Fran Merida scored with a stinging left footed shot in the 19th minute after Voronin gives it away to Craig Eastmond. It was Merida’s first goal as a Gunner as Cesc Fabregas looked on ecstatic at his Spanish teammate’s achievement.
Emiliano Insua answered back with an even more impressive dipping shot in the 27th minute which looped over Fabianski’s head even with the Arsenal goalie completely extended. (Hugo Rodellaga scored through a similar shot against Villa in their first match. He did it with his right foot). Bendtner sealed the win when he picked up Kieran Gibbs pass and with a fine touch controlled the ball as he went around left before crashing his shot into goal in the 50th minute.
Rafa went all out for the equalizer as he introduced Alberto Aquilani for a 15 minute cameo in the second half and the ex- Roma international showed some fine skills. He also had a penalty appeal turned down by Alan Wiley for a Senderos handball. Rafa also turned to Yossi Benayoun in the hopes that the Israeli’s vision and creativity so amply shown against Man Utd would overcome the Gunners.
Samir Nasri showed up and did well to play all 90 minutes. Craig Eastmond as holding midfielder made a very impressive debut and Kieran Gibbs had an eye catching display which should pique Fabio Capello’s interest.
Wenger, post match:
“Overall it was a game of top quality with two teams who really went for it, played at a high pace.
“We gave people what they paid for – top quality. The experienced players played well, so did the young players.
“Liverpool came back to 1-1, and we still managed to win, that shows we have also mental resources.”
The goalkeeping controversy is still alive with Fabianski back in action and he and Almunia would be available Saturday against Spurs with Wenger indicating that he had no idea who he would start.
Both teams played entertaining and attacking football but Arsenal as usual looked slick and fluid in midfield and matched that with enough of a finishing touch to achieve the win.