With Wigan and Chelsea coming up after today, Arsene decided to rotate a little bit, whilst not changing too much. The in form Rosicky was rested and Koscielny had an enforced absence – which meant that Ramsey started in midfield and Djourou at the back. Benayoun kept his place after some good displays. Gibbs’ absence meant hat Santos started too, in what was our 18th different back four combination of the season.
The line up was:
Sagna – Djourou – Vermaelen – Santos
Arteta – Song
Walcott – Ramsey – Benayoun
The opening exchanges were in our favour with a determination, and within 10 minutes, Wolves had a man sent off and we had a penalty. The penalty was won when Walcott cut inside, passed to Van Persie – who then chipped in it back into Walcott path, who made a darting run into the box. Ex-Sp*rs defender Bassong pulled him down, red card for the defender… Penalty to Arsenal.
Van Persie decided to do a little cheeky chip to score – not something I’m a fan of, especially when it’s 0-0 and it’s such an important game, but he did score – and it was his 34th goal of the season. Guess how many goals Wolves have scored all season? 34… you got it!
Arsene was also a little surprised at the choice:
It was a surprise to me because I have never seen him doing that. It was just what came into his mind at the last second he said.
And 1-0 became 2-0 very quickly, when the same combination and one two between Walcott and Van Persie saw Walcott through the middle and he slotted it past the keeper to make it 2-0.
The rest of the first half was a little run of the mill – we had a lot of possession and Wolves were quite frustrated, nothing really to write home about, it was all second gear.
Wolves had a bit of pressure in the second half and you felt it was self inflicted. We did get the safety third, albeit late on – Song played a slightly more advanced role today and when Van Persie set him down he left – his cut back found Benayoun and he Israeli got his name of the scoresheet to secure the points.
In the end, the scoreline was comfortable, and despite a little bit of pressure, it was a relatively straightforward game. Arsene summarised the game…
We started well and then had a situation where we could control the game. Did we push on or not? After that we played a bit with the handbrake on, they played deeper and defended like mad with a great spirit until the end of the game. If they keep that spirit then they still have a chance of staying in the league. On our part we controlled the game, although they actually had a spell in the second half where they created chances. Szczesny made a good save but after that it was a comfortable win.
We now return to the Emirates for the game against Wigan – who beat Manchester United today – and they are fighting for their lives. Their win against United actually moved them out of the relegation zone. No matter how much we think we’ve achieved, or how easy the opposition will be, we have to ensure that we focus and do our utmost best. We did so against Man City and Wolves and we need to apply the same tenacity to Wigan.
Til tomorrow, my friends, til tomorrow…