West Brom 1 – 3 Arsenal… Finally, a win!

Yesterday saw us finally break the scoring jinx and the drawing jinx in one go. We've finally won a game in the league and I think we went the whole of February without a win and a goal in the league. Very untypically Arsenal.

So what does this win against West Brom mean? We're back on track? We're going to win the league, Champions League and FA Cup? Of course it does! Surely we're the best team in the land and surely Niklas Bendtner is the best player in the world. It's so obvious.

But in reality... a win against the bottom team in the league with talents such as £15m Arshavin and £15m Nasri in the same team is nothing to really jump up and down about. It's was a must win game against a very poor team. Don't get me wrong - I'm not taking the fact we won and the three points away, all I'm saying is that if we had lost, it would be a very defining moment of both Arsenal's and Arsene's. But we won, and we're now just 3 points behind Villa. They play tonight away against Man City who are in desperate need of a win themselves.

Yesterday's game was a good game in which we saw the Niklas Bendtner "with fire in his belly"... we haven't really seen Bendtner like this before and yesterday was a glimpse of what Arsene sees in training. I've asked many times how such a poor player such as Bendtner could be in such a great team such as Arsenal's first team. Yesterday, the young Dane answered all the questions. His inconsistency means his goal threat is also inconsistent, of course, but that is something that will come with experience and maturity.

Arsene said this little something about Bendtner:

“He (Bendtner) is really maturing and what people don’t always expect is that the player at 18 is not what the player will be at 20 or 22. But he’s grown up, he wants to do well and I believe he can be a promising striker. It’s always difficult to give a rest to (Robin) Van Persie but he (Bendtner) was on the edge tonight and I felt he was playing with fire. Sometimes I play them together, many times, but Nicklas is slowly growing in the game and he had a good game tonight.”

It was such a relief to get an early goal. The young Denmark international received the ball in open play from a corner via Denilson and moved into the box passed two players and struck a left footed shot on the floor low and hard and put us ahead. The lead only lasted 3 minutes as a free kick was awarded to the home side (should never have been) and the ball sneaked under Eboue (should not have moved) and into the back of the net.

We restored our lead 7 minutes before the end of the game when Arshavin hit a free kick into the box and Kolo Toure headed home. And a minute before half time, Nikki B got his second, a quite exquisite strike. Kolo Toure picked up the ball around the centre circle area  and floated a great ball to the path of the striker, who dispatched it from an acute angle, full belt on the volley. Awesome.

“Bendtner is improving from month to month. He will be better every three, six months. He has shown tonight he has the talent to be an Arsenal player. That is the right way to mature. I liked his presence. I liked his determined attitude and the way he took people on. That shows he has improved.”

So we managed to score a few goals, albeit conceded a sloppy one, but yesterday was one of the best games I’ve been at. The support was excellent, the team had some fire in them and it’s the first time I really thought we’d actually win.

“We kept going and there’s a very healthy, strong spirit in this team. We’ve come along and won the game without any doubt about the spirit and attitude of the players. It was a test again. (Their goal) gave a lot of courage to West Brom and it was down to us to find an opening again and we did that. We like to attack and we had chances to score maybe four or five, but West Brom are a good side going forward.”

The only major downside of the game was the injury to Kolo Toure who has picked up a calf strain. We may see Song and Djourou partnered for the Burnley game with Gallas and Toure hopefully back for Roma…

Okay, Man City, over to you, sort out those boys from Birmingham tonight!

—————————————————————

West Brom: Carson, Zuiverloon, Meite, Donk, Robinson, Morrison (Menseguez 72), Greening, Koren, Brunt (Filipe Teixeira 72), Moore, Fortune.

Subs Not Used: Kiely, Hoefkens, Cech, Kim, Borja Valero.

Booked: Koren, Brunt, Meite, Donk.

Goals: Brunt 7.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure (Diaby 46), Djourou, Clichy, Eboue (Ramsey 67), Song Billong, Denilson, Nasri (Merida 83), Bendtner, Arshavin.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Van Persie, Vela, Gibbs.

Goals: Bendtner 4, Toure 38, Bendtner 44.

Att: 26,244

Ref: Steve Tanner (Somerset).]]>

  • devday

    < ![CDATA[Top five goal scorers in all competitions:

    Van Persie 15
    Adebayor 12
    Bendtner 11
    Nasri 6
    Gallas 5

    Just imagine if Ade came third behind VP and Bendtner, surely he'd realise he's getting worse...

