In the preview post I said at the end that I predicted a 2-1 win and described that prediction as boring and that I would take boring any day so long as its a win, well, sometimes there are matches that make you eat your own words and this match was one of them. So, let me mend my original statement to say that I would take this performance any day. This was a fantastically fluid performance by Arsenal and they fully deserved the win, perhaps even by a greater margin.
Arsenal really came flying out, almost possessed like, with a steely determination that they would not only win this match, but also banish the demons from last season that saw us suffer a 5-1 deficit against the same opponents. We really could have been at least 2 up by the time Liverpool got their first sniff of a chance. The first chance fell to Cazorla who hit a low shot which in the end from a tight enough angle, and although it didn't really force Mignolet into making a save of note, it was a good chance nonetheless. A few minutes later however Ramsey was played through one on one with the keeper but, using his left foot he got no real power on the ball, even though it still forced Mignolet to fully stretch out to gather the ball.
There were only two moments in the match where I felt somewhat apprehensive, the first being after those first 10 to 15 minutes as Liverpool began to get a foothold in the game and created perhaps the best opening up until that point. After some nice inter play Markovic was through on goal but elected to try play Sterling in and luckily for us the pass was way off, otherwise he would only have to tap the ball in and give him the opportunity to grab the headlines for the right reasons this time. Seeing them miss that opportunity reminded me of Arsenal and the many times such an incident has occurred, much to our agony; just shoot! That was Liverpool's only real opportunity, however until Arsenal finally said they had enough of that nonsense and put 3 past them in 8 minutes.
The first goal was what 'Wengerball' is all about; Hector Bellerin, a 20 year old right back only thrown into first team action at Dortmund back in September, who on that particular day looked a nervy presence in the team, and while some may say that it was a mirror image of what the team were performing like at that time, then it can also be said that he also encapsulates Arsenals form these past few months, and indeed, the performance against Liverpool; confident, dynamic and above all, hard working. As the ball was played to him just inside the box, he sold Moreno a lovely shimmy, and probably a few other things too, cut inside and beautifully curled the ball into the bottom corner. Belerin, just like Arsenal really have come full circle; it was the perfect way to sow that.
Mesut Ozil, another player in fantastic form, was given the ball a few yards out from the box, and before he could do anything else was completely taken out by Sakho, (even when fouling, Sakho manages to look clumsy; he can be a very good defender at times and then make some very strange decisions; quite the enigma indeed). Anyway it was a free kick and i'm sure at this point that this chap began feeling the nerves in the pit of his stomach, as it was quite obvious that Ozil would be taking this free kick. Staying true to form he dispatched the free kick so effortlessly into the goal on the keepers side. It really was perfectly executed, that perhaps, even Paul Scholes might notice it.
Alexis Sanchez lashed in another perfect shot that, even though it was quite central, it left the keeper with no chance of saving it. I have seen a lot of people saying that he should have easily dealt with it, but I don't think so.It was just too powerful and sometimes you just have to accept that no matter what position the goal keeper is in, some shots are unstoppable. Did it remind anyone else of this goal? Just the way it flew past the keeper into the centre made me think of it straight away. So 3-0 up at half time, perfect. When I was watching the game I didn't actually realize we scored a third until it came back from a break, as I had a dodgy stream that went off just as he scored.
As I mentioned a few paragraphs above, there were two moments in the game where I felt somewhat anxious; the second of which was a 10 minute spell, in the second half before Liverpool got their penalty, which we can have no complaints about, apart, perhaps, the fact that Ospina probably should have done better on it. In the period before they scored the penalty we seemed to sit a little too deep and invite them on too much, but in saying that they only had one other good opportunity which was a comfortable save form an Emre Can snap shot. However, after the penalty went in, Arsenal's response was very good and began to take full control again.
We missed a couple of good opportunities before Olivier Giroud thumped in a delicious shot. Cazorla hit the post after some nice play again, and the handsome French man himself forced Mignolet into another very good save from a header at the start of the half. Anyway what more can be said about that fourth goal? I just think that Giroud had forgotten that he hadn't yet scored and was having none of it, after he was played the ball he took a nice touch inside and then just hit the ball, with more pace than Ozil's goal and less so than Sanchez's strike, into the goal and that was it. Dare I say a classic Giroud goal now? The other incident of note in the match came a few minutes prior, when Emre Can, fed up of being made a fool of scissor tackled Welbeck from behind, rightfully got a second yellow card and that was the end of his game. Can, alongside, Gerrard and Skrtel are suspended for Liverpool's F.a. cup quarter final replay at Ewood park, Wednesday night.
Well there isn't a lot more to be said on the game. It was a fantastic performance, one i'm sure we will all look back rather fondly on at the end of the season. City are at Palace tonight and should they fail to win then it would mean that we hold on to second place. While I think that it is a bit naive of people talking about us winning the title, I think it shows the fantastic turn around of the team this season that we are in a position where we may quite well, be the team to push Chelsea closest.
I have also heard some people say that this is nothing new from Arsenal, that when we start poorly we always manage to turn the season around, well I think that is pure nonsense. We are playing the best football for quite some time, and look stronger than ever. Also, when is the last team we beat one of the 'big sides' 4-1? Not only that but beat both Manchester sides away from home in the same season? When is the last time we have been in a position to defend a trophy; in the 2005/06 season where we failed to retain the F.a cup after being knocked out in the fourth round at Bolton. This is good progress by Arsenal right now, lets maintain it, see where we are at the end of the season and take off from there. It always seems that the same people crying about no progress are the ones who deny progress when it happens or that no matter what the manager does, they want him out, which of course is there right; but it would be nice of fans just started to support the team as one unit in this crucial season ending period.
