Arsenal 2 – 0 Middlesbrough: Nice starter, now for the main course

In Arsenal FC, Premier League on April 27, 2009 by Highbury N5 Editor

A beautiful, sunny Ashburton Grove saw Arsenal take a stroll in the sunshine and sweep aside ‘Boro to secure fourth place and warm up nicely for the Manc game on Wednesday, Denilson, Gibbs and Fabregas in particular were fabulous.

Arsenal started well, slick passing and probing the Boro back line and all day long superb passes split Boro in half, Denilson, Fabregas, Nasri and Arshavin being the stand out players.

The move for the first goal was superb, the ball eventually came to Fabregas on the edge of the area, arriving late to finish brilliantly into the bottom corner. His first goal since the lifesaver at Sunderland and it will hopefully be the first of a few more in the final games of the season. It was a brilliant end to a vintage Arsenal move, the sort of thing you could watch a million times over. Any offside claims over Bendtner are total and utter crap because he was in no way interfering with play, the keeper had a clear view of the ball the entire time, he just couldn’t save it.

Arsenal never really shifted out of first gear but they didn’t need to for the entire duration of the game, calm passing making sure Boro didn’t get much of the possession and when Almunia was called on he was a rock, denying Aliadiere in a 1 on 1 and a Downing pile-driver. Up front Boro offered very little and Djourou was given a bit of match-time coming on at half time for Silvestre.

The game was over after Fabregas latched on to a fantastic Eboue through ball, rounded the onrushing keeper and squeezed home a lovely finish at the near post. It was clinical and classy in equal measure, the composure he showed was very impressive as well. The little burst of pace is not something we see too often from our captain but it showed he can actually match players for speed.

After that we just had the formalities of making sure we didn’t let Boro into it and it also gave us the opportunity to give Fabregas and Walcott a rest ahead of the big game in the week. Adebayor came on and looked lively but missing his first touch somewhat, we are going to need two big performances from him against the Mancs.

There were no bad performances today, it was really good to see Denilson back on form with a quietly effective display and the occasional raking ball picking out players, he complemented Fabregas brilliantly and allowed him to fourage forward like he could with Flamini by his side last season. I do like Denilson, he has all the ingredients to be a superb player and he works very hard. I do think he has just been a but tired recently, maybe mentally tired.

Eboue had a good performance at right back, alongside the sturdy Kolo and Silvestre/Djourou who didn’t have much to do, Gibbs was fantastic going forward once again. Hes even faster than Clichy.

Nasri was operating a little deeper than normal I thought but had one good effort on goal that forced the keeper into a decent save…he was quiet but effective. Arshavin was brilliant, another assist, his seventh of the season, and series of great passes. We have a right star here and he is here to stay. The signing of the season without a doubt.

All in all, a very good performance today that has set us up well for the Manc game. Confidence will be high again after a defeat and a draw but a record you might have not expected us to break this season has been broken… our 8th home clean sheet in a row has broken a 100 year old club record, very impressive considering the injuries we have had.

A beautiful day all round.

’til tomorrow.


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