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"It was the winter holiday and I was back in Togo having a kickabout with friends when my phone rang.One of the boys answered it and said, 'Manu, it's Arsene for you'. 'Arsene who?' I said. 'Arsene Wenger', he said. 'Get out of it', I said, and grabbed the phone off him. But then I heard the voice. 'Allo'. F*****g hell. It is Arsene Wenger!"
-Emmanuel Adebayor

Gooners will live longer if Arsenal can score first

An easy match which I have to say I expected us to win. I did worry though if they took the lead, Arsenal would have problems breaking down a Portsmouth defence which is very strong. As it turns out, Portsmouth didn't even turn up for the first half and after Adebayor's grass cutter of a penalty gave us the lead I knew it was 3 points in the bag. If Arsenal take the lead, rarely do I worry about the result, my heart doesn't pound like I'm having a heart attack, it must be because we have the excellent ability to turn defence into attack faster than Frank Lampard can say 'doughnut'. If Arsenal scored first in at least 70% of their games this season, the title will definitely return to North London. Some stats on how we do if we score first would be nice. Anyone got any info? Post it in the comments section.

The early goal that was so important came after Robin van Persie was brought down in the box by David James, who seems to do better when he doesn't get England call ups. About the penalty, although it was DEFINITELY a penalty, no doubts about it I hate it when strikers see the keeper come and and intentionally look for the penalty. I'm not saying RvP is a cheat, because he isn't, he didn't dive he just made sure that no matter what happened, James would get nothing of the ball and he succeeded. This is not the first time strikers have looked for penalties, you know what they are trying to do when the touch away from the 'keeper is not only away from goal but also rather strong which if it were a normal touch would force the striker to the corner flag instead of a goal scoring opportunity. Like I said earlier, it is legal but I don't like the players look for penalties. We don't hear of it enough because even the best players do it, Mr.Barcelona himself Thierry henry has done it, Wayne Rooney has mastered the art so well that he could make it a sport of its own and the great Alan Shearer use to make this move popular by drifting around in the box until a defender committed himself to the tackle. Anyway, Adebayor stepped up as the famous Arsenal rule where the player that is fouled cannot take the penalty forced RvP to watch on as the Togo international slotted home to James' left(and James went right).

A Rosicky corner found Gilberto's head late in the second half. the Brazilian's header only went as far as Cesc Fabregas' chest. Fab chested down the ball, turned and shot all in a quick second. Arsenal 2-0 up and looking comfortable. On to the 2nd half and Pompey started out well but it was Arsenal that created the best chance when Big Phil's header was saved impressively by James. Minutes later, Kanu got behind the defence and before he could even think of running was gunned down by Senderos, not intentional but he was the last man and it was a straight red.

How did Arsenal react by going 10 man down? Gilberto moved to CB to compensate for Phil's loss. After a brief spell of Pompey pressure, it started. If any sports team ever believed in the phrase 'the best form of defence is attack', it would be Arsenal. Instead of going defensive and keeping the tight, the team pushed forward for the 3rd. You could say this was naive of the players but to be fair to the players, they kept a good balance between attack and defence. The pressure paid off when Pompey were caught ball watching, literally, and Rosicky blasted a ball through Glen Johnson's legs and past James in a flash to give Arsenal a 3-0 lead. But only 18 seconds after the restart Pompey hit back with a Kanu turn come deflection....against himself!

The game went stale after that as Arsenal started to just maintain possession and not attack to much and even when Portsmouth had the ball, they never looked like scoring. Diaby came on late in the game and played as a 2nd striker and looked lively for a few minutes before making sure we knew how bad of a header of the ball he is when he missed a sitter from 6 yards out. A good win, and we look a lot better than we did this time last season but we are still only 4 matches into the season and as any Gooner would know, a lot of things can change in that time.

Discuss this and other Arsenal articles and topics at GoonersWorld forums!

posted by highbury1913 @ 11:46 pm | |

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