Denilson shines as Arsenal roam to narrow victory

Robin van Persie’s first half penalty gave Arsenal the win but the Gunners had a number of chances to stretch their lead going in to the second leg.
____________________________________________________________________________ rvp1

Arsenal 1-0 Roma
UEFA Champions League Matchday 7 1st Leg

“I don’t doubt my method but I doubt myself everyday,” said manager Arsene Wenger before the game. Restricted in his signings because of the move to the Emirates, some fans have been disgruntled by Arsenal’s failure to mount a more serious domestic challenge but injuries and failure to open up defense minded teams are just some of the problems that have belied that. And against less defensive minded opposition we got to see just why the Frenchman places so much faith in his enigmatic vision .

Arsenal had thoroughly outclassed Roma for much of the game but once again over-elaboration and a couple of bad shots denied Arsenal from going into the game at Rome with the tie done and dusted. And to rub salt in Roma’s wounds, the Giallorossi playmaker Danielle De Rossi will now miss the second leg, which would have been an uphill battle had the Gunners not confirmed their chronic inability to translate excellent approach play into goals.

Denilson kept the team ticking, winning the ball back and playing it into space whether sideways or forwards. Part of Wenger’s new ‘Golden Generation’ the Brazilian has not endeared himself to most of the faithful yet but this performance should go at least someway in reversing that. His partner in the dual midfield shield, Diaby had a strong game also; tackling back and linking up play and his ball retention was surprisingly good. In fact it was a team effort as Arsenal denied Totti space and constantly pressured Roma’s backline not giving them time to pass the ball out of defence. Wenger deploying Nasri centrally behind Van Persie and Bendtner and Eboue wide and the latter two had the greatest of Arsenal’s opportunities but a lack of composure and decision making meant Roma are still one goal away from extra time. Van Persie scored from the spot after Mexes had brought him down meaning he has been involved in all of Arsenal’s goals directly this year in the time he has spent on the pitch.

With fifteen minutes the go Arsenal lost cohesion with Diaby being replaced by Song and the Italians finally putting greater pressure to get the equaliser. However they couldn’t find that fluency that has been there during their last few league matches, De Rossi having a particularly off day. Playing in a Beckenbaur role in front of the back four as opposed to behind; the midfielder was meant to bring a certain simpleness to the role like a “back-to-basics Dogme film.”

For the Gunners it may have helped Roma were playing the diamond rather than the 4-3-3-0 as Totti and in particular Baptista had an off day while the midfielders failed to get a hold of the ball. Arsenal did try to give the Italians some chance of a goal as Toure and Gallas were late in coming on to the pitch for the second half as the game started without them. Arsenal victorious but the lead more narrow than it should have been.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Eboue (Ramsey 82), Denilson, Diaby (Song Billong 62), Nasri, Van Persie, Bendtner (Vela 67).
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Djourou, Gibbs, Merida.
Booked: Toure, Nasri.
Goals: Van Persie 37 pen.

Roma: Doni, Motta, Mexes, Loria (Diamoutene 71), Riise, Perrotta, De Rossi, Brighi (Pizarro 56), Taddei, Julio Baptista (Vucinic 82), Totti.
Subs Not Used: Artur, Ribeiro, Tonetto, Montella.
Booked: Mexes, Brighi, De Rossi.
Att: 60,003
Ref: Claus Bo Larsen (Denmark).

Arsenal Team Roma
53.6% Possession 46.4%
15 Shots 7
3 Shots on target 1
0 Saves 0
1 Corners 2
11 Fouls 16
5 Offsides 4
2 Yellow cards 3
0 Red cards 0
25 Tackles 28
430 Accurate passes 369
118 Bad passes 29
60 Territorial Advantage 40

5 thoughts on “Denilson shines as Arsenal roam to narrow victory

  1. I think they greatest sign was that the players were skipping past tackles and getting on with the game. Only once Eboue played for the foul (which he did not get). Diaby and Denilson were brilliant . Eboue had a great game apart from that miss. I think he was our best player on the counter attack and carried the ball well. Nasri,i believe, has given Wenger a good selection dilemma. He was fantastic ,he played without a leash. Floated throughout the midfield and was great with the ball.
    Rvp was not seen at all in the first half,apart from the goal. He had an ordinary game surprisingly. Infact in the second half ,when he was getting more of the ball was the time arsenal did not play particulary well. I think he was uncomfortable playing the main striker.
    I was surprised by Bendtner playing in the flanks. I was sure he would partner Rvp. But i guess the move was masterclass. He surely doesnt deserve a place in the side ,but Vela also hasnt been that impressive.
    I believe the same formation with Arshavin instead of Bandtner would do wonders to arsenals domestic form.
    Great to watch the Arsenal way after so much time.

  2. This game was extremely positive for arsenal. The central midfield actually dominated romas. Denilson and diaby looked like an excellent partnership. Denilson held very well positionally and was making good tackles all over the field. Diaby showed how important he was with his driving runs and also his penchant for getting involved in nice triangles in many areas of the field. Arsenals drop in attacking menace directly coincided with diaby’s removal for song. Song and denilson can both do the defensive job, but song can’t pass and neither can play the attacking role. I thought wenger should have brought on vela when diaby got injured, moved nasri back into the middle, played vela on the left, and moved bendtner on the left. Although bendtner missed a couple of chances they were created by his good movement inside the penalty area, something nasri is not quite as proficient at. I was surprised at the switch of nasri and bendtner because I though that combination was more dangerous when they freely interchanged, ratherthan shackling bendtner on the left. Overall though it was a great performance and I can’t wait for the second leg. The back 4 were excellent winning headers and cleaning up the second ball as well.

  3. Mate, maybe it’s accepted protocol that when you’re doing the statistics the home side always goes on the left, but can you include the names of the teams?

    Good blog, good analysis.

  4. I am not as pessimistic as many blogers appear to be on Arsenal chances. But according to them, Arsenal never have a chance in hell anywhere. Remember the beating we were to get get at San Siro last year? The win was never talked much about and put down to luck -the same about Arsenal win over Man U last year.

    As of Roma having a shot during the return game, I know they will dive, cheat and do all scandalous things but frankly, their form was’nt impressive
    They were outrun and appeared to be totally knackered by our midfielders runs. Beside, when you give Arsenal a chance to play we can play some good stuff.

    In the game I was impressed by Denilson and Eboue save for his horrible miss. Nassri was bossing the midfield and Diaby appeared to have room he had against Manure when we beat them at Emirates. However, our centre back are as reliable as Italians on a battlefield. We need to sort this out very very quickly.

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