Thursday, 11 November 2010

Arsenal Beat Wolves 2-0 As Fabianski And Chamakh Are The Heroes.

Arsenal made the trip to Wolves last night for a vital Premier League game, as they looked to keep pace with the leaders Chelsea. Wolves had being playing well recently without really getting their just rewards, and if Arsenal weren't on top of their game it could have been disastrous. 

The boss went for a very similar line up to the one that lost at home to Newcastle on Sunday. The only changes were Tomas Rosicky in for Samir Nasri, who had taken a knock in that game, and Andrey Arshavin in for Theo Walcott. Of course Johan Djourou was also in for the suspended Laurent Koscielny as our central defence continued to change by the game.

It was important for Arsenal to show drive and determination early on, and they did just that. In the very first minute Rosicky made a good run, played the ball to Alex Song in a wide position, and his cross was headed home by Marouane Chamakh. There was less than a minute gone and Arsenal had the lead  that they wanted. All they had to do now was press home their advantage as Wolves struggled to cope.

With only six minutes gone Arshavin closed down a defender, and won the ball off him. He raced through on goal, and it looked like that lead was about to be doubled, but he shot straight at the keeper, and the shot was saved. Arsenal continued to make chances and Cesc Fabregas had a close range shot blocked, after some very good work by Arshavin again. It looked like only a matter of time before Arsenal increased their lead at that stage.

However Wolves were not lying down, and they started to get back into the game gradually. Their own real chance of the first half was a ball to the far post that Lukasz Fabianski managed to touch away from the head of Stephen Hunt. There was no doubt that Wolves finished the half in the ascendancy and Arsenal had to be very strong at the back to keep them out.

Early in the second half Jack Wilshere slipped in possession just inside the Arsenal box, and the ball was slid across the Arsenal six yard box. It looked for all intents and purposes that Wolves would equalise, but somehow Bakari Sagna managed to block a goal bound effort with a great slide. Arsenal needed a second goal to give themselves some security but they continued to spurn good chances.

Just before the hour mark Rosicky blocked an attempted Wolves clearance, and fed the ball to Cesc just inside the Wolves box. He looked certain to score with the goal at his mercy, but he somehow managed to put his effort wide of the goal. Soon after that Wolves started to step up the pace and create chances of their own.

A Kevin Doyle shot was excellently turned over the bar by Fabianski, as it looked destined for the top corner. Wolves again almost scored from the resulting corner, but Rosicky was on hand to clear the ball off the line. Shortly after that there was a header from Wolves that nestled on the roof of the net, and it looked like only a matter of time before Arsenal conceded.

Arsenal were still managing to make chances of their own, and the next one fell to Arshavin again. He made a great run down the left, and fired a shot against the far post with the keeper well beaten. Arsenal could have had four or five goals at that stage, but they still had only their slender one goal advantage. It looked like their inability to finish the game off would come back to haunt them.

The next chance fell to Arsenal again, after a Cesc free kick had been deflected for a corner. When the corner came in, it fell to the feet of Sebastien Squillaci, and he looked certain to score. Somehow he managed not to get the ball out from between his feet, and he actually knocked the ball behind himself accidentally where it came to Djourou. He has never scored for Arsenal, but he almost did on this occasion, but his shot was blocked on the line as it looked destined to increase the lead.

The clock was ticking down, and I began to feel that maybe Arsenal would get their third clean sheet in four league games. Soon after that Wolves created their best chances of the game as first of all Doyle wriggled into the box, and shot wide when he looked certain to score. In injury time a ball into the Arsenal box was cleared but it only fell to Christophe Berra who fired towards the bottom corner. It looked certain to be the equalising goal, but somehow Fabianski got down to it, and even managed to hold on to the ball.

Not only did Fabianski make a great save but he also had the presence of mind to throw the ball out to Rosicky, who played it inside to Cesc. He looked up, and picked out the run of Chamakh, who raced through and finished past the keeper with ease. With the game just over that was the final nail in the Wolves coffin, and Arsenal quickly brought on Nicklas Bendtner and Samir Nasri for Chamakh and Arshavin.

Somewhere in the middle of all that there were a couple of controversial incidents, and the treatment of them by both SKY and the BBC shows exactly why Arsenal fans feel that they are biased against the club. First of all serial bad boy Karl Henry slid into a challenge on Arshavin, and got nowhere near the ball but connected with his raised foot into the middle of Arshavin's shin. First of all the SKY commentator thought that Arshavin had caused the incident by pulling out of the tackle, but on seeing the replay he said that Henry was lucky to stay on the pitch.

