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FC Arsenal London #2624
13/12/2007 10:32
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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Arsenal v Steaua 2:1 (2:0)


Arsenal FC hat seine perfekte Heimbilanz in der laufenden UEFA-Champions-League-Saison bewahrt, im letzten Gruppenspiel gab es einen 2:1-Sieg gegen den FC Steaua Bucureşti. Trotzdem bleibt für die Gunners nur der zweite Platz in der Gruppe H, denn Sevilla FC konnte gleichzeitig beim SK Slavia Praha gewinnen. Abou Diaby und Niklas Bendtner brachten Arsenal in der ersten Halbzeit mit 2:0 in Führung. Den Gästen gelang noch der Anschlusstreffer durch Dorel Zaharia, doch schließlich mussten sie die Gruppenphase mit nur einem einzigen Punkt beenden.

Arsenal hatte vor fünf Tagen bei Middlesbrough FC die erste Saisonniederlage in der Premier League kassiert, aber trotzdem schonte Trainer Arsène Wenger einige wichtige Spieler. Er selbst musste die Partie wegen einer Sperre von der Tribüne aus verfolgen. Es sah vor Spielbeginn also nicht schlecht aus für Steaua. Die Gastgeber legten jedoch gleich selbstbewusst los, Kolo Touré und Emmanuel Adebayor hatten die ersten Möglichkeiten.

Theo Walcott bereitete anschließend die erste Chance von Diaby vor, ehe dieser auch von Robin van Persie - einem weiteren Rückkehrer - in Szene gesetzt wurde. Der Jungstar traf jedoch nur das Außennetz. Die Gäste hatten mit dem schnellen Walcott große Probleme. Er setzte sich gegen Mihai Neşu und Ionuţ Rada durch, und sein Schuss segelte nur knapp über den Querbalken. In der achten Minute musste sich Steauas Torhüter Robinson Zapata dann zum ersten Mal geschlagen geben. Bacary Sagna schlug eine Flanke auf den kurzen Pfosten, und Diaby setzte den Ball in die Maschen.

Der Franzose wurde von seinem ersten Tor im Europapokal richtig beflügelt. Bei einem abgefälschten Schuss von Diaby musste Zapata sein ganzes Können aufbieten. Nicolae Dică bediente in der 16. Minute Adrian Neaga, doch Armand Traoré konnte ihn gerade noch stoppen. Dies sollte der einzige gefährliche Angriff der Rumänen in der ersten Halbzeit bleiben. Danach waren wieder die Gunners an der Reihe, Walcott und Van Persie verzogen nur knapp. Bendtner machte es in der 42. Minute besser, der dänische Nationalspieler ließ Zapata nach einem Diagonalpass von Van Persie keine Abwehrchance.

Die zweite Halbzeit begann weniger temporeich, Steaua kam besser ins Spiel. Nach einer Stunde scheiterten die Engländer wieder einmal an Zapata, der Kolumbianer riskierte dabei gegen Bendtner Kopf und Kragen. Der Abpraller fiel Van Persie vor die Füße, doch auch er konnte Zapata nicht bezwingen.

Steauas Trainer Marius Lăcătuş wollte frischen Wind in seine Mannschaft bringen und wechselte Romeo Surdu und Zaharia ein, und nach 68 Minuten sollten sich diese Umstellungen bezahlt machen. Nur vier Minuten nach seiner Einwechslung köpfte Zaharia den Ball nach einer Flanke von Florin Lovin über Jens Lehmann hinweg ins Netz. Kurz darauf wäre der deutsche Nationaltorhüter beinahe ein weiteres Mal geschlagen gewesen, doch Emmanuel Eboué konnte in letzter Sekunde für ihn retten. Danach parierte Zapata einen Schuss von Bendtner. Steaua wollte unbedingt den Ausgleich, der jedoch nicht mehr fallen sollte. Fünf Minuten vor dem Ende hatten die Gäste Pech, als ein Schuss von Ovidiu Petre nur ganz knapp am Kasten vorbei ging.

Arsenal: Jens Lehmann, Philippe Senderos, Armand Traore, William Gallas, Bacary Sagna (Lassana Diarra 70.), Denilson, Abou Diaby (Emmanuel Eboue 70.), Alexandre Song, Theo Walcott, Nicklas Bendtner, Robin Van Persie (Eduardo 65.)

Verwarnungen: Bendtner (Steaua 1)

Tore: 1:0 Diaby (.), 2:0 Bendtner (42.), 2:1 Zaharia (69.)

Zuschauer: 50.000

Referee: Yuri Baskakov






Re: FC Arsenal London [Re: braumi] #3349
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Barclays Premier League
Emirates Stadium

Sunday, December 16, 2007, 4pm

Arsenal
-
Chelsea



By Richard Clarke

Nothing will be decided this weekend. No trophies will be lifted, no medals handed out.

But it might feel like they should be.

On Sunday, the Premier League’s top four face each other. Manchester United go to Liverpool in the early fixture then Chelsea visit Arsenal. To be honest, on current form, there is not much between any of them.

Early season predictions of a two-horse race have proved unfounded and, if you were to assume that Liverpool would win their game in hand, then the quartet go into this weekend separated by a mere four points after 16 games.

You can see why Arsène Wenger feels this title race will be the most thrilling and open in Premier League history. And this could be its most thrilling weekend.

Hold onto your hats.

"I believe without a doubt that this season will be the most exciting year in the Premier League ever,” he said. “Since I've been here you have never had four teams as tight as this.

“It's very difficult to pick one out of the three contenders. For me all three are the same [strengths] but for different reasons. Chelsea because they have the quality, the experience and have done it. Liverpool because they have invested a lot and are keen to win it and Manchester United because they have the individual potential to score goals at any moment and have done it before.

“It is super-healthy. And this weekend, we have a good opportunity to strengthen our lead again because at least one of Liverpool and Man United will drop points, maybe both. A victory could put us in a very strong position."

Wenger will wait until the final possible moment before ruling on the injuries to Cesc Fabregas (hamstring), Alex Hleb (hamstring) and Mathieu Flamini (thigh). All three trained on Friday and afterwards the manager was upbeat about their involvement.

