Arsenal 3-1 Burnley… Still on track!

After all the controversy of last week, it was really great to have a ‘nice and easy’ game at the Emirates. Burnley have the worst away record in Premier League history and I doubt many people would have been holding out for anything other than an Arsenal win.

The only question being asked really, was how many goals we would win by. If we won by 4 clear goals, we’d go top of the league on goal difference, subject to Man Utd’s result against Wolves later on. In any event, Utd squeaked past Wolves 1-0 so we would’nt have been top at the end of the weekend.

Four changes were made to the team that beat Stoke. With Gallas still out injured and Sol picking up a knock against Stoke, most fans’ least favourite defender Silvestre had to be paired in defence with Vermaelen. Sagna was rested (presumably), meaning Eboue had to drop into right-back from midfield. With Song (suspension) and Ramsey (injury) missing, our front six were Nasri, Denilson, Rosicky, Cesc and Walcott.

Almunia

Eboue – Vermaelen –  Silvestre – Clichy

Denilson – Nasri

Walcott – Cesc – Rosicky

Bendtner

As this was the first home game since Ramsey’s injury, there were loads of banners wishing Ramsey well and the players all wore T-shirts saying ‘GET WELL SOON AARON’, with his squad number on the back. This was really nice to see, and I’m sure if Aaron was watching, he would have appreciated the effort and support from everyone.

We started the game on the front foot as you would expect, cutting Burnley apart with ease. Bendtner tried to slip Cesc in just inside 2 minutes, but the ball wouldn’t quite fall for him and it was cleared by a Burnley defender. Fabregas later turned provider for Bendtner but he dallied a bit on the ball, but the defender recovered, just as Bendtner was about to pull the trigger. More chances were to follow, but we just couldn’t put any away, with Bendtner being the guiltiest party.

The goal finally came, courtesy of Captain Fabtastic. Nasri played a fabulous ball over the defenders after spotting Cesc’s run into the box and all he had to do was sidefoot the ball from close-range through Jenson’s legs. It was a beautiful goal, giving us the lead we very much deserved after 34 minutes. Fabregas got substituted shortly after that, as he had felt his hamstring, with Diaby replacing him. Arsene said after the game that he wasn’t sure yet of the severity of the injury. Hopefully it will turn out not to be serious, but he’s a doubt for the Porto game.

It still looked like we’d go on and score more despite losing Cesc, but we didn’t. Theo was having a lovely time on the wings, creating chance after chance. One such chance fell to Bendtner after Theo delivered the perfect of crosses onto his head, but he headed it wide! Unfortunately for him, that’s pretty much how the rest of the afternoon went for him. I think he might have left home in a hurry and forgot his shooting boots, or something.

It ended 1-0 at halftime, but it really should have been more.

We started the second half a bit sloppily though, letting Burnley back into the game about 5 minutes after the restart! David Nugent grabbed the equaliser after some loose play at the back. Eboue initially did well to clear the danger inside the penalty area, hooking the ball back towards the half-way line. But the ball was headed straight back and bounced right in-between our centre halfs, leaving an onside Nugent with the chance to lob it over Almunia. He took it and out of nowhere really, we were back level. Sloppy stuff.

But it didn’t matter though, as were back level 10 minutes later, through the excellent Theo Walcott. And he did most of the work himself. The ball was played to him on the right side by Bendtner. He cut inside, and from just inside the box caressed the ball past Jenson with his left foot. I don’t really understand what his celebration was about but he ran to the touchline towards a member of the coaching staff, tapping his wrist. It doesn’t matter what that was about, anyways. It was a great goal by Theo which I thought he thoroughly deserved. He’d received some stick during the week which I felt were totally harsh on him and I thought he responded the best way possible. Theo’s back, and I hope he maintains this form until the end of the season.

Rosicky got substituted for Arshavin who’s been out injured for a few weeks, and it was good to see him get a run out after being sidelined for so long. We had loads more chances to extend our lead, but like I said, Bendtner just didn’t have the right boots on and the chances went begging. To be fair to Nick, though, he played really well and if only he’d finished one or two of those chances, he would have had the perfect game. He got subsituted shortly afterwards for Eduardo, and it was great to see that he got a standing ovation as he left. He’d put in the effort all game and everyone appreciated that. And like Arshavin said after the game, maybe he’s saving all his goals for Porto!

