Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Arsenal on Song when it mattered the most

I cannot understate my joy at the win last night, it was fantastic to beat them after them beating us so much in recent seasons, and also to win a big game against our title rivals. Also, we have now gone four points clear of Chelsea, who haven't played Man Utd yet.

We took our chances well, but what impressed me most of all was the return of the pressing game that Chelsea couldn't deal with. It forced them into plenty of mistakes, giving the ball back to us and it gave them little chance to create goal scoring opportunities. Fabregas, Wilshere and Song, you could argue bullied Chelsea's midfield which is ironic what with all the 'Chelsea bully Arsenal in midfield' comments in recent times. I thought all the team were terrific, you couldn't have a go at anybody's performance, it was great to see them play so well. Not only playing good football and putting Chelsea under pressure a lot but defending very well as a team and looking so mature and determined. Maybe this is what would have happened last season if we hadn't had so many injury problems, particularly up front.

One of the outstanding performers was Johan Djourou, who was immense throughout. Strong, determined, alert, brave and clever. Just what you need in a centre half coming up against Didier Drogba, who didn't get a sniff. His positional sense is excellent, his bravery in the challenge (aerially and on the ground) is brilliant and he times his tackles so well. I have always thought him a good player, but this season he has looked fantastic when he has played and is looking more experienced, mature and intelligent.

Another man of the match contender was Alex Song who has come on leaps and bounds this season going forward, his passing is much better, his awareness is, his finishing looks like that of a centre forward. And this is not to mention his brilliant defensive attributes, his positioning, his tackling, his strength. He showed it all last night in another big game performance in a big game.

Another player who's finishing has improved is Theo Walcott, who blasted in another clinical finish. And, like the rest of the team, what impresses me about him is that he did it in a big game at a big time. He didn't do it to get the fifth in a 5-0 win in a champions league group game, he scored a pivotal goal in a massive game. It was similar to his goal at Blackburn where he came in from the right and blasted a low shot across the 'keeper into the bottom far corner, textbook finishing. He makes it look so easy too.

Overall, it was a massive result and a great win and performance, Our big players showed up in the big game, Fabregas was excellent for example, his passing, intelligence and creativity was on fire last night. Lets hope we can kick on now and go on a long run without losing, which we haven't really done yet this season, starting at Wigan tomorrow- and I'll be there to cheer them on!

Come on you Gooners!

Match ratings:

Fabianski 7
Sagna 8
Djourou 9- MOTM (just)
Koscielny 7
Clichy 7
Fabregas 9
Song 9
Wilshere 8
Walcott 8
Nasri 8
van Persie 7

Diaby 7
Chamakh 6
Rosicky 6

Saturday, 18 December 2010

There's Snow way Barca will beat us!

Hope you'll forgive the pun...
But before I get onto that, a little note on today's events (or lack of)...
Saturday just ain't Saturday without the Arsenal playing. I didn't even get a good dump of snow where I live to cheer me up. The large volume of snow forced referee Lee Mason to postpone the game today, preventing us from having the chance to go top of the league, but I'm sure we'd have a better chance of beating Stoke when the pitch isn't covered in snow- so this decision works for me. Although, I'm not looking forward to Match of the Day now, even with the absence of Gary Linekar.

Elsewhere the Champions League draw was yesterday and as we all know, Arsenal drew the disrespectful ponces from Spain. Yep, Xavi, Pique, Messi, Puyol and the other motormouths will again visit the Emirates Stadium in mid- Febuary for what is sure to be a fantastic game for the neutrals and an amazing atmosphere. I think it's safe to say that Barcelona will go in to the game as favourites, but I have belief that we can knock those over- rated Spaniards out, especially if Messi isn't there to bail them out again.

There is a lot to worry about in their team, but the same can be said of us with Fabregas, van Persie, an improved Nasri, Arshavin, Walcott, Chamakh and others sure to have Barcelona fearful of us. It's the other end of the pitch that I think we'll be worried about though what with the likes of Messi, Villa and Iniesta to worry about. However, I think if we have a much fitter squad than we did for last season's games we can take these lot for a ride and a half.

Not many pessimists like Lee Dixon and Charlie Nicholas seem to remember that we were without Fabregas, van Persie, Song, Gallas, Arshavin and Djourou for last season's second leg, not to mention the absence of RVP and the low fitness levels of Fabregas and Gallas who, along with Arshavin didn't make it through the first half of the first leg due to injury.

So hopefully this time, we'll have atleast a mostly fit team with our important players fit and the spine of our team intact including Vermaelen who should be back well in time for both legs.

Elsewhere, we have the small matter of a game against (still) out of form Chelsea in nine days time, who haven't won in the league since November 10th. The laws of football averages suggest they are due a win, but they have done the last couple of games. The laws of football averages also suggest that we are due a win over one of Man Utd and Chelsea.

Additionally, we are a quality team. We have the ability to beat Chelsea. For once when playing Chelsea, we have a fit, strong squad available (touch wood that remains the same going into the game) apart from our main centre half, and the atmosphere will no doubt be great. Plus, Chelsea struggle on the road and Didier Drogba will hopefully get a terrible cold that prevents him from playing!

I really do fancy us to beat Chelsea, which would be a very welcome post- Christmas present for all of us Gooners...

Come on you Gooners!