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Wenger’s workmanlike wonders chalk up another win

The word 'workmanlike' is dictionary defined as “showing practised skill” and after last night’s 1-0 win in Bucharest, a snap of Arsenal’s team in action at the Steaua Stadium ought to be incorporated to illustrate the term.

For the Gunners’ second straight win in Group H of the Champions League was the archetypal “job well done” on the road in Europe.

You could say Arsene Wenger’s team show the skill they practise in training every time they enter the competitive arena, but as with much of the English language, when it is applied to the beautiful game it can take up several different guises.

‘Workmanlike’ in football means no frills, no drama, just a composed, collected, completion of 90 minutes with a win the end result. And that was what Arsenal achieved in Romania.

Had Cesc Fabregas converted an early sitter perhaps the end score-line may have been enhanced far further. Yet as the game wore on and Steaua refused to tire - as admittedly I had anticipated – flashbacks of our ventures past into Eastern Europe began to creep to the forefront of my mind.

Then suddenly, and it was sudden because the Romanian television company providing footage for ITV 4’s coverage was infuriatingly showing a replay at the start of the move, Manu Adebayor broke free down the left and teed the ball back for Robin van Persie to meet first time and sweep the ball into the top corner.


After that, Arsenal teased and toyed with the opposition, knocking the ball around as only they can and closing the game out in total command.

In the past, trips to places like Dinamo Zagreb, Sparta Prague and Steaua Bucharest would have caused Wenger’s Arsenal more trouble than Juventus, Lazio or Valencia at Highbury. Not so now.

This is a team suited to the European game more so than any other under the Frenchman’s command. And when you consider how well they can handle Premier League opponents, it’s not hard to see why there is so much hype surrounding the squad at the moment. Not only are they great ‘footballers’, possessing tricks, touch and technique in abundance, they are also first-grade athletes, invariably quicker, stronger and fitter than most adversaries.

That is a winning combination and the key to Wenger’s methods. Who can match them for those qualities in England and on the continent? Only Barcelona in full flight I’d suggest.

There really is no ceiling to Arsenal’s house of potential at the moment.

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Posted by Mo Khan on October 3, 2007 12:53 PM in Champions League
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