Sunday, December 30, 2007

A win at Goodison caps off a great week for Arsenal.

It's funny how a few days can give perspective to proceedings.

On Boxing Day, you could be forgiven for thinking we were languishing in the mid-table doldrums after a goalless draw on the south coast, given the response from some Arsenal fans. United were, according to most, going to win the league at a canter, after their four goal demolition at Sunderland. We didn't have the squad, nor the goalscorers. Rosicky's miss was forcefully contrasted to Ronaldo's piledriver.

But a few days later and the picture becomes somewhat rosier. We triumph at Goodison; United get turned over at Upton Park. Suddenly, rather than being temporarily one point behind, we're two points ahead.

So, we're top again. Whether we can sustain this position or not is, of course, the pivotal question. Yet on several times already this season we’ve shown the guts and determination, not just flair, to grind out wins. We’re a hungry side, as well as a technically gifted one. If we can add stamina to this determination, we’re definitely in with a shout. United’s squad may seem the stronger, but ours certainly shouldn’t be dismissed, especially as I would ignore Arsene’s comments about not buying during the forthcoming window. If he wants to buy, he will. He just likes to throw others off the scent, old Arsene.

The scoreline, ultimately, was nothing short of magnificent. To put four past Everton on their patch is superb, especially as it’s a ground we’ve struggled at in recent times.

The main highlights and lowlights of the game were provided by our two forward players.

Eduardo showed a clarity and coolness in front of goal which I haven’t seen since Bergkamp. Indeed, the flick for his second goal reeked of the ice-man. That’s 9 goals already for Eduardo this season, and that’s without him really getting a fair amount of time in the team. His goals could be the difference at the end of the season if he can build on this start. He'll score more than another 9 in the second half of the season, I'll say that now.

Bendtner, conversely, had a bit of a rum time of it. While he would have gained confidence from being given a start, I hope he learns from his sending off. I seem to remember a young RvP having a similarly stupid sending off a few years back, and he learnt from it, ultimately. If Bendtner wants to become the great player he could become, he has to put his mental ‘roof’ on, as Arsene would put it.

It seems odd that we’ve been chastised in some quarters for winning without playing the elegant football we normally do. Yet, that’s what winning teams are about: mixing it up, playing tough football when it needs to be played.

It’s game like Everton that can decide whether leagues are won. It’s been twenty games now and we’re still top. United are still the favourites, but that seems to be more a media perception that stems from most people’s inability to accept we are where we are. Yes, United’s squad is probably stronger, but we’re top, not them. Despite what people say, after yesterday’s result, who’s to say that this will change any time soon.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The return to 4-4-2 bears dividends in spectacular style.

Anonymous said...

Wenger better start Eddie with Ade vs West Ham. It's the logical thing to do and I agree with what you said about Dude will surely score more than 9 in the second half of the season. Frankly if he plays regularly he can be our top overall scorer this season and it already looks quite likely. Considering in about half as many games he's only 2 goals behind Ade and I think Fabregas I can't see him not overtaking them if he plays quite frequently and in a 4-4-2.

Steve duK said...

Very good and well balanced analysis Goonerboy, although I'm not so sure ManUre have the best squad.

For a start, I couldn't see Fletcher even making Arsenal's second-string squad, yet he seems he's omnipresent in their first team squad. Ryan Giggs is a player I much admired and coveted, but he is now lazy and past his sale-by-date. He should be put out to graze somewhere - like maybe West Ham's left wing.... Oh, wait a minute; the Hammers already have an old has-been patrolling their left flank!!!!! (Sorry Freddie, but you did say some horrible things about the Arsenal)

I don't know if you saw the West Ham v ManUre game but West Ham totally outplayed United and were worthy winners. Apart from a good goal early-on, Ronaldo was mostly anonymous and although hardworking, Hargreaves was ineffectual and nowhere near as good as the Flamster.

After watching both teams play out December, I am sure that ManUre will drop a lot more points and the title race will remain close, but I cannot agree with the pundits when they say that they can't see anyone bettering United. I am constantly surprised at how blinkered the pundits have become, and I suspect they've become blinded by their United scarves blowing across their eyes. When Arsenal drew at Portsmouth we were allegedly a club in crisis - United have lost twice in December to a second-rate and a third-rate team, yet the media and pundits don't seem to have noticed.

Please can someone explain that to me????

Anonymous said...

Ain't football and more so, its fans, funny?
As a general concensus, 4-2-4 seemed to be asked for with Nic Bendtner given a starting chance.

Which is just what we got. Don't really think that this concensus was for Eduardo instead of AdeB, and Diaby (appaling v. Pompey) in instead of Rosicky (probably best v. Pompey)... but the fans asked, AW delivered. Ho bloody ho.

By half time, if the "concensus" was anything like mine, the air was blue, the sanity of the boss was questioned and the ever declining ability of the team to pass quickly along the carpet a source of instant insanity.

And then the best case of "snatch and grab" I can remember for years. Going 3-1 up, esp after Nic concluded his very inauspicious Premier debut was truly icing on the cake...and Tomas' goal triple cream on top.
Thought Flam had a monster match...to my mind he was def MOM but I see Eduardo nicked it in most quarters.

Now for the Hammers..do hope we're still singing "Bubbles" as was the case yesterday! :o)
Gf60

Anonymous said...

Spot on steve.

This muppet keeps repeating 'United have the better squad' with no justification whatsoever and then has the gall to slam the critics.

I would rather have our squad any day over theirs.

Just in he last game we had Adebayor, Rosicky, Denilson, Diarra, Eboue, Robin Van Persie, Gilberto, Senderos, Djorou, Song, Lehman,Walcott etc not in the first eleven.

And then we have lots of good prospects like Merida, Barazite, Vela, Lansbury etc.

There is talent everywhere on the pitch.

The only area where United have the edge is the direct running of Ronaldo and Giggs on the wings.

Anonymous said...

This is a response to Steve Duk. United and the Media only thinks that they have a stronger squad due to United's league dominance in the 1990s and Arsenal's status by the media as underdogs. But now is the 21st century but some mindsets are hard to change. If Ferguson leaves united then Arsenal will be favourites because the media will think the treble mastermind have left forever.

jrock said...

I'm not exactly sure what Bendtner needs to learn. For starters, what the hell was his first yellow for? For saying something to the ref??? I don't think so...I could read his lips and he was just complaining about a call at the other end (not nearly as bad as Rooney constantly cursing out linesmen). Could the yellow then be for trying to get the ball off of Yobo as it was going out of bounds? I don't see how that could deserve a yellow, it looked like every other instance of a striker trying to get the ball off a defender as he uses his body to block him off the ball. Sure, Bendtner deserved to get the second yellow for a poor challenge, but I don't think it was intentional. If anything, I think the ref for that game needs to review his decisions.

jrock said...

I'm not exactly sure what Bendtner needs to learn. For starters, what the hell was his first yellow for? For saying something to the ref??? I don't think so...I could read his lips and he was just complaining about a call at the other end (not nearly as bad as Rooney constantly cursing out linesmen). Could the yellow then be for trying to get the ball off of Yobo as it was going out of bounds? I don't see how that could deserve a yellow, it looked like every other instance of a striker trying to get the ball off a defender as he uses his body to block him off the ball. Sure, Bendtner deserved to get the second yellow for a poor challenge, but I don't think it was intentional. If anything, I think the ref for that game needs to review his decisions.