It wasn’t just Bendtner with the misses though, Eduardo and Arshavin both squandered opportunities. Burnley barely posed much of a threat so even though there were still very much into it, they never looked like scoring! The 3rd goal finally came deep into injury-time and was scored by Arshavin. After a short corner routine on the right, he cut inside and into the box, firing a low shot into the near post. The full-time went shortly after, and I think Burnley would count themselves lucky not to have conceded way more than that.

Here’s Wenger’s take on the game:

“It was closer than you and I expected but we had the chances to score plenty of goals. We didn’t take our chances today and that’s why I believe it was very tight until the end. It could have been four, five or six but as well they had a chance to make it 2-2 after a corner. In the end you are happy when you miss the chances we missed today but you get the three points.

We didn’t score the 4 we wanted, but it was still the 3 points we needed to remain firmly involved in the title race. It was great to see Theo fit and firing, and Arshavin showed us that he still knows how to do it. Eboue did really well at right-back too and if continues to play this well, Sagna may struggle to regain his place! I haven’t mentioned Nasri yet, but he had a brilliant game too, and he was my Man of the Match after Theo, if that makes sense! Wenger said this about Nasri:

“He is improving, and in the last month, he is getting better. He had a good game today. The ball he gave to Fabregas to score was absolutely fantastic. He has a great work-rate and runs well with the ball. His passing is getting better and is really improving.

We need our players to step up as we go into the last few games and Nasri’s shown that he is capable of doing that. He took charge after Cesc was taken off and I’m sure if Cesc can’t play against Porto that Nasri’ll be a good enough deputy. Arshavin is another player who will have to deliver big performances for us and I think he’s ready to do that. I thought he needed a rest before he got injured, so hopefully now he’s back, he can continue to deliver those excellent performances we know he can produce.

We still remain third in the table, but we’re level on points with Chelsea but they do have a game in hand. United currently lead the way with 2 points having played the same number of games as us. It’s very easy to see that the top 2 will drop points, especially as they still have to play each other! As long as we continue to win our games and stay in touch, I’m pretty sure we’ll be in the best position to take advantage when they finally do.

But for now, all we need to worry about is the next game.

PS- I forgot to mention ‘little’ Jack! You probably know he’s on loan at Bolton until the end of the season. He played against West Ham on Saturday and he scored a really lovely goal! Good to see Owen Coyle making good use of our Jack! Can’t wait to see what he can do for us next season.

  • Josiah

    if we win all our remaining games we will win the league because we know chelsea and united will drop points.

  • jeffvip

    man utd just survive after wolves have miss a sitter in 90 minutes. they r not as good as before. i strongly believe we are in the leading pack

  • Josiah

    surely a major turning point in the season could be April 3rd.

    April 3rd:
    Man utd vs Chelsea – 13:30
    Arsenal vs Wolves – 17:30

    Obviously somebody has to drop points
    We see it happen
    Capitalise on it.

  • Yemi

    @Debs: Little mistake, little jack is at bolton and not burnley

  • goonerman

    All this talk about wenger risking a half fit fabregas against porto SCARES me! whatever happens even if it means going out of the champions league should we risk fabregas doing damage like owen did and being out for the season especially when you think who can fill his position! i know they are not as good as fabby but nasri, rosicky and even arshavin can play in attacking midfield position and i think they could do a job hopefully good enough to get us through! even if he puts cesc on the bench for desperate situations then fair enough but to start him would be madness!

  • http://arsenalandtherandomthoughtsofmylife.blogspot.com/ Debs

    Nice spot, Yemi. I did mean Bolton. Corrected now.

