So Wolves at the Emirates. After they finally ended Manchester United’s unbeaten record (why it took so long, I’ll never know!) last weekend at Molineux, they would have seriously fancied their chances. At the moment, I’m yet to see the highlights, although Match of the Day starts soon. I do know the result, though. Can’t wait to see how it all unfolded!
The starting line-up for the game was:
Sagna – Djourou – Koscielny – Clichy
Wilshere – Song
Walcott – Cesc – Arshavin
With a bench of Almunia, Squillaci, Eboue, Gibbs, Denilson, Chamakh and Bendtner. Strongest team available, no doubt. No resting of players because of Barcelona in mid-week, which would have meant we were underestimating Wolves. Good to see that the boss did not fall for that.
What with Manchester United beating Manchester City (surely 2-horse race now?) in the early kick-off, the pressure definitely was on us to win to stay in touch with Man. United.
Having seen the MotD highlights and made use of my ATVO subscription, it is safe to say we dominated from the start.
We had the ball in the back of the net early on with only 4 minutes on the clock, after Wilshere had stumbled his way into the box despite being fouled. The ball found its way to Cesc on the right side of the box and he tucked it in. But the referee, instead of playing the advantage, blew for a foul instead! Spoilsport. Especially as the resulting free-kick was hit over the bar by Robin.
It didn’t matter though, because shortly after, we were officially 1-nil up with 16 minutes on the clock. What a finish. Lovely lovely pass from Cesc (how many times do we say that in one game?) out on the right into the box, and volleyed in first time by Robin with his right foot. Top finish!
It would be most unlike Wolves- although I’m being partial- to get through 90 minutes against us without there being a tackle we’re not impressed with. This one was by Stearman on Clichy. Heavy tackle, after Clichy had made his usual dash forward. We weren’t happy with it, and to show we’re not just being precious, the referee did not like it either!
The resulting free-kick led to a corner, which was taken by Robin. Was a ball it was! Swinging it in deep from the right, and it found Arshavin on the edge of the box unmarked, but he just couldn’t make good enough contact, with only the man on the line to beat! Great chance!
Arshavin was in on the action again soon after, after a lovely (need to find another word now!) ball from Wilshere this time, found him in acres of space on the left. He got into the box, and instead of shooting from a somewhat tight angle which he loves to do, he unselfishly laid the ball back for Theo, but his effort was saved by their ‘keeper. The rebound fell to Cesc, but his effort was cleared off the line!
We did get another chance to score in the first half, after brilliant one-touch football set Arshavin clear, but his effort was saved, and Theo’s follow-up then hit Arshavin, but oh, the offside flag is up. Apparently Arshavin was off. Tight, but offside.
Wolves could have had a penalty after a Djourou tackle in the box, but the referee said no, as I think Djourou got the ball first, and we could have had a penalty straight away after Arshavin fell in the box. The referee said no which was right, as Arshavin lost his footing, although the presence of the two Wolves players next to him ‘aided’ him.
And then it was half time. All Arsenal in that half, and it really could and should have been more. But I remember what happened last time when we were a lot of goals ahead at half-time… I’ll take 1-0 at half-time today please, thank you!
We started the second-half the same way we ended the first- on top. And oh, Theo, what. a. miss. Wishere danced his way into the box, and really ought to have had a go himself, but he laid the ball perfectly to Theo, and with the goal gaping, he missed the target! Unlucky Theo! But we’ll let you off this time.
Chance after chance went begging, but we eventually scored the second after 56 minutes, Robin again the scorer. Cesc pass to the Theo, Theo to Robin, Robin in the back of the net. Simple, effective, brilliant. Questions about Robin being offside, but for my money he wasn’t. Something about phases… Anyways, not offside. Goal stood, 2-0.
That’s how the second-half went, really. More Arsenal pressure, but we unfortunately could not find the back of the net one more time before full-time.
But brilliant performance. Chamakh and Bendtner came on for van Persie and Arshavin- both had storming games- after 71 minutes, and Denilson for Wilshere after 77 minutes. Another player who had a brilliant game. Good to see Theo getting 90 minutes and Arshavin playing with a smile. The defence stood firm today, and yet another clean-sheet for Szcznesy, although he was largely untroubled. But a clean-sheet’s a clean sheet.
Was impressed with how easily we saw off Wolves, who would have been on such a high after their United win. Bodes well for our mid-week game against Barca as we are in top form. That will be a much harder game, no doubt, but a ‘clinical’ performance just before-hand is very handy, especially after the Newcastle capitulation. Apparently when someone says a team is ‘doing a Newcastle’, there’s only one thing they mean! And it’s nothing to do with wanting Messiahs! Anyways, I’ll not dwell in that, it being the past and all…
It’d be interesting to see how we handle Barcelona. Last year’s clash was epic, and this provides to be even more epic! Will Theo start? I say go for it! They couldn’t handle him last year, and I don’t see them handling him again this year. I’m pretty sure we’ll create lots of chances, and with an in-form striker like Robin in the team… It should be a goal-fest. I’m not sure about our chances of keeping a clean-sheet, however, especially with Sagna suspended. But Szcznesy, back four, please prove me wrong, yeah!?
I’ll stop talking about that game as I’m sure Dev will be posting a match preview soon. And that brings me to another point. I wrote my first post for this blog a year ago on Thursday. I’ve loved every minute of it, and it’s just a shame that I haven’t been able to write that many posts, but hey, that can only get better! Thanks Dev for giving me the opportunity, and hope it’s been worth your while so far!
I’d quite love my anniversary present to be a win over Barca on Wednesday, so, over to you Arsenal…