Thursday, 16 September 2010

Something To Braga About

At last I have returned from my Spanish adventure, and have had a lot of catching up to do in the world of the internet. My Browns lost the season opener (not much of a surprise), my Indians have already decided where they're going on holiday as they are just going through the motions now, and the Buckeyes are 2-0 with wins over Marshall and Miami. Ohio State football is my new passion this year, as I have yet to really get into the college game, so I will just refer to them as THE Buckeyes, as they are not yet MY Buckeyes (give it some more time and devotion though).

However, my Arsenal were kind enough to wait for me to get home before they started their Champions League campaign, against Portuguese side S.C. Braga. I did miss the weekend game against Bolton, but I caught the highlights on Match of the Day and that was satisfactory enough for me considering I was on holiday. But I was lucky enough to get home just in time for last night's game, and I'm extremely glad I was able to see it. I was pretty confident ahead of the match, we usually seem to do well in the group stage of the CL, especially at home. My confidence was rewarded in the end thanks to a dominating performance and a thumping 6-0 victory. I won't bother giving a match review as you can everything you need to know right here. But I will share a few thoughts and feelings on what I saw; I'll try to be brief!

Fabregas was magnificent as always. His penalty was very well taken, and his header was a nice finish also (it's always nice to see a midfielder like him score a goal with his head - it just doesn't look like it should happen). His passing was exemplary and yet again he proved how valuable he really is to us. From what I saw against Bolton, Cesc was at his play-making best as it looked like he had a big part to play in all four goals that day. Against Braga last night, he carried on his brilliance from the weekend and he completely ran the show. Arshavin continued his good start to the season as well; he looked dangerous on the ball, took his goal well, and apart from a few wayward passes the little Russian put in a fine display. I was glad to see Chamakh get another goal for himself at the Emirates, after a some nifty but very odd work from Jack Wilshere (like a back-heel pass, but with his standing foot... it was really weird). Carlos Vela, the "king of the chip shot", also played well when he came on for Chamakh. His first goal, which of course was a chip over the keeper, was beautiful and his second goal was finished nicely from a pretty tight angle. I am still unsure if young Carlos will fulfil his potential - the hype surrounding him a couple of years ago was pretty high, with many fans (high expectations attached) itching to see him in the red and white. Vela has struggled so far in his still-early Arsenal career, but I don't think this can be entirely blamed on his performances alone. I believe that Wenger has yet to give him a real chance to show off his stuff, and I don't really know why. When we had a few strikers out with injury a season or two ago, Wenger seemed reluctant to hand Vela a place in the starting eleven on a regular basis, and when he did Vela was stuck up front alone against teams like Stoke and Hull, who would kick the crap out of the young Mexican. However, so far Vela has started this new season impressively and if he keeps scoring goals in the minutes he's given, I hope Wenger will provide Carlos with more opportunities, not just 10 minute cameos in games with lost causes or blowouts. Keep on trucking Vela, I'd like nothing more than to see you become an Arsenal great.

All in all, last night's win was the beautiful game at it's best, and an Arsenal win with plenty of goals never fails to put a smile on my face. Now that the Indians' season is practically over, the posts here on Escape To Forest City will start to take on a dominant Arsenal theme (didn't they already?). If I can get down to Twerton Park a few times this year I will also write some stuff about Bath City, so this blog will end up being pretty football filled. I will still be writing about the Browns, but if they are too hideous to watch, I may end up avoiding them like the plague, and we'll see how the Cavs get on too in the post-LBJ era. So apologies to any of my readers who are not interested in the Arsenal stuff... maybe you'll learn to love it, with time... right?

Thanks for reading.

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