I had a lot of fun watching last night’s win over Udinese.
We scored early, absorbed a lot of pressure, defended like
lions hyenas and somehow managed to come away with a 1-0 victory.
It was a similar story to the Newcastle game: we looked relatively harmless going forward and most of the good work was done by the defenders. Udinese were a far superior side to Newcastle, though, and probably deserved to win.
I got a first taste of Carl Jenkinson. Our back-up right-back was forced into a debut at left-back on account of injuries to Kieran Gibbs and 9-minute-man Johan Djourou. It was a baptism of fire and he did well under the circumstances.
At times Aaron Ramsey looked majestic in the centre but when Udinese’s tempo rose he, Rosicky and Song were unable to find an adequate solution. We will miss Cesc’s ability to keep the ball tied to his feet and slow the pace of the game when required, but I expect Ramsey to learn this quicker than the others, such is poise and intelligence.
Theo was probably our best player on the night and not just because of his goal. He was responsible for three of our best chances of the evening. One found the back of the net, one was fluffed horribly and one was saved outstandingly by the Udinese goalkeeper.
Gervinho, who again looked bright and sparky, wasted our other great chance, miss-kicking from six yards out.
It was good to see our new defensive set-piece structure maintained throughout the match. Udinese attempted to unsettle us via a series of short corners but on the whole we coped well. For all the questions that have been asked of our defence, two clean sheets is the best possible answer.
Our squad looks desperately thin at the moment — a fact that caused me to write a very out-of-character post about transfer speculation (I’m human after all!) — but the men who are available are stepping up. We certainly do not look title-winning material but until the window closes, no real conclusions should be made.
All our boys can do is keep scrapping and working hard and attempting as best they can to be defensively solid.
So far so good.
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