Monday, 27 February 2012

Arsenal vs Spurs: Post Match Report

Evening all,

The euphoria from yesterday has carried itself over and what is usually my least favourite day of the week; Monday went by swimmingly and the smile is very much still plastered across my face.

It is fair to say that the game yesterday is exactly what the doctor ordered. I spoke of the enormity of the task at hand yesterday and how big the game was. I also spoke of the need for a big performance with extra emphasis on our work off the ball and how we approach the game. Not only did Arsenal do all those things well they exceeded the expectations of even the most optimistic fan.

Arsenal have had a turbulent season to say the least which has led many fans to express their dissatisfaction and rightfully so. It has been my belief since this team has been assembled at the start of the season that whilst this team are short of two or three players I have maintained that they are far better than they have performed. They have been lacklustre since the turn of the year and a defeat yesterday could have meant the end of our Champions League ambitions. I don’t think there are many people that were filled with confidence when they saw Benayoun named in the starting XI ahead of Chamberlain and Gervinho, myself included but it worked.

Arsenal were immense and bar a couple of bits of misfortune it was a fully deserved rout. Arsenal created more, worked harder, used the ball better, were quicker, direct and ruthless. They smelt blood and they went for the jugular which is something that this set of players have been criticised for not doing in the past.

It would have been impossible to guess after five minutes that Arsenal were going to produce one of their most inspired performances in recent times. After some interesting positioning from the back four following a Tottenham break Vermaelen recovered to some extend as Saha found himself in a good position. It seemed as though Saha had lost his opportunity when he pulled the trigger and shot. Were it not for a wicked deflection on the underside of Vermaelen’s boot, the opening goal would not have been attributed to Saha.

So after 5 minutes and one goal conceded most Arsenal fans could be forgiven for fearing the worst. Especially when, against the run of play, Gareth Bale, in my honest opinion, deceived Mike Dean into awarding a penalty by diving over Szczesny’s outstretched hand. The trick worked and Adebayor duly converted the spot kick to make it 0-2.

If the opening period was a poor, the response was anything but. Arsenal came back swinging. They were truly magnificent. This is the kind of performance the fans have been hoping to see all season. Great work ethic, combined with the confidence and positive play one expects from an Arsene Wenger era Arsenal.

Arsenal almost pulled one back immediately with a neat flick from Walcott on the edge of the Tottenham area nearly converted by Robin Van Persie as he rattled the wood work. Thankfully, we did not have to wait long as the ball ran out to Gibbs who in turn teed up Arteta to cross who found the awesome Sagna who thundered a header past Brad Friedel.
If the first got the crowd going, the second sent them into raptures. Robin Van Persie scored one of the finest goals of the season. The finish was inch perfect from his immaculate left foot. You can only appreciate the beauty of the finish if you look at the goal from the angle behind the goal. It was truly stunning.

The momentum continued following the break and we found ourselves in the lead following a great Rosicky finish getting the goal he deserved. This goal I think best summed up the performance, it was tenacious, a never give up attitude, great work rate with a sumptuous bit of technique to finish things off.

This meant Tottenham had to try to attack and as soon as they did, they were punished twice by similar Walcott goals. We broke quickly and Walcott showed real character to turn an ordinary performance into a match winning performance.

It was a superb performance and one that has galvanised everyone involved with the club. It was a much needed boost and while it doesn’t mean that all our problems have miraculously been solved, it has shown that we are more than capable of competing for a Champions League place. Arsenal are a side capable of far more than they have shown for the most part this season and this should now be the blueprint of how we should set up for the rest of the season. If we demonstrate this level of passion and commitment every time we play, then I think the outlook may not be so bleak after all.

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