Time for an "injury" for RVP
Thanks to sick children I was up all night on Friday. As a result my eldest couldn't take his place at the game yesterday as planned. On the plus side, having been forced to take the day off work I managed to see the whole game, albeit on the internet. The first 30 minutes were viewed on a channel carrying foreign commentary. I have no idea what language it was in, but they made far more sense than any of the idiots you get on ITV since the late, great Brian Moore retired. For the rest of the game I had the Sky commentary, but I turned the volume down as Trevor Francis was part of their team. His nasally nonsense really is annoying after a short while, and he seriously harbors a grudge against Arsenal for the Cup Final defeats in 1993.
It was a routine win for Arsenal, the kind of which has been all too rare of late. I thought the two centre-halves looked good, and we now have three very capable central defenders. Koscielny is currently the most deserving of his place. Beyond Robin Van Persie he is my player of the season so far. The improvement in the play of the Frenchman this season has been marked, particularly since the Blackburn debacle. I would imagine that his international debut must be imminent, and it would be well deserved. Thomas Vermaelen slotted back in as though he'd never been away. It is very encouraging when you can have those two, Mertesacker and Djourou to call upon.
I called for a performance from Mikel Arteta in the match preview. I don't really know if we got that, but we did get a fine goal. I was pleased for Arteta as he is the man I think we all expected to be the most influential of the last minute signings. The quality of his finish yesterday was top class, and I had a bet on him to score at 5/2 so I was double pleased!
What can you say about Robin Van Persie? Another goal and two assists showed that his form is still fantastic. He is far and away the best striker in the country right now (if not Europe) and he is scoring all kinds of goals. Strangely I take more pleasure from seeing Robin score the kind of goal he got yesterday (and the two he managed against Stoke) than the individual strikes he is more famous for. It shows, for me, that Van Persie is a more complete player now, and is really learning to play the more traditional centre-forward role. Thierry Henry managed to develop the knack of scoring scrappy goals, and RVP seems to be getting there too. Ian Wright was the master, of course, but it all came naturally to him. With Van Persie it is something he has had to work hard to achieve. The international break is now upon us and that means Robin has to disappear with Holland. I really wish Arsene Wenger would do what other Manager's do and create an "injury" that prevents him from going. We all know that Arsenal will struggle without him, so anything that might help to keep him fit is most welcome.
It seems wrong to find a negative from such a comfortable win, but I must wonder about the final substitution yesterday. Van Persie was rested on Tuesday against Marseille in a move which, arguably, cost us a win on the night. Having done that I couldn't believe that Wenger then left Robin on the pitch for those last twenty minutes yesterday, when we were cruising at 3-0 up. Would it not have done Ju Young Park a bit of good to get some Premier League action for the first time, with no pressure to perform? Certainly Andrey Arshavin brought nothing to the team when he came on. I continue to not understand how the Manager's mind works at times. Having said that, it is not really fair to make a big thing of something so trivial (in the grand scheme of things) when we have won so well at home.
This Alex Ferguson business has been getting on my nerves the past few days. There is no doubt that a Manager spending 25 years at one club is a massive achievement. But it is of interest only to Manchester United supporters. I do not understand why the rest of us have had the "celebrations" inflicted upon us in such great detail. You can be certain that Arsenal's 125 year celebrations next month will not get covered in such detail.
It was a fine gesture by Manchester United to name a stand after Ferguson and, perhaps, it was not before time given his achievements. However, the conduct of Ferguson at the pre-match ceremony really did show that the man lacks class in a big way. Quite apart from seeming like he was under the influence (I am convinced he is drunk most of the time) he stood their chewing on gum while the dedication was made. Maybe I'm a bit precious, but I find such things to be incredibly disrespectful to all concerned. I am sure that, whatever his various faults, you would never get Arsene Wenger acting in such a dismissive way of something so special. You can't buy class, it seems. Especially from the Gorbals.