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.
Ref: Steve Tanner (Somerset).]]>