  • Richard Buxcey

    I am baffled how a team can loose so much chances and still win the game 3-1, credit to us however, Bendtner with a smile on his face after he was substituted and after such a WOEFUL performance tells me something is wrong somewhere. Bendtner should ahve bowed his face in shame, were I to be a defender he will be the least of my problems. To add salt to injury Dudu comes in and waste more begging chances. May be they enjoy it as we still go ahead and win, I wish I can enjoy such too, but at the moment the manager is not selecting credible strikers from among the ranks and presents us with these frugal bunch. I have tuned my mind to watch these jokes for the rest of the season and hope we can get more goals from elsewhere. Bendtner’s performance over the weekend is worth cutting some of his wages.

  • grahm

    After all the stick they’ve had in the past two seasons, I need to stress how brilliant Walcott and Eboue were today. I love it when players prove me wrong like that. Along with Nasri, our best men today. Am also pleased with the crowd, that managed to avoid the temptation of getting on Bendtner’s case.

    I’ve been asking myself what makes a great striker and I’ve come to the conclusion there are a number of factors, but for me, most importantly, positioning, finishing and consistency. How does Bendtner shape up? Positioning – well to miss that many chances you have to get into the right positions. I also think he links up well and is a good team component in the approach play, so I’d say he has this. Finishing – this is hit and miss with Bendtner. Great header against Stoke last week and yet misses a much easier chance this week. That said, in his two major misses yesterday, the idea was right with aiming for the bottom corners, but the execution was missing. Consistency – 3 in 3 before yesterday, but missed lots of chances as well. On the whole I think Bendtner has all the attributes to make it and does show them in flashes, I just wonder if he can find the consistency to convert himslef into a top striker. I hope so, as in the future I can see Bendtner and Van Persie being a good partnership in a 4-4-2 which gives us another option, when the 4-3-3 is not working or Fabregas is injured.

  • Richard Buxcey

    lovely post belo from Tony Attwood @ Untold Arsenal:

    “Manchester United win things. That is undeniable. They have a big support (even if it is largely located in Cornwall) and they fill the ground. That’s undeniable. And they have an extraordinarily successful manager – something we have to admit even if we don’t like some of his behaviour.

    And they are so broke it is amazing they are still in business. That’s undeniable too.

    And yet in the midst of this there is a group of people who want to buy the club. Even more amazingly the owners (who you might think are just about ready to jump off Beachy Head) say they don’t want to sell.

    But there is a reason for this and the reason is so half baked that at first sight it is near on unbelievable.

    This is how I see it going…

    First, the Glazers have been putting Old Trafford prices up year on year.

    Second, they ordered the selling of their prima donna for £80m, with the money going back into their kitty

    Third, they started manipulating the borrowing so that most of their personal guarantees were removed. It was a complex ploy but it is the net result of the bond issue. The family are far less at risk personally than they were before.

    As a result of this, without much personal risk the family now have the opportunity to take £50m a year out of the club for their own use, safe in the knowledge that no one can interfere until 2017 when the bonds have to be repaid.

    So is that it? Personal wealth?

    Up to a point Lord Copper, as Evelyn Waugh so wonderfully said in “Scoop” (which if you are interested in the way the media and stuff works, and you have never read, you should, in my humble opinion.)

    There’s one more trick on the turntable (a meaningless phrase that I just made up, but which somehow seems quite appealing). It goes like this…

    They have a dream. A vision. Which if they could pull it off would give the family power and funding that would make the possibility of a Glazer as President of the USA a near racing certainty. But it is a gamble that is so high-risk that the chances against it coming off are enormous. It is the sort of risk that no one in their right mind would dream of taking on – unless it was with other people’s money.

    The dream is that within five years of everyone will be chatting, betting, watching, and doing all that geeky stuff on line using extra fast broadband and extra HD screens. And the focus of their on line world will be the EPL – in particular the brand Man U.

    Of course we have heard all this before, but the argument here is that what has held the internet back is the quality of the picture. Get that right – make the picture via broadband as good as the picture on your 42 inch HD TV and then everyone will watch that way. The TV stations will be a thing of the past, and all rights will be owned by the clubs who licence out each match on the internet. Pay per view for the games, the reserves, the training, while you also gamble and buy the shirt. Coronation Street no longer appears on ITV, it is on MUTV.

    A new approach to football, a new approach to life, with Manchester United at its very centre.

    Frightening stuff, except….

