Sunday 4 March 2012

Rottenham, Liverpool out; Milan next?

RVP celebrates the winner by kissing Song's studs.

We wanted three points and that's exactly what we got, nothing more nothing less! I said yesterday that I don't care how we get it, if it's an injury time goal or the ball pin-balls it's way into the net. One thing that RVP cleared yesterday, he scores when he wants. Surprisingly, I didn't see a hint of him being low on fitness when he got those two goals.

We started off a bit slow and continued that pace throughout the match. Liverpool continued to climb on our backs and we allowed them too much time on the ball. They had a flurry of shots throughout the game and would have scored if it wasn't for Szczesny. The penalty early on was a bit unlucky to have gone against us. The referee was in no position to make that decision and even he got help from his assistant, it was a bit touch and go. Suarez proved he is ready to take the dive for his team when they want. Clearly the Arsenal players were crossed with the referee and had a huge protest turned down. But justice raised it's beautiful head and Szczesny made an amazing double save from the penalty taken by Kuyt.

Liverpool were clearly determined to score and looked like they had more desire to win the game than Arsenal. Arsenal on the other hand were without juice, and understandably, having played international matches just 2 days ago. Finally they were rewarded although off a Kos own goal, but they were on top. That was a rare mistake from Kos, having been brilliant throughout the season and he couldn't find a place to hide his face after that. But he left that behind and defended well after that.

Arsenal equalised just 8 minutes later from a brilliant pin-point cross from Sagna, which was finished in the net by none other than RVP. He did pretty well to keep out Carragher and get in front of him. It looked like we would repeat last weeks heroics after the equaliser, but the spark just wasn't there. There were some sporadic plays which may or may not have ended up as goals. Benayoun and Walcott looked out of place for most of the game. They were struggling to have the ball at their feet and thus resulted in the reduced supply to RVP.

Into the second half, it still looked the same but the fight continued and none of the teams were looking to give up. Liverpool clearly had the majority of the chances but couldn't convert, they were either too unlucky to miss or came across the Pole and the pole. Szczesny looked as if he could have done without the defenders too! The game mostly continued in the mid-field and just when we were looking to have some control over the game, Arteta looked to have been elbowed by a blind Henderson. To be fair, it was more of a coming together than foul play, but Arteta had to be stretchered off the pitch. Diaby replaced him and his first touch on the ball was a weak shot off his left foot. His absence from the game was evident, but still he carried on alright without looking too much out of place.

Diaby got substituted after having complains of some injury, and was replaced by Ox. Benayoun was replaced by Gervinho but Arsenal just couldn't find that end product to finish the game and neither could Liverpool. Ox brought some spark to Arsenal's attack. Just when the game looked to be heading towards a boring draw, Song, once again, came out with an amazing lobbed pass which landed straight at RVP's left foot and he side footed the volley at the near post into the net. He just doesn't look like he could miss anything and Reina's frustrated expression just showed that it was a very tight angle. He just couldn't believe that it could have gone in from that kind of angle. RVP might remember that expression quite well having stumped Valdes last year in a similar fashion. Many have compared this goal to the one against Everton, which featured the same set of players.

I don't think that any Arsenal fan or even the team, will complaint about the manner in which we won the game, it was still three points. After Chelsea lost their away game against West Brom last night, Arsenal kept their fourth place in the table, and ahead by three points now. Now it's just 4 points away from Rottenham who play hosts to Manu tonight, if they slip there we have a very good chance of getting to third. The Arsenal players might not have a lot left in their legs after the international matches but the tenacity was there to see and that was what won us the game. Maybe it's enough for us to carry into our next game, against Milan. Arsene seems very positive going into that, he says,
We will give absolutely everything to win. We know the statistics are against us, but you can realise the impossible when you don't know it is impossible. Let's ignore that and just go for it.
That's a tough statement to unwind, though we can understand what he means. I have said it before too, the first leg is over but we have yet to play the second leg and that too at home, where we have been smashing in the last few matches. Like Arsene says, by all means, we are not out of Europe yet. If we go with that belief, who knows, we might be able to see beyond that, if not we can move past it. We moved past the first leg and the FA cup exit after that and came back pretty well. The only problem is that the players won't be getting too much rest since the match is just 3 days later, but if we want to be playing in Europe, then that is the kind of schedule we have to face. We are going through a testing period, oppositions wise, and done quite well till now. Let's carry that momentum further.

I just wanted to mention Song somewhere and didn't want to cramp him up in between anything. You have to give the guy a lot of credit, we have had some very crucial goals and he has supplied for most of them. He seems to have that ability to see and make a pass at the right moment. Maybe he doesn't look like a creative guy, but he has some vision, definitely and yesterday's assist to RVP was a perfect example of that. RVP showed his appreciation quite well by kissing Song's studs. RVP may have hit 2 very important goals but he couldn't have done without the supply, and to give that kind of performance when Song had just returned a day before from international duty is just marvelous.

Let's bask in the glory of our successes, and even though RVP was modest enough to accept that we didn't deserve to win after that kind of performance, but I think we have had our share of bad luck and have lost many games when we did not deserve to lose, so I call it justice well done!
To the Gunners!

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