Sunday, 8 November 2009

Tame Wolves pose little threat

Morning all, and a happy Sunday it seems this morning in trying to evaluate Arsenal's excellent 4-1 win at Molineux yesterday evening. With ManUre traveling to fortress Stamford Bridge this afternoon, we have a position for a few hours where all the teams at the top of the table have played 11 games. And Arsenal's 25 points looks very comfortable alongside ManUre, also on 25, and just behind Chelsea on 27. This Arsenal team is a goal scoring machine, although still a bit leaky at the back on occasion, but with 36 goals from 11 Premiership games, we are scoring for fun at the moment.

This Wolves team should not be underestimated. They are a good and organised side who play decent football and will cause some upsets this year. Their 10 points from 11 games shows they are no whipping boys, and this fixture 12 months ago would probably have been the usual soft Arsenal performance, out-muscled and out-fought, defensively frail and prone to errors.

And make no mistake, Wolves threw everything at us for the first 20 minutes. Gallas diving in horribly against Evans-Blake (I think) miles up the field, leading to a corner to be conceded and a booking for Billy. Arsenal's split zonal and man-marking system was exposed from a well delivered the corner and Wolves almost scored.

The omens were poor, but luck was somewhat on our side, especially in the shape of the hapless Zubar. The big French defender managed to concede an entirely unnecessary free kick against Eduardo, which Vermaelen met and forced a corner, which was then well delivered into the six yard box for Zubar to shin into his own net under pressure from Eduardo.

And from that moment onwards, there only seemed one way the game would go. Because rather than sit back and try and force an equaliser over the remaining 70 minutes of the game, Wolves decided to push forwards and take us on head-to-head. Which is exactly what we wanted, as acres of space opened up in midfield for Fabregas, Arshavin and the impressive Rambo to exploit. However, our second goal was outrageously lucky, as Eduardo's chip back to Rambo was deflected cruelly into the top right hand corner.

However, Arsenal's third goal was a thing of genuine beauty. Fabregas, RVP and Sagna combined down the right in a move built by the composure and accuracy of the passing, plus the willingness of all three players to make intelligent and direct runs. RVP's softening of the ball into Cesc's route to score was something that the great Dennis Bergjamp would be proud of, and a lummox like Adebayor would be incapable of. And it was great to see all three players applaud each other's efforts as they celebrated the goal afterwards.

In contrast, the second half was a bit more drab, as Arsenal added a fourth through Arshavin, the ball coming through a crowd of players from a corner and not being spotted by the keeper. That said, for all our injury problems (and I don't know what the news is on Diaby), it was incredible that Wenger could withdraw Eduardo and Arshavin, both of whom had put in a solid shift, to be replaced by Rosicky and Nasri, both of whom themselves returning to match fitness after injury.

It also speaks volumes of Rambo, who also was solid if not brilliant, that Wenger chose to give the youngster a full 90 mins with that talent on the bench. If Rambo can get another few games under his belt in the next few months, then with Denilson also coming back into contention, there is a feeling that we will have some cover in midfield when Song goes off to the ACN in January. Because make no mistake, along with Vermaelen, Alex Song has been brilliant this season for Arsenal. A real workhorse in midfield, endlessly closing down the opposition and covering back when Gallas needs some help. Song is also excellent in possession, and whilst Cesc is having a stormer again this season, I put a lot of Cesc's success down to the quality of the platform that Song is giving him.

At the moment, Arsenal are making football look a simple game. We are simply better in every department that the opposition. The fact that we utterly dominated Spurs last weekend in a game that should have resulted in a bigger scoreline that 3-0 is extremely encouraging, since it suggests that we are not simply flat track bullies.

If we dispatch Sunderland on the 21 November, which will not be an easy game, then we get our next shot at one of the big boys when Chelsea come to the Emirates on 29 November. And say it quietly, but I think we now have the tools to give the Chelsea grandads a beating.


K man said...

Agree with you about Fabregas/Song. Fab is definitely playing better knowing he has the safety of Song behind him.

Thought Rambo was very good, he's going to be a regular soon enough. We need a fit Denilson back to cover for Song in January.

Let's hope we don't have our usual November.

1979gooner said...

well said,

'if' we can keep winning against the weaker sides in nov/dec then we will be in the mix

Obsinho said...

We won an easy game well. Job done.

So as a more interesting question - why is Fergie working so hard to portray Utd as victims already? To my mind both big decisions against Fletcher (CSKA penalty and free kick yesterday) were correct, and also to be expected. If your game is to disrupt the opponents through niggly fouls then you will get away with as many as you don't. So soak it up and shut up.

However, to give an answer to the question - he is getting excuses in early. He is scared of Chelsea (maybe even us) but more scared that his team will run out of steam, so is working his ass off to keep media attention away from their performances. I keep reading they were unlucky yesterday - balls! They had one up front, had nothing in midfield and it Rooney had not been playing would have had no highlights to show from the match.

I am sure they'll still win the title thanks to dodgy ref decisions, but at the moment I do not fear them.

Ted said...

Fergie and 1979 have a lot in common on their views abouts refs.

In fact, as anyone seen 1979 and Fergie in the same room at the same time? Exactly. Its spooky.

1979gooner said...

thought fergie had a good point for once

chelsea were very lucky yesterday

terry clearly hauled down valencia with a rugby tackle, no pen

free kick was never a free kick, fletcher got the ball and was not dangerous with his tackle

drogba was offside and hauled down brown

manu were unfortunate

Ted said...

thanks Sir Alex.

marcus said...

I can't agree that we can beat Chelsea, tho I'd love to eat plenty of humble pie if we do. A draw is possible. Having watched the dire borefest on Sunday, I just don't think we can get past what is a very strong, organized, physical, disciplined Chelsea. Their age is irrelevant. If Drogba and Essien weren't playing, it would be one thing, but with them on the pitch, I just can't see it.

Re all those goals we're conceding.... Man Utd have scored fewer than us (29) and conceded only 2 fewer than us (12) yet no one questions their ability to win the league. If you look at the "goals conceded" table in the league, we're really not doing all that badly. The one stat that stands out is Chelsea's. No one comes close to them: 8 goals conceded. Which is why I do think they'll win the league.

Reports in the papers claim that Fergie's going all-out splashing the cash in the January transfer window, sounds like he's in a panic.

Uncle Mike said...

Awful game between the Blue B@st@rds and the Red B@st@rds. If all English football games were like that, the whole world might start believing Americans who say the game is boring, as I once did. (Before learning of the existece of Arsenal, of course.)

Read my keystrokes: Chelsea is beatable, and we face them this month, when they are looking so-so an we are running like a well-oiled machine. Granted, the same was true when we faced Man U earlier this season... but that was with Diaby in the lineup. If he's still hurt for the Chelski game, I'll be a bit more confident.

Have we ever seen Fergie panic? Somewhere, Kevin Keegan must be chuckling. If so, he can take a number behind us.

Drawing all this attention to himself, Fergie may even be doing Rafa Benitez a favor by making people take their eyes off the mess he's making at Anfield.

This is a good time to remember ad be glad that we have Arsene Wenger, and they don't.

Anonymous said...

Liverpool sure had a bad run.
Nice dive Ngog.

It really puts last year in perspective. the Arsenal followed up their trouble with a 20 games unbeaten. will liverpool?

We also did a lot of it without Fabregas. Maybe thats when we got the steel that will win it for us this year.