Thursday 22 March 2012

Vermilicious strike puts Arsenal to third!

Verminator strikes early!
5 league goals this season, better than some strikers :P

Ahhh bliss!! I didn't think that the third spot would come to us earlier than expected. Apart from a RVP goal, I think we pretty much got everything we desired from last night's game(s). Three points, a clean sheet, competitors dropping points! It feels good that finally everything is falling in place, the right place, for Arsenal.

It was a tense affair at Goodison Park, and it always is, but so have been some of our recent matches. I wonder if David Moyes could get his hand on a pot full of cash to spend on new players, Everton would have been on a completely different level. They gave us a fair chase, and for a few dubious decisions, we had better control over the game.

In stark contrast to the reverse fixture, where we scored the winner in the dying seconds of the match, here we scored in the waking minutes of the match. We started where we left off against Newcastle, Verminator scoring the winner there and last night too. It was strange, when 4 fully grown Evertonians could not stop a leaping TV! But such has been the fire and desire in this team lately, its ironic that this fire feels refreshing.

We kept the pressure from the beginning, and had some decent chances. Ramsey missed a chance that an injured Diaby wouldn't miss. But stayed close to Everton and we were hanging by the one goal lead. They got stronger and were successful in keeping the ball better. That is when they started creating chances, and one such fell to Drenthe, which he shot past Szczesny in the far corner, only to be ruled out by the offside flag. Replays clearly showed that he was onside and it was a legitimate goal, but fortune favored the brave. I think last night's match might have established a record or something for most number of offsides in a match. Arsenal kept a very tight backline, and more often than not frustrated Jelavic and Drenthe by keeping them offside.

I guess the second half made things even when a penalty, for Drenthe's foul on Rosicky, was ruled out and there was no more guilt. Everton continued to build chances in the second half, but with no luck. Though they had most of the position, Szczesny had very little to do. The credit goes to some terrific defending and amazing team work by players who covered for their mates when they were out of position. I don't think I have seen such fantastic team movement, maybe except for Barcelona, who are on a different level altogether.

Kos and TV were as good as any defensive partnership, and Kos applauded his team's effort defensively,
It is not just the four defenders, it is all the team. Robin van Persie put in a lot of effort to help us too so all of the team defend and we attack together too. We have to take that into the next game.
I think we saw a different RVP in the match, who didn't score but got the cross through a corner for the goal, he was always in support of his team mate's. That was the perfect role played by a number 10 and that's how he should be. Walcott, though starting on the wings, got a bit more central. Still he had a quite match and was generally called for defensive duties to support Sagna, who has been a rock in the defense after returning from his injury. Gibbs, had a decent match and handled his flank quite well to defend along with the regular contributions he made to the attack.

We must have gotten a bit used to close matches, but maybe the team needs to convert the chances that they are creating and obviously the creativity has increased in the past month. But as we start the countdown towards the end of the season, we need to focus more. Our decisions in the final third need to be pin point, we need to be more lethal and unforgiving when converting the created chances.

Fortunately, our competitors for the 3rd and 4th spot, both dropped points. Rottenham, I was guessing maybe they would drop against Chelsea, but it came much earlier when they drew with Stoke. If it wasn't for a late strike, they might have lost all three points. Chelsea opened the scoring, but conceded two towards the end of the game. So that gives us a 6 point advantage over Chelsea and 1 point advantage over Rottenham, with a better goal difference. Arsene has still ordered his team to focus on each game,
We want to keep going. We must keep our humility and focus and fight for each other. That is what we had to do here.
The third spot is now ours to lose, but I have a feeling that, this time, we won't let ourselves down.

Here's what 'arry had to say,
It's all to play for. We can still finish above Arsenal. There's a long way to go yet: there's everything to play for."Arsenal won't win every game, will they? I want to finish third still.
Sure Harry, we'll see! I don't think St. Totteringham's Day is too far now!

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