Sunday, January 23, 2011

BOOM BOOM Persie and shooting issues

Once again, it was a good performance from the lads. They're on a good run and have found some consistency in their game. If we can keep this up, the silverware drought will definitely end this season.

Last evening we made a positive start to the game but after initial brilliance the players started to get restless. We put good pressure on Wigan but they were resolute in defense. Not to mention, their goalkeeper, Al Habsi who was caught in a stellar form. It's not unusual for opposition goalkeepers to have memorable evening against Arsenal and it was one of those days. After saving shots from Van Persie and Nasri, he was beginning to get on our team's nerves. But soon Wigan's defense was breached by an inch perfect through ball from Song, which Van Persie neatly thumped for our first goal. After the first goal it looked like Arsenal will run riot but Al Habsi kept his team in the game till half time.

We made a slow start in the second half but gradually started to look our normal self. Van Persie scored his second from a brilliant running volley on a long Fabregas pass. It was a great finish and once again it reminded us of his excellent quality. I don't think many strikers in the world could get to the end of that ball and finish like that. The vision from Fabregas was brilliant and the finish was even better. With these two going hot, Wigan was pinned back in their half and was made to work hard. Amidst this rampage, Wigan players constantly tried to contain Fabregas and as a result our captain was kicked around the park. But he's no pushover and he showed that when he cheekily brought down Gary Caldwell. The defender was furious with Cesc, more so because they were losing the game to a brilliant Arsenal side. Inevitable soon happened and Caldwell was shown red card when he brought down Fabregas inside their box. Alex Song put a brilliant through ball which pierced Wigan's defense and found Fabregas at it's end. His first touch took the ball away from the onrushing Al Habsi but before he could shoot, he was bundled over by lunging Caldwell. It was a clear penalty and a clear red card, no arguments sir.

With Van Persie never to have scored a hat-trick for Arsenal this was a perfect opportunity but the Dutch sent the ball in orbit. And soon after when he struck the left upright, it looked like the hat-trick will elude him once more. But the cosmos has it own way and our no. 10 was rewarded for his hard work. Theo Walcott nicely held up the ball in front of Wigan's goal and rolled it along in the path of approaching Van Persie who scored from a very tight angle. That goal capped a fine night for Arsenal and a wonderful individual performance from our Dutch talisman. It was a brilliant night for him and equally brilliant for us who have been dying to see him work his trade for our team. Curiously, the cameraman didn't feel so and was busy showing stupid David Beckham and his son ignoring the fact that Van Persies were also in the house.

Anyhoo, we're Arsenal and we never really worry about the spotlight. We like to play our football and win trophies...

Apart from all the positives from last evening, there are still two departments where the team can really improve. We had too many shots on goal but many of them were shot too close to the goalkeeper. If we had been more clinical in our shooting, we would have definitely ratcheted up a cricket score. It will sound quite odd but the other department is our lack of shooting. Last night in many one-on-ones our players opted to square the ball where they could have comfortably scored. We know that Arsene likes team-play but even he was frustrated when Theo laid the pass for Fabregas where he could easily have scored the goal from various different angles.

I'm sure Arsene will have a word with them and the issue will be worked out in the training. And until we're winning these things will not matter. It is only against the top sides, someone like let's say Barcelona, where a small opportunity can make a large difference. When it comes, we need to grab it with both hands and put the game to bed.

Next we play the return leg of Carling Cup and I hope that our team come out with their surf-boards and ride this nice winning wave we are on.

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