Mar 042009

West Brom 1 (Brunt 7) Arsenal 3 (Bendtner 4, 44, Toure 38)

Three days ago, Villa were within a couple of minutes of opening up what seemed to be an unassailable eight point lead over us, before conceding twice at home to Stoke in the dying minutes. At the time, it was all doom and gloom, and the optimism that I’d hung on to all season was beginning to fade.

Fast forward to tonight, and suddenly that gap is only three points, after our win at West Brom yesterday and Villa’s defeat to Man City tonight. Gilberto Silver over at Gunnerblog pointed out an interesting fact yesterday that illustrates how focused the media have been on our shortcomings – Villa themselves are now on a six match winless streak, and with ten games to go they are becoming increasingly catchable. I must confess that it is a statistic that had passed me by, but it goes to show that any kind of run would see us get back to where we want to be.

As for the game, it was a complete break from the norm. Having not scored or conceded a league goal in the month of February, we did both within seven minutes. First Bendtner, preferred to the rested Van Persie, was allowed the freedom of the Midlands to cut inside and roll a cute shot into the corner, and then we bettered West Brom for poor defending, Eboue breaking ranks in the wall to leap out of the way of Brunt’s free kick.

It was truly woeful from Eboue, and while I’m not one to single out players for a hammering (I did in fact praise the guy after the Roma game), this is happening over and over again. Fortunately, with Sagna, Arshavin and the returning Walcott taking right sided positions, he is not the regular starter he once was.

But by half time, it mattered little. First Arshavin whipped in an excellent free kick from the left wing, leaving the unmarked Toure to head home, before Toure himself chipped a ball over the top for Bendtner to chase – he controlled on his knee before lashing a cracker across Carson for his eleventh goal of the season.

The Dane is something of an enigma. His lackadaisical running style does tend to make him look uninterested, but last night he was on fire, and his goal tally of eleven is excellent for a squad player, especially one so young. The next youngest player in double figures is Agbonlahor, more than a year Bendtner’s senior, and a regular in the Villa side. Perhaps we are too quick to criticise?

By full time we could’ve had six – Arshavin having a couple of great chances and Bendtner being denied his hattrick by the post. But after the month we’ve had, three is more than enough, and coupled with Villa’s lacklustre performance tonight, it puts us back on the Champions League map. With trips to Liverpool and United coming up, Villa might just be regretting their team selection in Moscow.

And crucially, it puts us in confident mood ahead of two cup ties – Burnley at home in the FA Cup on Sunday, a game that will probably be scattered with Carling Cup players looking for revenge, and then Roma next Wednesday. Suddenly, we’re recovering in the league, and we look good to progress on both cup fronts.

It is funny how much things can change in a matter of days.

  14 Responses to “What a difference a few days make”

  1. i’m sending a gift basket to the eastlands….the gods have finally smiled upon the faithful

  2. now its down to arsenal to show our class…perhaps God was more than kind when villa drew with stoke….
    now we shouldnt play with luck anymore.. its time for arsenal players to stand up and be counted..

  3. good article mate

  4. The point about the media’s focus on us rather than Villa is a good one.
    Financially it is becoming even more important to make the final four.
    IF we make it obviously we can attract top talent-young and old.
    Apparently the Queensland Rd. project has been given the green light which will require the team to maximize its earning potential in the champions league.
    With 3 considerable construction projects almost 2/3 of the way completed (Emirates Statium, Highbury Square and Queensland Rd.) I for one am glad Wenger and the board had the vision and balls to invest heavily in youth.
    The club’s contribution has under Wenger become more far reaching than any of us could envisage 10 years ago.
    We are consistently one of the most feared teams in Europe and have been for the past 5 years.
    Also we are respected throughout the world as one of the most attractive playing styles, a level that is only equalled by Barcelona, Man Utd and Real Madrid on a good day.
    Wenger insisted we build a new stadium when others wanted us to share Wembely. Now we are into the later stages of our 2nd season in one Europe’s best stadiums in any sport.
    Investment into our training facilities focused everyone involved at the club’s attitude to professionalism which was once lead by alcoholics and drug users.
    For those of you looking to get rid of Wenger ask all those young professional players at the club what was the main reason for wanting to come to Arsenal?
    They’ll tell you something like Cesc did in a recent Spanish interview.
    We support the club and maybe one day when they retire the player will too but for as professionals they play for Wenger. Get used to it.

  5. If you seriously believe that a win against what has to be the worst defence in the EPL is something to instill the belief that we have now turned things around, then you must be in serious need of a reality check!! WBA were terrible and we were not much better, the only difference was that they commited some of the most basic defensive errors that evena park team would not do….come to think of it a park team would probably have scored more goals against them than we did….so get real …. this is still a poor mans Arsenal!!! or should I say a poor Wengers Arsenal!!!

  6. And there will be life after Wenger…. Arsenal will go on as we have always done, and we will be better for him to go now rather than in another year when he can do even more damage to the moral of the whole club!!!

  7. It’s people like John J that are damaging the morale of this beautiful club.
    Too stupid to analyse the facts and too quick to jump on the media bandwagon.
    It’s a shame the term ‘support’ is lost on you.

  8. Here here! John J can go suck bruce rioch’s cock!

  9. Wenger is creating a generation of legends……..

  10. John J is a Sp*rs fan in disguise, get lost you devil!

  11. Seriously, I’m overjoyed with the result. Firstly, because of what it means numerically for us, and secondly, because it silences the so-called ‘fans’ who have been slaughtering our own players. At the same time, these idiots still find someone to blame, a la John J above. If it’s not Denilson/Song/Eboue/Bendtner, it’s Wenger, according to your nonsensical, mundane brain. Just so everyone knows, this post is directed at the idiots I mentioned and John J shall serve as their avatar.

    Regardless of whether it was the bottom of the table opposition or Man Utd/Liverpool/Chelsea, a win is a win. We couldn’t win against Sunderland or Cardiff (away) so I’m going to celebrate this win. Hopefully, this will set a run of good form leading to a strong finish. If all you muppets truly believe that Wenger should go, along with the entire Arsenal squad because of how they’re doing recently, why don’t you take the easier option and just support someone else? Either way, I really don’t care, but if you do happen to have a season ticket to the Emirates, I only implore you to give it to a true Arsenal fan.

  12. ‘Duckster’ – there’s nothing more to add, great comment and right on the spot !
    Gunners OLE :)

  13. i tend 2 agree with john j, but john j i should point out as well that aston are themselves not in their best shape at the moment.that should make for an interesting fourth spot finale. my bet is the arse will just nick it, what d’ya say?

  14. Some great comments here, thanks folks. Duckster, I didn’t know the project had been given the go ahead – excellent news.

    Josh, you’re right, a win is a win. At the end of the day, if a doom merchant wants to have a pop, they’ll always be able to – if we beat a big side (United, Chelsea), we can only raise ourselves for the big teams, if we beat a small side, then they were rubbish anyway.

    At the end of the day, we’re having a very tricky season, but we’re three points away from the CL spots, and still in the two most important cup competitions (and in very good positions in both, too). Add to that all the imminently returning players, and there are plenty of reasons to be positive.

    Mind you, as much as some people are eternally pessimistic, the glass is always half full with me!

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