Sunderland 1 – 1 Arsenal. Good-ish.

September 20, 2010 9 Comments by Sian

The match

Arsenal came into the match on the back of a brilliant 6-0 win at home over Braga in the Champions League. All good for Wenger’s favourite thing in the world, “team spirit,” but not so great in terms of the knackeration of the players. Interestingly, Arsenal fielded exactly the same side at Sunderland as he did in the mid-week, so there were no starters being rested this time around. In the first half, we looked pretty rubbish and Sunderland deserved to have made something of the first 45. In the second half, we finally came into the match and probably really 1-1 was a fair result by the time the whistle had blown in the 95th minute. Anyone would think we’d been hammered 5-0 by the sounds of people (fans and press alike) on Saturday evening and in the Sunday papers. If this team is a team building upon last year’s efforts, taking a point from an away match is a bloody sight better than what we ended up with at the Stadium of Light last year, which was of course bugger all. It was absolutely gutting for them to equalise so late on, but in the grand scheme of things is no disaster. Unless of course we’re planning on using Tomas Rosicky as our penalty taker from now on. Jesus wept.

The good times of the match

Obviously the highlight of our match was Cesc Ferdinand’s goal in the 12th minute. Who can it really be credited to? Ferdinand’s clearance became a moment of comedy when it rebounded off Fabregas straight into the goal. You expect things like that on novelty DVDs presented by former footballers more renowned for having a funny name than playing, but not in a Premier League match. If it had happened to any team but ours, we would all clearly be going “You lucky bastards” but as it is the luck went our way and we were 1-0 up. And chuckling. Almunia had another solid match. I wonder how long he’ll have to keep having solid matches for before we remember he’s a Premiership goalkeeper and therefore should be solid! Very pleased that his season has thus far been such an improvement on last year’s for two reasons: 1.) he seems a decent bloke who deserves to be a respected member of the team. 2.) Last season, particularly towards the end, was painful to watch.

The bad times of the match

One, Cesc leaving the field shortly after his comedy goal with an injury. Two, Rosicky’s missed penalty. Three, Song’s sending off. Four, them equalising, duh. Cesc tweeted yesterday that he should know more about his injury today and that hopefully it’s not a big deal. Or words to that effect. That’s right, non-tweeters, El Capitan is on Twitter now. What’s keeping ya?Rosicky’s penalty was a nightmare. In the words of a very wise man (my dad), “For God’s sake, have a penalty saved, hit it straight at the keeper, but don’t miss the sodding goal altogether!” Never a truer word spoken. I suppose we were due a missed penalty in all fairness, so at least it’s out of the way now. Hopefully. Resident Arsenal writer Nick Ames (@NickAmes82) provided a stat worth looking at: since 2008 in 213 penalties awarded in the Premiership, only six have missed the target So odds are we won’t miss any more. Technically. While this stat is reassuring in terms of our hopes over future penalties we may be awarded, it doesn’t do an awful lot for Rosicky’s pricetag. The dummy. The real pisser is that had Cesc still been on the pitch,  he’d have taken it (probably?) And while he may have had it saved, I’m fairly positive he wouldn’t have missed the target altogether.

Song’s sending off has people divided. He does need to learn that he needs to be more careful when he’s already on a yellow (was I hearing things in hearing that he was our only/first player to receive 10 yellows last season?) But the good news is that it will only be a one match ban as opposed to a three. Small mercies.

Finally, their goal. Well, I wish I was a betting woman because if I was, I’d have made a mint on Saturday. It was obvious from where I was sitting that they were going to equalise really late on. And since I was sitting in a sports bar in Poole at the time, that’s pretty damn obvious. Not because we looked defensively weak, we didn’t. It was just… obvious. And the prediction came true in the last minute of extra time, which was actually extra extra time, as time (+4) was already well over. However, I know Sunderland fans will only jump on the “Arsenal fans just like to whinge wah wah wah” if I go on about it, so I won’t.  We should have had the game dead and buried after the penalty, so let’s not complain.

ETA: The point I was trying to make here is that the fact the goal was scored in extra time shouldn’t matter. We should not have conceded at all. I am in agreement with people who think some Arsenal fans are complaining for nothing. However, if it was your team and it got to the end of the fourth minute, don’t try to tell me for a second you’d not be screaming “BLOW THE WHISTLE” and then cursing as you watched your team concede after time… therefore, some of us were a little annoyed.

The result

So far we’ve gained five points from three away matches: Liverpool, Blackburn and now Sunderland. From last year’s results we only salvaged three from these fixtures in total (and all three was against Liverpool). If we look at it like that, I think a well done is in order to the boys who played, especially as we were down to ten men and no one was feeling especially confident about us coming away with much from there. While it’s true that these are the matches we need to win to have any hope of finishing with the title, there was enough good to come out of the match on Saturday to outweigh the bad. Though we were pretty dire in the first half.

When all’s said and done, Arsenal will be a team with a very strong chance of winning this league when we can go to any ground (alright, most grounds) in the PL and expect to win. We’re not there yet. But maybe we’re just feeling modest.

The end

9 Comments

  1. Bala
    2584 days ago

    I think we should look at it as a point gained with 10 men rather than points dropped.But having said that we should have taken our chances with Arsh and Rosicky.Plus Points-Kosh & Squilli were outstanding,Chamakh & Almunia were good.Minus Points-Cesc Injury,Rosicky Penalty miss,Arsh’s Indifferent form,Clichy’s error prone

    Reply

    • sianyr
      2584 days ago

      @Bala It’s true, and had we not conceded so late on it’d probably feel that way. If they’d score first and we’d scored after we probably would all have been much happier with the result. Maybe we should keep that in mind. Thanks for reading!

      Reply

  2. David
    2584 days ago

    Actually extra “time was already well over” by less than 30 seconds when Sunderland scored. A minimum of 4 minutes is what was given….perhaps you should go to the game before commenting on it?

    Reply

    • sianyr
      2584 days ago

      @David David, I’m terribly sorry that other life arrangements meant I had to be away in Bournemouth rather than being at the match, but as a person who attends as many games as possible I think I can be let off. Meanwhile, I’m sure you go to every single match you pass comment on, and would never dare to express an opinion about one you couldn’t quite make it to. Other than that, thanks for the comment!

      Reply

  3. Dan
    2584 days ago

    This extra time thing is a bit boring imo. I mean, it not as though Arsenal players stopped playing at exactly 94mins, while Sunderland took free shots at goal for 30 seconds….. Both sides got the extra extra time.

    Other than that, pretty fair review of the game.

    Reply

    • sianyr
      2584 days ago

      @Dan You’re quite right, it is a bit boring. That’s why I didn’t go on about it (believe me, in relation to plenty of other fans this is nothing). Thanks for reading!

      Reply

  4. Evie
    2584 days ago

    Welldone babes! Couldn’t agree with you more :D
    Now text me back.
    Much love
    xxx

    Reply

  5. Treez
    2584 days ago

    Enjoyed reading this blog but one thing you didn’t mention was the inconsistency in the decisions Phil Dowd made. If Song deserved two yellows, then Bramble should have got one too. I know everyone says it evens itself out over the course of a season, but why not over the course of the match?

    Reply

  6. Alan
    2583 days ago

    Well summed up, bird. I love Clichy but he’s got the unhappy knack of losing concentration towards the end of the match. Really agree with your Dad though.

    Reply

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