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Saturday, 12 February 2011
If only they could finish...Theo...Cesc...Robin...Andrey
You shouldn't really complain after such a dominant performance from the boys this afternoon (yesterday afternoon as it's now past midnight). Arsenal were awesome throughout the game, having started with absolutely the correct attitude. When in possession of the ball there was pace to the attacking play, while Wolves were closed down quickly all across the pitch. The half-time score really should have been similar to last Saturday, but Arsenal were as wasteful as ever when it came to actually sticking the ball in the net. Why do all out players feel the need to pass it to somebody else when the goal is gaping in front of them? When we did actually get a shot away after about 15 minutes Robin Van Persie found the net with an exquisite right-foot volley from another inch-perfect Fabregas assist (Fabregas had already been denied a goal by the inept Mr Foy blowing for an earlier free-kick just as Cesc rammed the ball in). It is a credit to RVP how he has improved with his weaker foot (or "chocolate leg" as he christened it). When he arrived it was debatable whether he could even stand on his right foot, but he has now become a consistent scorer with both feet, and with his head. Arsenal continued to dominate and to create chances throughout the first-half, but failed to add another goal. One day, surely, they are going to put most of these opportunities away - today's game should have seen Wolves utterly humiliated by a scoreline more reflective of the play, but Arsenal's profligacy (and every one of those named in the title of this post, including Van Persie, was culpable) let them off the hook.
For the second-half you can pretty much re-read the above paragraph. Arsenal dominated, created chance after chance, and only scored once through Van Persie. Now, as far as I'm concerned Robin was offside for the second goal. I don't think anybody probably understands the rule fully anymore, and the linesman was left so far behind by Walcott that he was in no position to give RVP offside when he got the ball (though he was about five yards off when Fabregas played Theo in behind the defence). As I say, for me it is offside, but as far as the rule goes I am becoming more and more clueless. We should have been so far out of sight by then it shouldn't have mattered. The magnificent (again) Jack Wilshere played Walcott in for a goal my children could have scored, but he somehow shot wide. Theo had a bit of a nightmare today, always promising something really quite good only to then cock it up at the key moment. Chances came and went with regularity and Van Persie should have had his hat-trick quite comfortably. Fabregas, Arshavin and Walcott all wasted further opportunities and I was left with that worried feeling in the final ten minutes as Wolves tried to bluster their way towards a goal. When Wolves did come forward they invariably were repelled by another imperious display from Johan Djourou. How crucial the Swiss has become to Arsenal - if only we could get Thomas Vermaelen fit as well.
As for the other features of today's game I have to give mention to Wolves' striker Kevin Doyle. I like Doyle as a player and I think he has real quality. Unfortunately he is turning in to Kevin Davies. Doyle has, like Davies, mastered the art of barging in to the defender and then hitting the deck in such a way that the weak referees give him a free-kick. Time and again today he managed it and must have spent more time on the ground than Emile Heskey does. On the subject of weak refereeing Mr Foy somehow failed to send off Ronald Zubar for two bookings - he was eventually booked for what should have been his second one, only to get away with a knee-high foul on RVP later on by pretending to have injured himself in the process.
What can I say about the Arsenal crowd? Well, plenty actually. How is it that Theo Walcott can miss chance after chance, fail to get a single cross in to the box, not track his full-back up the pitch and fall over the ball on a regular basis, yet he gets no stick. Enter Nicklas Bendtner and Denilson (the latter of whom did pretty well in defensive areas on his introduction) and their first small error meets with mass derision from the muppets in the crowd. When Bendtner did a couple of good things today there were ironic cheers going around. Who are these pricks? Why do they go to the game? They're almost certainly the same idiots that were "ole-ing" again with fifteen minutes to go. These arseholes make me sick. Then there is the prat behind us today who decided to get vocal at Gael Clichy, who was outstanding again. In the last minute Zubar gets in down the right to set up Wolves' only chance after Theo failed to track the run. This cretin is out of his seat screaming "Is that you AGAIN Clichy - you're f***ing useless." Twat. He clearly knows nothing at all about football and does not deserve to have a match ticket.
The day finished on a real high for me, my Dad and my five-year-old son. Dad had the winning programme on the lucky numbers draw so we went down to the media entrance with it after the game. We were escorted to an area in the bowels of the stadium where Andrey Arshavin came walking past, then Alex Song presented us with the match-ball!! Shortly after that we were introduced to Jack Wilshere and both he and Song posed for pictures with us (taken by Arsenal's photographer, Stuart MacFarlane) which will hopefully be in the programme on Wednesday evening. Just as we were leaving Robin Van Persie came out to meet some people as well, though we didn't get to talk to him. My little boy seemed a bit overawed by meeting the players, and he wasn't the only one if I'm honest. What was a fairly run of the mill 2-0 win has become a day never to be forgotten.
The next post will be on Monday, probably late afternoon/early evening, with the build-up to Barcelona getting under way.