Robin van Persie is back after making his first Arsenal appearance in two months during the win over Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday. However Theo Walcott is out after collecting a knee injury in the same game.

Chelsea have re-grouped under Avram Grant after the departure of Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese made for wonderful newspaper copy but the side he produced favoured the functional over the beautiful. The media perception was that Grant would be the opposite. However, at present, the jury is still out on Chelsea’s move from the athletic to aesthetic football. Wenger feels we’ll know more after this match.

"I haven't seen them [under Grant] and anyway to find the real philosophy of a team you have to see them in the big games,” he said. “In the smaller game you can always dominate at home and of course you are always attacking. I think you will see more about the philosophy of Chelsea's game on Sunday."

This game will bring up the three-month anniversary of Arsenal going top of the Premier League. They ascended to the summit after a stirring London derby, a 3-1 win at Tottenham to be precise. Surely it will take performance of similar bravery to maintain their lead.

The manager dismissed the notion that this could be the critical game of campaign only to add: “But I hope we will play in decisive games this season."

Having already matched Manchester United and Liverpool, a victory on Sunday would suggest those “decisive games” are likely to involve Arsenal.

It might tell us the opponents too.




Re: FC Arsenal London [Re: braumi] #3350
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Wenger - Drogba’s boots can be filled

Barclays Premier League
Arsenal v Chelsea

By Richard Clarke

The absence of Didier Drogba will be helpful but not decisive for Arsenal at the weekend, according to Arsène Wenger.

The Ivorian striker will not be with Chelsea when they visit Emirates Stadium on Sunday after undergoing knee surgery. For the past couple of seasons Drogba has been arguably the most feared forward in the top flight and already has nine goals to his name this term.

“Personally I rate Drogba,” admitted Wenger at his pre-match press conference. “He always gave us a hard game and most of the time he was very influential.

“Drogba is a fighter until the last second in every game. I admired him especially in the Cup Final last year, where he had not the best of games but in the end he never gave up and made the difference.

“But when you can replace him with Andrei Shevchenko you are not too much in misery.”




Re: FC Arsenal London [Re: braumi] #3351
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Wenger - The fans must focus on our team not Cole

Arsenal v Chelsea


By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger has called on the Arsenal supporters to cheer his side rather than jeer Ashley Cole when Chelsea come to Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

[Linked Image]

This weekend, the England left back is set to return to his mother club for the first time since leaving for Stamford Bridge in August 2006.

Although Arsenal received William Gallas in return, the manner of Cole’s departure means he is likely to receive some barracking from sections of the crowd. Ahead of the game Wenger called for calm, suggesting that the supporters needed to a play a positive role in order to help their team.

"I want our fans to be behind our team and not to especially have resentment with Ashley Cole,” said Wenger. “He did well for the Club for as long as he was here and ideally you want everybody who has played for you to be respected.

“What is over is over and you have to take a distance with that. He has been educated here, he has done well for us and overall we want him to get a fair reception.

“Then of course the fans need to be 200 per cent behind the team. That makes a difference. In the big games your fans and your team have to be one.”

Abuse from the stands has been back in the public eye over recent weeks but Wenger wants Arsenal’s fans to set an example this weekend and when Tottenham arrive next Saturday.

"You can never guarantee it,” said the Frenchman. “How can you guarantee that every single one of 60,000 people? But usually we have never had a problem with that.

“A football game has to remain a football game and we have a responsibility in that.”




Re: FC Arsenal London [Re: braumi] #3353
15/12/2007 14:27
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'Signs look good' for Flamini, Fabregas and Hleb


Arsenal v Chelsea



By Richard Clarke

The “signs look quite good” for Arsenal’s injured midfield trio ahead of the crucial Premier League clash with Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

[Linked Image]
Mathieu Flamini (thigh), Cesc Fabregas and Alex Hleb (both hamstring) are all back in training and fighting to be fit for what could be a pivotal game in the title race. A decision will be made as late as Sunday morning.

All three collected their injuries during a run of four away games straddling the end of November and the start of December. Arsenal returned home on Wednesday against Steaua Bucharest and, in that game, were able to start Robin van Persie for the first time in two months. He suffered no ill-effects and has been named in the squad but Theo Walcott collected a knock on his knee against the Romanian side. The England winger is definitely out and, of course, question marks remain over those others.

“Who will make it, I don’t know?” said Arsène Wenger at his pre-match press conference. “We know Robin van Persie will be available. As for Mathieu Flamini, Cesc and Alex Hleb, the signs look quite good but we have to make a decision.”

The manager added that if Fabregas was passed fit he would play.

“Theo Walcott is out with a little knee problem,” the Frenchman continued. “That is a question of days and we feel he should be OK for Tuesday maybe.”




Re: FC Arsenal London [Re: braumi] #3354
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Ursprünglich gepostet von braumi


Mathieu Flamini (thigh), Cesc Fabregas and Alex Hleb (both hamstring) are all back in training and fighting to be fit for what could be a pivotal game in the title race. A decision will be made as late as Sunday morning.



Das wär wichtig wenn die 3 wieder fit werden würden. mit den 3 Kreativspielern Hleb, Fabregas und Rosicky im Mittelfeld kann Arsenal jeden schlagen




Re: FC Arsenal London [Re: braumi] #3359
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Van Persie - We’ll prove the doubters wrong

Arsenal v Chelsea



By Matt Fortune

Robin van Persie is raring to take up the baton his team-mates have carried so brilliantly in his absence.

The 24-year-old, who grabbed a first slice of competitive action in nearly two months against Steaua Bucharest on Wednesday, believes that failure is something only others are expecting.

The Gunners have silenced many of their critics since the season begun, producing some mesmeric football along the way. But despite being top of Premier League and having qualified for the Champions League after four games the doubters continue to dismiss their title credentials.

[Linked Image]

The Dutchman believes that those waiting to pounce on any slip-up are sure to be left disappointed.

“Everyone was waiting for us to fall down, but we're not going to fall down,” said Van Persie. “Of course, we are going to lose a game in the season; maybe we are going to lose two or three; we're going to have a few draws, that's normal.

“When you play so many games you're going to lose some. But we know everyone is waiting for us to lose more games, and we're going to fall down. Not at all.

“I've been at the training ground every single day and I know what those guys are capable of.”

