Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Magic Midgets

I am not going to mention Phil Browm's post-match sideshow that is covering the back pages this morning. Crap. I already did. Well, I won't again.

Instead, I want to spend a moment or two basking in the warm sunshine of our first FA Cup semi-final for four years. There is something magical about the cup competitions, and the FA Cup in particular, and although the FA Cup is the least important of the major trophies we compete for (I'm ignoring the Carling Cup completely), it would be great to win it this year, particularly as we will have to beat Chelsea and in all likelihood ManUre to achieve that aim. That really would be an excellent result.

And I don't see any reason why we can't do it. I'll mention a couple of key players in a minute, but the reasons why Arsenal seem to be closing in on the good times again has a great deal to do with determination, teamwork and a positive frame of mind. That and a nice big dose of luck. Lovely, lovely, luck. Thank you linesman. You are a legend.

The crowd also played an important part last night. Noise levels dropped towards the end of the first half, Arsenal had not played great, and Hull had scored a ridiculous fluke of a goal (you won't see Phil Brown saying that in the papers either. Crap. Mentioned Phil Brown again). But the Emirates was on fine form for the second half and that, I think, really helped the players put in a terrific shift in the second half. Apart from one Geovanni fizzer that just missed the top right corner, Hull did virtually nothing in the second half. So well done to the 50,000 or so Gooners who made it to the stadium last night.

I have absolutely no doubts that we thoroughly deserved the win. But lets also give credit where its due. Hull are a well organised side that, despite being very good at persistent fouling, play relatively decent football and have several good players. Yes, their goal was hugely fortunately, but they defended like gladiators for a full hour after scoring and with 18 minutes left on the clock, I turned to 1979Gooner to say that this was now getting very sticky indeed. I would have been mighty pissed off to have gone out of the FA Cup had the roles been reversed over that last 18 minutes.

Thankfully though, by that stage, Bendtner was on the pitch and was putting in one of his super-sub routines. And sure enough, about 45 seconds later, Bendtner played a bit of pin-ball with about 3 Hull defenders on the right hand side of the box, somehow appeared through the melee with the ball at his feet, squared it beautifully to Arshavin, who laid it back on a plate for RVP to roof it. A top drawer goal and a great piece of unselfish play from Arshavin.

Indeed, the little Russian midget was magnificent throughout the game. One highlight, again in the second half, saw him trot at the Hull right back (Dawson I think), threatened to jink left/right a couple of times, and managed to cause Dawson to simply collapse in a heap on the ground. Quite amazing. Arshavin's passing is also absolutely top notch. Some of the slide-rule balls he played were so perfectly weighted that I think even Dennis Bergkamp would have been proud. Arshavin brings a dose of magic to the Arsenal team and he was central to a lot of what we did well last night.

I have no real idea how a lightweight midfield of Arshavin, Cesc, Nasri and Walcott could be blended, but it would be amazing if they could all play. Of course, we would never win a tackle or a header, and thats part of the problem.

The answer, I suspect, may lie in the developing power of Alex Song, who put in another excellent performance last night. Denilson has potential as well, but even with a water carrier behind Cesc in the middle, that still leaves Arshavin, Nasri and Walcott fighting for places on the wings. Whilst we can all have sleepless nights worrying about what Wenger's first XI might be, lets also remember that our injury record in recent years has been appalling, so that none of our top players have spent much time on the bench. And I suspect that Arsene's midget army of oompa-loompas is going to continue that good record for years to come.

And, just like Roma last Wednesday, the record books will not record the luck that got us through. Arsenal played well and thats the thing to focus on. We came back from a goal down and beat a team that were desperate to reach their day out at Wembley.

I can't wait to stuff Chelsea on 18 April. Its going to be great.

7 comments:

1979gooner said...

Great performance, fantastic win.

Hull got exactly what they deserved for their pathetic time wasting from the 18th minute.

Well said Cesc:

" I can understand the frustration of losing a game to a dubious goal, that has happened to me many times in my career as well. But this is not the fault of me or any of the Arsenal players.

I don’t even know who the assistant manager of Hull is or what he looks like. I am told Hull will be making an official complaint about me.

Well, I am perfectly relaxed about that. I have nothing to hide. Not one drop of spit left my mouth...I am certain of that."

Brown has lost the plot, the miserable spawn of Allardyce has been mocked by an excellent Arsenal performance and he's now thrown his little toys out of his pram. Oh dear.

Anonymous said...

Y would Cesc spit on him....he was not even playing this match !!

Brown is most definitely lying !

Dream Finals :

FA CUP :

Arsenal vs Man Utd

UEFA CUP :

Arsenal Vs Liverpool [ have to take revenge for previous years UEFA...Liverpool are a fraud team , would luv to defeat them ]

EPL :

Man Utd Vs Chelsea [ i m being realistic ]

:)

Obsinho said...

The papers seem to have forgotten that we absolutely annihalated Hull for 70 minutes yesterday. I'd love to see some stats for the game.

Thought other than the first 30 minutes we were excellent - Hull only survived through some heroic defneding (throwing bodies in the line of the ball) and an intention from the start to play no more than 70 minutes of football on the day.

For Brown to claim Wenger got his keeper booked is laughable - Myhill got himself booked for timewasting. At one point he stood with the ball in his hands while Hull made a sub, waited for the sub to come on and the ref to tell him to play, and only then did he place the ball and prepare for his run up. He was already on a yellow at this point as well.

And finally, the ref and his team were abysmal throughout. Picky, inconsistent and error-strewn and sadly they decided the game and its talking points.

marcus said...

Check out this photo of Brown and AW shaking hands:

http://images.rivals.net/08/09/460×238/Arsene-Wenger-and-Phil-Brown_1237515.jpg

Brown claimed AW "never" shakes his hand.

PHIL BROWN IS A LIAR.

And now he's also attacked Cesc for his CLOTHING on BBC Radio 5:

"One, being on the pitch after the game - whether there is a ruling against that I have no idea but he had no right to be there. Two, dressed in the manner in which he was dressed."

The guy's completely lost it.

Good match report, btw.

Ted said...

The match stats on bbc.co.uk are quite amazing:

Arsenal 58% possession
17 Shots on target (Hull 2)
9 off target (Hull 4)
14 corners (Hull 2)

That is a statistical thrashing.

Rhinogooner said...

Did anyone happen to watch the match on Setanta?

Before kick off, they were showing the two sides arriving. Gunnersaurus always greets both sets of players as they come off their bus and into the facility. Everyone was stopping and high-fiving, shaking hands or playfully hugging Gunnersaurus. Everyone, even the Hull players. Phil Brown just walks by him and you can barely catch the audio of him saying something like "I'm not shaking your hand..."

Now, tell me again who the poor sport is?

Ted said...

Anyone who refuses to shake hands with Gunnersaurus clearly takes life far too seriously.

Leaving the events of last night aside, does anyone know the history of why Arsene thinks Phil Brown is a cock?

Other than the self evident facts of cockness.

P.s. Rhino - don't know if anyone answered your question about why Arshavin ran to Colin Lewin on Saturday? Apparently it was because Colin had stitched Arshavin's foot up and half time and the hard bastard midget played on, scored, and wanted to thank Mr Lewin.