    Well done Bendtner for scoring 11 goals this term!]]>

  • debs

    Bendtner’s probably going to surpass Ade’s tally in the next few games anyways! But yeah, well done to him though!

  • unspoken

    < ![CDATA[adebayor better wake up his idea.. he needs to do better. my only hope is that no one leaves at the end of the season and wenger has some players in mind to bring in.

    the current crop is quite unfortunate. talented but unfortunate.]]>

  • Fabrez

    Hmm…with all the critisism Bendtner gets, this season could turn out to be a good 1 for him. He still has years of development to come to be honest…and I agree with Arsene…sumtimes I personally forget how young some of our players are…but not getting to excited yet. Once players are committed & always improving, our future looks good. I think our “transition” would have been closer to being complete had we kept those players we lost in the summer but I just hope Arsene can keep this squad together. Big things ahead i think…once players don’t get impatient, we can only become a better and more balanced squad with players being fit more often as well. Essential to the squad being kept together, as we all know, is Champions League football next year. As fans, we need to be behind the boys 100% between now & the end of the season hoping that the players do their part also and give everything on the football pitch!

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[It's been a good week for us. Finally !

    ManCity have beaten Aston Villa. We're 3 points closer. Woohoo]]>

  • Pissed off

    man city 2 – Villa 0

  • Debs

    and everton drawing too!

  • Fabrez

    dev…any idea wat happened 2 my last comment from a couple hrs ago?? It was published and everything now it’s gone :( And it was 1 I was proud of!!! :( :( Absolutely delighted about the 2-0 loss for Villa…made my night without a doubt! We CANNOT let this slip-up go by…we’ve got to keep on clawing back! Get in Gunners!!!

  • Debs

    < ![CDATA[unlucky Fabrez! Guess it was too good to be published! :P
    And yeah, we've so got to make this slip up count. We play the day b4 villa in the league in 2 weeks, so we've got an immediate opportunity to go fourth on goal difference. We've got Blackburn at home on the saturday, whereas Villa have got Sp*rs, albeit at home on the sunday. If we win that, that's got to put the pressure on Villa big time, and I'm counting on Sp*rs to do the job for us. Looking good for us for us for 4th (or above :) ) at the moment, but we've got to make it count!
    Come on Nikki B! And Eduardo and Arshavin!!!]]>

  • Fabrez

    I feel really positive after tonight! Altho we r going thru a “transition” longer than we would have liked (bcuz of players lost over the summer), I think we need 2 be behind the boys 100% and they’ve got to give us their all in return! We’ve got to make the CL to keep this squad together…don’t want another few yrs of being in “transition”. With most fit, we r a top top side without a doubt. Sometimes I forget how young this squad is and losing those players we lost in the summer was a bit of a hadicap. Couple areas to improve…perhaps add a bit of experience we lost…but once we stick together we will be a much better side with young players who are improving and getting better.

  • Fabrez

    lol debs! My above comment is similar to what i had…but nothing like the original they say! lol And for once i’ll b backing Sp*rs! As painful as it is to type! lol But looks as if Villa’s fortune & gas has run out!

  • Debs

    Sometimes it’s so easy to forget that the season ends in May, not anytime earlier, and it’s so easy to slip up when it nears the business end. Villa’ll be unlucky not to finish in the Champions league position, but if they don’t, they don’t deserve it then, especially if it’s because they run out of steam. i just hope that’s the case, and that we build our own head of steam!

  • Fabrez

    Yeah…i think if we don’t get in the top four, we didn’t deserve it & same for Villa. It’s going to be tough & i’m preparing myself for some major headaches along the way! But fingers crossed we show our quality…bcuz out squad is much better than Villa’s if u ask me!

  • Fabrez

    Yeah…i think if we don’t get in the top four, we didn’t deserve it & same for Villa. It’s going to be tough & i’m preparing myself for some major headaches along the way! But fingers crossed we show our quality…bcuz out squad is much better than Villa’s if u ask me!

  • Fabrez

    Yeah…i think if we don’t get in the top four, we didn’t deserve it & same for Villa. It’s going to be tough & i’m preparing myself for some major headaches along the way! But fingers crossed we show our quality…bcuz out squad is much better than Villa’s if u ask me!

  • Debs

    not taking any chances with ur comment this time around, huh? :P

  • Debs

    we’ve definitely have a better squad that Villa. They seem to be losing confidence while we seem to be gaining it. What a good turnaround as far as we are concerned!

