Not the line up I was expecting, Clichy starting again of Gibbs, Djourou coming in for the injured Koscielny, Wilshere-Song-Diaby in midfield with Nasri-Chamakh-Arshavin up top. We started in lively fashion, Wilshere particularly bright and inventive in the midfield.
Early doors Squillaci was unfortunate to have a goal disallowed for offside when he appeared level, a very solid header from a good free kick on the left. Clichy should have done better when the ball broke to him about twelve yards out, the goal was at his mercy, he seemed to rush his shot and screwed it wide. Atkinson then gave a series of three soft free kicks to Birmingham for some non existent fouls.
The game was losing a bit of momentum from our point of view, and then Birmingham scored against the run of play. A fairly hopeful right footed cross from deep on the left flank was directed towards Zigic, he then met it with a very accurate looped header which Fabianski couldn't be expected to save. If there was fault to be found, it was the fact that Zigic was under so little pressure in the box, not good defending at all yet again. Clichy was caught out aerially soon after by Johnson, almost a second for Birmingham and yet more poor defending.
Then the controversial moment, but if it wasn't an Arsenal penalty it wouldn't have been controversial. Dann went to ground in the box, got nothing on the ball and clipped Chamakh, Chamkh went down the penalty was given. Chamakh did make the most of the contact but that's a striker's job, Dann was stupid to make a challenge when he was nowhere near the ball, Birmingham should have blamed their own stupidity and not the referee. Nasri slotted the penatly home and 1-1 it was. Birmingham were now keen to be overly aggressive, a particularly nasty elbow through Chamakh's head by Johnson was ignored by the inept Atkinson, a yellow card at least in anyone's book, if not a red. Things were simmering come half time.
Right at the start of the second half Chamakh made it 2-1, Wilshere slipped him in neatly, Chamakh then rounded Foster in tidy fashion and slotted home. Wilshere was central in everything good we did, his instinctive feel for where to move and pass belied his tender years. We were dominating but overplaying at times, the overcomplicated ponderous play in the final third was frustrating. Arshavin was not connecting, Diaby was looking dangerous, Wilshere fired over after some good build up.
The game now appeared to be petering out. The poor Arshavin was replaced by the bustling Rosicky. Eboue was lucky to get just a yellow for a nasty scissors challenge, funny how all those English pundits will point this out but ignore much worse from certain other players. Bendtner came on with ten to go and almost scored with his first touch. Zigic nailed Wilshere late with an aggressive elbow, another poor miss from Atkinson for what was at least a yellow card. The substitutes added a bit more impetus, but there wasn't quite enough directness or finesse in the final third. Another poor piece of officiating saw Birmingham given a dangerous free kick near the edge of our box, an accidental hand ball from Song harshly punished.
Then to Wilshere's red card, thoroughly deserved for a poor straight legged lunge. This is exactly the type of tackle that I've been talking about, the problem is that the media will go on and on and on about this one because it's from an Arsenal player. How typical would it be for the FA to do something now, what a bunch of morons they are.
Despite Atkinson giving Birmingham almost six minutes to score, Lucasz Fabianski wasn't to be beaten twice in one day, he completed an excellent goalkeeping performance with another good save at the death. It was a strange old day, a deserved win but a margin of victory that should have been greater, the overcomplicated play in the final third was particularly frustrating. The defence did do well though, Djourou and Squillaci were decent with Fabianski commanding. Still at least it's three points, one can't really grumble at that however it comes.
Just finally to pre-empt the media's reaction to Jack Wilshere's tackle. I am one of the most vehement campaigners against dangerous tackles and I would not for one minute condone the reckless Wilshere tackle. However the media are largely a bunch of hypocritical c*nts, they will highlight Wilshere's tackle tomorrow, even though they have previously ignored many other tackles that were even worse, in my book you have no right to criticise Jack's tackle unless you are consistent in your approach to dangerous tackling. Also I doubt Johnson's assault on Chamakh with his right elbow will get any coverage at all after the game. Will fat Sam, Tony Pulis, Alan Hansen and all those lovers of committed football be fighting to defend Jack's tackle tonight, I very much doubt it, he plays for Arsenal.
someone tell diaby that when he gets to the opposition box, he should shoot towards the goal not pass it sideways
Disappointing game as far as not getting the ball in the net at times when we again had chances to shoot. Chamakh again showing he is a match winner and although his penalty was a bit dubious there are times like that when you need a big player to pull something out of the hat however they do it.
