God almighty I hope Arsenal have shares in a health company because the number of heart attacks brought on by last night’s match must surely have been in their thousands. I can’t remember the last time I was so nervous as a match drew to a close. So often we have watched our team throw a match away from the same position that we found ourselves in last night.
Thankfully, the heart, desire, passion and commitment which the entire team showed last night was rewarded.
This wasn’t a great display of flowing football from Arsenal, but I don’t mind that. We showed that we wanted to win that game, but, more than that, we demonstrated that we didn’t want to concede. The last ditch tackling, blocking and saves from our very own highlighter pen in goal were immense.
Of course, all the talk post-match by people who didn’t even watch the game has been about Cesc’s tackle. We’ve seen it, it wasn’t good. They got a free kick, he got booked, he apologised, Arsene apologised, and the media have ridiculed him for being man enough to actually admit he was wrong and say sorry (Oh! the horror!).
Then we come to Henry’s tackle on Arshavin. You know the one, the one which didn’t even bring a free kick, initially gained scorn for Arshavin for ‘chickening out’ from the Sky commentators until they realised he was lucky not have his leg snapped, was totally ignored by MOTD as the BBC strive to show just how impartial they aren’t. No mention in the papers, no mention on the radio. Nothing. Nada. It’s like it didn’t even happen.
Except it did. Look:
Look how far away the ball is when Henry makes contact. Look at how high up Arshavin’s leg he is. Yet this gets no coverage whatsoever, while Cesc’s is plastered across all the back pages. Reading the comments around the interweb there are a lot of people saying that if the Cesc tackle had been the other way around Wenger would be whinge, whinge, whinging, Well, that just shows what you know doesn’t it? He hasn’t said a word about yet another player getting away with nearly snapping an Arsenal player in two. Ask Diaby how the last one that went unpunished turned out.
The you have the Wolves fans singing ‘You dirty Spanish bastard’ at Cesc, booing Song after he had been stamped on (another ‘challenge which didn’t even bring a free kick – not Halsey’s finest match) and Denilson being booked within two seconds of taking to the pitch.
It’s a wonder we got out alive.
But we did, and we did it with our reputation’s enhanced. We were far from our best and struggled to keep the ball for large parts of the match, but we closed down and worked at 100% from the first minute until the last and we got our reward.
So who was your man of the match? Was it Chamakh for bookending the match with two superb goals? Was it Sagna for his goal-saving block? Or Rosicky for staying on the line and busting his ass in midfield? Was it Djourou who seems to bring clean sheets with him, or Squillaci who is showing what an inspired signing he was? How about Clichy who Wolves clearly targeted but he stood strong, or Arshavin who worked like a demon for the entire match (apart from one 15 second spell when he just stopped and watched Wolves pass around him). Of course all of those players were superb but there can be no doubt that the man of the match was Fabianski.
Oh Fabianski how I love you. I felt your pain and took your abuse when you were fucking up week after week, but this is the keeper I could see was inside you trying desperately to get out. I even think you are even starting to convert some of the biggest haters.
What mental strength he has displayed.
He kept us in the match last night with a string of superb saves. It was from his throw-outs that we broke and scored. In short, it was a perfect goalkeeping display from a keeper who had, once again, blundered in his previous match. But, as we are seeing, the errors are now becoming the exception rather than the rule, and with the (as of yet unconfirmed) news that Chesney has signed on for another five years with Arsenal we could very well have two great keepers fighting it out for one and two.
If anyone still doubts that Fabianski is the better option when compared to Almunia there is nothing left to do to save you, your brain is obviously too far gone.
So we did it. Many doubted we would and when that second goal went in I have to say I cheered it as if we’d just beat the Mancs such was the pressure I’m sure we were all feeling. You could see what it meant to the players as well as they mobbed both the scorer Chamakh and Fabianski who had just made his best save of the night before quickly releasing the ball so we could get it up-field and seal the win in the dying seconds. It was a team performance, with everyone working for each other and no-one slacking.
It is what we will need to do week in and week out if we are to maintain ambitions of being Champions and we’ve shown that we can do it, so what stops us doing it every week?
It was telling that post match Jack tweeted to say “Shout out to the boys who had the banner ‘we love wilsh’! Big support for us boys today! You arsenal away fans are awesome! Much love!” It’s a pity you never hear that about the home support. Perhaps we should listen to the advice that Gilberto was giving out yesterday on his twitcam – he said we should watch some of the big Brazilian teams for how to create an atmosphere at the Emirates.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea.
But this isn’t the time to be criticising when we had such a huge effort by everyone involved yesterday.
There’s still time to bask in it before looking towards Goodison. I suggest we do that, there have been far too many matches this season when there has been more bad than good. Let’s enjoy the good, let’s get used to it, and let’s actively work at encouraging the team to produce that sort of effort week in week out, home as well as away.
This is a joint effort folks. Let’s do what we can.
RT @OptaJoe: 37 – Marouane Chamakh’s goal for Arsenal came after 37 seconds; the quickest in the Premier League so far this season. Correction.
RT @Orbinho: FT Stats Wolves v Arsenal Shots 18-14, On target 3-5, Fouls 7-14, Duels Won % 49%-51%, Passing Accuracy 78%-77%, Possession 52%-48%
RT @johncrossmirror: Class for #Arsenal boss Wenger and Cesc to apologise for tackle. That’s the way to respond, not get into rows over whose tackle was worse
RT @TheSquidBoyLike: @reznuk @ladyarse Yeah Wolves purposely spread away fans across a stand rather than clumping them together in a corner, I can vouch for that
RT @Gingers4Limpar: Incredible – BBC give no coverage of Henry challenge or stamp on Song. Then Hansen has a strop about Cesc apologising. Lost for words.
RT @Orbinho: Arsenal have hit the woodwork 11 times in the Premier League this season, more often than any other team.
RT @OptaJean: Arsenal have won 80% of PL games when Johan Djourou starts in central defence (33 out of 41). @JohanDjourou: Nice numbers!
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