It’s just one result
Many of my fellow bloggers will have already posted hundreds of articles about yesterday’s excellent result against Spurs and I’ll obviously touch on it but what I really want to get off my chest is that it is just one result and we’re not out of the woods just yet.
Yesterday’s emphatic win was all the more special because A) it was against Spurs B) it was the first North London derby I can remember for a long time where not only were Arsenal the underdogs but the first where one team truly dominated.
If we look back at some of the big results like the 5-4, 2004’s 2-2, last seasons 3-2 defeat you’ll see that no one team dominated. Spurs will claim that they dominated the 3-2 but I don’t go in for that. Not because I’m a Gooner but because it was a game of two halves. The first was ours the second was theirs. The 2-2 sticks in my mind because that season we swept everyone away except Spurs. Spurs gave us a real fight and it was exciting end to end stuff as most NLDs are.
This game however was pretty much all Arsenal for 85 minutes. Tottenham probably deserved their first goal, the deflection was cruel but the way they started and carved open our back 4 deserved something. The second goal was pure filth and against the run of play. It hurt that Adebayor was the one to step up to the plate but the bitterest taste has come from the media’s refusal to mention what a dirty bastard Bale is. A player who has been booked for simulation twice this season does a Drogba special, no scratch that, Bales dive was more Rivaldo than anything else, and the press say nothing about it. It gathers no mention from anyone except Ian Wright Wright Wright and credit where it is due Glenn Hoddle. If Hoddle can be unbiased enough to say it was a dive I can’t see why everyone else skips over it.
Arsenal hit the post twice and probably could have scored 7 or 8. Spurs on the other hand were lucky to score 2. Our defence completely dominated their attack from the 5 minute onwards bar a burst of speed by Bale which culminated in me losing all respect for the lad. He is a total disgrace but maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe his mind was of the thinking that Harry will probably go to manage England and that with him gone he might be able to push a move through to his reported suitors Barca and he obviously needs to display his diving and simulation talents to the masters of it.
I’m glad that we’ve finally broken our Mike Dean hoodoo but I suspect that had the game been less one-sided that Tottenham would have been favoured a lot more. Two pictures of Dean say everything to me.
I was particularly pleased to see Rosicky not only score probably the most crucial goal yesterday but to put in the type of performance he has. I don’t think he should be sold, in fact I think he should be given a new contract. He is a cracking little player and with the injury record he has had with us we’ve never really got to see him fulfil the potential and talent he was showing in his first couple of seasons. He is a valuable and experienced player. I don’t want to get too political but maybe he is playing better now that AA23 has gone, Czechs and Russians aren’t exactly good friends.
All joking aside I was sad to see Arshavin go out on loan. For me it was a really bad move for Arsenal considering how thin our squad is and to be fair Arshavin was never really given a chance to shine in his best position which is just off the striker pulling strings. Shifting him out on the wing only highlighted his lack of effort which is something most Gooners gave him stick for, myself included but when I think about it would Cesc have put in a shift protecting makeshift or injury prone left backs to the satisfaction of the Arsenal faithful? I don’t think so.
In the first 30 minutes of the NLD it seemed the Arshavin haters had shifted attention to Walcott who wasn’t really playing well at all and as one of my tweets mentioned I thought he was drunk with how bad his positioning, movement and touch were. Maybe the occasion and going 1 nil down shook him a bit. Who knows. The important thing was that he came good.
Theo for me is potentially world-class. He generally has excellent position, great timing, great movement, good shot placement and raw power, speed and penetration. In short he has everything Henry had except that spark of genius and flawless first touch. For me he is halfway between Henry and Michael Owen. Walcott is often derided for his poor final ball and crosses. Well to be fair to him he does put in a good cross every now and again and is the top assist/chance maker for RVP. To be fair to his critics he fluffs more that he delivers. I’m going to lean in his favour because I personally don’t think his fluffs should count too much. Why? Because he IS NOT A WINGER. Theo is a striker, he plays off the shoulder of the last defender, he bursts past players into space to rocket the ball into the bottom corner. He is a striker.
The role he plays for Arsenal at the moment could be described as right forward. He cuts in nicely and his pace causes left backs the same problems Thierry caused right backs. He does a generally good job for Arsenal and his speed at tracking back usually allows more defensive players the time and space to block play down that flank. Because of this I think we, the Arsenal faithful, should get off his back when he fluffs a cross or his touch lets him down. Sure he has been around for a few years and he should be more consistent by now but he is still only 22. Remember that Thierry was the same age as Walcott is now when he joined Arsenal and at first there were doubts over his abilities to adapt, look how that turned out. I also think that Walcott has to work harder than Thierry did in a weaker team and that is going to affect his ability to shine. Could RVP at 22 do what he does now in this current Arsenal team? I don’t think so.
On to my main point, it was a great result yesterday and one I will lord over Spurs fans for years to come but the hard work has only just started. Spurs have been a more consistent team this year but I personally don’t think they have been better. If you look at table we’ve scored more so are a bigger threat. We’ve conceded 6 more but then again we had that big loss at United and have suffered terribly at the back this season. So much so that even Squillaci has had some game time. The one team that has really destroyed Tottenham apart from us is Man City and the only team to really frustrate Man City this year has been Arsenal. They really struggled to beat our second team in the Carling Cup and they had a tough old-time beating us over Christmas. We’ve shown this year that we can still challenge, make life difficult and spank decent teams like Chelsea and Spurs but we’ve also shown frailty, a lack of imagination and a weak squad.
The good news for Arsenal is that almost all of our best defenders are fit or almost fit and players like Rosicky if he can overcome his back problem will take a lot from their performance against Spurs and should put in more performances like that as the season draws to a close. Jack should be fit for our final 6-7 games which will be a great boost and Van Persie has managed to stay fit for over 14 months. (Fingers crossed it continues and touch wood he doesn’t play too much in the midweek internationals). Spurs also have Parker banned for their next match and it looks like they have a few injury problems with Walker and King. I honestly think that Spurs will lose quite heavily to Man U and with Liverpool going to extra time at Wembley and probably having a knees up on the ride home I’m hopeful that they will be physically lacking come Saturday lunch time and Arsenal can close the gap to 4 points before Tottenham’s game with United. If the gap is closed I believe that Spurs will play a very open game to try to increase it and United will punish them for it. Spurs have some tough games all on the trot and Arsenal have a real chance to take 3rd by the end of March at the earliest. That has to be our aim for the season. If we can get automatic Champions League qualification and finally have a proper clear out this summer, with 3 or 4 quality signings to complete our squad then next year really should be our year but then again we say that every year.
Yesterday was a great game and should be a signal of intent but it’s only one result and we need to make sure it counts.
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