So for the second time in as many months Arsenal have provided both me with the ability to come to work saying “I told you so” and the opposition fans such a crushing blow that they all left leaving nothing but a huge swathe of blue seats behind. Unless it was just really cold.
Man City / Spurs, two teams with pretensions of being better than they actually are, being put back into place by a weakened Arsenal team – no Diaby, no Verm and no Van Persie. Of course we were also missing Wilshere and Fabregas/Theo/Bendtner all played their first games since returning from injury. We were also without supposed first choice Almunia, although so far in his latest run Fabi-Banks-i hasn’t put a foot wrong so I suppose he’s now the first choice?
However you cut it, we were not anywhere near full strength yesterday – and yet Arsenal manage to grind out a solid win against a dangerous team (even with 10 men) in a hostile atmosphere. Well I say a hostile atmosphere, it was until we scored our second and they all went home. Boo hoo wankers.
I won’t dwell on the match too much after Debs excellent report but the turning point for me was not the sending off or first goal. City were always going to tire with 10 mercs, but for 60 or so minutes they came at us with purpose and frustratingly enough we let them have the ball for long periods. We ended with 66% possession but I’m sure that is entirely down to the final twenty – for most of the match is was far more even. Particularly at the start of the second half we were inviting them to come onto us and they had a few half chances. In the end they didn’t create much, but I think that was down in part to our luck. On a different day they could have nicked one – and I’d have put money on us then collapsing.
The turning point was Tevez’s withdrawal due to injury – up until then he had been pulling Djourou out of position and creating space for Silva. Arsenal looked like they couldn’t cope with his movement – however when he left the pitch they started to lose some of that space and with a bit of order back behind the ball we pressed properly for the killer goal.
I spent all match shouting “NO SONG GET BACK, GET IN FRONT OF THE BACK FOUR” and then he scored a remarkable poachers goal. Great instinctive finish, get the lad up front. Songinhio indeed.
Ah, the other events of the weekend, including Manchester United and their loathsome right back horror show Adolf Neville. How the fuck he stayed on the pitch until half time I will never know. He’s a lucky dictator-like. Lovely touch from Fergie, letting him get on the pitch for the second half before subbing him off. MOTD2 reckon he forgot. I think it was deliberate, Fergie laughing his bollocks off. I hate Fergusmoan, but my what a joker. Credit where credit’s due he got Adolf properly.
I suppose I should cover the Rooney thing? Nah, he’s a loathsome clusterfuck of a human being. I hope he hits his head at the bottom of his Dubai swimming pool and forgets how to kick a ball. And then he learns some loyalty, I mean he had none at Everton or to his wife, why are United fans surprised? Speaking of his holiday in Dubai, I bet he had to save up all day for that.
Liverpool won. Torres scored. Shame that.
I watched the West Ham / Newcastle match – Noble played perhaps the best ball of the weekend for their goal, but for whatever reason they collapsed almost immediately and Newcastle came back into it, West Ham look every inch the team that are going down. Unless they drastically alter something, they’re fucked. If they keep pretending Carlton Cole is a footballer, they’re double fucked.
It’ll make for an interesting game on Wednesday – I hope to be there. Newcastle are no push overs, players like Nolan/Smith/Barton in the midfield are not only strong and combative, but creative and capable of passing. A few teams have gone into games with Newcastle expecting a physical encounter but overlooking the fact that Newcastle can play the ball very well.
Newcastle are quite leaky at the back though (Carlton Cole scored, see) and I think its a game where we will need to stick two on the back four at all times. Perhaps it would be a good game for Theo to get involved, his pace could/should terrorise Collocini and Enrique and would give Arsenal the ability to play it over the top. I expect Bendtner will start as well, Chamakh having played 3 years of solid football in two months and Van Persie being corn beefed.
Ah and Sunderland for Europe this season. You read it here first. If they continue to play as they have done for the rest of the season, they’ll capture 7th. They’ve played Man City, Liverpool, United and Villa (and us!) and currently have 12 points. Dark horses.