    Except… if they have got this right it will be a first time anyone has made a successful guess within digital technology. In short the history of the digital revolution has been a history of getting it wrong. or (in a few cases) getting it right by pure accident.

    Here’s some fairly well known errors… Like the moment IBM’s chief exec said that computers had a future, but there would probably only be a need for 50 of them or so world-wide. Or the moment IBM thought the PC so pointless that they outsourced the code to a bunch of pizza eating students in a diddy firm called Microsoft.

    Or the moment the Boots spin-off Freeserve came along and was quickly worth five times the value of its parent company despite the fact that it had no income stream, and then shrank to nothing.

    Remember the days when everyone poured into the dotcom revolution, and the bank managers were wetting themselves because they thought they would be sidelined, because they were not lending enough to the dotcoms. (Apparently the high street would be dead in 2001 so they had to move fast).

    In fact the history of digital technology has not been a history of success, but of absolute failure, mistakes and bankruptcies. Most people in the media remember this because they remember ITV Digital, Setanta UK, the near destruction of the music industry by digital technology because of wrong guesses, and the fact that most digital technology is cracked. Just ask anyone in the business about the holes inside Internet Explorer – the most used browser in the world. Or look at this week’s report on the latest botnet to be found – when asked which top companies had been compromised the man who oversaw the closing of the botnet said, “it is a lot quicker to tell you which of the top firms were not compromised.”

    Or remember that texting was invented as an irrelevant add on to the mobile phone which might be of interest to a few oddballs. Or the fact that Bill Gates and co thought that writing DOS was something to do between eating pizzas.

    The Glazers might well have a dream of a ditigal empire based around the Man U brand showing every aspect of the Man U world on line all the time – but the fact is that today anyone anywhere in the world can find any EPL football match available on line somewhere. OK the quality might be poor, but just as the quality of the Man U games will rise, so will the quality of those Chinese links that provide this sort of TV for the world to watch, free of charge.

    However you look at it, this view of the Glazers is naive. It is based on a vision of reality that applied in the 18th century when the Duke of Newcastle had the absolute right to control the export of coal from the area. And even in those days you had smugglers who got round the tolls that the nobs imposed.

    As I have looked at the growing suggestions that the Man U owners are going to try and set up some sort of internet sports monopoly I have puzzled over whether maybe they knew something special that had escaped the attention of everyone else. Then I heard one of the speakers at a big Soccerex football conference that they seem to hold every other week in Dubai, who said something like this. “The internet is currently all about pornography, but in five years time with high speed HD broadband, it will be all about sport,” and I knew that there was nothing special going on.

    According to the US Department of Justice, about 1.1% of the sites indexed by Google and Microsoft are “sexually explicit”. If you haven’t got that bit of info right, then you are not going to build a brand bigger than Google.

    Of course I am just a commentator sitting at home writing a blog – I have no access to the Man U files or the thoughts of their owners. All I am trying to do is put the bits of information that are out there together, so that I can try and draw a conclusion or two. If you come up with a different reason to explain the behaviour of the Man U owners fine. But what I would say is if I am right, and they have decided to go down this path, it is a rather clever trick, because

    a) it has cost them nothing

    b) they are getting millions of pounds out of it each year

    c) if the internet trick proves to be a failure, so what – they keep their profits

    d) if by some quirk they do pull it off, and we all have to pay them to watch football on TV, then they don’t even have get a member of the family nominated to become President of the USA. They’ll have more power than the President already.

    e) And if as I think they have got it wrong, then Man U goes bust. Hey ho. Win some lose some.”

  • manoo

    Arsenal
    Date H/A Team Result Table
    06-Mar H Burnley 3-1 61
    13-Mar A Hull City win 64
    20-Mar H West Ham United win 67
    27-Mar A Birmingham City win 70
    03-Apr H Wolverhampton win 73
    10-Apr A Tottenham Hotspurs draw 74
    18-Apr A Wigan Athletic win 77
    24-Apr H Manchester City draw 78
    01-May A Blackburn Rovers win 81
    09-May H Fulham win 84

