Return of the Bac as Arsenal beat Leeds United

January 20, 2011 16 Comments by Sian

I admit, I was a bit nervy about yesterday’s match. Even though the team was back to its best at the weekend and a bit of confidence had been restored after last week’s misery of a display against Ipswich, well, we all know what they can be like.

So THANKFULLY the Arsenal we all know and love showed up and we will now play Huddersfield at home on Sunday 30th January. The day before my birthday, incidentally. Just throwing that out there.

Back to last night’s match and it started out poorly, what with it being broadcast on ITV. Sorry but love-in, much? Alright, I know support the underdog and all that tosh but try to be a bit less blatant about it. Pleasingly, our first goal came only five minutes in when captain Samir Nasri – often argued to be the difference between a good and bad Arsenal performance – broke through the “White Machine” (he actually said that) that was Leeds United. I know people over-hype players these days but you have to say that when he’s in front of goal you have an awful lot more faith in the fact you’ll shortly be seeing the net exploding than you do than many of our other players. I don’t know what the difference is but he makes and succeeds in shots others would put straight at the keeper.

The build-up was from a Gibbs pass and a combined Chamakh/Arshavin effort (Chamavin? Marouandrei?) to leave Samir just to knock it straight past Kasper Schmeichel in goal.

Of course this was a mere five minutes in and with Arsenal, you need to make that lead last a while. We nearly doubled our lead shortly after when Chamakh had a free header at goal which Schmeichel unfortunately but brilliantly saved. After half an hour of decent football from both sides, there came a difference and that difference was a Frenchman with really dodgy hair underneath his angel’s halo.

This is where I get to ooh and ahh and admire and smile and be happy because, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I LOVE Bacary Sagna. In fact, I wrote this for The Footy Blog on Monday. The site’s creator and I were wondering could we claim an assist for the goal which was, incidentally, a beaut. It took a deflection off Schmeichel as it headed towards the goal, but it was still magnificent from a man who used to have a bet on with Gael Clichy to see which would ever actually get a goal. Oh, he’s just a star and it’s great to see him score again.

Sadly two minutes later we Arsenaled it right up when Johnson took a shot at goal from roughly three kilometres out, beating Szczesny and his 6 foot 5 frame in his bright pink socks. The goal was great according to us and anyone else watching but it was ”SEEEEEENNNNNNSAAAAAAAATIOOOOOOONAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL”, if you were Peter Drury, whose heart had audibly broken when we had gone two up. Whatevs though, we don’t need commentators talking us through anything. We went into half time leading and, even though Leeds still looked dangerous, you kind of got the feeling that we’d be going into full time leading as well.

Now, there were two of our players playing last night who often come in for some heavy criticism for a number of factors. Their names are Andrei Arshavin and Nicklas Bendtner, and some Gooners just don’t like them. I agree that sometimes Arshavin can be a lazy little toerag and I agree that this season Bendtner has not been up to Arsenal standard, but something you couldn’t knock either of them for last night was effort. Arshavin really looked like he was going to score and certainly created enough opportunities to do that but just couldn’t make it happen last night.

Bendtner, who looks wrong and weird playing where he’s currently being played, had a couple of opportunities too, but it wasn’t happening for him either. Back to him in a minute.

In the 71st minute Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie were brought on. Excellent reinforcements definitely, but I did laugh at Arsenal TV’s description of them as the ‘heavy artillery’ as they limbered up on the sidelines. What an image. Cesc’s titchy and RvP is one of the slimmest men I’ve ever seen. Maybe skilful World-Cup-winning/World-Cup-runner-upping artillery would have been a better description?

RvP had only been on the pitch about five minutes when he scored us our third goal and pretty much sealed the match for us. Oh, and guess who the excellent cross came from, guys? Oh yeah, that man no one likes but me! Can you guess who it is yet? He’s blond, he’s tall, he’s a Daddy, he’s 23, he’s Nicklas Bendtner. Since we don’t make them very often, I think we can appreciate when a decent cross is a decent cross.

RvP did well to get on the end of it and head it netwards, but it was beautiful work from Bendtner. Admit it. Admit it was good. The sad thing about Arsenal fans (yeah, you. Yes, YOU) is that when they don’t like a player, they don’t like a player, end of. When Nicklas set RvP up for that goal last night, everyone’s praise of the Dane was qualified with a variation on “… yeah but he’s still shite.”