  • Fabrez

    lol! When i submitted i didn’t see my comment! So tried a couple more times…I had no idea it actually went thru…i had given up lol We can’t lose focus after beating WBA…it’s just WBA with all due respect! For now we need to do the job on Burnley & Roma. I think getting to the next round in the Champions League will put a real spring in our step for the league… And i hope AW uses Eduardo sparingly when he’s fit again…even if it’s just a half against Burnley/Roma… Don’t wanna lose him for another 12-14 days! He’s got to be eased back really slowly. It helps that Nik found the back of the net…and RvP is in form…bcuz we won’t be too reliant on Eddy!

  • Fabrez

    I’ve got a comment awaiting moderation? and no websites in the comment…*sigh*

  • RF

    < ![CDATA[3-1(Asnl) ..I m HAPPPY !!

    2-0(ManCity) ..I m Very HAPPY !

    Its just upto us , how we take this much needed opportunity.

    Go Gunners !!]]>

  • Fabrez

    I didn’t even kno it went thru and it did 3 times…then my comments after those 3 awaited moderation then weren’t published…they didn’t even have a link in them…or a list of fixtures…i’m so confused! Devday…why haven’t so many of my comments been published?? I’d really like 2 kno bcuz i’m genuinly lost!! This moderation thing is killin me!

  • Fabrez

    lol debs…absolutely no chances taken! :P

  • unspoken

    < ![CDATA[haha. better to let urself be heard?

    anyway. this time it's crucial. we need to up our game (esp our scoring boots). and we need to stay injury-free for the moment. cross my fingers there's no major injury to any of our team now.

    looking forward to walcott's return. i hope he'll be in line for roma. nasri and walcott on the wings. roma's full back wont be having fun.
    hopefully eduardo too.

    when's the expected return of fab? is there a chance of roma for him?]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Cesc and Rosicky are expected back around 3 weeks time apparently. In the mean time Wengers' said Walcott is expected back first, closely followed by Eduardo and Ade. As you said, hopefully these lads can hit th ground running an not have any further setbacks, but I'm pretty hopeful :)

    Delighted with this weeks prem results, they couldn't have been better for us. Villa are slipping up a bit, and a gap between us and Everton has opened up again. We just need to keep the pressure on by winning, and as Debs said, Sp*rs could actually end up doing us a favour by beating Villa lol. They played well against Borough last night, and every win is important for their survival.

    But it's been a promising week for us in the prem :)]]>

  • Steve W

    < ![CDATA[Wenger keeps me at Arsenal - Cesc

    Below article is quite interesting for the wenger haters!

    Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has admitted he would consider his future at the Emirates Stadium if Arsene Wenger ever left the club.

    Wenger's position has come under scrutiny after another disappointing season for the north Londoners, with their only remaining hopes of silverware lying in the FA Cup and Champions League.

    Reports on Thursday morning suggest the Frenchman could become a target of big-spending Manchester City during the summer, but Spain midfielder Fabregas insists his departure would be a huge blow for the Gunners.

    "I have heard the rumours about Wenger leaving for the past three years," Fabregas told the Daily Mirror.

    "If he left the club then of course I would consider my own future and whether I would leave the club.

    "I am happy at Arsenal and believe that we and Barcelona play the best football in Europe.

    "But Wenger is a main part of that."]]>

  • Ernie

    < ![CDATA[There have been debates going on about Wenger’s future at Arsenal with the defence mostly pointing out that all teams have their cycles and look what happened when Man Utd stuck with Fergie through his sticky patch. While I certainly don’t think Wenger should be shown the door, I think he should be given a nudge about a re-think to his strategy.

    Chelsea radically changed the football landscape and Wenger has yet to adapt. Before Abramovich all we heard from Arsenal was that Man Utd’s era was over, now it was Arsenal’s time. Chelsea ensured this never happened and Arsene still seems a little in shock. When Roman really got going there was amazement that they could put out two teams that could beat almost all the other clubs. The second string was full of expensive internationals the like that none of the other teams could match in their squad. It allowed Mourinho to treat every game of every competition as must win. Man Utd have reacted to this and now boast a better squad than Chelsea, Arsenal’s is full of kids - very promising kids, but kids all the same.

    Fergie was under pressure as he was doing what Wenger is still doing now. He was hoping that the previous method of a strong first team backed up with home grown/youth team players was strong enough for all fronts as their rivals were in the same boat. Chelsea changed this. Utd and Arsenal both continued with their strategy for a season but it soon became obvious it wouldn’t work against their new rivals.