Many had predicted that Arsenal’s demise would occur either at Anfield or when champions Manchester United visited the Emirates. It didn’t. On Sunday the Gunners face the last of the ‘Big Four’. Undefeated in 13, Chelsea are in good form but Van Persie is not worried.

“I'm not scared to face anybody,” he said. “I know my team-mates are thinking the same. Chelsea have a good side, they play a different style to us, respect to them. We play our style and I think if we play at the top of our game we can beat anybody.”




Re: FC Arsenal London [Re: braumi] #3812
16/12/2007 14:31
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Nothing will be decided this weekend. No trophies will be lifted, no medals handed out.

But it might feel like they should be.


bluebang bluebang bluebang

mann, bin geil auf 17:00 Uhr! :daumenhoc




Re: FC Arsenal London [Re: braumi] #3819
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Hamburg playmaker Rafael van der Vaart is wanted by Premier League clubs, according to the Dutchman's agent.


Van der Vaart is looking to leave Hamburg and has previously expressed a determination to join Spanish side Valencia.

His compatriot Ronald Koeman has recently been appointed coach at the Mestalla and would be keen to sign the former Ajax captain.

But while Valencia maintain an interest in the midfielder, Van der Vaart's agent Bayram Tutumlu claims there is strong interest from other clubs.


Difficult

"Now, it is very difficult for the player to join Valencia because we have important offers from other big clubs in Spain and England, but he has always loved Valencia," Tutumlu told Las Provincias.

"I have spoken with him and he said that if Valencia present an offer he will study it.

"But I know the salary being offered by president Juan Soler is very difficult to agree to."

Reports have claimed that Arsenal and Newcastle United are the two Premier League sides keeping an eye on the situation.




Re: FC Arsenal London [Re: braumi] #4088
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Match Report




Arsenal retained top spot in the Premier League with a thunderous 1-0 win over Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The only goal of the game came in first-half injury-time when Petr Cech missed a left-wing corner from Cesc Fabregas and William Gallas steered in a header against his old team.


[Linked Image]
The victory was just about deserved. Arsenal were the slicker team in the first half and weathered an almighty Chelsea storm in the second. Arsène Wenger’s side had two goals ruled out in the dying seconds — on another day both might have stood — and when the full-time whistle blew they were looking the stronger team.

However top-four games are always going to be tight and today had seen a pair of them. ‘Grand Slam’ Sunday resulted in the top two easing away from the other two.

It may be the shape of things to come.

There had been injury doubts over Cesc Fabregas, Alex Hleb and Mathieu Flamini in the build-up to this game. In the end all three started and, perhaps surprisingly, Robin van Persie was left on the bench. However it should be remembered that the Dutchman had made only a 65-minute comeback after two months out with a knee problem in the midweek win over Steaua Bucharest.

The other changes from that game were: Manuel Almunia, Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue, Emmanuel Adebayor. Only Bacary Sagna and Gallas retained their places.

Manchester United’s win at Anfield a few hours had cranked the pressure in this match a notch or two higher. That result had pushed Arsenal down into second and Wenger knew only a victory would retain the status quo.

The opening stages were perhaps too manic for the game’s own good. Fabregas’ deflected free-kick was about as good as it got for either side.

Gradually, the football took over from the frenetic fayre. In the 13th minute, Adebayor pressurised the backtracking Alex into nodding the ball over his own keeper. Fortunately for Chelsea it drifted wide.

The visitors flew up the other end and Shaun Wright-Phillips’s long-range drive forced a flying save from Almunia.

By now, Arsenal were starting to pass the ball nicely. But there was little to test Cech. Fabregas floated a free-kick just over the bar on the half-hour and then it was Almunia’s hands which were stung by a fierce long-range volley from Andrei Shevchenko.

Rosicky rippled the sidenetting shortly afterwards after darting in from the left and, significantly, seven minutes before the break John Terry limped off to be replaced by Tal Ben-Haim. The England captain had been limping since a challenge from Eboue a few minutes earlier.

Arsenal were going into the break in the ascendancy — they had enjoyed the greater possession and territory — however there had been precious little to show for it.

Or so we thought.

Deep into injury time Rosicky was robbed as he burst into the area from the left. Fabregas curled the corner to the far post, Cech missed the ball with a flailing fist and Gallas emerged to nod home.

It was a hammer blow to Chelsea after a competitive first half and they set about redressing the balance straight after the restart.

The visitors stole the initiative from the first whistle but, you sensed, did not quite know what to do with it. This is where the absence of the injured Didier Drogba was being felt. And, of course, Chelsea’s attacking only invited Arsenal to counter. They did not need a second invitation.

In the 57th minute Wright-Phillips curled a low ball across the face of goal. A couple of minutes later Almunia dived full-stretch to prevent John Obi-Mikel’s rasping drive finding the far corner.

Eboue was stretchered off after being felled in mid-flight by Joe Cole. Van Persie came in and immediately caused problems for the Chelsea defence.

To this point, the visitors had struggled to create a close-range chance. They put that right with 15 minutes left, Claudio Pizarro floated in a cross from the left, Shevchenko flicked on and an unmarked Wright-Phillips volleyed woefully wide from six yards out. A glaring miss.

It was the England midfielder’s last touch of the game. Avram Grant brought on another striker, Salomon Kalou, straight away.

The Cameroonian hammered a shot just wide with his first meaningful touch. However that effort came after Arsenal had carved out their best opportunity of the half. Rosicky robbed Joe Cole then Adebayor and Hleb combined in a sweeping move that saw Van Persie hoist his shot over the bar.

The Dutchman thought he had had slid home the killer goal with six minutes left but Adebayor’s pass to Rosicky in the build-up had been ruled offside. In the 88th minute Cech made a wonderful double save from Fabregas as Arsenal pushed forward.

Almost immediately Adebayor strode through and planted a shot home, only for referee Alan Wiley to rule he had held off his marker with a bit too much brute force.

But Chelsea still pressed and Arsenal had to thank Almunia at the death for tipping a fizzing Shevchenko free-kick just over the bar. The last kick of the game saw Fabregas fluff a relatively simple chance after being set-up by substitute Nicklas Bendtner.

The final whistle came a few seconds later. The roar with which was greeted was 50 per cent elation, 50 per cent relief.

