So there we have it… Arsene’s Wigan gamble by resting our first team paid off when we demolished Birmingham to pieces. Indeed, beating Birmingham at St. Andrews is something that’s not exactly that many teams, if any teams can do. For them, St. Andrews is a fortress and has been for many years. Before we turned up, they hadn’t been beaten there in 20 odd games. We’ll see whether the gamble will pay off at the end of the season of course. Who is to say we would have won if we played our full first team against Wigan, whose to say we would have then won at Birmingham?
Birmingham 0 – 3 Arsenal
The line-up yesterday was the same against Chelsea:
Sagna – Djourou – Koscielny – Clichy
Wilshere – Song
Walcott – Cesc – Nasri
With a bench of Szcznesy, Eboue, Squillaci, Rosicky, Arshavin, Bendtner, and Denilson
My understanding is that Chamakh was completely rested as he has seen a lot of game time this season – with games coming things and fast. Van Persie is being looked after by the medical team and it’s unlikely that he will play two games a week this season. We’re likely to see Chamakh brought back in for the big Man City game. Van Persie is a big player and has a lot of ability – but we all saw against Birmingham that he was rusty. Fresh, but rusty. His freshness and eagerness was a good for us and it did galvanise the team.
Our first goal came through Robin Van Persie – a free kick… for those of you who following me on twitter, I pulled out a reverse double super jinx, which I have to admit, I had tried several times.
Two minutes before the free kick:
When was the last time Van Persie scored a free kick, surely Nasri should taken them?
Van Persie scores a free kick!!!!!!!!! 1-0…….. what was I just saying!!
So, there we go, the power of the reverse double super jinx… Let’s try it next time we need it!
We had a lot of opportunities in the first half to score another, it was very frustrating not to get the second, but unusually, Arsene’s half time talk seem to do wonders and as soon as the second half started, we seemed very focused. It was clear that Arsene had reminded the team of the need for a second and third goal.
The second came though Samir Nasri – his 13th of the season – when he had time and space outside the box and picked his spot. After that it was one way traffic, with Cesc and Nasri both at their best, one twos, and combinations. Brilliant stuff. And it through a beautiful combination the third came, albeit through an own goal – Cesc with the shot after Nasri slipped him in. Nothing can really describe the second half performance other than watching it, but it was very good – the only thing is that we didn’t score more!
Arsene was asked about the strength of this team and he said:
It’s not necessarily down to the players, I decided from the start when I saw the fixtures that I needed to rotate. You can do four or five in one game and four or five in the other game but I decided to go with the whole lot in one game and come back with the whole lot in the third game. In fairness, I am used to criticism! I can understand that I was critisied but I think what is important is that I am paid to make decisions. Strong decisions are better than half decisions. I took a decision and it nearly worked, we were a little bit unlucky. I could have played the same team three times and lost at Wigan and tonight. I consider that we dropped two points at Wigan but you can also say that Manchester United dropped two points at St Andrew’s. Over the festive period we were the team with less recovery time than any team and the team who played, along with Manchester United, twice away from home.
We only have a few days until Man City – but what a big game that is. Who knows who we will play? Will it be the same team, will Chamakh come in for Van Persie – All I know is that this will be the strongest Man City team we have played… ever… and they will be out for revenge – we have to be at the top of our game, like we were against Chelsea to get a result.
More tomorrow folks…