Arsenal 4-1 Portsmouth: Gunners On Fire Again

Diaby

The Gunners dominated the game at the Emirates Stadium, comfortably defeating Pompey.

Arsenal grabbed their second win in as many games in the Premier League as they defeated Portsmouth at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners largely dominated proceedings, comfortably taking a two goal lead against Pompey with two Abou Diaby goals. Before a well taken goal in the first half pegged Arsenal back to a slender 2-1 lead.

The second half started with a controversial incident, as William Gallas could have been dismissed following a clumsy challenge on the edge of the penalty area. The Frenchman then converted from an Andrey Arshavin free-kick minutes later. Arsenal then relaxed as the game was effectively over as a contest.

The first chance of the game came to the captain Cesc Fabregas, he burst past Hayden Mullins and let fly with a 30 yard strike, it was straight at David James and didn’t trouble the England goalkeeper.

Arsenal looked dangerous again as Arshavin attacked down the right, released by Fabregas. The Russian crossed into the box towards Eduardo, but the ball was cut out by Sylvain Distin.

The home side opened the scoring with a beautiful first goal. Eduardo picked the ball up on the left-flank, controlled superbly and then dinked the ball past Marc Wilson, heading towards the by-line.

Looking up, Eduardo cut the ball back to Diaby who was approaching the penalty spot. He side-footed the ball first time with his right-foot towards the right top-corner. James got a fingertip to the ball but couldn’t keep it out, 1-0 to Arsenal.

Arsenal became increasingly dominant, and extended their lead within minutes. Diaby was the benefactor.

Fabregas, played a lofted ball over the top of the Portsmouth defence finding Emmanuel Eboue in space behind the full-back. The Ivorian approached the box and slid the ball to Diaby in the centre, who had made an excellent run. Diaby sent the keeper the wrong way and finished cooly into the left-hand side of the net with another first-time finish.

The Gunners were enjoying themselves now, putting together some sublime play. Arshavin fed Fabregas into the right-hand side of the box with a first time pass, showing great vision. The Spaniard then played the ball first time towards Eduardo in the centre, but it was intercepted and cleared before the Croat could finish.

Arsenal attacked again in the 26th minute. Arshavin slotted the ball to Fabregas from deep with another first-time pass, the Spaniard advanced into the box and jinked around a sliding Sylvain Distin. Fabregas was about to shoot but had the ball stolen off his foot by Aaron Mokena.

Diaby had a chance to grab his hat-trick in the 28th minute. The Frenchman used wonderful footwork to beat two defenders, struck the ball from 25 yards, but it was a tame strike and gathered easily by James.

At the other end Kanu advanced into the box from the right with excellent feet and fed the ball to John Utaka. The Nigerian struck the ball first time from the near the penalty spot. His shot was blocked well by Eboue to deny Portsmouth a chance.

Van Persie engineered a good individual effort in the 31st minute, he controlled on the edge of the 18 yard box with his back to goal. The Dutchman worked the ball onto his left foot and forced an good save low to the right of keeper David James.

Van Persie had another opportunity minutes later with a free-kick that clipped the top of the wall, James stretched to his right to make a good save.

Portsmouth grabbed a consolation goal in the 36th minute. The ball was crossed into box by Nadir Belhadj from the left. It was met with a gigantic leap by Younes Kaboul, who made contact with the ball level with the cross-bar from two yards out. The Frenchman collided with Manuel Almunia but it was adjudged to be a fair challenge as the ball hit the back of the net, 2-1 to Arsenal.

Fabregas was withdrawn at the break after picking up a knock, and was replaced by Aaron Ramsey.

Portsmouth came out on top in the second half, Frederic Piquionne was involved twice in quick succession. The frontman broke in front of William Gallas early in the half, and Gallas appeared to bundle him over 20 yards from goal. Gallas was the last man and would have been dismissed, but no foul was given.

Piquionne’s second involvement saw him break clear of Kieran Gibbs on the right flank, as he bore down on Almunia in goal he elected to shoot for the near post. The angle was too acute and his shot went wide.

Arsenal then extended their lead with a comical goal. Arshavin floated a cross into the box from deep on the left, it was flicked on by Van Persie towards the back post. A lunging Thomas Vermaelen played the ball back towards the middle of the goal where it found Gallas.

The Frenchman stabbed the ball goal wards, hitting off James and trickling inside the right-hand post. 3-1 to Arsenal.

Piquionne broke the offside trap in the 65th minute, he approached Almunia in the middle of the goal. Gibbs did brilliantly to recover and stole the ball from Piquionne as he shaped to shoot.

The game was sealed by Ramsey in the 68th minute, Van Persie played a precise slide pass behind the back four as Ramsey sprung the offside trap. The Welshman steadied himself and slotted the ball beyond James into the bottom left-hand corner. 4-1 to Arsenal.

Things went from bad to worse for Portsmouth, as Canadian Asmir Begovic replaced James who left the pitch injured.

Substitutes Fran Merida and Nicklas Bendtner nearly combined in the 77th minute, with the impressive Merida flighting a long range pass from the left flank towards Bendtner at the back post. Begovic was alive to the danger and came off his line quickly to intercept.

In the 80th minute Portsmouth had a chance that was almost a carbon copy of Arsenal’s opener. Piquionne found himself in space behind the Arsenal defence on the left and cut the ball back to Utaka in the box. The forward wasted the chance under pressure from Vermaelen, skewing the ball wide of the right post.

Arsenal saw the rest of the game out, holding onto possession with consummate ease. Portsmouth for their part played well in periods, but were easily beaten by an impressive Arsenal side.

Goal

~ by footballdirecta on August 23, 2009.

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