A highly entertaining game in which we played for more than 40mins with 10 men and still came away with a comfortable 3-1 victory against a decent Pompey side. We got off to a great start when David James decided to come for a ball he was never ever going to get and proceeded to take out Van Perise in the box. Adebayor calmy despatched the resulting penalty for his first Premiership goal of the season. 1-0 to the Arsenal.
Arsenal continued to press Portsmouth, Hleb and Rosicky in particular were working well on the flanks while fullbacks Clichy and Flamini were overlapping at every opportunity. Just before half time Rosicky whipped in a corner which Gilberto nodded on and the resulting deflection fell in front of Fabregas who span on a six pence and buried it in the back of the net. Thats 2 goals & 2 assists in 4 Premiership games for the young spaniard.
The start of the 2nd half was not quite what we were hoping for after a great first half performance. Referee Mark Halsey gave a straight red to Senderos after he was adjudged to have pulled Kanu down just outside the box as the last man. Senderos was caught the wrong side of Kanu as he tried playing him offside only for Toure to keep him on. You could argue whether it was Toures fault for keeping him onside, but I think Senderos had a better view of the situation and should not of tried playing offside when it was on the blind side of Toure.
That said, he was unlucky to get sent off. There was minimal contact to say the very least and Phillipe looked genuinely gutted at being sent to the changing rooms. You had to feel for the man. He was having a very solid game up to that point and now it looks as though Gilberto will have to deputise at that back while he serves his suspension, with Gallas out injured and Djourou on loan to Birmingham.
10 men didn’t seem to stop us playing though. It galvanised the team with Gilberto moving to centre back and our midfield becoming a tight three. Within 10minutes we were 3-0 up. With the Pompey defence asleep and some quick thinking from Fabregas, Rosicky was left to fire a shot between the legs of Johnson and under David James. If I was Harry Redknapp, I would firstly slap myself for having a son as cretinous as Jamie, then as quickly have serious words with my defence for that goal. It was shocking defending to say the least.
Next up was one of the flukiest and bizarre goals you will see this season. A decent ball was whipped in by some Portsmouth player only for Kanu to try and flick it into the goal. He managed just that, but not before he flicked it against his standing foot and it deflected straight into the corner of the net. Very random.
We didn’t panic though and just kept control and our passing game flowing with everyone working that much harder to fill the gaps. Flamini and and Clichy put in massive performances in particular. Is Flamini just about the best utility man there is out there? Fabregas dictated play from the middle, controlling tempo and still finding time to support attack. Rosicky had one of his best peformances in an Arsenal shirt, looking dangerous throughout and linking up well with Clichy aswell as working back to help out too. Lets hope he can keep fit for a while. Double D of Denilson and Diaby soon arrived on the pitch to sure things up and replace tired legs and we could of made it 4 or 5 with some fantastic passages of play. Diaby in particular was involved in some outrageous skill and nearly popped the ball with a ferocious drive that went just over the bar late on.
Overall a very encouraging performance, with Sp*rs next up lets hope this form continues and there are no injuries from the international break.