Arsenal On The Up. Fantastic F.A. Cup Tie by Lorenzo Sallows
Drawn against another Premier League side and coming after a torrid spell of form, emotions were sure to run high. The match did not disappoint. I have been more than negative in my approach to Arsenal these past few weeks but, like all fans, I warm after a win.
For the first half, Arsenal played a traditional flat, unintelligent game, lofting balls into the penalty area, hoping for the best. Numerous corners were won and squandered and a poor defensive display from Per Mertesacker gifted Aston Villa the lead. Without the presence of Mark Albrighton and Charles N’Zogbia, Villa lacked the required pace to pressurize Arsenal’s flanks and instead opted for success via set-pieces and counter attacks, Robbie Keane’s good touch distancing the two sides.
Half time signaled the mutterings of discontent among the Emirates faithful and Arsene had to come up with Martin Luther King moment. He did not disappoint and delivered a half time talk to silence even the loudest critic. In a mysterious Jekyll and Hyde turn of events, Arsenal dismantled a smug Villa side in 16 magical minutes to secure a place in the last 16. PASSING proved the key to unlocking Villa, something I feel we have neglected to do enough of in recent weeks. The long balls into the penalty box are not effective due to the fact we do not have target man like a Carroll or a Crouch. Instead we are blessed With Robin so we must endeavor to use him.
Earlier in the first half he took too long to dispatch balls and when he did opted for the throw straight down the middle. Otherwise solid with some decent catches but not an awful lot to do.
Magnificent and reliable as usual. Solid in defense and an inspired run was rewarded with a penalty. Talent wasted at CB but developing into a real asset.
Ponderous and slow as usual but had an effort saved of the line. Not sure what assets he brings to the team but a standard performance none the less. Was at fault for the goals, but prevented Bent scoring, so an average evening.
Ever dependable the “Verminator” was top class even when played out of position. Hammer-like strikes both threatened to score and was cool and collected in defense. Cannot wait for him and Koscielny to be partnered at CB. See how many late goals will be conceded then.
A player I have grown to rather like with his pace and eagerness. Could mature into a rather tenacious wing back and displayed good runs to support in atack.
Ever dependable, gutsy, Song broke up play and provided a silky smooth pass to Ramsey for the penalty. A real engine and one of Arsenal’s unsung heroes.
Turning into a marmite player with lack of consistency. At times he reminds me of showboating child but was instrumental in the dominant 16 minutes. Then faded to obscurity. Needs to perform consistently to rival Wilshere for praise but the talent is definitely there.
An average night from a player that is more effective as an impact sub. Can tackle very well and “little Mozart” is handy to have as a midfield dynamo.
My personal belief is that Walcott is suffers from a dual personality. The first half was his lazy, uninterested side that looked as though it suffered from burnout and the second, an inspired, pacy, excellent affair.
Van The Man 9.
Adjective are useless to describe the talent Robin has. Abundant strength and speed are not so apparent yet what he does must clearly be supernatural. A sold soul to the devil would explain such amazing performances.
Oxlade Chamberlain 7.
Here is a kid I love to watch. Brilliant in attack and defence, coupled with an eye for goal and killer diagonal passing. His price tag rises each time he plays.
Le Prof 9
Does NOT always get it right but 90% of the time is it pure class.
Solid brief performance.
Where do we take this result ?
Most obviously is to Bolton on Wednesday but Arsene could learn a lot from Kenny Dalglish. Silverware has been prioritized above a top 4 position at Liverpool and this is his aim. Sure Champions League qualification recalls a remarkable statistic for Arsenal but our Silverware count does not. With the current Arsenal crop I feel it has to be one or the other but we live in hope. We are above Liverpool in the Premier league and only have to fight it out with Chelsea for 4th Spot. There is a HUGE 6 weeks coming up for both Club and fans and I hope this serves as a platform for great success. Players are beginning return from injury and this should galvanize an upward thrust in momentum.
In Arsene We Trust.