Sunday, January 11, 2009

Job done


Sometimes you just have to catch your breath and appreciate the fact that the game was won. After all, we've been spending so much time all season wishing that Arsenal could just find a way to win. And after seeing the horror show of Liverpool's trip to Stoke yesterday, you realize how easily things can turn and a couple of points can be dropped. Bolton have played Arsenal well in the last several years, becoming quite the bogey team, but they truly showed no teeth on Saturday at the Emirates. With a tremendous amount of possession, Arsenal deserved the win. However, and worryingly, they still seemed to lack the extra step when they camped out around the 18-yard line (and now there's this news in the Arshavin hunt). Opportunities on net were scarce, far too scarce for a team that enjoyed so much of the possession. Everyone knows how difficult it can be to break down a team that comes only to defend (and I'm sure you'll hear Rafa and Arsene talk extensively about that this week), but, as Jim says below (Scroll, Baby! Scroll!) ... you gotta find a way.

Nasri was the main creative force, again. Diaby shows some decent touches from time to time but can't seem to take the next step he needs. I thought he'd give a go at a regular role earlier in the year but he's just not taking advantage of things. Denilson continues to look relatively absent on the pitch and Adebayor had a terrible game for some of his reputed quality. It's unfair to compare, but I'm going to ... with the chances he had, Thierry Henry scores more than one goal in that game (of course, he had Berkgamp to play off of ... imagine, then, the impact a player of Arshavin's quality could have) and the conversation the next day is much, much different. Rather than focusing on our possession and the lack of anything to show for it, we're talking - again - about the beautiful football on display at the Emirates.

Good for Bendtner to come on and get the winner. He's struggled to make much of an impact this year. Strikers are there to score goals and he needs to do it more regularly if he fancies himself as much as he says he does. Still, he's made a bit of a habit of nabbing the late winner.

Now sell him and put the money to use elsewhere.

A final word for the defensive pairing. With the exception of a quick moment of worries after our goal (which would have been terribly predictable at this point), Kolo Toure and Johan Djourou looked the part. They were tidy, efficient and showed a bit of something we've seen entirely too rarely.

Desire.

Oh yeah, a final, final thought. Welcome to the Premier League Charlie Vela! Dios mio .. no better way to get acclimated then by getting torn down like a sequoia with crunching tackle after crunching tackle from those louts at Bolton. Good to see you get up with a smile though. I'd like to see Arsene try him out instead of Diaby next week. Why not? Put the boy on the left, slot Nasri in the middle and watch 'em fly.

Thank you, lads, more of the same please.

1 comment:

MulderBurns said...

Amen on Vela. I was very frustrated that we didn't see some games with Walcott and Vela on the wings, back when Walcott was healthy. Deal with that speed.

That was hideous and excruciating Saturday, but they did what needed to be done. This is going to be a battle to the end with Villa, and I think Everton is going to be right in the mix as well.

In a perfect world, Chelsea keeps struggling, and we all catch them. I'm all for Villa finishing top 4, as long as Arsenal are not the victims.