It had been that sort of game.





Re: FC Arsenal London [Re: braumi] #4089
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Wenger: Returning players 'gave us technical stability'


Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea
Barclays Premier League
Emirates Stadium



On a good response...
"We lost at Middlesbrough and it's always important not to have another defeat, especially at home in a big game because that means straight away the confidence drops. For us it's important today to get the three points."

On the balance of the game...
"In the first half it was a bit locked, tactically, and the goal of William Gallas opened the game up and changed the game. In the second half Chelsea have thrown everything forward and on the counter-attacks we had four, fives times the opportunity to score. As long as you didn't do that, of course, you are under the threat of Chelsea scoring, which nearly happened especially I believe with Wright-Phillips and the header from Schevchenko. But overall I still feel the three points were deserved and reflect the great spirit in the side."


[Linked Image]
On the Arsenal captain...
"I feel he pops up when you need it, when you want it, and he's the leader - that's the best definition of a leader, when you need it you show the example and he did that in the last second against Man United. It shows that he is a winner because, I'm not sure if I would have jumped behind Cech because I would have thought he takes the ball, you know? And that's a real striker, they believe if a mistake happens they are there. I believe as well that Arsenal is a special club where it takes sometimes a few months to be penetrated by the spirit of the Club. I think William this season has taken that completely on board, and he's completely the leader because he represents how we want to behave."

On the title race...
"Maybe Liverpool had the biggest disappointment of the day because they played at home, and they have already dropped points at home, but they are not out of it. Nor is Chelsea because they have shown again today they have the quality. I think the spirit in the side is absolutely amazing, not everybody was at his best today because many came back from injury, they have not played for three weeks some of them. Still, it gave us a technical stability that is completely different, you know? We are confident, the confidence is there, the belief is there, I personally prefer that it remains a four horse race because it is more interesting. It makes a day like today a lot for the Premier League and, as long as it is four teams involved in it I believe that the interest for the championship is even bigger."

On facing a physical challenge...
"I believe that is where we have improved the most, be effecient, not be dominated in the fight, today we have shown great character in the fight as well. In duels, in the one-against-one, overall we were dominant on that front - it was not the case usually."

On some close decisions...
"Some were easy ones, at the first look. I believe as well the goal of Adebayor was a soft free-kick against us because I did not see a lot wrong. "

On the injury to Eboue...
"Eboue has a knee-ligament strain and we'll see how he responds in the next forty-eight hours."





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PREMIER LEAGUE: Arsenal v Chelsea 1:0 (1:0)


Ohne Torwart Jens Lehmann hat der FC Arsenal das Gipfeltreffen in der englischen Premier League gegen den FC Chelsea gewonnen. Die "Gunners" kamen zu einem 1:0 (1:0)- Erfolg. Siegtorschütze im ausverkauften Emirates-Stadion war der ehemalige Chelsea- Profi William Gallas (45. Minute).

In einem rassigen Derby setzte sich der FC Arsenal letztlich verdient vor heimischem Publikum im Emirates Stadion gegen den FC Chelsea durch. Arsenal holte sich somit die Tabellenführung mit 40 Punkten von Manchester United (39) zurück. Chelsea steht nach der Niederlage mit 34 Zählern auf dem dritten Rang.

1. Halbzeit:

Vor ausverkauftem Haus starteten die Gäste sehr verhalten und abwartend. So hatten die "Gunners" die Möglichkeit, durch schnelle Angriffe in die Spitze Druck auf das Tor von Petr Cech auszuüben. Allerdings stand die Abwehr von Chelsea gut gestaffelt, sodass die Kombinationen des Arsenal-Mittelfelds um die starken Cesc Fabregas, Aleksander Hleb und Tomas Rosicky schon im Keim erstickt wurden.

Zu Chancen kamen beide Teams im weiteren Verlauf der ersten Hälfte nur durch Fernschüsse. So Prüften Emmanuel Adebayor (12.) und Rosicky (37.) den Keeper der "Blues" aus der Distanz. Auf der anderen Seite konnte Torhüter Manuel Almunia die Weitschüsse von Shaun Wright-Phillips (14.) und Andrej Shevchenko (33.) entschärfen.

Bitter wurde es für Chelsea, als Kapitän John Terry (39.) nach einem bösen Foul von Emmanuel Eboué ausgewechselt werden musste.

Kurz vor der Pause hatte Arsenal noch einmal die Möglichkeit, durch einen Eckstoß zum Erfolg zu kommen. Fabregas flankte von links mit viel Effet in die Mitte, Cech unterlief den Ball und William Gallas (45.+2) hatte keine Probleme zum 1:0 einzunicken

2.Halbzeit:

Nach der Pause war plötzlich "Feuer" in der Partie. Verbissene Zweikämpfe, Verbalduelle und etliche Nickeligkeiten führten zu ständigen Unterbrechungen - Schiedsrichter Alan Wiley zückte für beide Teams einige Gelbe Karten. Arsenal stand insgesamt tiefer und hatte gegen die anstürmenden Gäste alle Hände voll zu tun.

John Obi Mikel (60.) bot sich die Chance den Ausgleich zu erzielen, aber Almunia faustete den Ball aus der Ecke. Wright-Philipps (75.) stand sich selbst im Weg und verzog völlig freistehend aus fünf Metern. Shevchenko (89.) schaffte es ebenfalls nicht, den nicht immer ganz sicher wirkenden Almunia zu überwinden.

Durch Konter kamen aber auch die Gastgeber immer wieder gefährlich vor das Chelsea-Gehäuse. Der Ball zappelte auch zweimal im Netz, doch sowohl der eingewechselte Robin van Persie (85.) als auch Adebayor (90.) wurden vom Unparteiischen zurückgepfiffen.

Spieler des Spiels:

Ausgerechnet der Ex-Chelsea-Akteur William Gallas erzielte den Siegtreffer, räumte in der Innenverteidigung konsequent alles ab und bewies seine Führungsqualitäten.

Arsenal: Manuel Almunia, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy, William Gallas, Bacary Sagna, Emmanuel Eboue (Robin Van Persie 69.), Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky, Alexander Hleb (Gilberto 78.), Emmanuel Adebayor (Nicklas Bendtner 90.)