This season, he hasn’t been great. He didn’t look at all interested against Ipswich, which irritated me greatly, but people’s criticism of him goes way over the top. Saying things like “He’s never been good enough” and “I’ve never seen him do anything worthy of the Arsenal shirt” is just silly.

Do you not remember the countless times he got us out of trouble last season? I heard one person blaming him for our downward spiral last spring. Yeah, him alone. Not the team that crumbled against the opposition on one too many occasions, no no. Just Nicklas Bendtner. What a prat.

When he’s rubbish, I’ll say he’s rubbish. But last night he wasn’t so sit down and shut up.

On a brighter note, last night’s display was excellent from all sides of the team and we’re still in all four trophies this season. No one else in the country is. How do you feel about that, rest of country? Sucks to be you. Also, in Euro-Watch, Barcelona lost 3-1 to Real Betis in the Copa del Rey last night. They’re still buggering well through, having beaten the verdiblancos 5-0 in the first leg. But still, if a segunda division team can do it, so can we. David Villa was rested last night, as were some divs I don’t care to remember the names of, so let’s not kid ourselves the same side will show up against us, but it’s something. Also, Lionel Messi missed a penalty! Pigs are flying, hell’s frozen over and I’m wearing Converse high tops!

Kidding. I will NEVER wear Converse high tops.

Let’s keep this winning momentum going at the weekend at the Ems eh, chaps? We play Wigan, our bogey team, but having learnt two lessons against them in the space of a year, we’d be nothing but bloody stupid to let them get the better of us again.

Be smart, boys. Be smart.


  1. AnonymousGun
    2465 days ago

    I prefer Bac Back as Arse beat Leed.. but I guess this one will do as well.

    Been stalking you girl, but I guess I just show myself .. One of the blog I read and enjoy, so KUTGW :D

    /Back to stalking mode


  2. Treez
    2465 days ago

    Are you sure you’re not NB52′s agent, Siany? Just kidding – and he did have a good game last night, although he still didn’t look comfortable stuck out there on the wing. I’d still prefer to see him in the centre. The trouble with our Nik, like the Arsenal team, is you never know which one’s going to turn up. The big, strong handful who can put in a very decent cross or the clumsy ‘can’t really be arsed’ one with the sloppy passes. Soon as he sorts that out he’ll be first choice.

    Great blog as usual. Keep them coming.


  3. Scott
    2465 days ago

    Hey Sian, once again great article.

    Thanks for the link to my site, by the way we totally get an assist for the Sagna goal!!

    Loved the Chamavin name mash up. So a win over Huddersfield for you birthday? Or is that birthday wish saved for Barca!


  4. Yebs
    2465 days ago

    Good article again. Loving the appreciation of the Bac (best RB in the world…EVER).


  5. Theo van Nasrigas
    2465 days ago

    Hi Siany,

    Another very entertaining read – thanks – especially as I didn’t see the game. Could an argument be made that we have had the best French players in EPL history? (Catona notwithstanding). Viera, Henry, Anelka and perhaps Sagna and Nasri will one day belong in the same company.




  6. Irishgray
    2465 days ago

    Nice post as usual Siany. Fully agree regards Sagna, he must be the best RB in the league surely, his crossing has improved tremendously and he is scoring goals!! Who knew?! Two very good results does not a season make but considering 6 out of the next 7 games are at home, this could be the start of a great run. One which could define our entire season. Was great to see RVP scoring from open play again, let’s hope he goes on a real run now. And yes, NB52, great cross and very good game, from an excellent player. I must confess I am really starting to think we can do the Quadruple this year, won’t be easy but it is doable.


  7. Misnomer
    2465 days ago

    Chamiavin… I’m feeling the name Chamavin. And I have to say Bendtner is not my fave player either, but you have to give credit when credit is due. He was great last night.


  8. RedBullWingedGooner
    2465 days ago

    Bendtner made one great play but he was ordinary for the rest of the game. good point about nasri being our most assured player in front of goal and i feel the same has to be said about song in defense. he seems to have learnt how to balance attack and defense while being the most integral player in arsenals squad coz he has no worthy replacements for his position.

    and whats happened to rosicky? he had one bad game against leeds and havent seen him since.

    btw great blog! this is my first time reading and i already cant wait for more.


