Last night was the first home game of the season and a neat finish by Theo gave us a 1-0 win in the first leg of our European qualifier.
I can’t help but feel 1-0 isn’t good enough, and we need to find a way to win over in Italy next week.
Lots of problems, but to summarise out squad is thin.
One positive our first half defensive unit of Szczesny, Gibbs, Vermaelen, Koscielney & Sagna looked very solid. Vermaelen apparently providing leadership in our central defence much missed last night. However, however…
Gibbs got injured and we then had an odd substitution. Djourou came on and Vermaelen was moved to left back, where he looked like a fish out of water. Or a CB at left back. Udinese were already on top but we looked pretty ropey at that stage. When Djourou got hurt and Jenkinson came on we did at least get Vermaelen in the middle again. Jenkinson tried, but was a weak link.
So we have a reasonable first choice, and some cover, but if we lose a full back or Vermaelen we will be in big trouble.
In midfield we have the excuse that Wilshire was missing and Nas banned. Song was superb picking up loose balls, but the test of our team was out hustled by an Italian team two weeks from their season starting. Rosicky in particular faded very badly from a lively start.
Chamakh and Gervinho looked lively up front but didn’t link up and we didn’t make enough chances.
Positive is we scored without RvP and we’ve gone 180minutes without letting in a goal. We are 1-0 up and if we score in Italy will almost certainly get through.
Negative: we were outplayed by a team who have list their best players in close season. Our squad looks thin. Our midfield looked over cautious.
Conspiracy theory: Nasri will now be sold, he had to stay until last night to “spend” his European ban.