Class in a glass
Twenty-one years ago today Arsenal went to Anfield and won. The game was notable for the fact that Arsenal were battered for most of the match. Our goalkeeper that day was David Seaman and he turned in the most complete goalkeeping performance I have ever seen. Late in the second-half we raced away and Paul Merson beat Liverpool's defence to score a superb and priceless winner. Fast forward to today and it could almost have been the same game (apart from the fact that we were wearing glorious Arsenal yellow all those years back.) Talk about smash and grab, but I am not complaining one bit. It's about time something went our way a bit, and today it did for a change.
As I said yesterday I was relying on Radio Five for my live coverage of the game (I've just finished watching the whole game back on Sky+.) Listening to the game merely served to remind me how much I dislike Alan Green and Robbie Savage. I'll leave aside the fact that our licence fee goes towards the wages of these cretinous idiots but I can't let some of their comments go by. First of all we have the penalty incident where, according to Robbie Savage, "I know it was a dive, but it's a penalty for me." And then, "Mark Halsey hasn't really got a view of it, but he has to give it." You couldn't make up such things. This man is being paid as an "expert" pundit and yet is coming out with such utter garbage. Then we have Alan Green who wanted Szczesny sent off and then decided to recount a conversation he had with Tom Watt at the Spurs game last week. It seems that Watt was defending Per Mertesacker against some tirade from the fat Irish clown by pointing out that the BFG has over 80 caps for Germany. Green, pleased as punch with himself, told him "That doesn't mean he's any good." This phrase was put over the airwaves as if it was a complete matter of fact, that his opinion of Mertesacker was clearly the right one, that successive Germany Manager's obviously have less of a clue as to what Per is capable of. What an absolute mug. Having said that you really must bow down to a man who has such a vast knowledge of the game that he announced Carl Jenkinson was coming on today, rather than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Given that one is white and the other is black it's quite the error, don't you think?
Having watched the game I have to say that Szczesny was absolutely outstanding today. He was left exposed too much, as usual, and he produced probably his best display yet. The double-save from the penalty was incredible, and his command of his area was first-class throughout. I felt our problems stemmed from the two full-backs failing to close down properly out wide, and allowing Liverpool time to cross the ball. Having said that they got no support whatsoever from Benayoun and Walcott and, given that Enrique and Kelly were often the men on the ball for Liverpool in that area, that's just not good enough. Overall we lacked the urgency off the ball that characterised the second-half against Tottenham last week, and that's why Liverpool were able to boss the game for the most part.
Up front we have Robin Van Persie. What can you say about the man? For me he is now up there with Messi and the fake Ronaldo as the best players in the World. Today he showed how his game has improved as a centre-forward. It was almost as though he thought he'd best prove Dennis Bergkamp right in his comments about him the other day. The way he got the first goal is really what I am talking about. RVP showed strength and a real centre-forward's eye for the opening by holding off Carragher to get across the near post and head the ball in to the net. The second goal showed what he's always had - exceptional ability. The ball came, once again, from that man Alex Song. It was another perfect pass over the top, matched by the run, and the finish was out of this World.
You have to celebrate any time you take three points from Anfield, and that's what we should all be doing tonight. We've taken a massive six points from our last two games. Confidence should now be sky high going in to Tuesday when we simply have to go for broke. Who knows what an early couple of goals could do? We can start thinking about that over the next couple of days, once we've finished basking in the glow of beating the Victims in their own back yard.
I'll write some more on Monday evening.