  9. Gunner Neilson
    2465 days ago

    Hi Sian, Great blogs (all of them). Apologies for not commenting already this season. Congrats on your award..and a well prepared speech, I hear!!
    I’ve sussed how the Prof. picks the team and it solves the ‘which team will turn up’ question. He tells the squad, ‘We’re playing at (e.g.) Wigan on Saturday’. He then waits to see who turns up, and picks the team!! QED.
    Its been another exciting transfer window time for all us Gooners, eh? We could at least have made some sales don’t you think? If Mr. W. wants to keep making 8 changes every game we need every member of the squad to be at a certain level. Some of the current squad just don’t cut the mustard in my view. I’d seriously think of selling Almunia, Denilson, Eboue, Arshavin and Bendtner. We have ample cover in those positions and the money received would buy at least two ‘big guns’. We need a more cutting edge and I don’t think the above-mentioned players have this. Arshavin did have…but that seems to have gone. No good having 65% of the possession if we lose or draw!! Discuss…
    All else is extremely positive…dust off those trophy cabinets!!


    • Sian
      2462 days ago

      I agree, there’s not much to be sad about this season. I also agree on some not cutting the mustard. I think Almunia is pretty much gone. Not sure about Denilson, but maybe Arshavin. But if we sell him, I would have to agree to the sale of Bendtner too and I’m not ready to give up on him just yet!
      Thanks for reading, enjoy NZ!


  10. Bosk
    2465 days ago

    Sian, just so you know, we’re big fans of NB52 in our household. My 6yo son loves him, partly because he did save our bacon a few times last season, but also because there’s an uncanny resemblance to my wife’s brother, in looks and build. He’s single by the way, 25, and lovely bloke, (but unfortunately a Man U fan, I’m sure you can overlook) so if you’re interested…


  11. Alan
    2465 days ago

    I’m getting really bored agreeing with what you have to say in your Blog, but you just keep getting it right. Very good performance all round, not that that will stop the Bendtner (and anyone who’s had a below-par game)-bashers. I’ve moaned at Arshavin all season but am the first to applaud him when he puts in the effort like he did last night. I’m beginning to think that a lot of Arsenal fans are too ‘intellectual’ to even think about giving praise where praise is due, let alone actually deigning to sing/shout their support for their team. Our team deserve far better support at the Emirates than they get, yet the Gooners at away matches never let us down, especially last night. Brill blog, Siany – keep on boring me.


  12. 1NilToTheArsenal
    2465 days ago

    Every team’s supporters need their heroes but also their scapegoats. B52 gets a lot of harsh treatment in the blogs, but not from me. Denilson and Arshavin have been a big disappointment this season. Lat night at least AA made his presence felt, but someone actually had to remind that Denilson was in starting XI. He seems like a talented kid but in waay over his head and prime scapegoat material especially after the cheap penalty last week. But you’re only as good (or bad) as your next game, and we get Roberto Martinez & co, next. Hey, I just realized again this morning that we’re still in all four competitions!


  13. Paddington Bear
    2464 days ago

    Very nice post, Siany. Quickly becoming a fan of your blog. Bacary is becoming a complete player.
    Best regards from a Peruvian Arsenal fan.


    • Sian
      2462 days ago

      Thanks for reading!


  14. White Ox
    2463 days ago

    Yeah, Nick should’ve defended so much better against Wigan when we were 2-0 up last Spring. My goodness that was all his fault.

    Sorry for the drunken tweet a fortnight ago, I can assure you that you are not the sole member of the NB52 fan club. Things have not been going for him lately but he busted his, erm, arse on Wednesday and I was delighted when he produced that cross. St Nick giving gifts, whould’ve thought?

    Great to see Bac back to his best. He is playing some outstanding football this season, I can’t help but think the death of his brother really hit him hard and affected his form. He is one of the best in the world in his position right now.

    Such a topsy-turvy season. I’d prefer there be no more turvy this season, I am fatigued of my Wigan supporting wife’s gloating. Go you glorious gunners.


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