Porto, what’s not being talked about. Nasri and Diaby, Eboue and Bendtner, and Walcott’s new video game persona

The Porto game was wonderful to behold.  Did you see Arsene dancing around?  I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed the second half.  Yeah sure, I wanted the third goal to ice the game, but I felt confident after the first half that the game was ours.  That’s not usual for a gooner, but we have to start believing someday.  There’s a lot to talk about this game, and the blogosphere will be rampant with cheer.  Thank goodness.  As for me, there are few things some people are not likely to talk about that I think are important: Nasri and Diaby, Ebuoe and Bendtner, and Walcott’s video game persona.

With Fab out, the focus was on my boy Nasri.  And his goal.  What can be said?  Gorgeous.  Lets not befoul it with anymore commentary.  I was too proud of him.  People knock Nasri, but he has exactly the bite many people so want from Arsenal.  He and Sol walk around eyeballing everyone and refusing to shake hands.  I like when Fab gets pumped up, but when Sol and Nasri are angry, there’s definitely more edge.  Anyway, the question was whether Nasri could take the reigns of the team with Fab gone.  Asked and answered.  In fact, in addition to the Gorgeous, he and Diaby played really really well together.  I mean, watching them play raised some interesting questions about how our team should be structured and potential new purchases.

I’m just gonna toe the line here and just say our depth was on display.  Imagine if we invested in a really strong poacher in front of the goal.  How many shots did we just lay in the box the last couple of games.  Bendtner had a fantastic game, but imagine an established first class striker (or just someone really fast).  Watching this game, top of the line strikers must be drooling at the opportunities we create.  Down south, real madrid has been disrespecting a couple of their young players; I wouldn’t mind a Higuain in the red and white.

But back to the midfield, Nasri and Diaby partnered well.  Besides the fact that they were speaking to each other all game, they moved back and forth well.  Their spacing was particularly well on.  Allowed to roam the entire field, they seemed to play both sides of the ball better.  Absent Fab the ball swung from side to side of the pitch much easier as well; nobody was looking for the push directly up the center all the time.  I’m not suggesting this look should be our standard when Fab returns.  I’m just saying it’s obvious that for us to leverage Fab, losing out on Melo was significant.  Forget our 4-3-3, Fab needs a diamond shape and we don’t have that.  My faith in Arsene is still there though, he knew what we needed and tried.  Anyway, with Diaby and Nasri playing box to box side to side, essentially a 4-1-4-1 (Arshavin and Rosicky tracked back a lot), we passed generally much better around the pitch.

Okay, enough about that, lets move on.

Eboue and Bendtner.  First off, I love Eboue, it’s obvious how important to the locker room he is.  Forget how he played at any point in time.  Nothing illustrates out how bad Ade and Toure were for the team than watching the players celebrate and watching Ebuoe pull them together.  The penalty for Bendtner and the kiss Bendnter gave him on the head said it all.  Eboue could have taken the kick, he’d earned it, but it was clear he and the team wanted Bendtner to get a hat trick.  And after Eboue struck his goal from Arshavin, he was open in sharing the credit and gathering the team, bench and all, to the flag.  I love this guy and more importantly the team loves this guy.  I mean, it’s always easy to celebrate when you’re up 4-0, but his celebrations have been consistent from day 1.  This not the team of 2008-09.  Gathering the team on the pitch at the end of the game was the crown jewel on a day he came on as a sub and showed his leadership.  Almunia had the band, but Eboue had the players.

Finally, senor Walcott cut a funny figure as a substitute.  It’s obvious that he now has “a move.”  The run down the right side, cut in on his left foot and unleash a 25-30 yard shot.  It worked against Burnley, why not try it against Porto?  The first time he did it today, I was okay.  He had a window, a small one, but it was enough for him to try to own that shot.  The second and third time were down right hysterical, but only because we were winning.  Had we been down I would have been screaming at the television.  It’s like he’s playing a video game out there and has a new move that he’s going to master buck all.  I’m all for it generally, if he develops a go to move that’s great for him and the team.  But just because you have a go to move doesn’t mean you use it all the time.  You perfect it so that you can hit it whenever the opportunity arises, even if it’s just for the smallest of moments, not just as your standard move: run, cut, shoot.  That’s called being one dimensional.  Anyway, I’m not complaining, it was just funny.

It’s good to be a gooner today.

-the student


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