Sunday, 5 April 2009

Arsenal 2 - 0 Citeh

I was a bit nervous going into the Emirates. Not at the thought of Citeh whose inability to travel left me in confident mood, but in case I didn’t recognise The Arsenal. It had been such a long time since we’d last met, and in desperation had even tried watching some other team playing football to see if that floated my boat. The sight of John Terry & Cashley Cole singing the national anthem put that experiment to an early bed at least.

But sound hosannas and ring alarum bells – The Arse are back baby! And with Cesc back in the middle dictating the tempo of the game, we were treated to as enjoyable game of football as I have seen in about 2 weeks. The goals when they came weren’t things of outstanding beauty, but it was good to see Ade back in the goals straight away. We will need him to be in his goal-scoring mood if this season is to end with some silverware to polish over the summer.

To pick out one or two individuals who were impressive;

Song – I don’t know what we have put in his shreddies over the last couple of months, but this is not the same Alex Song as we saw in November. He read the game well, tackled tidily and aggressively, and his distribution was simple and effective. He created a platform for Cesc to play on, and it was mightily impressive. We’ve only got one Song, indeed we may only need one.

Theo – having been tortured with the sight of Aaron Lennon in mid-week it was good to be reminded of what a good player Theo can be. His running was as blisteringly fast as ever, but he brought his all-round game today. He had 3 or 4 good shots (one cracker near the end), tackled back to support Sagna and keep Robinho quiet (who ended up swapping wings as he was getting no change from that pair) and generally tore both Bridge and Zabaletta new ones.

Obviously Cesc played awesomely, and Ade got his goals, but they will be the Mirror’s Men of the Match, so they will get coverage elsewhere.

There are a few other things of vague noteworthiness though.

- Denilson was poor in the first half, but he really turned it on in the second.
- Clichy again made some critical errors that a better team may have punished. He is sadly becoming a liability.
- Nicky B is deadly from the bench. His running late in the game must be a nightmare for tiring defenders, and to my mind he offered more threat than Ade did.
- Eboue has remembered that he can play football, and completed the feat of tearing Zabaletta yet another new one.
- Cesc has a new tattoo on his elbow.
- I love Cesc.

It is quite amazing we have a run of games as important as this in a season that for a long time looked to be going nowhere. The team look to be clicking, and with players fit and hungry I think we are in a great position to actually achieve something – FA Cup, Champions League 3rd in the Prem. That’s my slightly exuberant prediction.


K man said...

Very much agree with that summary. Having recently joined the "do we really need Cesc" band wagon, I have now firmly left it. He has that cutting edge passing that the others, except maybe Arsh, don't have. He also talks to the players around him - he's going to be a good captain.

Obsinho has already said it but my man of the match was Song. He picked up where he left off. By my reckoning he has been our best player over the last 7 games. What an improvement. Diaby should watch and learn.

Sagna is coming back into form but not Clichy. Just can't work him out and very worried his mistakes are going to cost us in the big games.

Anway, on a more positive note, it's looking very good for the run in. The games are coming thick and fast. Come on you gooners!

P.S. Did anyone else spot Ade tracking back? Thought I was seeing things for a minute...

Obsinho said...

Just seen that Villareal not only lost 3-0 yesterday, but have also lost Cazorla for the season with a leg fracture.

He is important to the way they play, as he tends to be the creative spark to the midfield - things are looking positive for us.

Anonymous said...

Your comment about Song shows the difference between Wenger and the supporters -- Wenger can see what's there, and, frankly, anyone who has watched Song over the past few years should not be surprised. Very young players develop, and change each year, and rapidly. Wenger says so; too many people cannot think beyond the current game. Wenger can, and knows that the siren song of paying big money for iffy outsiders to replace the players coming into their own is just that.

As for your remark about Bendtner being more of a threat than Ade, what planet do you live on? Bendtner has not shown all he will be able to do, but he's four years younger than Ade, has never scored 30 in a season, has not reminded people of Drogba at his best -- silly remark

1979gooner said...

Spot on Obs.

Agree Song deserves a lot of credit.

He has had some good games and some bad ones, but the main thing is that he has been improving very steadily and surely over the past couple of years.

Now it's all clicking for him and the confidence is there, it's great to see. I have to say it does show some people that you need to be a bit patient sometimes to get the best out of people.

Rhinogooner said...

Song has improved. Many of the younger/inexperienced players have this season. There is an abundance of legitimate hope and potential in this squad.

I think the point that most of the critical supporters (myself) were trying to express earlier in the season is that a good team cannot play with more than 2 or 3 inexperienced players in the starting XI and expect to play with consistency and win matches.

And a club with the aspirations of Arsenal should not allow these young players to cut their teeth at the expense of success. Which is why there was so much angst and despondency until recently.

It's easy to get caught up in the moment and think we can compete with the best again. But we shouldn't brush our earlier poor performances under the carpet. We made mistakes that shouldn't be repeated and it is unfair to blast those who voiced their frustration, because those frustrations were legitimate.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves, we still have much left to do this season. As Mr. Wenger requested - wait until the end of the season to judge the team.

I'll be delighted with any piece of silverware we obtain. The question I have for all of you is: can we consider this season a success if don't win any trophies but finish fourth in the league?

Obsinho said...

Few responses......

I do believe that Bendtner carried more threat than Ade in the game against Citeh. His running off the ball showed how much we could have stretched the back 4 if Ade had been more interested in pulling the centre backs out of position, than standing in the left wing position. Yes he got his goals, but his overall performance was not that mind-blowing. Not really sure I see any attempt to say that he is a better player than Ade, or has scored more goals than him. But each to their own.

Secondly, I think the answer to Rhino is yes. That would be a poor end to the season. As Wenger said losing 5 games in the first 14 is not good enough, and we only have ourselves to blame this season. Silverware will help the season's lustre, but ultimately I believe it was a missed opportunity. Your points on Song are spot on - we relied too much on too many youngsters at the start, and they struggled. Fair play to all of them though, for being big enough to stick at it and show their worth. Eboue deserves a lot of credit for the turnaround in his game and his standing in the fans on the terraces.

Ted said...

If we reach the final of the FA or Champs League then that would be a decent result.

1979gooner said...

I'd settle for the treble, still possible in theory.