Arsenal 4 (Vermaelen 25, 49, Eduardo 59, Fabregas 90) Wigan 0
Apologies for the absence over the past few days, a lack of time has left me unable to do justice to the midweek win over Liege, and the Adebayor furore. So before I get on to yesterday’s game, I just want to make a few points.
- Three points is three points. For all the criticism of our performance on Wednesday night, we often talk of the mark of champions being the ability to find a win regardless. We did that – make the most of it.
- That said, certain players had nights to forget – Cesc, Clichy, Song and Diaby spring to mind. It happens – as long as it doesn’t become a regular occurrence it isn’t anything to get overly worried about.
- What does it say about the changes to the Champions League format that we can face perhaps our toughest match in the group, go 2-0 down, play woefully, and still come away with three points?
- I feel for Liege – they deserved at least a point, but their naivety made them sit back after only five minutes, thinking they could see the match out. We used to make the same mistake.
- Adebayor deserves both the ban and the vilification he has got this week, but he’ll brush it off. He lives in an alternative universe, and nothing can penetrate it enough to make him realise he’s done wrong.
On to yesterday, and after the frantic start to the season, it is easy to forget what an ordinary match feels like. Four of our five games have been eventful and tricky away games (Everton, United, City, Liege is a tough run), and the only home game was a routine win over Portsmouth that was quickly forgotten.
With home comforts returning again, an easy win ensued, and our second clean sheet to boot, secured by an excellent save on to the post from Mannone, who was largely untroubled otherwise.
That comfort was the product of a return to the work ethic we seemed to lose against Liege, and in particular another sterling display by Song, and behind him Gallas and Vermaelen. And to cap a great performance, the young Belgian became our top scorer for the season with two contrasting goals – one thumping header from a Van Persie corner, and a stunning left foot curler after a rampaging run upfield. The boy can play.
And impressively, that means in six games, the defensive pair of Gallas and Vermaelen have scored seven goals. Some partnerships would be happy with that over an entire season, let alone by the end of September.
Eduardo scored the third, although Eboue’s vital deflection may seem him credited, and in fairness it would be no less than he deserved – after being vilified in this fixture last season, he was excellent yesterday, running with purpose and tracking back responsibly. There was still time for a deliberate handball, but it was dealt with by the referee and wasn’t worthy of this morning’s hysterical media reaction.
The fourth was tucked away neatly by Cesc, who was wincing with an injury he had been carrying for the previous ten minutes. Hopefully it is a minor niggle, otherwise the decision to finish the game might not turn out to a wise one. We’d used all our substitutes, but at 3-0 the game was over. Still, he has a midweek to recover as he won’t feature in the Carling Cup.
And that was that. We could’ve scored more – one run from Song deserved a goal, but the win was as easy as they come in the Premiership. It puts us back up towards the top of the league, and if we keep dispatching the lower sides with this kind of efficiency, we’ll have a good season.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.