Little Mozart conducted an Arsenal symphony in the second-half tonight
Well that is a big relief. I was reading a lot of idiotic nonsense from individuals on forums stating their desire for Arsenal to lose tonight as it would push Arsene Wenger closer to the exit door. I want Wenger gone as much as anyone, but I don't understand how anyone can claim to be an Arsenal supporter and wish them to lose any game. As far as I'm concerned those people can fuck off. Arsenal are through and I'm bloody ecstatic about it. I fully expected us to go out tonight and the players turned it around with a brilliant second-half effort.
Before I get to the good stuff I've got to mention the first-half tactics that seriously hamstrung the team. For some reason Wenger decided to play Song as an advanced midfielder. When I saw the line-up I was pleased to see both Song and Frimpong in the side as I expected us to get some proper protection for the back-four. Instead we had Song constantly about twenty yards too high up the pitch. When Udinese scored Frimpong stepped out to make a tackle and found himself stranded, without support, and Djourou then lost Di Natale. It was completely tactically inept from the Manager. If Song wasn't going to play alongside Frimpong then Arshavin or Rosicky should have started the match.
At half-time Rosicky came on for Frimpong and I seriously feared the worst. I could see us losing by three or four goals at that point. Instead Alex Song finally played the defensive role he is supposed to and protected the defence superbly. The main catalyst for the excellent second-half effort, however, was Tomas Rosicky. This was "Little Mozart's" best performance since his first season at the Club. He tracked back, made great tackles, and used the ball quickly and intelligently. You have to give credit where it is due and Rosicky turned the match tonight. We got the equalising goal after more great work from Gervinho, who was outstanding all night. I really like the fact that we have a player who will run at the opposition and make things happen. It's amazing how often you create havoc if you can commit a defender of two.
I spoke to my Dad at half-time and made the point that the referee was having a good game. The less said about his second-half effort the better. It was nothing short of disgusting, with the ridiculous penalty given against us, and numerous bookings, as well as the penalty we should have had for the elbow on Theo Walcott.
Szczesny's penalty save was crucial. It was really the save of a top quality goalkeeper, up there in it's importance (and class) with Seaman against Sampdoria and Lehmann against Villareal. At a time when one goal would have put Udinese back in the tie it was so important to our progress tonight. Theo then finished superbly (having missed his share up to then) coming in off the left - I don't understand why Wenger persists in playing him from the right wing as he scores so many of his goals after taking up a "Thierry Henry" position wide on the left.
All in all the second-half was outstanding and it couldn't have come at a more important time for the Club. We are in the Champions League, which should ease a little of the pressure, but the signings required must now be made quickly. There is now no excuse for not getting in top quality reinforcements. For now, though, I'm simply going to enjoy having such a weight lifted off our shoulders.