Sunday 3 May 2009

Rolling on, outplaying Pompey

What a spoilt bastard I've become, a 3-0 away win should be something that is savoured and enjoyed, not that I didn't enjoy it, but we all know there are bigger fish to fry in the week and that it was not the most important of games. Even if we'd have lost the chances of a struggling Villa or Everton catching us would be pretty slim, still it's nice to know that we cannot be caught barring a large points deduction for a mass brawl or something equally out of order, remember we still have to go to Old Trafford, it would be nice to have enough clearance from the 5th place team to have a nice brawl, get deducted a few points and still claim fourth spot, anyway I digress.

The much changed line up was no surprise, however predicting Arsene's team selection has become a bit like predicting where the next case of swine flu will occur. Song was moved to centre back alongside Djourou, Eboue at left back, Sagna at right back, the forgotten man Ramsey and Denilson in the centre of midfield, Theo and Arshavin on the flanks, Vela nad Bendtner up top. Not a bad side given the number of players either rested or injured. I'd be bullshitting if I were to pretend I watched the game, I didn't, however I listened on the radio and watched the highlights later on. It certainly wasn't a massively convincing win, Pompey had their chances, however it's a very tricky place to go and no matter how you get the three points it's still some achievement.

James should have saved Bendtner's header, however it was a powerful effort. Arseblogger has saliently pointed out that the young Dane's goalscoring record is pretty good for someone who hasn't started nearly as many games as some , especially when compared to that of our other strikers. Bendtner's work ethic has certainly stood out for me in the last three months, even when he's played badly there has always been a lot of commitment from him and you can't argue with that. The second was a rather soft penalty which Bendtner converted confidently, having said that we had two better penalty shouts turned down earlier in the half, Arshavin's apparent sportsmanship in hinting it wasn't a penalty was impressive as well. Pompey rallied early in the second half and we did ride our luck a bit, then Vela's excellent driven finish sealed the points with the third goal. Just for good measure an ex-spud was sent off for being slow, cumbersome and having played for Tottenham, great decision from the ref on many counts.

Three points and some interesting selection dilemmas for Tuesday's game against the Manure men from Manchester. Bendtner has made a very good case for starting, especially given Adebayor's inept performance at Old Trafford. There are also rumours that RVP may be fit. Djourou should surely start alongside Toure at centre back. The choice of formation will be critical, will Wenger continue with the much maligned 4-5-1 or throw the kitchen sink at the gum chewing Scottish chav with a 4-4-2 line up?

Tuesday will be tough, as we have no away goal we shall have to be very careful not to concede the away goal ourselves. However playing defensively is not natural for our players and I think a defensive 4-5-1 formation could play into Manu's hands, attacking can be the best form of defense after all. Nasri has to play on the left as he is the only player who can give us width and directness there, while Cesc must play deeper, these kind of games are not the time for experimentation with new unproven ideas. The decision in the first leg to play Nasri as a holding midfielder and Cesc in an advanced role was one of Arsene's most stupid decisions ever, I hope he has learnt his lesson. RVP is not fit enough to start then I'd play both Ade and Bendtner, why not see just how good Vidic and Ferdinand are? It's not an easy first leg score to turn around but we might as well have a go at them, Fergie's coronaries need a bit of stressing I feel.

1 comment:

Vela fans said...

Vela's first goal in Premiership.