Man City 0 – 3 Arsenal: three points at last
It’s been a while since I’ve woken up the morning after an Arsenal match thinking anything other than “Urgh, gotta avoid the papers today.” Either it’s been because we lost or underperformed or had a player sent off or got a controversial penalty, but there is usually a reason. Today I doubt many of us especially cared what they had to say because after a long time of struggling against the so-called “BIG” teams in the Premiership, we finally got three points off one of them, in their backyard, and accompanied the points with three goals too.
Obviously, the first criticism here has been that referee Mark Clattenburg killed the game off just five minutes in when he dismissed Dedryck Boyata, who I will shortly be adding to my Favourite Names list, for a professional foul on Marouane Chamakh. Er, no. That FOUL killed the game off because it DESERVED the red card he got and LED to City being left with 10 men. The only people I’ve heard criticising the decision have been City fans or the City manager and while it may have spoiled some viewers’ enjoyment of the game- well, terribly sorry about that. Besides I seem to remember fans of every other team in the world laughing their arses off at us complaining about the referee ruining the game by sending Jens Lehmann off 20 minutes into our final against Barcelona in 2006. Did anyone pity us then? No, so suck it up City.
It’s a pity for Boyata because apparently he was chosen ahead of Joleon Lescott on the day and he looked gutted to see the card. It put me in mind of Kieran Gibbs’s slip-up in the Champions League against Manchester United in 2009. OK an entirely different situation but it’s still a young player knowing his contribution to the game led to the result in a way he’ll not exactly remember for the good, so hopefully he’ll pull a Kieran and move past it. But enough about them.
Having just read the previous paragraphs back, I will also stop with the Champions League references now.
It has to be said, I hated seeing Cesc waving for a card after the foul because, besides overweight pitch invaders and time-wasting, that is about the one most unnecessary thing about football I absolutely hate. Clattenburg’s back was to him and he appeared to already have made a decision but it still isn’t something you want to see anyone doing.
After the card we spent the next 40 minutes looking extremely nervy in spite of a great goal from Samir Nasri having put us ahead in the 20th minute. People always have a field day when a side loses to a 10-man team but there is also the argument that it then becomes more difficult because of the opposition’s tendency to shut up shop and park the bus. Considering the snoozefest we endured against City last season at home where it finished 0-0, it was surprising they went for it as much as they did.
Micah Richards was on fire and Joe Hart wasn’t bad either, saving a Cesc penalty in the first half. I expected him to save it. Partly because he’s awesome but partly because Cesc has scored so many for us recently. By the way, question: what happened to the Wenger rule of the fouled player not taking the penalty? Has he changed it?
Johann DJ Ourou wasn’t spectacular yesterday and nor was Arshavin, though he did save our bacon at one point when he (wait for it, Arshavin-bashers) TRACKED BACK(!!!!!!) to clear up a mistake by DJ Ourou/The Clich’, I forget which. Sebastien Squillaci was absolutely anonymous throughout the match which is baaaaaare shameful when you’re a striker. But thankfully he’s a centre-back therefore the fact he was not a stand-out player meant he was doing his job. Much as I love the Swiss Deej and his smiley smiley self (he said hello AND goodbye to my dad down the caff once!), I’m looking forward to the day we have a Vermaelen-Squillaci partnership in what will make our back four become the Spelling Test of DOOM. Put Wojciech Szczesny in goal and commentators of the world are shagged, particularly when you consider I once heard one call Sylvain Wiltord “Wilford” for the duration of the match.
By the way if these nicknames for the fellas are becoming too random and confusing, I’ll be happy to write you a wee dictionary.
Next on the scoresheet for the Arse was Alex Song and his granny hair with a goal that was sweet as. Please watch Chamakh’s reaction when it goes in. I LOVED seeing him jump up and celebrate. So many strikers are torn between being thrilled their team is ahead and pissed off that the goal was not theirs these days that it’s great to see a guy like him. We know he’s a bit of a fairy in the box when he’s brought down but I love his attitude.
We really upped our game in the second half having been second best to Manchester City throughout the first. Oh, also in the first half there was a flurry of cards for us, the only one of which I didn’t think justified was Johan’s. The others were all acceptable but it did look for a while we’d end the match with the same number of players at the home side.
Adegimmemore came on in the second half and was standardly useless, which is always enjoyable. He did have one nailed-on chance on goal that Lukasz Fabianski, who was superb, saw off plus the offside flag was up anyway. Sing it with me City fans: “Adebayorrrrrrr, couldn’t hit a barn dooooooorrrrr…” Trust me. You’ll be singing it eventually.
A word on Lukey Fabz (an easy one for you there): Bless him and his old-fashioned little boy hairdo! He’s showing us exactly what Wenger has always known he’s capable of which just goes to show why he’s the manager and we are mere armchair pundits. I know there’s the doomboys out there who will go “Yeah we’ll just see how he gets on later on in the season…” but they can piss right off, to be honest. He’s doing his job well and if someone had said on Saturday that in a match where Joe Hart was his opposite number, he’d come out on top, would you have believed them? It happened yesterday. It seems like a miracle given his performances last year but it’s merely the work of Le Boss masquerading as a miracle. Good on him.
Big-Game Bendtner and Theo Walcott were late substitutions, Nicklas celebrating his return to fitness with another good goal. Most people’s responses were “Yeah whatever still don’t believe in him” but I’m sure they’ll be saying that when we beat Inter Milan/Real Madrid by a Nicky-goal in the Champions League final this year. That’s right, if you’re looking for a spot of realism why on earth are you reading a blog under the URL of “I believe in Arsenal”, fool?
All in all our second half was much better than our first and while the scoreline was maybe a tad flattering, I still think the boys done good. Nasri and Fabianski were my MOTM, but no one was bad. Next up we have a mid-week Carling Cup game followed by a bit of West Ham Halloween weekend action.