  • manoo

    Man Utd
    Date H/A Team Result Table
    06-Mar A Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 63
    14-Mar H Fulham win 66
    21-Mar H Liverpool win 69
    27-Mar A Bolton win 72
    03-Apr H Chelsea draw 73
    11-Apr A Blackburn Rovers win 76
    17-Apr A Manchester City lose 76
    25-Apr H Tottenham Hotspurs draw 77
    01-May A Sunderland win 80
    09-May H Stoke City win 83

  • manoo

    Chelsea
    Date H/A Team Result Table
    13-Mar H West Ham United win 64
    21-Mar A Blackburn Rovers win 67
    24-Mar A Portsmouth win 70
    27-Mar H Aston Villa draw 71
    03-Apr A Manchester United draw 72
    12-Apr H Bolton Wanderers win 75
    17-Apr A Tottenham Hotspurs draw 76
    25-Apr H Stoke City win 79
    01-May A Liverpool draw 80
    09-May H Wigan Athletic win 83

  • manoo

    I make out we win the league by a single point. Wot do u guys think?

  • Yemi

    @manoo: I still believe both teams (man u and chelsea) will lose one match each. Man u had to struggle to beat wolves. So did chelsea

  • manoo

    That is true, but my predictions are based on the fact that they both do really well, so we are less reliant on them doing crap in other games.

  • sid

    It’s not Carlos Vela’s fault that he is a Mexican, and I have no doubt that he is fiercely proud to be one, but going away to play for Mexico is having a bad effect on his Arsenal career.

    In fact, it could be killing it.

    Of course being chosen to play for your country is a fantastic honour, it would be for anyone, and you cannot stop players from doing so. But to me, it appears that Vela plays more for Mexico than he does Arsenal.

    He is such a big talent but it’s such a bigger shame that we have yet to see the best of Carlos in an Arsenal shirt. We’ve seen flashes of what he can do, but we haven’t seen enough because frankly, he hasn’t played enough.

    I know that he is young and that Arsene Wenger is easing him into English football but I thoroughly believe that the Arsenal gaffer would use him a lot more if he was actually available!

    It seems that when Vela goes on these long trips to play for Mexico he either comes back injured or is suffering from jet-lag and it must be very frustrating for Wenger to consistently not be able to pick Carlos in his squad as a result.

    Vela’s Arsenal career has been stop-start and you have to feel for the boy because, as promising as he is, he isn’t actually getting the chance to have a run in the side and I think its because of the games he plays for Mexico.

    The likes of Brazil and Argentina come over to Europe quite a lot to play their international friendly matches. This is mainly because their players are based in Europe so maybe an option for Mexico would be to do the same.

    It would certainly help the jet-lag factor!

    As frustrating as it is to have yet seen Vela’s Arsenal career explode I think we have to have patience with him. I know we’ve had plenty of patience over the years but in my opinion Carlos Vela is a special case.

    This kid will make it and make it big. I really believe that. Wenger has faith and has invested a lot of time with him so I know that Carlos has a great chance at Arsenal.

    I only hope that that patience doesn’t wear thin because of the fact he never seems available! That may sound stupid but I’d hate to see him shine at another club, because he would.

    The question is; How do you deal with it?

  • goonerman

    So with fabregas out of the porto game we will have to do it the hardway which is normally always the way lol!
    Glad that sol is back and likely to pair up with vermaelen!
    bendnter does not really deserve much critisicm about his weekend display he had a really good game other than his crazy misses so lets lay off of him becuase we could do with him in form tomorrow now!
    maybe he will play theo but i reckon he mite actually go with sagna and eboue down the right for defensive cover and the fact that eboue looks quality at the moment.

    ———–Almunia
    Sagna–Campbell–Vermaelen–Clichy
    ———-Song-Diaby
    ——Eboue–Nasri–Arshavin
    ———–Bendtner

    Maybe? or does everyone want to se theo on the wings lol??

  • jeffvip

    @manoo, looks like we have a great advantage here. hopes it happens

  • Sam

    Yes, 3 Apr is D-Day. But we need both ManU & Chelski to drop points.
    As it stands, a draw suits us best, but things will change before this date.
    I will postpone my decision on my “wish decision” till 2 Apr!

  • Sam

    “Wish result”!