Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels 1 – 3 Classy, Brave Warriors: Positives Galore

Yesterday, I was too distraught to write a match review. Even now I am quite peeved but there were too many positives in the game and I think it deserves a proper mention even though the horrendous tackle cast a gloomy shadowed all the bright moments.

The start of the game reminded me of our previous two visits to this stadium. Our players were nervous, hacking the ball away as if defending in the last few minutes and Stoke were all over us. The hosts looked for opportunities to get a set-piece with a preference for a throw in. We looked vulnerable for the first few and finally succumbed in the eighth minute.

There were 10 Arsenal players in the box and 5 Stoke players, yet two of them were unmarked at the far post. I won’t dwell on this as I just want to focus on positives.

After the goal Stoke made a serious mistake of retreating into their own half. Before they scored we could see them pressing high up in our half and making it difficult for us to push forward. Once Stoke retreated, it became easier for us to control he ball and keep possession. We didn’t get our game flowing for a while but our confidence grew with every minute and after a while it was clear that Stoke are in for a tough night.

The first goal was a collectors item! We haven’t seen too many inch perfect crosses from this young Arsenal squad but Cesc is Cesc. The header from Bendtner was as good as any I have seen this season. He had to generate some pace, get the accuracy, and see off the challenge from two defenders. Bendtner has been pivotal for Denmark during the qualifiers and once again showed he had the makings of a top class center forward. I feel if we can find him 4-5 times in a game with a cross, he is bound to put one in.

After the goal Stoke tried to come at us but our players were confident of dealing with their physical game. Initially we were struggling to get the ball on the ground and keep possession. But now Stoke were struggling to get a touch in spite of their physical approach. I’ve a feeling that they must have been frustrated by this and it could have culminated in that horrible challenge, but that’s pure speculation.

Ramsey was extremely impressive in the middle. For someone so young and inexperienced, he was able to control the ball with his head, chest and feet even under pressure. He was also able to take the physical challenges in his stride, move forward with the ball and pass it in all directions.

By this time the movement of the front line had also been synchronized. Players moved around seamlessly and we looked like we could get a second anytime. I was also delighted that some of our players tried a few cracks from distance even if Stoke got bodies in the way.

The way our Center Backs played aggressively with Fuller and Sidibe was heartwarming. Clichy and Song were also very good in physical battles with these big forwards. Stoke never came close to creating a proper counter attack. It’s easy to miss such good work and I’m sure if we continue doing this in the remaining games, we will be really tough to beat.

I also felt our players raised the tempo of the game to a level Stoke just couldn’t match. There were a number of fouls that were not given simply because our players managed to keep possession in spite of the fouls. There was a serious “F**k You” kind of spirit in the players and they really wanted a win.

The challenge on Ramsey did slow the tempo down and for a few minutes I was really worried. All the good work could have been undone by a reckless moment from a looney. Thankfully, even Stoke were stunned and we didn’t suffer further damage on the field.

The way the players responded after a few minutes was exhilarating. Once again our tempo, movement and passing was way beyond Stoke’s limited talents and they were completely outclassed. At this point I was sure we were going to create a lot of chances, but when a team puts 10 men behind the ball for the final few minutes it’s very difficult to score. We needed a little luck and I feel we got it because the referee was a little sympathetic after the tackle.

I don’t mean that the penalty was not stone-walled, it was. But this referee hadn’t given us one earlier and denied us one after the second was scored. That leads me to believe that he gave it out of sympathy or a sense of justice that outweighed his obvious bias!

It was a big moment in the game and I have always been a little concerned with Cesc taking the penalties. Fortunately, even though Sorensen guessed right (I mean left), the ball nestled into the back of the net. Is this the moment when our luck finally changes!? Only time will tell.

Another great aspect of the game was that none of our players shied away from a challenge even after the injury. Stoke persisted with their fouls but Arsenal did not surrender.

Finally, it gave me immense pleasure to see that we didn’t sit back after the second goal and pushed for the third. The “F**K You” spirit had returned and Arsenal meant business. Every single player maintained focus right till the end and achieved a result that will achieve monumental proportions in history if we go on to win this title.

There were other notable positives like Eduardo coming on as a substitute, Almunia having a very good game (I remember only one flap and that was given as a foul on the keeper), the team huddle at the end and so on.

This game was a trailer of the heights this team is capable of achieving. Let us not forget we were playing without the likes of Arshavin, RvP, Gallas and Diaby. I hope this particular incident acts as a reverse of that Birmingham game. The first step is in the right direction. We have to replicate the same spirit and desire in the following games and there is every chance we will be celebrating in May.

20 Responses to Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels 1 – 3 Classy, Brave Warriors: Positives Galore

  1. ryan says:

    sol campbell is my favourite ever arsenal player and since returning he’s reminded me exactly why. physical, imposing, dominant, powerful, intelligent, eloquent, experienced, fucking good and above all a BEAST of a guy. i can’t say enough how glad i am we took him back and he’s playing brilliantly. top marks sol, you’ll always be my favourite!

    i love it when he carries the ball out of defense and skins a player or two. looks hilarious to see the giant tank of a man powering past opponents with surprisingly slightly quicker feet than one would expect for such a big guy. reminds me of the game vs pompey a few years back. henry and co were farting around struggling to score late into the second half and we were drawing. then big sol carries the ball across the halfway line, powers past 2 and blasts it into the far corner from miles out. it was like a message to henry to say THAT’S HOW YOU DO IT. fucking hilarious :p

    • desigunner says:

      Campbell was brilliant. His runs, that you mention, remind me of the captain of the Indian Hockey team in the eighties, Pargat Singh.

