The Premiership is a funny old game, isn’t it? We lost 1-0 to Newcastle at home on Sunday and then three days later then lose at home to Blackburn. It doesn’t matter who plays who, there is no such thing as an easy game in this league any more. For us, a win against Wolves was vital, and that’s exactly what happened – the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole tale though.
The line up yesterday was:
Sagna – Squillaci – Djourou – Clichy
Wilshere – Song
Rosicky – Cesc – Arshavin
In fact, the game was played with Song a little more on the right and Rosicky in the middle, like a 4-1-4-1 formation.
And boy did we start well… An excellent foray into the opposition half saw Alex Song swing the ball in right onto the head of Chamakh who finished well – and put us 1-0 up in the 37th second of the game. It came from great movement from Rosicky in the middle of the park, but also great movement from the team as a whole, really creating options. The cross was excellent and the finish was sublime.
The next incident of note was when Arshavin closed down the Wolves defender after excellent pressure from the whole team and nicked the ball, only for his shot to be saved by the impressive Wolves keeper. The attitude today was so much more different to that at the Emirates on Sunday and we were first to every ball. Surprising that Arshavin didn’t score. The Russian was instrumental in the next major opportunity, getting himself into a good position, crossing into the box, where the ball fell nicely to Cesc, whose excellent shot was saved by the opposition keeper.
Before the half was over, Fabianski proved to us that he is a good keeper with an excellent finger tip save to stop Doyle equalising. And it was Wolves who started the brighter in the second half, with a slip from Wilshere and Wolves capitalising on it, Sagna literally flying in to block the shot from Jarvis and basically saving a goal.
But we were not sitting back and a good interception from Rosicky played in Cesc who shot wide – the game was becoming a little end to end and the next chance fell to Wolves, when Doyle shot well with his left foot on the turn and Fabianski jumping high to tip the ball over the net. The resulting corner was ushered towards goal, with the excellent Rosicky clearing off the line!
Arshavin had an excellent chance next, cutting inside and hitting the inside of the post, only for the ball to rebound out. Next up was a foul on Rosicky, and the captain stood up to take the free kick, which deflected for a corner. The corner landed to both Djourou and Squillaci, neither who were able to score.
There was a bit of a talking point next as Cesc went in bad on Ward but in all honesty, it was not intentional and it was mainly to block the cross out then be anything more. The Wolves crowd, manager and Match of the Day insisted it was a red, but I’m not convinced.
Wolves pressed and pressed and pressed and tried their best, but our defence and keeper played well to keep them at bay. But Cesc was delightful in his accuracy and gave Chamakh a great ball to finish the game with. Chamakh finished well and the game finished 2-0 to the Arsenal. Man of the Match? Lucas Fabianski. Without a doubt.
Arsene talked after the game, expressing what a difficult tie it was.
“It was a very difficult night against a very good Wolves side. We had a good start and it was difficult as well because we couldn’t take our chances and a few times we were lucky in the second half, especially in set-pieces and our keeper made some great saves but Wolves is a very good side, I’ve seen that at Man Utd, I’ve seen that again tonight, they’re a team that can take points against everybody.”
In regards to whether we missed too many chances, Wenger outlined that the key thing was to keep in the game, keep determined and focus until the last minute.
“Yes but I think we were under pressure tonight so we wanted to force it a little bit on our chances and that’s why I believe we didn’t take our second chance (until right at the death). But overall, it was vital for us the three points tonight and we’ve shown a great spirit, great determination. It was today more on fighting maybe than on playing but we have shown we can fight as well.”
Arsene spoke on the challenge and it was good to see that Cesc apologising to the Wolves player – and on a final note, the Manchester derby ended goalless, meaning both teams dropping two points, and the top four looks like a top four now. Despite the various losses this season, looking at the table, it would be stupid to think we aren’t in with a shout.
There is a big test against Everton coming up – but until then, kudos to the team for getting back on track against a very difficult Wolves side.