Verwarnungen: Adebayor, Flamini, Eboue (Chel$ski 5)

Tor: 1:0 Gallas (45. +2)

Referee: A. Wiley




Re: FC Arsenal London [Re: braumi] #4158
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Flamini - Our self-belief is just growing and growing



Mathieu Flamini feels Arsenal’s belief in their title-winning credentials is growing all the time.

The midfield dynamo helped Arsène Wenger’s side to a dramatic 1-0 win over Chelsea at Emirates Stadium. It was a major fillip for Arsenal after last week’s defeat at Middlesbrough, it also sent them back to the top of the table after Manchester United’s victory at Liverpool on Sunday had seen them temporarily takeover. Flamini feels they can stay there.

“Since the start [of the season] we have believed we can do it,” he said. “And we get more belief all the time. This win over Chelsea showed we can beat the big teams in England.

“It was a very difficult game, but we knew that before. We needed to be strong and we knew we would have a chance to score. We controlled the game even if, at the end, they had a few chances.

“Chelsea are a strong team and defend well. We were trying to play our game, but had to be very strong first. If you do not win the fight in this kind of game, you cannot play your football. We scored just before half-time and after that tried to control the game.”


[Linked Image] The win means Arsenal have now been top of the Premier League for three months. In Flamini’s eyes, they have the strength and spirit to cope with the rigours of a title-winning campaign.

“Man United had won again, so we had to win,” he said. “It was important to stay in the title race. We’d lost against Boro because maybe we were a bit tired. Everybody else thought we could not do it today, but we did it because we were strong.

“We had proven against Villa and in other games away [that we could fight], and we did it again today. We won the battles and at the end we played our own game. The team spirit was fantastic again and when you see that on the pitch, you believe we can win every game.”





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bluebang bluebang bluebang bluebang




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Gallas - We gave the perfect response against Chelsea


Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea


For William Gallas, Sunday's victory against Chelsea was more about getting back on track than getting one over his old mates.

The Arsenal captain has a happy knack of popping up with vital goals and he did the trick again in first-half stoppage time at Emirates Stadium, capitalising on Petr Cech's error to nod the ball into an unguarded net.

[Linked Image]

Gallas' header clinched Arsenal's first win over Chelsea since February 2004 and restored Arsène Wenger's side to the top of the Premier League table. As far as their matchwinner is concerned, it was the perfect response to last weekend's poor performance at Middlesbrough.

"It was really important to win that game," said Gallas. "It was not easy for us because we were playing against a good team. Chelsea were very strong but at the end we took the three points and we are still at the top.

"I think in the first half we played well - one and two-touch like before. After the games against Newcastle and Mddlesbrough it was very important for us to play how we play normally. And I think tonight was OK.

"In the second half we did not play the same way but we defended very well and all the players stayed very compact. Chelsea tried to score. They pushed very high. It was not easy but I said congratulations to the players because they fight for 90 minutes.

"It was not easy for me playing against my ex-team. You are not the same because I spent six years there and it was a little bit strange for me but it was very important for me to try to play well. Today I did not think I played my best football. I have to play for the team and not myself."

While Chelsea's fans trooped out at one end of the ground, their former favourite celebrated in style at the other end. Gallas is quick to deflect any personal glory onto his team-mates but, equally, he knows exactly how much victories like this mean to the Arsenal fans.

"I went to see my family and my friends because they are in a box and I went to see the fans as well," explained Gallas. "You have to give your maximum for them because they want to see us all the time winning trophies. You have to remember that.

"Now I am 30 years old I understand more the fans and you have to show your enjoyment on the pitch and fight, fight, fight and play some good football.

"When the victory is there, everybody is happy. They can now go back home and enjoy it. Maybe drink some beer. For the players it is the same. I will go back home now and will be happy to be with my wife and my kids. I don't drink. I will drink at the end of the season. That is my new rule."

If Gallas maintains his mantle as Arsenal's matchwinner, he could be drinking out of the Premier League trophy come May.





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'His signing looks like a good bit of business'


Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal



From seven wins in a row to one win in seven - what's gone wrong at Blackburn? Mark Hughes' side have a well-deserved reputation for being hard to beat but something must be up when you're shipping five goals at Wigan and four at home to Aston Villa.

Never mind. If anything can fire up this faltering Blackburn side, it's the visit of Arsenal. Rovers always make life tough for the Gunners at Ewood Park and tonight they will entertain the Premier League pacesetters for the fourth time in this calendar year. Three tight, tense encounters have spawned a win apiece plus a draw - expect another close call when the sides lock horns in the Carling Cup.

We spoke to Andy Neild of the Lancashire Evening Telegraph to get a Blackburn perspective ahead of the Quarter-Final tie. Read on for his explanation of Blackburn's recent problems, the impact of new boy Roque Santa Cruz, the need to freshen up the squad in January and the three previous meetings at Ewood Park in 2007.

THE STORY SO FAR
"They ran into a tough run of fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester United. They picked up a few draws and lost their winning sequence. Since then they have struggled a little bit. They had a run of games in which you'd expect them to pick up points but they lost four, including two at home. One or two key players have lost a little bit of form, the likes of Ryan Nelsen, Chris Samba and Stephen Warnock, who were all very influential earlier in the season. That has disrupted the team a little bit and Blackburn have lost the fluency they had a couple of months ago.

"Mark Hughes prides himself on keeping things nice and tight at the back and they were achieving that earlier in the season - Nelsen and Samba looked a good combination. But for whatever reason both players are struggling and Rovers have shipped some soft goals, especially from set pieces."

MAN OF THE MOMENT
"Roque Santa Cruz. He came in during the summer, a bargain signing from Bayern Munich at £3.8 million which is looking like good business at the minute. He had a bit of a spell when he stopped scoring but he returned to form on Saturday with a hat-trick, albeit in a losing cause at Wigan."

NEW FACES
"I think someone will come in when the transfer window opens. Hughes will probably want to freshen the squad up a bit with one or two new faces but he will have to scour for bargains unless he was to cash in on one of his star players. I do expect a bit of movement in the window just to keep everyone on their toes and freshen things up.

