Arsenal continued with their great start to the season by comfortably seeing off Portsmouth in their first game of the season at the Emirates stadium. French international Abou Diaby scored a brace as the Gunners ran out 4-1 winners against a struggling Pompey. Croatian Eduardo started a Premiership match for the first time since that unlucky St.Andrews afternoon on February 23, 2008 and the tricky Brazilian-born forward was instrumental in setting up Diaby’s and Arsenal’s first goal in the eighteenth minute. This is certainly a great news for the Emirates faithful as Eduardo is fit enough to start Premiership matches and this gives plenty of attacking options to Arsene Wenger as the season progresses.
As far as the performance against Portsmouth was concerned, the home side was at their devastating best with Cesc Fabregas, Abou Diaby and Andrei Arshavin in the thick of things feeding Robin Van Persie and Eduardo upfront. England and Pompey keeper David James was in inspired form and his heroics prevented the Gunners from repeating the opening day blitz. This was a perfect weekend result to warm up for the midweek Champions League return against Celtic. Also an ideal performance before next Saturday’s big league game against champions Manchester United at Old Trafford. One concern that remains in the Arsenal camp is the fitness of captain Cesc Fabregas. The inspirational Spaniard felt his hamstring close to the interval against Pompey and was wisely replaced by Aaron Ramsey at the start of the second half.
Arsene Wenger made it clear that his midfielder would certainly miss the Celtic tie but the Frenchman is unaware of the fact whether the hamstring is a pull or just tightness. A pull would certainly mean atleast a three-week absence for Fabregas and it is a bad news if that’s the case with crunch away fixtures coming up against both the Manchester clubs.
The manager was quoted as saying on the club’s official website, “He is not definitely out, he thinks it is not [too bad]. If it is a little pull he will be out for three weeks, if it is just tightness maybe he can get away for Wednesday. But we will see. In 48 hours we will have a better view.”
Although the Gunners lead Celtic 2-0 from last week’s inspirational performance at Parkhead, the Hoops should not be taken lightly as the SPL runners-up have already proved their prowess in front of the goal in the domestic league. Tony Mowbray’s side would not be intimidated by the size of the Emirates support but if the Gunners continue their dominant start to the season Cesc Fabregas can rest calmly on Wednesday. Aiden McGeady will be the player to watch along with Marc-Antoine Fortune as Thomas Vermaelen and William Gallas look set to continue with their inspiring last line of defence partnership.
Off the field, Arsenal Football Club has begun a process of ‘Arsenalisation’ at their new home, the Emirates stadium. The club management, in direct coordination with Arsene Wenger, has decided to recreate the history of the club that was attached with Highbury. For this Arsenalisation process to happen, the legendary French manager has asked his team to win silverwares this season. The Emirates stadium is yet to witness a genuine silverware and everyone in the club admits that trophies are important for a ground’s reputation or glamour.
Arsene Wenger was clear in the club’s approach towards ‘Arsenalisation’.
“You want to transfer the history of the Club somewhere into the walls, and create a new history with the results,” said Wenger.
“At the moment we have maybe not achieved that, not outside or on the pitch. My job and that of the team is to create it.
“Highbury had a natural soul because of all the history. We have to create history here first by winning titles but also by making the place warm so you feel the history of the Club.
“The history of this Club we left behind in a different building. But it is important that in this new place the history and the values of the Club are kept alive.”
Arsenal Club Focus
Pre-season preparations take a few hits – July 29
Gunners as prepared as they can be for Everton – August 12
Gunners gear up for vital ‘Battle of Britain’ clash – August 18
Fortuitous Gunners revel in Glasgow win – August 21