Thursday, 20 January 2011

Calmness, solidity and quality the keys to win

It was great to see Arsenal come away from Elland Road with a comfortable victory and an excellent performance. As an Arsenal fan from Leeds, it meant so much to me. It was like a second derby. For me to have bragging rights over the people I know that support Leeds is important.

The performance was solid for the whole game; fluent, creative and clinical. It was great to see them being so assured defensively. OK, we were playing against a championship team, but a good one and in a cup tie in a hostile atmosphere. Leeds never got to have a 'spell'. What I mean by this is that they never got us on the back foot for a significant period of time or have a dominant spell of pressure. This was good to see as it's very rare for a team not to have a spell of pressure or chances.

This shows how solid we were throughout the team, but especially in defence and midfield where we dictated the whole game, Song and Denilson were always around the ball. when they weren't on it, they were about to win it back and keep possession. The centre midfield of Nasri, Song and Denilson (and then Fabregas) dictated the game very well as well as being tight and solid defensively, digging in well.

The calmness and maturity of our performance was conveyed perfectly when Leeds pulled one back. We didn't show signs of weakening, becoming nervy, or letting Leeds build up a head of steam. I was very impressed at how we controlled the game and how we kept possession and got the ball back when we lost it. This was generally down to the midfield being so tight and solid, the defence being colossal and the wingers working back well.

Robin van Persie got on the score sheet again, it's great to see him scoring and getting back to full fitness and form. Nasri continued his goalscoring run, to call it impressive would be the under-statement of the season. He also orchestrated our attacks well and always looked a threat. Song and Denilson were solid, creative and good in and out of possession. Sagna looked as good as he ever has going forward; quick, creative, had good delivery and of course added a goal. He looked like a tireless, marauding Brazilian full-back. And he of course was as solid as ever. Gibbs looked like he's benefiting from having more games as he looked impressive and the wingers had their best performances for a while, especially Bendtner, who lets not forget was playing out of position, not that you'd be able to tell after that cross for van Persie's goal. David Beckham would have turned green with envy.

Another pleasing performance came from the man who was leading the line, Marouane Chamakh. I have been concerned about him lately, he's seemed poor and lacking movement and hasn't looked like scoring. But last night that changed. He ventured into good positions to get the ball, he looked dangerous in the air and linked up well with the midfield. He was unfortunate not to score when Schmeichel's save in the first half stopped his powerful header.

So, in conclusion, Arsenal are still in all four competitions and have a chance of winning any of them. You can't say this about any other team in the country, so lets count our blessings.


Szceszny- 7
Sagna- 9
Djourou- 9
Koscielny- 9
Gibbs- 8
Song- 9   MOTM (just)
Denilson- 8
Nasri- 8
Bendtner- 8
Arshavin- 7
Chamakh- 8

Fabregas- 7
van Persie- 8
Clichy- 7

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