. Without being overconfident, and we admittedly played out of our sox the other night, but this team has class and depth, and youth, and commitment. Let's show the Scousers how footy is supposed to be played!
darinb007
last year we trashed blackburn and struggled in the games after that. I hope we don't have a hangover this time around. pool might rally due to the cl campaign being effectively over, so let's keep our feet on the ground.
afri-gooner
yes we can't look at this weeks results and predict a comfy win, i think the game will be tighter, but then the kids did do them in the cup last season, i will settle for a tight 1-0 win, even a draw is good.
PUREGOLD
That 15 minute, three goal period in the second half might be one of the greatest displays I've seen from any team. It was absolute nirvana. And the thing about the Walcott and Fabregas goals (hell even the Hleb goal) is that you felt a score was coming up long before each of those buildups concluded. That's gotta be a frightening for an opponent to face. Full credit to the Slavia fans...even at 6-0 they were jumping up and down in unison, swinging their scarves in the air. I love seeing stuff like that. BTW, why are Spuddies still coming on here trying to talk ****? YOUR TEAM IS BURIED IN THE RELEGATION ZONE. Christ, take some stock of your situation...you oughta be embarassed to even show your face outside after all the hype that was spewed just over two months ago.
Shinobi
The game at Liverpool is going to be about how we defend, going forward we're ok. Anfield is always a difficult place to go and their crowd will really be up for it given their poor recent run and need for a win. But, if we can soak up the early pressure and pass our way around them, the Liverpool team and crowd's confidence should diminish...
Gooner_Vin
True, PG, but i've gotta ask a question I sawa somwwhere, just how much better are Besiktas compared to Slavia Prague?
KenyanGooner
 

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