Roma v Arsenal :Arsenal Progress in Dramatic Style
What drama at the Stadio Olimpico, Arsenal did not perform well, the attack was blunt but the team pulled through in dramatic fashion.
Arsenal fell behind after 9 minutes. Poor defending by Toure and Gallas and Bendtner failing to track back allowed Juan to give Roma the lead. They had to weather the storm in the first half but gradually started to assert themselves. Arsenal escaped a penalty claim in the first half.
The second half started with Arsenal dominating the game, Roma fell further and further behind and you got the feeling they were to settle for a draw and take the game to penalties. Playing with one up front meant it was always going to be hard to score and Arsenal created few clear cut chances. Van Persie snatched at several opportunities, but the Dutchman is suffering with a lack of faith and composure in front of goal at the moment. Arsenal had a great chance to score, Bendtner played the ball to Eboue, a good return ball would’ve put the Dane through, but the pass took him away from the goal.
Former player Baptista had a glorious chance to score before the end of the second half but as we all know Baptista is not the most lethal of strikers and failed to trouble Almunia. Toure had Arsenal’s best chance to score right at the end of the game, but put the ball over the bar.
Roma were hanging for penalties as Arsenal made all the running but were unable to break the deadlock on extra-time. Now we hade the dreaded penalty shoot out.
First was Eduardo, but his penalty was save. Roma scored next as did van Persie, next it was Vuconic who had tormented Sagna all game, what followed was a pathetically lame penalty that Almunia saved. Arsenal’s remaining penalty takers Walcott, Nasri and Denilson all scored with ease. We moved into sudden death, Sagna and Toure converted as did Diaby, next it was the turn of Tonetto, his penalty would have done the Italy rugby team proud as it sailed high over the bar.
It was not vintage Arsenal; it was a resolute defence and a misfiring attack. The formation 4-5-1 needs the right personnel to work. Bendtner on the wing is a non-starter, though he showed some good ball control, he is not fast enough or direct enough to make it work, van Persie is out of sorts at the moment, maybe it is his new contract, but whatever it is he needs to sort it out.
The one major plus from last night was Abou Diaby. He played the game like a master, holding off challenges, making runs, and attacking. This is the Diaby we need to see every week.
Arsenal are through to the last 8, a tough challenge awaits us, but we will have both Fabregas and Adebayor available for the quarter final, and there is a chance we might also see Rosicky. A 4-5-1, with a midfield of Nasri-Fabregas-Diaby-Rosicky and either Walcott or van Persie playing behind Adebayor will be a very attack minded and frightening midfield.