Wilshires red card was the correct decision, it was a bad tackle (not a horror tackle) and it was something you expect to see from a young player getting too carried away late in a game. Wilshire is still learning and it only shows his determination to win every tackle for the cause.
3 points at least and some encouragement when you look at Chelsea's bench for the game against Villa (no depth whatsoever so bring on the injuries) Pleaseeeeee.
Hypocritical media? What?
Where's your calls for Whilshere to be banned for life or a review of the bad tackles?
It's never been the case that "Arsenal players don't foul." So there is no hypocrisy on our part. The argument has always been: When the opposition scissor tackles us, or goes over the ball, etc., then that player is punished according to the laws of the game (which we were today, so no complaints).
The only hypocrisy would be if we said that Wilshere shouldn't have gone off because it's a man's game, blah blah blah. It was dangerous and he deserved to go. fact, I am glad that Eboue got his card and Wilshire got his because otherwise it would have opened us up to charges of double standards.
As it is we may finally be seeing the consistent enforcement of rule always on the books which Wenger was the first to point out were not being enforced and that legs would start being broken.
Nothing hyprocritical about the media. I have watched the videos of De Jong and Henry for two weeks. It's only fair that Whilshere gets the same if not worse treatment because it comes from the camp calling for the review.
The fact that you have produced a different slant on it proves you are the hyprocritical c'nt.
You never know they might leave little Jack alone with him been English, but i doubt it because he plays for the Arsenal
Never been the case that Arsenal players don't foul?
What a load of utter rubbish. I have been on here like many saying Arsenal are no different due to the Adams days etc but all I got back was 'yeah but we didn't break any legs'.
The fact that you are not eating humble pie and attempting to weave your way out of it with lies is pathetic. I really hope the media comes down hard on Whilshere because even before this indicent it was clear he has a nasty streak in him. That you can't deny.
I would welcome a review of the tackle b/c we aren't hypocrits. Wilshere is only 10 stone, so that sort of tackle is never going to break a leg. But anon at 17:26: Bring on the review. Banned for life? Grow up. Even Wenger recanted that one.
Even Wenger recanted on that one. Yeah maybe after a couple of months I will do the same. In the meantime, just like Wenger, I will behave like an ignorant, hypocritical twat :)
This is the view you should have taken but as you chose not to, completely discredits your views on tackling going forward.
Grow up the anti-arsenal idiots that come on an Arsenal blog just to show their immature little minds. It was a bad tackle, a red card, but never a leg breaker. Wilshire never went in with excessive force or high, he actually caught the top of his foot.
The guys I watched the game with had no sympathy for the team that ruined Eduardo. I don't hold it against Jack at all.
to a couple of Anon morons,
i am not being remotely hypocritical, wilshere deserved his red and if I were the FA I would be giving him a ban of more than three games,
I treat all these tackles the same, there is no hypocrisy on my part you utter cretins,
I am producing no different slant you monkey, I am simply saying that the media will react completely differently to this tackle as they would if it were a manu or a chelsea or stoke player
ps some of the weak lame Anon comments may wish to actually read the article before stating your stupidly misguided criticism:
"Then to Wilshere's red card, thoroughly deserved for a poor straight legged lunge."
How is that defending Wilshere, what retarded planet are some of you from?
How is that hypocritical?
"This is the view you should have taken but as you chose not to, completely discredits your views on tackling going forward."
To the moron who wrote the above.
How does anything there discredit my stance on dangerous tackling?
There is nothing there which discredits my stance to any degree.
How about you bother reading the article before firing off your half baked rubbish.
Pretty effective piece of writing, thanks for the post.
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