Arsenal came back from a goal down to book their spot in the group stage champions league this season. Overall, the team really played well, especially if you consider the fact that we were trailing Natale’s goal at half time.
The half began brightly for us. With 2 mins on the clock, Theo got the game going with a straight shot to Handanovic.
On 10, Handanovic was again given a wake up call. This time it was Gervinho who tested the goalie from a tight angle. It was good to see an Arsenal player shoot for a change.
On 16, Udinese suddenly broke loose with Di Natale producing a surprise cross from the right. Thankfully Pablo Armero screwed up his header.
From that time on, our attacks dried up, and the enthusiasm with which we started the match declined.
On 22, Udinese came close to a goal when Natale hit the post.
On 28, Sagna made his way to the left side of the D-box, and HAD a chance to shoot, but as usual he chose to pass it.
1 minute later, RVP let one loose with his right foot. Why?
On 31, Gervinho made a brilliant run towards the Udinese defense before setting up Theo to slot the ball into the net. Theo did take the shot, but it was blocked by Handanovic. Immediately the rebound was picked up by RVP who now let a left foot drive loose, but somehow AGAIN Handanovic kept it out. Seconds later, at the other end Szczesny pulled out a smart save to keep Natale out.
On 38, Udinese took the lead. What a header from Di Natale, what a header ! Leave a striker, with so much space, and see what he can do. This guy warned us about his talent at the Emirates, and I thought he would be marked. God, how wrong could I be ?
4 mins later, the Arsenal defense was again split. Fortunately for us Armeros shot rose over Szczesny’s bar.
It was a mixed first half. We started the half brightly, but ended it very nervously. I did not expect the enthusiasm and the livelihood to carry on through-out the half, and was right. A bright start saw us pressurize Udinese, we did not allow them time on the ball, and the only option they had was to counter-attack. But gradually as the half wore on, we lost our focus allowing our opponents to come back into the game.
On 51, RVP floated in a delightful free-kick, but DJ’s header was just a second slower. It only needed a touch. 1 minute later, Theo bend one into Handanovic’s hands.
On 54, we equalised. Gervinho with a brilliant piece of skill, before rolling it for RVP to smash in. And didn’t our no 10 oblige. It was 1-1 at Udine.
However 4 mins later, Udinese were given a lifeline as the referee awarded them penalty due to a handball by Vermaelen. Di Natale stepped up, but he couldn’t get past the Pole. What a save by Szczesny. Bloody brilliant !
On 68, we took the lead. It was a brilliant move – A good little 1-2 from Theo and Sagna let the former loose on goal. Handanovic was truly helpless for this one. Udinese 1-2 Arsenal
On 77, the ‘weakness in awareness’ of the Arsenal back 4 could be seen, as an unmarked Di Natale found himself with acres of space on the right. Thankfully, the Italians shot was wide.
When we entered the last 10 mins, the showboating began (RVP started it, with a rabona). To be honest, it looked like Udinese had given up. They were not trying and we too took our leg of the acclerator.
On 90, both RVP and Traore took shots at Handanovic but the goalie did well to block them both.
It was a smart change by AW at half time. Rosicky would not only provide us some experience but also constitute an attacking force. Moreover, Song would have to sit back and defend, and not take his USUAL SHOTS.
For the first time in months do I feel happy and optimistic about Arsenal. The team showed real character to come back and win and personally I am delighted.
Tomorrow is a our draw in Monaco, pray we GET Barcelona.