Sunday, 2 January 2011

Ironic Win for Impressive Arsenal

I was thinking after the Wigan game that what goes around comes around and that sometimes you get decisions from referee's and sometimes you don't. But I didn't expect it to come around so quickly, and so ironically, as it did yesterday at St Andrews.

Arsenal were denied a last minute stone-wall penalty at Wigan on Wednesday night as a blatant handball wasn't seen by Lee Probert. Then, Birmingham were denied a stone-wall penalty yesterday after Robin van Persie handled the ball after Roger Johnson's touch with the score at 1-0. However, Roger Johnson could count himself lucky he was still on the pitch to be denied a penalty after he should have been shown red after 5 minutes for his cynical, typical 'We're playing Arsenal so go in hard and let 'em know you're there' tackle on Fabregas that quite a few teams have succeeded in performing when playing against us. After Nasri's beautiful goal to make it 2-0 shortly after half time, it was ironically Johnson who diverted the ball into his own net as he could only watch the ball trickle away from him, just like any chance of any points in the game for his team.

The irony doesn't stop there though. Remember Gael Clichy's 'foul' in February 2008 at St Andrews with the score at 2-1 to Arsenal in the last minute? I still maintain the view that that incident was the one that took the title away from Arsenal. A little luck at Birmingham was overdue for us, I don't even have to mention the Eduardo incident to back up my point even more.

Birmingham also felt they were hard done by in the build up to our first goal, feeling that van Persie went down too easily near the edge of their box. How easily he went down is irrelevant, he was fouled so it's a free kick.

It wasn't just Roger Johnson who could count himself lucky to be on the pitch until the end of the match. Lee Bowyer was even more dirty and cynical. He stamped on Bacary Sagna and when he saw he got away with it, went back for seconds later with another bad challenge on the full back. Some people never change. One word- Thug.

Arsenal showed the grit, maturity and determination to go with their sumptuous football to breeze past Birmingham, who had only lost once in their last 27 home games. An impressive record which includes beating our title rivals Chelsea and holding Man Utd, Tottenham and indeed ourselves last season.

I can't help but get excited when I look through our team, seeing it get stronger and stronger as players like Djourou, Song, Wilshere and Nasri are excelling and strengthening the team. The centre midfield of Song, Fabregas and Wilshere has almost everything; stamina, skill, creativity, goals, assists and solidity. The days of our midfield being 'bullied' look like they're over. In recent months we've been to places like Birmingham, Blackburn and Stoke and come away with all three points which shows improvement from previous seasons.

This team can win anywhere, against anyone. At least in this league anyway.

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