"They possibly need a bit more creativity in midfield. Tugay has performed well again this season but he is 37 now and is coming towards the end of his career. This might be his last season. If there was one area where they are looking to invest some money it would be probably be a creative midfielder to play in the middle of the park."

TALKING TACTICS
"I think Hughes will have them fired up because he was desperately disappointed with their performance on Saturday, particularly in the first half when Rovers were 3-0 down after 37 minutes. He came out afterwards and said the first half was 'unacceptable', which is strong language from Hughes - he doesn't use those terms lightly. I think he'll make a couple of changes, try to shake things up a little and maybe give one or two of the fringe players a chance to show what they could do.

"They have an excellent record in the cup competitions since Hughes came to the club. He always tends to pick a fairly strong team, he doesn't make wholesale changes generally speaking. I think they've reached three semi-finals in his time at the club, in the FA Cup twice and the Carling Cup once. Hughes will be determined to make progress in this competition if he possibly can."

IMPRESSIONS OF ARSENAL
"I suppose the one game Rovers fans will pick out is the FA Cup replay at the start of the year when Benni McCarthy came off the bench and scored a wonderful goal in injury time to give Blackburn a 1-0 win. That was probably the highlight of the calendar year so far. They were comfortably beaten in the League, a cracking goal from Thierry Henry that day. And then in the League earlier this season Blackburn were the first team to take points off Arsenal. That was quite a feisty encounter, a few words were exchanged afterwards. They always tend to be incident-packed games between these two clubs, there is quite a bit of passion on view, and I'm sure Tuesday will be the same.

"I think Arsenal have surprised everyone. I don't think many people were tipping them to be title contenders at the start of the season having lost Henry. But their young players have matured very quickly, they have really found their feet at Premier League level and they deservedly sit at the top of the table. Arsenal play some exceptional stuff, they are good to watch and they play the game the right way. I think they have had a cracking season so far."





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Arsenal announce squad for Carling Cup


Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal



Arsène Wenger has announced his 16-man squad for tonight's Carling Cup Quarter-final tie with Blackburn Rovers.

The manager has rung the changes with the squad containing just two players involved in Sunday's win over Chelsea. Philippe Senderos was an unused substitute and Nicklas Bendtner was a 90th minute replacement for Emmanuel Adebayor.

Please note that Theo Walcott pulled out of tonight's squad after waking up this morning and feeling unwell.

2 Abou DIABY (Age 21)
6 Philippe SENDEROS (Age 22)
8 Lassana DIARRA (Age 22)
9 EDUARDO (Age 24)
15 DENILSON (Age 19)
17 Alex SONG (Age 20)
21 Lukasz FABIANSKI (GK) (Age 22)
26 Nicklas BENDTNER (Age 19)
30 Armand TRAORE (Age 18)
31 Justin HOYTE (Age 22)
34 Kieran GIBBS (Age 18)
36 Mark RANDALL (Age 18)
40 Vito MANNONE (GK) (Age 19)
41 Gavin HOYTE (Age 17)
42 Fran MERIDA (Age 17)
43 Nacer BARAZITE (Age 17)





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Wenger: ‘Traore’s an adult in football’


Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal


Armand Traore has become a “different person” as well as a different player in the last 12 months.

The 18-year-old left back was the emerging star of the Carling Cup run last season. He featured in every game and was Arsenal’s youngest player to start the Final against Chelsea.

Last week, 10 months on from that match, Traore made his second Champions League start in the 2-1 win over Steaua Bucharest. It is a measure of the giant strides he has made.

“Armand has gone from a useful boy to nearly an adult in football,” said Arsène Wenger. “I still think he has 10-15 per cent to grow experience-wise and to be completely ready for the Premier League but I wouldn’t be scared to play him. He has made so much improvement. He has matured his behaviour his attitude in training and he is completely a different person.

“I hope and wish he goes back to the Final this season and I believe he has a good opportunity if he does well at Blackburn. We have made such a big impact in this competition that I felt they were hard done by in the Final. I would like this team to come back and win the Cup.”





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Arsène Wenger's touchline ban is settled



Arsène Wenger will be allowed back on the touchline when Arsenal resume Champions League duty in the New Year.

[Linked Image]

The Frenchman was given a one-game ban after being sent from the dug-out against Sevilla last month. He was forced to sit in the stand for the final Group H game against Steaua Bucharest on December 12.





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Denilson - We're ready for the physical battle


Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal


Talent is nothing without experience. Thankfully Denilson has bags of the first and is picking up plenty of the second.

The young Brazilian was influential in the run to the Carling Cup final last season, and has scored twice in the tournament this time around.

Seemingly adding to his reputation by the minute, the 19-year-old travels to Blackburn for what is sure to be a tempestuous Quarter-Final.

Despite a run of just one win in seven, Mark Hughes' charges are a formidable hurdle to overcome. Denilson though believes Arsenal are capable of surpassing their Lancastrian opponents.

[Linked Image]

"For me Tuesday will be a close game," said Denilson. "Blackburn is a big team but of course so is Arsenal and it is a great opportunity for us to play in a big game.

"Yes Blackburn will be physical but every team in England is strong in the battle. With this young team it is not a problem for us because we know it will happen.

"In the Carling Cup last season I grew as a player with the experience I got. The physical side of our game has improved. In training all the time, in the games and with the players we go the gym - that is very important for us.

"Now it is possible for all this team, who is ready and focused, to reach the final and win."





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Match Report


Blackburn Rovers - Arsenal

Opportunity knocks loudly for Arsenal at Blackburn this evening and Arsène Wenger expects his young side to answer the call.

For the fifth season in succession the Frenchman’s blended side of squad players and emerging talent has reached the Quarter-Finals of the Carling Cup. The likes of Gael Clichy, Emmanuel Eboue, Robin van Persie, Manuel Almunia and Mathieu Flamini may be first-team regulars now but not so long ago they were ‘wannabes’ who were cutting their teeth in this competition.

Tonight, Lassana Diarra, Armand Traore, Lukasz Fabianski, Eduardo, Nicklas Bendtner and others will try and make a similar journey in Wenger’s estimations.

It would be wrong to suggest it is not the only reason for Arsenal’s improvement this term, but surely it is no coincidence that the Club’s best title bid in four seasons has come hot on the heels of that appearance in the Carling Cup Final back in February.

