Thursday, August 2, 2007
Arsenal 2-1 Lazio: Eduardo off the mark
Croatia striker Eduardo da Silva celebrated receiving a work permit with his first Arsenal goal against Lazio in the opening match of the Amsterdam Tournament tonight.
Young Dane Nicklas Bendtner also produced another impressive display, putting
the Premier League club ahead in the first half.
Although it was another decent workout, in defence there is certainly still
plenty of work to do - as at times the Gunners looked anything but secure in
front of their own goal.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is expected to name a strengthened side for the
game against hosts Ajax on Saturday night.
However, Brazil-born Eduardo - signed from Dinamo Zagreb for £7million in the
wake of Thierry Henry's departure to Barcelona - can expect to get another
chance to stake his claim for a regular place in the team when the new season
kicks off against Fulham next weekend following a sharp display.
Team spirit impresses Senderos
The warning signs in defence, though, were there early on, as central pairing
of Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos were often drawn out of position, along
with young full-back Armand Traore.
Senderos, captain for the day, did, though, make a fine saving tackle to deny
Goran Pandev in the 14th minute.
The Macedonian striker beat the offside trap and took the ball around a diving
However, Senderos recovered ground quickly to slide the ball behind just as
Pandev looked to roll a shot into the empty net.
That chance proved a wake-up call for the English team.
And the Gunners promptly took the lead on 18 minutes through a fine finish
A 20-yard effort from Cesc Fabregas cannoned off Guglielmo Stendardo, and
straight into the path of the young Dane, who looked just on-side.
It seemed as if Bendtner had taken the ball too wide around the keeper.
However, the 6ft 3ins striker promptly drilled a low shot back across goal,
between two men on the line and into the far corner.
After 25 minutes, Eduardo arrived at the far post to meet a corner from the
right, but could not direct his header on target.
However, the Italians slowly began to gain the upper hand as the half-time
interval approached and the equaliser came five minutes from the break.
A corner from the right was only half cleared. Eduardo tried to control the
ball facing his own goal, and went down appealing for a foul, when any contact
The referee waved play on and Pandev spun to drill in an equaliser from 10
Lazio were soon in the ascendancy again during the second half, as they
started to close down quickly in midfield.
In the 54th minute, though, Arsenal went back into the lead.
A corner from Tomas Rosicky on the left found its way through to Eduardo,
lurking on the six-yard line.
The striker needed no second invitation, and bulleted a header into the bottom
corner for his first Arsenal goal.
Wenger sent on Robin van Persie just after the hour mark, the Dutchman and
former Feyenoord player receiving a good reception from the home crowd.
With 20 minutes left, Arsenal were exposed at the back again.
A low ball from the right came through for Tommaso Rocchi, but, under
pressure, he fired over from close range.
Then, somehow, Arsenal failed to extend their lead. Van Persie broke down the
right and into the area.
He drew the keeper, before cutting the ball back for Rosicky.
The Czech midfielder unselfishly fed Justin Hoyte on the overlap, but the
Englishman then managed to sidefoot his close-range effort across goal and off
the far post.
Van Persie almost caught out Lazio keeper Marco Ballotta with a long-range
Wenger will give more of an indication of his first-choice starting XI against
Ajax - when the Arsenal manager will expect an improved display at the back and
more of the same in attack.
Team spirit impresses Senderos
Arsenal have the right 'character' as they continue preparations for the new
season, according to defender Philippe Senderos.
'We had a lot of youngsters out there, and we did a tremendous job,' the
Swiss centre-back told Sky Sports. 'We wanted to show we can push on for the first team, and that is what we
'We have a lot of character and showed out there we are a good team.'
Senderos maintains Arsenal can have an impact on the Barclays Premier League
title race next season, even though they have sold the likes of Thierry Henry
and Freddie Ljungberg.
Senderos said: 'We want to be at the top, and are going to try our best this
year. We do not mind being outsiders like everyone else thinks.
'We just want to play our own game and prove everyone else wrong.'
Bendtner - loaned out to Birmingham last season - added to his goal against
Paris St Germain in the Emirates Cup last weekend with a neat finish during the
The Dane, 19, said: 'The most important thing for me is that the team win. It is what you do on the pitch which matters, and we all work together
'There are good players in my position, so it is going to be tough, but when
I get my chance I am going to take it.'
'Eduardo played well and celebrated his work permit very well today, and
scored a goal,' Wenger said.
'His integration in the team play was very good.'
Regarding the work permit, Wenger said: 'I felt we had a lot of good vibes
because he is a regular player for the Croatia team and anyway in three months
we will have the 75% (of national team games). We were confident but you never