All Wolves, No Bite

I don’t know if many of you play video games at all, but recently I’ve been playing Dead Space 2. It’s basically John Terry: The Game. Loads of long armed John Terry’s come rushing up to you and try to climb on top of you whilst you’re trying to play the game. If shooting things in space was ever a long metaphor for corners in a football match Dead Space 2 is there. Except in this game you can shoot the bastards legs off, pick them up and throw them at him. I had a dream last night to that effect, that in the Champions League final we met Chelsea and at 1-1 with ten minutes of injury time to go, we bought Eboue on armed with a Plasma Cutter – he went about strategically dismembering the opposition, but somehow the ball still bounced on Drogba’s isolated foot and ricocheted into the goal, a bit like Bent’s beach ball masterpiece, and we still lost. Arsene Wenger went mental but still didn’t buy a defender.

Anyway, back in the real world, we beat Wolves 2-0 with a performance befitting a team full of confidence, not a team that conceded a 4 goal lead last week. We were solid, assured and gave them nothing but the occasional sniff. That their best chance was in the final 5 minutes and still wasn’t on target says everything. If you set aside the awful ‘mare last week, our first 11 is getting stronger, and more solid, looks less wobbly and looks increasingly powerful. It speaks volumes about the players self belief that we went out and played the way we did after last weeks capitulation. We kept a clean sheet, not from Wolves lack of ambition, but because we snuffed them out from the midfield and back. The easiest way to defend is to attack.

Questions remain about the team when you take out Song, Djourou or Fabregas, but then I’m almost certain most teams would suffer, maybe just not to the extent that Arsenal do. When we lose those players we lose our heads. But, as the team strengthens together, hopefully the rest of the team will solidify too. Hopefully the next time our best defender goes of injured and a midfield player gets sent off we won’t ship one goal, let alone 4.

Song plays like a man who does not give a single fuck. He tackles, passes and runs and seems to have struck the perfect balance just recently of being defensive and restrained, yet going forward without leaving us exposed. In effect he’s turning into a very accomplished Defensive Mid who can play ball better than most of the attackers he faces. Wilshere aside, Song is the most improved Arsenal player this season pipping Djourou for me, just.

Van Persie continued his fine run, scoring the opener with a wrong leg volley off a wrong legged Fabre-cross. And Jack Wilshere was simply incredible. How Robin got man of the match in the fantasy league instead of little Jack I’ll never know (I’m not arguing though, RVP was my fantasy captain), as he ran the game from start to finish. His importance and stature within the team already is such that when he bollocked Fabregas for leaving him short Fabregas said sorry. He not only provided the creativity in the middle, he acted as the pivot for the team, linking attack and defence. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that Fabregas is also now in a rich vein of form, as Wilshere not only complements him but feeds him dynamite from behind. However that works.

Anyway, I watched the Manchester derby. It wasn’t an awful shower of shit like the last one, but it was pretty distressing watching a team with Tevez and Silva, two of the best players in the league, just dicking about. Bottling tossers. Manchester United were there for the taking and they still managed to arse it up. And then Rooney scored a stupidly good goal. The tiny eyed bastard. Incidently there is a Dead Space monster that looks a bit like Rooney. It’s like a gibbon with no face that constantly screams at everything as it runs about furiously. It’s easy to imagine the monsters are saying “NOT A YELLOW CARD REF, YOU PRICK”. Good goal though, even if it was a shinner.

So, finally, Wednesday. Fingers crossed Messi forgets to turn up yeah?

  • yemi

    @ kieran:
    The best part of the post for me is “So, finally, Wednesday. Fingers crossed Messi forgets to turn up yeah?”

    On the barca game, i think (and hope) it would be a better game with so many players on the high. Especially Song and Jack. Snuff out xavi (jack or song), keep villa out of the game (Ebuoue, sagna would have been better), run abidal/keita ragged (Theo). Keep alves on his toes the whole 90 (Arshavin), KOS should be able to take care of Pedro….

    We should be able to take them out at the emirates and hopefully draw at the camp nou !!!

    I feel very positive about the game… The only thing i don’t feel comfy about is keeping a clean sheet !!!

  • Arsefan101

    I agree with the analysis of Alex Song – he is so damn good – he doesn’t seem to care about anything except for playing the game – box to box. He & Jack are sublime together…

    On Wednesday, they need to continue their amazing partnership. I think they can cope with Barce’s offense – especially with Djourou / Koscielny / Szcznesy behind them.

    If Arshavin does play, he needs to track back and protect Clichy more though… and Nasri could be on the bench. Awesome.

  • devday

    @@ Kieran:
    Excellent to see RvP back into some good form – that’s 11 goals in 5 games for the Dutchman, that’s some brilliant form.

    Song is doing well alongside Jack now, they’re starting to gel very well. With the Newcastle game as the exception, I think we’re peaking nicely.

  • Kieran

    @ devday:
    True! Although the more I think about it, we were missing our two first choice centre backs, our DM and were down to 10 men, so a draw wasn’t a bad result there either.

  • devday

    @ yemi:
    I think we can keep a clean sheet. If Djourou, Koscielny are the two centre backs and Song and Wilshere play like they have recently – and Szcznesy in goal, we can be very solid.

    The weak link will obviously be Eboue! Let’s hope he is disciplined, and let’s hope he has one of those great games that we all know he has in his locker!

  • devday

    @ Kieran:
    Just the 4-0 lead being the major downer!
    Very confident about Wednesday!

  • yemi

    @ devday:

    That is exactly my fear. the weak link, ebuoue….. Come to think of it, can’t squillaci play at RB ? at least he would be more defensive minded than ebuoe

  • devday

    @ yemi:
    Nooo. Squillaci is much worse than Eboue for RB… at least Eboue has some sort of recovery pace… Squillaci on the right would be a nightmare.

  • devday

    @ Arsefan101:
    I think Arshavin has learnt some lessons about how to defend, also being dropped from the team would have made him think – he’s back to some sort of form now, so that’s good and I think he will be more disciplined is his requirements at Left Mid on Wednesday.

  • Berth

    Good stuff Kieran and Dev. I think we certainly have a chance.