    Fergie changed his outlook, swallowed his pride shipping out a lot of the players he had hoped would come good and bought in lots of additional talent to really flesh out the squad. That’s how he got away from the pressure, not purely by doing the same thing. Wenger sold his big names and relied on youth. He hasn’t changed and that is why he is still under pressure. Utd have since lost excellent young players in Rossi and Pique as the squad is so strong there have been better options.

    Chelsea raised the bar and in turn created the Utd that are able to fight on multiple fronts. Arsenal are certainly good enough to win something, including the league, sometime in the next few seasons. However, with their current strategy its doubtful they will be consistently strong enough to dominate for years like they had expected pre-Chelsea.]]>

  • Fabrez

    I’m all for Eduardo coming back…AW needs to play him less tho. Don’t wanna miss him for another 12-14 days. Each player is massively crucial to our cause! But with RvP being threatening & Bendtner scoring in his last game, hopefully we wouldn’t be too depedant on Eddy…we’ll see how it goes. And I’d like AW to stay…bcuz he’s a big part of a lot of the players being at the club. I believe in him as a manager for sure.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[Eduardo and Theo maybe back for Sunday and Cesc and Rosicky in three weeks...by the end of March we could have all major players back in the line up.

    I for one am looking forward to the remaining games of the season at least the Arsenal are keeping it interesting for us fans. I would prefer to end the season fighting in to the top four than dropping down like last season.

    Hopefully next season will see a couple of additions to the squad and will be fighting for top spot with United.]]>

  • debs

    it’d definitely be to the club’s benefit for wenger to stay, cos if he doesn’t, it’d probably spark a mass exodus. he’s the reaon why a lot of the players are at the club, and if he leaves, they’d probably want to follow him. although that looked like it was going to be the case with Chelsea when Jose left, but that threat never materialised, but it’s not a risk I’d want us to take, and Cesc has apparently already hinted at doing just that. A new manager will definitely shake up the club and players, but seeing as we’ve got mostly young players, I doubt it’d be a good thing, cos most of them are still finding their feet at the club and nee management will probably only undo the progress made so far. I’m definitely pro Wenger staying.

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[This would be my team selection when all are fit.

    Almunia

    Sagna - Toure - Gallas - Clichy

    Walcott - Nasri - Cesc - Arshavin

    Van Persie - Adebayor

    Subs: Fabianski, Djourjou , Denilson, Diaby, Rosicky, Bendtner and Eduardo]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Interesting bit of writing Ernie.

    It seems to make sense, what you say about the pre-Chelsea Arsenal and the one after Abramovich took over at Chelsea. And I think you're also quite right about Fergie swallowing his pride and getting enough players for a strong backup team. He has noticeably become mellower. But ManUtd have also had the financial backing that Chelsea has had. That is the main reason why he's been able to buy so many players. Arsenal hasn't got that kind of money. Only now, after the move to the Emirates, have he started to make that kind of money, but even now we're not making profits. First we have to clear our debts.
    What I'd like to know is, if Arsenal had that kind of money, would Arsene Wenger sign the kind of players that Manutd, Chelsea, AC Milan, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Real Madrid etc attract ? Forget about the young talent we have. I'm not talking about what we do with them if we want to buy star players. I'm talking about a clean slate. Starting from scratch. What would Wenger do ? Are there some players he would keep. Are there some players he'd like to bring in ? If so, which ones ? That's a question I'd really like to ask him. Can anyone get a journalist to ask him that at a press conference or something. Does anybody here know a journalist ?]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[I think Wenger will would probably spend what he has to to get players he wants, regardless of whether they're young players or experienced. He doesn't strike me as a man who would spend for the sake of it somehow, I dont think that approach sits well with him. He, as have many other managers, have been critical of the spending power that Chelsea and, more recently, Man City have. Plus, that money can be a double-edged sword as you'll end up paying over the odds on every transfer, and it can attract the wrong type of player whose blatently just doing it for the money.

    In all honesty, I want Wenger to always be at the club in some capacity, even after his managerial career ends. He desreves a job for life for how he's transformed Arsenal, and to some extend, the Premier League. People forget how badly we were doing before he came, and he's turned us into one of the biggest known teams in the world. Seriously, I've travelled to South America, and my mate have been all over the far east, and you'd be amazed at how many people have heard of us, as well as the other big four. I'd say we're the second best known Premier League team, behind Man United. Wengers played a big part in achieving that kinf of reputation.]]>

  • Debs

    Good to see Arsene is ‘mystified’ about the Man City rumours!