Thursday, April 01, 2010

Inter get the essential and Arsenal scrap back - Champions League Day 2

I will admit when Arsenal went down 2-0 I stopped paying attention to the fault. First, the Special One made sure of the essential against CSKA by securing the 1-0 victory. A small margin heading to Moscow but the essential is done and Inter did not concede the dreaded away goal. All this came after Mourinho took away the spot light from his squad by saying he did not like Italian football. Okay. He did preface by saying he like Inter, I would hope so since they pay him a handsome salary...not sure if this was the Special One making outlandish comments to take the pressure and attention away from his squad prior to a big match or just his massive ego that once again was unleashed on the public. I would opt for the latter. Inter should be confident heading into next weeks match, it will not be an easy trip, but their 1-0 lead is something to defend and one thing the Italians are known for is the catenaccio!

The second match was much more entertaining....for those who did not turn away after the former Inter man - Ibrahimovic got his brace on a cheeky pass and finish. After watching the first half where Almunia, yes Almunia, saved the house for Arsenal making at least 3 world class saves in a matter of minutes.

Granted he went back to his old self on the first Ibra goal where he made the cardinal sin of hesitating on the ball. Rather than hold his line he timidly went out to meet a through ball and rather than continue at full speed to cut down the ball he stopped and started retreating allowing Ibra to chip him for the first goal. The second was a lightening bolt that Lev Yashin would have been hard pressed to get a finger tip to, let alone hope to stop it.

All the credit to the rest of Arsenal for then fighting back, the insertion of Walcott paying dividends with his goal for Arsenal. One could argue that Valdes should have done better with the low shot, but that is what good goal scorers do - take their chances even if they are not the perfect shot and force the other team to defend it. Arsenal would equalize on a penalty from Cesc....which is interesting because I had always understood Wenger's policy was if you were the cause of the penalty you did not take the kick. What made that play even more pivotal was that Cesc seemed to aggravate his knee on the shot and Puyol was shown red for his foul to get the penalty. Meaning Cesc might be out for a while and Puyol will miss the return leg next week.

Arsenal deserve credit in fighting back. However the task will me monumental next week - Cesc is out (injury or not he got another yellow card meaning he is suspended), Arshavin had to come out so not sure if he can play, Gallas re-injured his leg and Arsenal while level did give up 2 dreaded away goals. At least Arsenal have a better chance than they appeared to have with 30 minutes left in the game!

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