Right that's your lot for now, come back for more.
Follow me on twitter @__Cosmic Kid.
Have a good day.
Subjectively, Cosmic Kid.
Defensively we've come on. Coquelin has been massive, and highlights the blindingly obvious that Arsenal fans...well pretty much everyone has known for a long time, you need genuine strength and defensive awareness in midfield. A midfield 3 comprising of 3 from Ramsey, Santi, Wilshere, Arteta, Ox is nice on paper, but last year too often just got blown away. Not only is there no defensive awareness there, there is no power. I'd want another robust midfielder for next year then we'll see if we can mount a genuine challenge.ReplyDelete
Here’s a good oneDelete
“Look at Tottenham. If you spend more than £100 million, you expect to be challenging for the league.” Liverpool spend over that in the summer of 2013 alone and has spent over £200m in total.
Or, “We play with 11 men, other teams play with 10 men and a goalkeeper.”
I recall McManaman at Newcastle saying at the beginning of the last game of the 2012/13 season that Tottenham would beat us to the CL place only for him to whine about our players celebrating after they’ve proved him wrong. It is one thing to complain about a team celebrating an achievement that you expect them to BUT how could anyone moan about celebration against a team that had just proven them wrong by achieving that which they said they couldn’t?ReplyDelete
This season things have been different. The media have been reporting the fight for the Champions’ League places differently and it easy to see why.
Manchester United came from being champions in 2012/13 season to finishing 7th. They did not build a new stadium. They did not have a mass exodus of players of any kind. They had virtually the same team (+ Juan Mata & Marouane Fellaini). They were still the same financial juggernaut as they were the season before. Nonetheless, the champions dropped 6 places, ended the season trophyless and failed to qualify for any of the European competitions.
What is most interesting about the Man United crisis of last season is that it was caused by the singular most prescribed cause of action for Arsenal: manager replacement. “Wenger Out” is almost a trademarked term invented by the aaa and is frequently used whenever we fail to win (rival fans use it to mock Gooners when we win, exposing the fickleness of many Arsenal fans).
The media latched unto this meme and ran with it. Terms like “he is past it” are frequently used and before the last season FA Cup win, many were certain that Wenger will never win a trophy again. The campaign to have the manager replaced is not subtle and while the hacks may try to blame our delinquent fans, there is no doubt that they were goaded on and given platforms by the media.
Man United replaced Alex Ferguson with David Moyes, a safe choice considering the latter consistently finished around 5th to 7th in the Premiership with a team with considerably less resources. I am not going to bore you with how that ended but one must wonder how quickly things could have fallen apart for us if the Arsenal board had replaced our faithful manager as was being widely prescribed by the whiny faction of our fans and their media enablers.
There is little doubt that football fans are treated like idiots by the media but that is because far too many are stupid crowd following, cliché spouting lemmings. They take their cues from the media and run with it. With Manchester United and Liverpool fighting to get a CL place, all of a sudden it becomes important again. I wonder what they will say if either of Man United or Liverpool get the 4th place at the expense of the other and their players celebrate. Would they be mocked like Arsenal were in 2013?
At the time of writing, Manchester City just lost 2-1 against Crystal Palace to sit in 4th with 7-8 points separating them and the trio of Liverpool, Tottenham and Southampton. Arsenal in 2nd are separated from 7th placed Southampton by 10 points.
While our position is fairly secure, anything can still happen in the remaining games. There could still be lots of drama as the season closes starting from next weekend when 3rd and 4th face off in a derby and battle royale for the 4th place ‘trophy’. A ‘trophy’ that was once derided by the media and rival fans (especially those of Man United) when Arsenal were the only ones consistently fighting for and winnent.
It is interesting that as soon as securing 4th became the number one priority of Manchester United and Liverpool, it suddenly becomes important to the media. If they’ll only give credit to the team and manager who have made this achievement a routine now that they’ve come to the realisation that it is indeed a vital one.
I hope that the battle for 4th really goes to the wire and not settled until the last day of the season. Let’s see how the players of whichever team that secures it walk off the pitch and how the media report it should they do what normal people do after last gasp escapes or triumphs.
if we win all our remaining games of the season,we would win as many games(26) as the invincible team did.even if we just win 6 out of our remaining 8 it more than backs up my argument that this team/squad could have easily challenged this season.chelski will end up winning the prem lge but when you look at they best players ours easily compare in quality don't they.sanchez/hazard.cesc/cazorla.giroud/costa etc.the biggest advantage they have always had is they have 2 top quality keepers that makes a huge difference.why i strongly believe that wenger must go all out for cech this summer is the difference a world class keeper makes to your side.if i asked anyone on here would utd be within a point of us if it wasn't for their keeper de gea,i bet you all would agree with me that de gea has at least saved utd 15 points this season.what some are misunderstanding is the fact that we must be more consistent and pick up points when we are not playing well because we knew last season we were top till the new year,then we imploaded.this season we were poor till the last couple of months,and thats what seems to stop us making a proper challenge.i bet the day we push a chelski or citeh all the way the belief the following season would grow because we would then know we are consistent and the belief over a 38 game period.it's all about opinion,but my top 3 signings remain cech,skrtel and schneiderlin.3 players who can hit the ground running and make a huge impact because they all play or have played in the prem lge.this team does not compare to the invincibles,but i sure think it's more than good enough to have challenged and scared the life out of chelski this season.hopefully we can make a statement of intent when we play them soon thats for sure.Delete
Spot on lads! Let's just keep winning! The rest is out of our hand.ReplyDelete