Theo - too quick for Wolves
I'll be keeping this fairly brief as my view of the game was only from the highlights afforded to us by Sky and BBC last night. The sooner I can get a decent broadband provider and a decent broadband speed the better.
All in all it was clearly a straightforward win for Arsenal from the moment Bassong was sent-off. I've seen and heard people saying it was harsh for him to be red-carded, but I don't agree. Walcott was in on goal, so the foul (clumsy more than cynical) denied a clear goalscoring opportunity. That makes it a red card as intent is not part of this rule. When it was brought in it was to stop the cynical "professional foul" - the Willie Young tackle, if you like (younger readers ask your parents or google the 1980 Cup Final). Perhaps this particular law, like so many in football, is correct in its intention, but not in its application.
I didn't like the way the penalty was dispatched by Robin Van Persie. It's all very nice showboating when you're three or four up at home to Leeds, on the way to an unbeaten season (a la Thierry Henry) but not at 0-0 in a crucial Premier League fixture. It shows a disrespect and an arrogance that I do not like to see from an Arsenal player. Most of all it is likely to go wrong and you end up looking like a twat. It also creates a potential future problem. I remember in 1998 Dwight Yorke doing it to David Seaman at Villa Park, only to fluff a penalty against Arsenal the following season at Old Trafford when Seaman stood still and Yorke placed wide of the goal, knowing he couldn't go anywhere near the centre with his spot-kick. I must also say that I don't understand what possesses a player like Van Persie to dink a ball like that. The man has a jack-hammer instead of a left-foot. If he smashes the ball high in to the goal, it doesn't matter who the keeper is, he will score. I suppose the fact that he did score makes all of that fairly irrelevant, for the time being.
The second goal was again a link-up between Van Persie and Walcott, with the latter showing an excellent first-touch and a lovely finish. His pace and movement in that short spell of the two goals was something Wolves couldn't deal with. All credit to Walcott who has kept trying hard and has got a nice few goals and assists in this recent run we've been on. It has gone unnoticed however, that Ronald Zubar tried to hospitalise Walcott as he scored the goal. Watch it from the angle behind the goal and you will see that, after Walcott hits the ball, Zubar launches himself at Theo and takes him out. Thankfully Walcott was moving so quickly that he barely noticed being cleaned out by the fat no-mark. The FA would do well to investigate this one as it is surely violent conduct, designed to hurt the opponent.
After that Arsenal messed about in a way that infuriates me. I just wish we would humiliate teams from these situations as Man Utd used to at their peak. Even in the days of the Invincibles we would lay-off once the win was secured. Its a small quibble, I know, but it really annoys me. When the third goal did come, following an amazing save by Szczesny (Arsenal's attitude at 2-0 might still have cost them), I was very pleased it was Yossi Benayoun who scored it. I really believe he has not been used enough by Arsene Wenger since he arrived, and I would really like to see him signed on a permanent deal at the end of the season. Every squad needs a player like Benayoun, and Arsenal are no exception.
So three points again and now a five point lead over Spurs and Newcastle. More crucially we are seven clear of Chelsea. That means we have a small amount of breathing space going in to our fixture with them at the back end of next week. I can see either Spurs or Newcastle slipping behind Chelsea in the race for the Champions League places, so it is imperative we have a cushion between us and them. All in all it's been another successful week for Arsenal. Another one next week and we can relax a little.