I know Dev enjoys writing a thorough post-match analysis normally but this evening you will have to make do with my briefer summary. The first half was relatively exciting. Plymouth brought their whole town's population to the Emirates and were making all the noise. It was Arsenal making most of the chances, however. Good efforts came from Van Persie, Bendtner and Eboue; they should have scored but had their shots well saved. Eboue also did well to find Gallas whose shot on target was saved yet again.
Plymouth had a few chances from set-pieces but our defence was rarely troubled - Gallas and particularly Djourou both had excellent games. Djourou is impressing more and more as time passes and you can't see Kolo coming back into the team easily as a result of this. I wonder whether this might persuade him to think that his future lays at another team.
We scored nice and early in the second half. A 49th minute corner from Nasri found Van Persie in the middle of the box and he stooped low to head high into the roof of the net. RVP was the provider for the second goal which came just 2 minutes later. A clever turn and cross found Bendtner in the middle for a tap-in, although the goal has since been credited as an own goal. I couldn't see it from where I was sitting so we'll just have to take people's word for it that it was an OG. No, I am not Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal then did what they do best - invite teams back into the game from a two-goal lead. In the 53rd minute a Plymouth free-kick eventually found Gray on the edge of our area, who crossed the ball for a comfortable tap-in for Duguid. I love how I talk about these players like I have any idea who they are. The truth is that it doesn't matter who they are - we keep letting 'them' score these soft goals (Villa, Liverpool, Boro are recent games that spring to mind) and it has got to stop.
It took until the 84th minute to make the game safe. Nasri chipped a delightful through-ball for RVP whose inital lob was saved, but he managed to score from the rebound. That was that. Other incidents from the game include a three-week injury to Silvestre. Kieran Gibbs came on in his place in the first half and was excellent. Arsenal have a knack of grooming top-class left backs (C*le, Clichy etc) and Gibbs looks to be another. Vela came on for Eboue for the last 20 minutes and looked sharp too.
I think it is important to put things into context here. Overall we were good today. We will not forget this was against Championship opposition. We still need to improve overall and we still need to buy. However you can only play what is in front of you and today that was Plymouth. We played well and now progress into the next round of the FA Cup, our most realistic hope of silverware this season, and something Arsene is evidently taking more seriously this season than last. Let us hope for a favourable draw in the next round.
In terms of transfers, things are being kept on the d-lo at the club as usual. Arteta and Arshavin were mentioned during a press-conference in the week but the replies sought after by the press were not received. I'm still hoping to see Arteta join us but Arsene's response to this potential transfer was very vague. I'll leave it to WOA's readers to continue the debate(s) about who will be coming and going...
Have a good evening.]]>