Yesterday’s game was one hell of a crazy game. Arsene took a massive gamble and decided to play both Wilshere and Merida from the start. It was also a surprise not to see Rosicky who most thought would start today’s game, not even on the bench… the line up for the game was:
Sagna – Gallas – Vermaelen – Silvestre
Wilshere – Merida – Ramsey – Eduardo
The reason I’ve put a 4-1-4-1 was because that was more like the formation we played, with Ramsey and Merida going forward a lot. We did play a much stronger back line than I expected and to be honest, I didn’t expect to see both Gallas, Sagna and Vermaelen all play. I suppose if we had the likes of Djourou and Eboue around, we may have played them. Senderos – injured or not, is out of the manager’s reckoning now, and if he does play it will be as a last result. With the lack of cover to the rest of the defence, we can’t sell the player in January unless we replace him with another central defender – but we’ll talk about the January sales later.
Back to the game, and credit to West Ham for throwing everything at it, they were inventive in the pass and full hearted in their running. They did cross the line several times, going in with unnecessary challenges – such is the nature of an effective game against us – to be honest, I did feel that the referee should have been stricter with what he allowed to go through, as several of the West Ham players were “studs high” and “late” on purpose. The most shocking refereeing of the day goes to the ref that reffed the Man United vs Leeds game. How on earth did Wes Brown stay on the pitch for 90 minutes…
Bad defending by Silvestre (in my opinion), not marking his player and being attracted to the ball, thus leaving the player onside, let Diamanti in to make it 1-0 to West Ham and despite immense pressure from the home team after that, we eventually took control. The introduction of Diaby and Nasri completely changed the game and hats off to Diaby for his consistency and good form – it’s a welcomed surprise, he’s seemed to have turned a corner in terms of how he contributes to the team, and thumbs up to Arsene for having patience.
The equaliser came through Ramsey after some good work from Alex “we’re going to miss you so much” Song played in Vela who in turn luckily played in Ramsey who finished with his left foot. The winner came from Eduardo, who scored with an awesome header – he somehow managed to beat Matthew Upson to the ball and head the ball looping over the keeper from some distance.
For those of you who haven’t seen the goals, view them here:
Okay, let’s listen to Arsene on his overall view of the game…
“It was a difficult first-half against a committed West Ham side. They were well organised, they won many 50-50s, they were quick on the ball and we got caught on the break. In the second-half we played at a higher tempo and our combinations were better. West Ham dropped a little bit and then we were able to make the difference in the final 20 minutes.”
He commented on Aaron Ramsey, who was personally my man of the match along side Alex Song. We do have some incredible talent down at the Grove.
“He improves from game to game. I set him a target at the start of the season to play between 15 and 20 games and it looks like he will get that very quickly. He has a chance to play at the moment. He can play on the flanks and at full-back. He is physically very strong, quick and has a good stamina. He is a good dribbler but of course his best position is centre midfield because he is a goalscorer as well.”
Okay, boys and girls… time to ponder a little about transfers until tomorrow, and then time to figure out who will play against Bolton on Wednesday where it looks like we will be without Song, Denilson and Cesc – so Ramsey, Diaby and [enter the name of a defensive midfielder here who can be disciplined in the role]. Anyway, there will be time to think about that later – now it’s time to ponder the next round of the FA Cup, the fixtures which are noted here (and see us travel to Stoke)…
Southampton v Ipswich
Reading/Liverpool v Burnley
Millwall/Derby v Brentford/Doncaster
Bristol City/Cardiff v Leicester
Stoke v Arsenal
Notts County/Forest Green v Wigan
Scunthorpe v Man City
West Brom v Plymouth/Newcastle
Everton v Nottm Forest/Birmingham
Accrington/Gillingham v Fulham
Bolton v Sheff Utd/QPR
Portsmouth/Coventry v Sunderland
Preston v Chelsea
Aston Villa v Brighton
Wolves v Crystal Palace
Tottenham v Leeds
Ties to be played weekend of January 23-24.
So two rounds, two Premiership teams, two away games… thanks goes to the random fixture machine thing-majig…
More tomorrow my friends, til then…