There was the temptation, which I took for a while, to bemoan our lack of going for a mental scoreline last night, but as the final whistle went and we’d grabbed all three points, moved five clear in third and added three goals to our goal difference I was left thinking ‘what a fucking professional job that was.’ There was no point running ourselves in to oblivion in search of a hatful of goals, we could have got those anyway at a canter if it hadn’t been for some slack finishing and poor refereeing calls in not awarding us at least one clear cut penalty. We didn’t so much yank the handbrake on as throw it in to reverse. Energy conserved, hamstrings not tweaked.
We couldn’t have gotten off to a better start, Theo fed through early on, clearly fouled, penalty awarded and red card issued. The penalty from RvP was the height of arrogance and it was sublime, chipping the ball in to the net at about three miles per hour while their keeper lay on the ground just watching. One nil to the Arsenal. By the 11th minute it was 2 as Theo latched on to another through ball and slammed the ball home sweetly despite being the subject of criticism from Tony Gale for the full 11 minutes of the game (in which time he’d won a penalty and scored a goal) and from there we just played keep ball.
Wolves, perhaps not unsurprisingly got a little bit tetchy and Doyle was lucky to only get one yellow. Half-time and we were comfortable. The second half was more of the same and a great finish from Yossi, starting his second game in a row, from outside the box made it three nil and points safe.
Wolves offered little and what they did manage to find we had a match for in great saves from Szczesny and solid defending at the back, not that we were overly stretched. We did give them more chances than many would be comfortable with but I choose to believe the team were simply bored and wanted to spice things up a little.
So that’s played 10 won nine, 27 points out of a total of 30 to haul us up and clear in third place. We managed to get 50% of our 12 shots on target, and somehow managed to finish the game with 69% possession despite having 956 touches (to their 454). We made 52 interceptions to their 44 so even with our handbrake on this was a concerted, professional performance, doing what we needed to do and not doing anything stupid which could cost us in the final games of the season.
It was funny as we all sat down to watch Match of the Day how we pondered just what they would do with the highlights and sure enough, once again, they managed to make it look like it had been a even contest as they had done with our match against City at the weekend. Perhaps the most laughable thing about the whole lot was how, despite my stats saying Arsenal had 69% possession, Sky Sports saying we had almost 72% and Opta, king of all things statty, saying we had 71% possession, MOTD managed to work out that the game had been a perfect 50:50 split. Yes, that’s right, Arsenal, with 11 men in a match they won three nil, had the same amount of possession as Wolves, the team adrift at the bottom of the table, who only had 10 men for 80 minutes.
And they wonder why we’re paranoid….
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