Saturday, December 10, 2011

He scores when he wants, gift from Robin on Arsenal's 125th anniversary

A long Friday night of drunken revelries and a subsequent all-nighter set a red-eyed stage for me before the Arsenal's 125th anniversary celebration game against Everton. A cat nap right before the KO was not a good idea as I was left at the mercy of online Gooners to provide me a working stream (damn you ESPNStar). And with the help of the ever resourceful Gooner community, I was able to find a lovely streaming link in time to catch the players coming out of the tunnel. The Emirates looked beautiful and had a festive touch to it. Gooners present in the stadium were chanting at the peak of their voices and it did raise some goosebumps. The Arsenal team was as strong as we could have fielded with Djourou playing on the right, allowing Koscielny to partner BFG in the center. Vermaelen marshaled the left flank and did a wonderful job. He never let Shameless Coleman to deliver a single cross. Last year's Arsenal team needed players who would always give their 100 percent on the pitch, irrespective of the position they play in and Vermaelen is such a player. He stuck to the task and didn't allow any opening from the left. Although some of his back passes were dodgy but Koscielny managed to tidy them up every time. When Sagna comes back, I would  love to see the four of our best defensive players operating in front of our goal. Even with Djourou's nervous play, our defense looked formidable.

Everton played with only Louis Saha up front and defended deep. They packed their midfield but left the flanks weaker which allowed Gervinho and Theo to make constant attacks during the game. There were many missed opportunities in the first half, some which could even be labelled as stupid mistakes. Gervinho needs to work on his shooting skill which has let him down in last many matches. In 1-on-1 situation he always look short of ideas and such callousness in front of the goal could be costly at the business end of the season. Right now is the time to improve on this aspect of our game. When Robin seemed to be having an off day, it was the duty of our other offensive players to step up their game. Theo had other ideas though. It appears that he relishes his role of a provider so much that he's ready to give up entirely on shooting. He should realize that if he wants to emulate Henry, he will have to shoot when in 1-on-1 situations. We wasted many simple chances in the first half and I began to worry if it would bite us back in the arse. But gladly, the first half finished without a goal.

In the second half Everton looked more assured and even started to fancy their chances against an Arsenal side which couldn't score. Ramsey looked off the mark again with his overhit through balls. With Arteta settling in well along side Song, I believe Ramsey could be in direct competition with Jack after his return. The player who has massively impressed me this season is Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong. He has become an integral part of our defense as well as our attack. Along with Arteta, he's the most hard-working player on the pitch, huffing and puffing from box to box. His over the defender pass for Robin's goal was a thing of beauty. And what can you say about the strike which followed from the left of the maestro, Robin van Persie. It was majestic, sublime and a strike from a genius. It reminded us of Robin's full blooded long range volley against Charlton Athletic. But last evening's strike had more nous, more artistic touch to it, it was like music. The goal was a perfect gift to the club on it's 125th anniversary from one of it's greatest players. The game will be remembered for the goal, the goal when Robin struck the most beautiful of volleys from his left foot.

We have come of age as a squad and our first team is among the best in the continent. When this team faced the challenge of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, they came out on top. The next major challenge will be provided by the trip away to Manchester City on the next Sunday. After their recent exit from Champions League, Manchester City will have their mind set on winning the maiden Premier League title. Currently the only team who can throw a spanner in their works is Arsenal. If we can come back with a point from the game next Sunday, it will be the continuation of The Arsenal's 125th anniversary celebrations.

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