When it came to the MOTD highlights the BBC decided not to show that incident at all as usual. They did decide to highlight a punch by Newcastle's Joey Barton into the chest of Blackburn's Pedersen in another game though. It would seem that the BBC consider a punch to the chest to be far more serious than a challenge that could potentially have broken Arshavin's leg.

Towards the end of the game Cesc chased a Wolves defender towards the touchline and slid in to block his clearance, but he caught the player on the shin in a similar fashion to the challenge that saw Joe Cole sent off against Arsenal on the opening day of the season. The crowd bayed for blood, but thankfully for Arsenal the referee only gave a yellow card and Cesc escaped a three match ban. It could quite easily have been a red card, but it was dealt with in a completely different manner after the game by both TV companies.

First of all the SKY commentator asked both managers for their thoughts on the Cesc challenge after the game, but he never managed to mention the one from Henry. The BBC gave us a detailed analysis of the Cesc challenge and in Alan Hansen's opinion he should have been sent off. It would seem that they chose to highlight the challenge of Cesc over that of Henry because of Arsene Wenger's highlighting of such challenges in the media.
According to both managers Cesc went into the Wolves dressing room after the game and apologised to the player. He said that there was no intention to connect with the player, and the Wolves manager was happy with that. I'm sure Mick McCarthy had no choice but to be happy with it, just in case the Henry challenge was highlighted elsewhere. 
In the game itself Fabianski more than redeemed himself with the Arsenal fans that were so hard on him, after his mistake cost us a defeat on Sunday against Newcastle. I thought that Rosicky was very good, and he really helped to up the tempo at times when Arsenal have being playing too slowly recently. Chamakh took his two goals very well, and the defence kept their third clean sheet in four league games despite being under a considerable amount of pressure. Cesc still isn't back to his best, but he's getting there, and Arshavin looked far better than he has been in some rec ent games in my opinion.

Jack Wilshere didn't have his best game in an Arsenal shirt, but he kept working hard, and trying to do the right things at least. A lot of other teams will go to Wolves and crumble under that pressure, but Arsenal came out with a fully deserved 2-0 win. When you look back at the chances created it could have been even more, but they also had Fabianski and the defence to thank for keeping their lead intact at times. Next up Arsenal have a trip to Everton on Sunday, and it's another tough game which they really need to win. I'll preview that game on the day, as hopefully we will get another win to keep up the pressure on Chelsea.

I had a bit of a disaster in the Fantasy Football last night, and only Andy Carroll got me any real return from my 11 players. It means that I have dropped down to 139th place in the league I'm running in conjunction with 11Gunners, and I'm now 33 points off my goal of a top 50 place in the league, after so close to that goal recently. The league itself is in 71st place overall out of over 215,000leagues which is not a bad achievement at all. Here's how the top 10 in the league looks.

Ranking increased1 Leave-Ma-Arcelona Gurdeep Jugpal 62 700
Ranking fell2 Izadie F.C nazrul nazri 44 682
Ranking stayed the same3 Laverick 'N' Sons Stephen Laverick 34 670
Ranking increased4 RipRoarinReds Cole Friedlander 51 664
Ranking increased5 Fagballers Elliott Jones 61 663
Ranking fell6 MahindraUtd Ankeet Mahindrakar 33 662
Ranking fell7 In Arsene We Trust Sam Griffiths 42 658
Ranking fell8 Sura FC Anand Wenger 34 658
New entry9 sir_of sir_of *-* 32 657
Ranking increased9 DUO's Gunnerz David Okere 48 657

Here's the highlights from last night's game.

See You Tomorrow.


  1. Great blog today, very good review of the game. It's hard to review the details when it's all happening really quickly in front of you with no replay. For example we knew Arshavin had been taken down loads of times (never penalised by the useless ref) but didn't realise the Karl Henry 'tackle' was so bad. Also the Cesc tackle was at the opposite side of the field so we couldn't see that very well.

    For me Wenger and Cesc come out of these 'incidents' with far more credit than either Wolves or the Media.

  2. To be fair to Mick McCarthy he didn't want to make a big deal about the Cesc challenge when asked about it. He said that tackles happen in football and he was appreciative of both Cesc and Wenger apologizing after the game. He didn't set the agenda for the questions asked and he was hardly going to bring up the Karl Henry challenge himself.

  3. I'm not actually having a go at McCarthy about his reaction - it was the journos who so appallingly went for Wenger's throat. That, combined with the Wolves fans baying of "dirty Spanish b*st*rd" really got my goat!

  4. I knew you weren't having a go at McCarthy but just that you don't like him in general.
    I expect no more from the media and MOTD were asked to show both challenges but chose not to.