You could argue that the strength of the squad across all competitions has been built on the foundations of this competition. And Wenger sees the qualified success of the Carling Cup in recent seasons continuing this term - despite the task awaiting them at Ewood Park.

“The Carling Cup is more a game of the squad because we have decided to go for every single trophy this season,” he said. “We use the competition for our players to grow up but also to show they are good enough to play in the Champions League and the Premier League.

“It is fantastic is to see these players respond under the pressure of Premier League teams. You can detect who is ready and who is not ready.

“But, as always, my expectation tonight is to qualify and go into the Semi-Finals. We want to come back as well as we did last year [in this competition] and it is a good opportunity for my squad to show the strength of the players who didn’t play against Chelsea on Sunday. I believe in them extremely and it is good for them to show me ‘we knock at the door and we want to play in the first-team’.”

As usual, Wenger’s squad for Ewood Park bore little relationship to the 16 that represented the Club in the previous Premier League game. However, as a testament to their burgeoning squad strength, the starting XI this evening could be not far removed from the one that beat Steaua Bucharest 2-1 last Wednesday, though Theo Walcott will be missing after waking up this morning feeling unwell.

Nicklas Bendtner and Eduardo are likely to be paired up front while Diarra and Denilson, scorer of a long-range cracker in each of the two Carling Cup ties so far this season, should patrol central midfield.

Lukasz Fabianski will get another chance in goal. However, at 22-years-old with six international caps and Polish League winners’ medal to his name, the former Legia Warsaw stopper is more advanced than many of his team-mates this evening.

“He is a very impressive keeper with tremendous qualities,” said Wenger. “I like his intelligence, his physical attributes and his agility. He is a very impressive goalkeeper. For me he does already [challenge for a first-team place] because the other keepers practice with him and they see his quality.”





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Carling Cup Q/F


Blackburn Rovers: Santa Cruz 41, 59


Arsena: Diaby 6, Eduardo 29, 105


Eduardo scored a dramatic extra-time winner as 10-man Arsenal won a Carling Cup thriller at Ewood Park.

The young Gunners led Blackburn by two goals after a first-half masterclass, Abou Diaby firing them ahead after six minutes and Eduardo doubling the advantage just before the half-hour mark. Indeed, Arsenal would have been out of sight had Nicklas Bendtner's shot dipped just below the crossbar rather than against it.

Instead, Blackburn were thrown a lifeline when Roque Santa Cruz poked a low cross past Lukasz Fabianski four minutes before the break. The same man headed an equaliser after an hour and, when Denilson was sent off after an altercation with Robbie Savage, the odds seemed stacked against Arsenal.

But yet again, Arsene Wenger's young players showed their character as well as their class. They resisted everything Rovers threw at them and then snatched a winner in the first half of extra time, Eduardo scoring his second with a clinical finish after Alex Song's driving run from defence.

[Linked Image]

This incredible win was Arsenal's ninth in five seasons against top-flight opposition in the Carling Cup. More importantly, it booked their place in the Semi-Finals for a third successive season. After this gutsy display on a freezing Lancashire night, few will bet against them lining up the Club's first Wembley showpiece.

Wenger would probably have changed his entire starting line-up even if tonight's fixture had not fallen two days after the visit of Chelsea. In the event, the big team news was the presence of Mark Randall. The 18-year-old Englishman was handed his first senior start on the right of midfield after Theo Walcott's late withdrawal from the squad through illness. The starting XI had an average age of just over 20; five teenagers occupied the bench.

Blackburn manager Mark Hughes dropped Benni McCarthy to the bench after their 5-3 weekend defeat at Wigan but Rovers were virtually at full strength. On paper it looked a stern test for Arsenal against a side whose 'blood and thunder' approach had ruffled their feathers in the past. In reality Arsenal gave their hosts a first-half football lesson.

The visitors were instantly into their groove and made the breakthrough after just six minutes. Randall picked out Bendtner with a clever pass in the right-hand channel and the Dane's precise cross picked out Diaby's run into the box. The Frenchman stubbed his shot into the ground and the ball looped over Brad Friedel and into the net. First blood to Arsenal.

The goal stunned Rovers and they were almost knocked cold three minutes later. Bendtner collected the ball 25 yards out and raced unchallenged into the left-hand side of the area. As a defender came across the Dane opened up his body and curled a sumptuous effort over Friedel and against the crossbar. So unlucky.

The masterclass continued. With Lassana Diarra and Denilson bossing midfield, Diaby orchestrating play from the left and Eduardo linking up well with Bendtner, Arsenal kept Rovers at arm's length. A second goal looked on the cards and it so nearly came after 19 minutes. Diaby played a cute pass into the box with the outside of his foot but Samba slid in to divert the ball behind for a corner as Eduardo lurked with intent.

Slowly, Rovers edged their way into the game. Bentley, probably the best player on the pitch who isn't currently on Arsenal's books, had a sighter with a long-range free-kick. Then David Dunn was first to a half-cleared cross, stepped inside a tackle and shot low towards the corner. Fabianski plunged to his left to push the ball aside. Seconds later Fabianski got across well to hold Bentley's effort down by his near post.

That augured well for the home side but no sooner had they belatedly joined the game, Blackburn fell two behind. Bendtner found space 25 yards from goal on the right and slid a pass through towards Eduardo. Samba should really have dealt with it but the Rovers defender missed his clearance and Eduardo placed the ball past Friedel.

You sensed that a two-goal half-time lead would leave Rovers with too much to do, given how well Arsenal were passing and moving. But the hosts were thrown a lifeline four minutes before the break. Dunn found Matt Derbyshire on the right and he curled in a fine low cross. Santa Cruz did the rest, poking the ball past Fabianksi from close range.

It was the perfect filip for Blackburn and they maintained their momentum after the break. Denilson and Diarra, afforded so much space to strut their stuff in the first half-hour, were closed down quicker. Traore and Justin Hoyte, supplementing the Arsenal attack before the break, were pushed back. Rovers were in the ascendancy.

They nearly equalised two minutes into the half when Robbie Savage, a passenger until then, lifted a pass over the visitors' defence and into Santa Cruz's path. Fabianski was already at the edge of his area and decided to stay put. It was the right decision - he got a hand on the striker's shot and, although the ball bounced off Fabianski and back towards Santa Cruz, Song was now on hand to hoik the ball clear.