      He too was a defender but used to move forward with the ball when the attack wasn’t getting it right. Scored a few goals that way and was always a joy to watch.

  2. el pipita says:

    its all down 2 maturity, being able 2 handle da situation right. When vermaelen broke down, what clichy did was exceptional & lifted him again. Lets ope its a sign of things 2 come.

  3. Nischit says:

    Isn’t this the first time we scored 3 goals in a game this year? feels like it. Great match. Good performance, lacking a bit of bite without RVP as usual. Nice to see rosicky taking shots. Oh and the less said about the tackle the better. oh and desi, just 10 more wins to go 🙂

  4. arvind says:

    Lets not forget how Cesc became captain on Saturday.
    1. Rallied the troops after the injury. This could well have been birmingham again.
    2. Took the penalty under extreme pressure… dedicated the goal to AR…he was hacking his leg to indicate who the goal was for… took me a little while to figure that out.
    3. Did not give up after that and added a sweet assist to seal the deal.
    4. SHHHHHd Tony Pulis
    5. Huddled the team after the win

    Hats off to Nicky B and CLichy…Nicky for staying with AR while he was down and Clichy for gathering TV… Clichy played well this game…really well.

  5. oz gooner says:

    It’s about time some people started giving Bendtner some raps for his performances. I have been impressed with him for some time now. I don’t see him as a prolific scorer but he performs a role in the team that the other maestros don’t. On top of that we were looking a bit fragile in that first half and not only was Nickys’ goal fantastic, no one else in our squad would have been able to emulate it.Might have a few more fans come May.!

    • desigunner says:

      I like him quite a lot. I think we need to use his strength’s better, the team hasn’t fully learnt to do that.

  6. manas, kolkata, india says:

    Probably the best performance of the season. Clichy was outstanding after few worst games. Almunia was quite dependable. Fabregas deserves a place in World XI, Rosisky and Edu showed their class in a short spell and finally I must say few words about Sol Cambell. Apart from his superb show on the field, I was really moved after seeing sol’s reaction on ramsay’s injury and his celebration after the third goal.He is so passionate, so intense in his love for his team and team-mates, Unbelievable. I could not control my tears. It shows his deepest love for Arsenal Football Club. My salute to Sol, the Giant.

  7. Aniruddh says:

    Great Read, coming to think of the injury I feel that it’s not as bad as thought because I’ve sustained a double break on my ulna and it only took something around three and a half months for me to get my bone healed and around six months for it to get back to full strength without any of the professional help our boy will get. Due to the leg dangling in a unnatural way we perceive it to be horrible and I’m quite sure that Gibbs has a similar fracture only to one of the bones and even Nasri had a fractured leg.
    I’m not saying that it not bad I just want to state that it isn’t a career wrecking injury and hopefully he’ll become what we all want him to be i.e A superstar.

  8. Nitin Damo says:

    After doing a bit of research, it is clear the injury to Rambo is nowhere near as bad as eduardos. It is slightly more then Nasri’s and less then Eduardo’s. The two bones starting from ther knee to the ankle joint are
    1) Tibia (the main wieght bearing bone)
    2) Fibula (the supporting non weight bearing bone)

    The injury to Edu was a Broken Fibula (which is what Nasri Also Had). However he also had an OPEN DISLOCATION of the ANKLE JOINT, (where the tibia and the fibula meet the ankle).
    A joint fracture/dislocation is the most horrible injury to heal, hence it took Eduardo ages to come back. However looking at the pictures and videos online, it seems the Rambo has fractured his two bones around 2-3 inches above the joint. (similar to diaby’s leg break) So the only good news we have on Rambo injuryz is that his joint seems to be ok and the broken bones can be healed completely with screws and plates.
    We only hope he comes back even stronger and I dont know if I should he bappy or concerned to say that he has enuff guidance and experience in Diaby Eduardo and Nasri to help come back.
    -I realise I have tried to make things sound better but I can help it, its sumtimes good to know that it could have been worse.

    • desigunner says:

      Well it could certainly have been worse. Hopefully his tissues and muscles will return to full strength soon as he is still young and growing. It’s also going to be a mental issue for him.

  9. Nitin Damo says:

    Also it was absolutely awesome to see Cesc get back with a foul on the opposition when a fould on him was not given and then shhhhhhhhhh Tony Pullis
    It is also visible that Tomas Rosicky since the time he has come back has never taken a bad tackle in the ‘good spirit’. He always gets back and in the stoke match also threw a bastard into the hoarding

  10. TayTay says:

    That game definitely made me cry at the end. It brought out the best in the gunners. ahh , can’t even put it into words.

    The team huddle at the end made it very emotional at the end as well. I know all my fellow gooners know this already, but winning the league this season will be a huge victory not only for Arsenal, Wenger, and the fans…but a HUGE deal for football as well.


  11. bobbygee says:

    This was a huge win. We need this sucker badly. Three points off the lead. Fabregas played a great game. Bendtner nailed the goal. The close up of Ramsey showed the bone sticking through this socks. This is bad. It is very sad. Now it is time to forget about it move and win baby. http://defutebol.net

  12. Bootoomee says:

    Great post Desi, you are my new favourite! got nothing more to add.

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