Valencia 2 Arsenal 0 (Highlights + Hodgson Interviews)

By on August 9, 2009


Arsenal finished their preseason campaign with disheartening 2-nil defeat at the Estadio Mestalla in Valencia last night. Valencia came out the stronger side in the pouring rain but as the weather improved slightly so did Arsenal. The first half finished scoreless. Almost wholesale changes to the lineup saw Arsenal start the second half much better. But Valencia took the lead in the 75th minute when Michel fired home a rebound inside the box past Lukasz Fabianksi, who had previously saved a dubiously awarded penalty from David Villa. Arsenal’s central defense of Djourou and Silvestre was caught numerous times with runs between them and David Villa finished the match off in the 90th minute taking advantage of this persistent Arsenal weakness.

It really must make one wonder why Arsene would schedule a trip to Spain only a week before the opening match at Everton. Following a grueling two-a-day training schedule, a trip to Austria, Hungary, and Germany, and two matches in two days the previous weekend, wouldn’t the players have been served better by a match against a lesser opponent closer to home?

Arsene Wenger What will Arsene take from this match? It is hard to say. He should be able to see that another central defender is absolutely necessary especially considering that Senderos’s absence from the team indicated his move to Everton may be imminent. Wenger must know, as we all do, that Silvestre is no centre back and to consider him one of your first four center backs is sheer lunacy. He makes our already glaring weakness even weaker. Chelsea’s sole tactical goal in last year’s FA Cup semifinal was to attack and expose Silvestre’s lack of pace by pumping balls over the top for Drogba to run on to. The only surprise was that it took him so long to finally exploit Silvestre in that match.

It seems to me that Hangeland is the ideal solution to our defensive deficiencies. He’s tall and strong in the air and no one is saying that he has to step in as one of the first two choices. However, he would give us options at the back and would give us that bit of force in the air that we have lacked against bigger and stronger teams with the Gallas-Toure partnership over the last few years. Obviously, Roy Hodgson desperately wants to hold on to Hangeland but he seems to be becoming increasingly resigned to the fact that his hand may be forced on the issue. Here is what he has had to say over the last week:

5 August:

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7 August:

[brightcove vid=32614001001&exp=271552671&w=470&h=350]


  1. SweetLeft

    August 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Don’t really buy your proposition about the challenge presented by this match. With a week to go, there’s no point in going down to he beach at Bournemouth. Valencia didn’t look great. Arsenal didn’t either. Passing game never emerged.

    Adebayor was missed badly yesterday, His ability to hold the ball and move the opposing defence around has been one of the main reasons that Arsenal have scored so feely ove the past two years. Big pity the BOO and BLEAT section of our “fan” base caused him to leave.

    Denilson was missed too in the mid-field last night. Diaby was really poor. Denilson’s tackllng and distribution could have made a big difference.

    I’m with you on Hangeland though. I think he’d make quite a difference and bring solidity that ill never be there with Silvestre.

    Just watched the CShield. Neither team overly inspiring. With a couple more players Arsenal may do OK. The departure of Ade and Kolo isn’t a plus though, contrary to what mny seem to think.

  2. ArsenalStation

    August 9, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    I’m not questioning the level of the opponent or saying we should’ve played Ebbsfleet, I’m questioning the team making a trip back to the continent the week before the season starts.

    Diaby was poor but that is no surprise. He’s a talented individual but he just doesn’t have the kind of football intelligence required to play for this club. He never looks a part of the team when he plays, more like he’s been just been dropped into the midfield. Many of his best moments have been ones of individual brilliance.

    I’m not going to try to spin their losses into “a plus” but I don’t think it’s as much of a negative as alot of people seem to believe. Of course, I could be wrong and we’ll know soon enough. Thanks for reading and commenting, SweetLeft, I hope you enjoyed the site.

  3. alwaysgunner

    August 9, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Didn’t watch the game in bed with the Swine flu, worse still England made an arse of themselves car broken into and to read the next day we lost was really a very black weekend.
    However our new signing did not play, and Diaby was just returning. It could have been just the medicine we needed. (Trying to put a good spin on it). Can not agree about Ade or Toure, sorry too many problems in the dressing rooms and be honest Ade is so full of his own importance that he will never be missed. You could of course be dead right sweetleft, but I think not. The pot is starting to boil lets see what dish the boss serves up.

  4. ArsenalStation

    August 10, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Well said, alwaysgunner. I tend to think the sales of Toure and Adebayor will prove to be positive as well, as I’ve said in a prior article.

    So sorry to hear about your weekend, alwaysgunner, and I’m even more sorry that Arsenal couldn’t help brighten it a bit. Your comments are always appreciated here and I hope you have a better week ahead than the weekend past.

  5. alwaysgunner

    August 10, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Now this article really makes the blues go away;
    Have that feeling again;(always do every year.


    Go you gunners

    • ArsenalStation

      August 10, 2009 at 12:29 pm

      Great link, alwaysgunner. I always seem to forget about FIFA and UEFA’s sites.

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