But the danger had not passed. Song glanced a defensive header just wide from a right-wing cross and then Bendtner headed just over his own crossbar after a wicked delivery from Bentley, 30 yards out and slightly in from the left-hand touchline. The former Arsenal man created the equaliser from an identical position just before the hour mark. This time Santa Cruz was first to the curling free-kick and Fabianski was given no chance.

The momentum was with the home side but Arsenal still had their chances, particularly on the counter-attack. Eduardo broke on the right and picked out Denilson's run through the centre. He didn't have the pace to get beyond Ryan Nelsen but checked back and found Bendtner racing towards the box on the left. The Dane cut inside and shot low, but his effort was blocked.

With 14 minutes left Denilson turned provider again, swinging in a left-wing free-kick at pace. Senderos just failed to connect at the near post and Friedel gathered gratefully. Then Traore got forward to fire in a cross from the same flank; Eduardo could not get his head on it and the hosts breathed a sigh of relief.

Santa Cruz, scorer of a hat-trick at the weekend, almost completed another treble with three minutes of normal time remaining but missed his kick as the ball span loose across the box. Then Arsenal's chances receded when Denilson, already booked, was sent off after clashing with Savage.

A dislocated shoulder suffered by substitute Nacer Barazite - making only his second appearance for Arsenal - took up much of the first period of extra time. It also sent the game into a lull and the visitors used up a number of uneventful minutes before a clinical attack gave them an unlikely lead.

Song was the instigator, collecting the ball on the halfway line and jinking past two challenges before opting to drive forward instead of playing the obvious square pass. Song picked out Eduardo's run with a precise through-ball and the Croatian did the rest, firing wide of Friedel. Arsenal had just under 20 minutes to hold on..

Another Song-led break saw Bendtner try and sneak in but he was denied by Friedel, racing out to gather the ball as it was played into the box by Eduardo. Then Rovers cranked up the pressure again and went close when Morten Gamst Pedersen's free kick flew just wide.

Benni McCarthy fired wide after finding space in the area and Rovers continued to threaten from set-pieces, while Pedersen lashed a shot off target when well placed. Then Samba headed against the post with a minute to go while Fabianski was forced to palm the ball away from under his crossbar with even Friedel joining the fray.

It was heart-stopping stuff, but Arsenal held out heroically. They have had some good times in the Carling Cup, but perhaps none quite as impressive as this. Wenger's boys are one step from Wembley.


Arsenal

Lukasz Fabianski
Philippe Senderos
Justin Hoyte
Armand Traore
Abou Diaby
Denilson
Mark Randall
Nacer Barazite 80
Alexandre Song
Lassana Diarra
Nicklas Bendtner
Eduardo
Kieran Gibbs 116
Subs not used
Vito Mannone
Gavin Hoyte


Blackburn Rovers

Brad Friedel
Christopher Samba
Stephen Warnock
Zurab Khizanishvili 120
Ryan Nelsen
David DunnAaron Mokoena 105
Robbie Savage
Steven Reid
Morten Pedersen
David Bentley
Matt Derbyshire
Benni McCarthy 90
Roque Santa Cruz
Subs not used
Jason Brown
Jason Roberts

Zuletzt bearbeitet von braumi; 19/12/2007 07:51.



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Wenger: 'The quality of these players is unquestionable'



Blackburn Rovers 2-3 Arsenal




on an incredible Carling Cup tie ...
"It was a great game. We dominated football-wise in the first half, playing our combination game. We were technically very good, very agile. But just before half-time Blackburn came back to 2-1, that gave them belief that they could come back in the second half. I felt that the game was more physical in the second half, we didn't get our game going so much and on a set piece they came back to 2-2. From then on it was more a mental test and we stood up to it."

on Denilson's sending-off...
"I think Denilson lost his nerves a little bit on the tackle, I will not say anything against the red card."

on the quality of his young players...
"They are all good Premier League players, you know? Their quality is not questionable. The only thing you could question is whether such a young side can last through the whole season. But quality-wise there is no problem."

on injuries...
"Nacer Barazite got a dislocated shoulder. The others have tired legs."





Re: FC Arsenal London [Re: braumi] #4724
19/12/2007 13:57
19/12/2007 13:57
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Senderos - The attitude was fantastic


Philippe Senderos was the proud captain of Arsenal's gutsy Carling Cup side at Ewood Park on Tuesday night. The Swiss defender led by example as the young Gunners shrugged off a Blackburn fightback and Denilson's red card to snatch victory in extra time.

[Linked Image]

Afterwards Philippe spoke exclusively to Arsenal TV Online. He talked about:

why Arsenal deserved their victory
the character of the young players
the mental test of losing a two-goal lead
why he believed they could win with 10 men
the mental test of losing a two-goal lead
captaining the side
being one of the oldest in the team




Re: FC Arsenal London [Re: braumi] #4725
19/12/2007 13:57
19/12/2007 13:57
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,017
i am from AUSTRIA
braumi Offline OP
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Wenger - We're through, now let's finish the job


Even Arsenal's most optimistic fans might have been bracing themselves for defeat on Tuesday night - but Arsène Wenger wasn't.

The young Gunners, with an average age of 20, squandered a two-goal lead against Blackburn and looked to be heading for the Carling Cup exit after losing Denilson to a red card and Nacer Barazite to a dislocated shoulder.

Instead, Arsenal dug deeper than ever to snatch a thrilling 3-2 victory in extra time, courtesy of Eduardo's clinical finish. A third successive Semi-Final awaits them in the New Year.

So was Wenger surprised by his team's incredible show of character? Not at all. "I believe very strongly in this team and I am not surprised," said the Frenchman afterwards.

"I am very happy because today it was more the physical and the mental test during a big part of the game and they stood up to it. After we were down to 10 men it was a mental test and we found the resources to score the goal and win the tie.

"Now we want to finish the job. We got a taste of the Final last year and now we are in the Semi-Final again so that shows that it was not a coincidence last year.

"We will have two big games now and it will cost a lot of energy. We will see who we get. Last year we got Tottenham and it won't be a surprise if we get them again."





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