Monday, 17 October 2011

Robin Van Persie: A Class Act

That was a vital win. ‘Phew’ is the right word to describe my feelings after yesterday’s clash with Sunderland. Another one could be ‘impressed’, relating to the performance of our very own Dutch master.

He is the sort of player you want to watch in every game, he must be a delight from a neutral perspective, but even with your attentions elsewhere as an Arsenal fan concentrating on the game, you still can’t help but enjoy watching him.

One of his many qualities is that he is so consistent. With his goals, his skill, his link up play, his work ethic and his class. He just makes you want to stand up, applaud and bow your head. He is a perfect role model for young players.

What about the game then? Arsenal, like Van Persie, started off like a train, on steroids, with a full tank of petrol, going at 120mph, with the wind behind it. They were classy, hard working, kept the ball well, moved it fluidly, quickly and looked liked scoring every time they went forward. We played beautiful football, which was a relief to see as I was worried that side of us might have disappeared after this summers events. But it was the best I’ve seen Arsenal play since the Barcelona home game last season. Magnificent. Like the Arsenal of old; energetic, urgent, skilful, threatening and wonderful in possession.

That ended somewhat after a dodgy 5 minute spell when Sunderland came back into the game more and Larsson bent in a brilliant free- kick to equalise Arsenal’s quickest Premier League goal, that was nicely taken by Van Persie on his so called ‘chocolate leg’. I’ve never understood why people have called it that as he has never really been totally one footed; he has always shown ability with his right foot and scored goals with it, like today. They must be referring to Rooney’s left foot, but getting mixed up. Because have you noticed how Rooney never gets criticised for being totally one footed? It’s never even pointed out. English biased- ness one suspects.

After half time though Arsenal stepped up the tempo once again and were completely dominant. Eventually, Robin beautifully curled in a delightful free- kick to send me and an enormous amount of other Arsenal fans, no doubt, into raptures. The relief! The joy! He deserved to score a free- kick of that class as he is often so unlucky with them, hitting the woodwork and forcing top class saves. He has always been a marvellous free- kick specialist.

Arsenal held on to claim a valuable 3 points to send us to, wait- take a deep breath, 10th! We are now only 3 points of the Scum and 4 points off Liverpool and with our fixture schedule over the next 2 months, we should be able to get level with them or above them, or at least get closer to them and really put in our claim for a top four finish.

It would be ideal to get to the half way point of the season in a good position, especially because I think the team will get better as the season goes along, much like in 08/09 as the team will gel together more and players like Gervinho, Mertesacker and Jenkinson will get better as they adapt. Also, players like Sagna, Vermaelen and Wilshere should be available then.

Robin Van Persie was man of the match, 2 fabulous goals, a breath- taking performance and some amazing skill. His touch past Richardson and chip over Mignolet, with his weaker ‘chocolate leg’ I might add, was sublime and worth seeing over and over again even though it bounced back off the post, very unluckily.

But special mentions also go to Szczesny, for his amazing save from Cattermole to keep the score at 1-1 going into half time, and Rosicky whose driving runs, ball retention and creativity were fantastic. That’s the best I’ve seen him play for a very long time. Class. Also, Arshavin who came on with urgency, skill and a real threat that helped push Sunderland back and Arsenal forward. His mazy run at 1-1 was brilliant and he really did have a big impact when he came on, which will be reflected in my match ratings.

The crowd also played their part, encouraging better than usual for this sort of game and helping the team towards victory. That’s not a dig by the way, the atmosphere at Arsenal is very good for the games against the top teams and I understand why it’s quiet for games against the lesser teams, like everywhere else is to be fair. Now, a great chance to kick on and get up the table, come on Arsenal!

Match Ratings:

Szczesny 8- +1 for the Cattermole save. Literally a tremendous save.
Jenkinson 7
Mertesacker 7
Koscielny 6
Gibbs 7
Song 6- Got better as the game went on. His passing was generally poor, and at times, bizarre. Only high expectations have resulted in his 6. A younger player like Jenkinson would have got a 7.
Rosicky 8
Arteta 5- Below par. Passes sideways too often and a silly handball for their goal.
Walcott 6- Struggled to have an impact, but it’s harder out wide to do so. But OK.
Gervinho 7
Van Persie 9

Santos 7- You wouldn’t expect a left back to come on and improve the team and have an impact on the game like he did. Impressive.
Arshavin 8
Benayoun 7

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