NBAS accepting members / Pathetic anti-Ars PR hit / 3 POINTS IN THE BAG!

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The stuff of Champions?

Do Champions win every game convincingly? No. Do they have to bury teams inside 5 minutes? No. Are the 3 points all that matter? YES!

Arsenal delivered the type of match winning performance usually reserved for the United’s of this world. At 1-1, things were looking precarious. The ref flashed up 6 minutes on the board and there was hope…

We started the game very well, some superb running by Sagna allowed Bendtner to play Arshavin in on the edge of the box, the Russian still had it all to do, deciding the best way to breach their defence was to force his way through, which he did, then he poked  it past Myhill. A great goal to kick the match off.

It didn’t take long for things to turn sour, they always seem to in the North. Hesselink was played in with a ball that was dinked over the defence, he was clearly offside, but that was missed, in an attempt to get back, Campbell brushed the striker who fell in a very unsporting manner and the penalty was awarded (plus a yellow card). Bullard converted with ease despite Almunia guessing the right way.

*Denilson scythed down cynically by Dawson.
*Bendtner poked in the eye unprovoked by Boateng
*Sagna crunched on the knee by a high Boateng challenge, red card awarded.

It’s always harder to break 10 men down, so I won’t buy into the theory that we should have expected a trashing after they went a man down.

Campbell threw himself into a challenge with Zayate, won the ball with the Hull player going over the top of him. The player unfortunately had to go off. Hull City unbelievably bring the player out on crutches to prove a point! How pathetic can one club be!

Theo Walcott came on and changed things up a little, his pace was put to immediate use as he bounded into the box, cut it back to Nasri, who laid it off to Arhavin who spooned it over like he did against Burnley last week! Terribly lax finishing.

The best chance fell to Nik B after Arshavin ran at the Hull defence, found an opening out wide for Theo who cut the ball only for Nik to take a touch when he should have buried it first time. I could imagine what his detractors were thinking, salivating at the prospect of Wednesday being an anomaly.

The 93rd minute approached, Arsenal had tried in vain to cross Hull to death to no effect, Sagna played Denilson in, from 35 yard the Brazilian lashed a fearsome shot at the Hull City goal, Myhill parried straight back out where Bendtner was on hand to return it back into the keepers net!

Cue pandemonium in the pub. I knocked a Spurs fan over, smashed 3 glasses and nearly got my head caved in by at least 2 angry people. But it was worth it. That goal was the stuff of Champions, I tweeted that we had to keep the faith until the end, I kept the faith along with all the Chelsea and West Ham fans (<- Joke) in the pub and I was repaid!

We faced a team we don’t like to play on a nasty pitch, in a nasty place after a tough mid-week game. This result cannot be down played. Just because Hull are down the bottom, it doesn’t mean they’re not capable of turning good teams over. We kept our dreams alive playing with grit, determination and a stubborn refusal to give up. Our play wasn’t as slick as normal, but that doesn’t mean the desire wasn’t there. Sometimes you have to credit the oppositions tactics. Hull were good at stifling today.

Arsenal now face the appalling West Ham next and I fully expect us to keep the dream alive. It’s time for Gooners to stop moaning about the performances or the playing staff. We’ve got who we’ve got and 3 points is all that matters from now until the end of the season. If you can’t enjoy days like yesterday, then what’s the point?

I don’t remember a season stocked full of so many extreme emotions, if we turn this one around it’ll go down as one of the greatest league wins of the past 20 years… because we really shouldn’t be in this!

Keep the faith Grovers, I think we’re on the verge of something special!

Player ratings (Beer induced)

Almunia: Didn’t put a foot wrong today, no chance for the penalty. 7

Sagna: I thought he had a great game going forward and defending. 7

Sol Campbell: A good game from the big man at the back. He puts his body on the line and leads through example. 8

Verminator: Superb as always, a true professional and a leader in the making. 8

Clichy: Slowly getting back to his best, a good job, can’t remember anything howlerish? 7

Denilson: He fired off the shot that led to us winning the game, for that, I am indebted. Overall though, he gave the ball away quite a bit and his passing was often misguided. His biggest weakness is his physicality, it’s disgraceful that hasn’t been addressed in the gym. He did make some timely interceptions today, so not all bad. 6

Eboue: I don’t think he had a stand out game today, failed to really get into the match. Largely rendered impotent by Hull. 6

Nasri: Much quieter, he wasn’t allowed to play in the free flowing way he was against Porto. Still kept things ticking over though and he worked hard. He did look tired though. 7

Diaby: A few were critical of Diaby after the game, not me though. His work rate and ability to keep the ball moving made him one of the stand out performers today. He can’t always be the flashy box to box player we want to see, when he’s not, he needs to do a job for the team. That’s what he did today. 7.5

Arshavin: Poor finishing is all I can say bad about him today. Some say I’m blinkered when it comes to the Russian, maybe I am, he’s one of my favourites. Some people don’t like flashy players getting credit, well, tough. Flashy players catch the eye and pull moments of magic out the bag that win you titles. I can’t remember Bergkamp doing his bit for the defence? Arsh spiced up our attack today, his runs caused Hull alsorts of problems and his goal was pivotal for us. A good game overall. 8

Bendtner: Not his finest performance in an Arsenal shirt, but an important one. He set up the Andrey goal and scored one of the most important goals of 2010. He offers height up front and gives us an outlet. He’s got to get more instinct involved with his finishing and he definitely has to tighten up that first touch, but overall, he’s becoming that striker we were all clamoring for in January. I’m hoping to see membership to NBAS (Nik Bendtner Appreciation Society) rise rapidly over the coming weeks!

Stat courtesy of Pat:

But the truth is, the Gunners are better with Bendtner. Arsenal have won a whopping 76 percent of the last 50 games in which he has played over 60 minutes, according to Bettorlogic.com. That’s compared to a dismal 52 percent without him.

7

See you in the comments!

P.S. Thanks for your support with the T-shirts. The stock has arrived (They look fantastic) and the shirts will be despatched this week, check them out if you haven’t already here.

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Today is the first of many ‘must wins’ – if we are to win the title.

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First of all I must comment on Eboue and his vast improvement this last few months, well Arsene is now saying he is becoming that player he knew was in there, great, at last so he’s what now? 26? Yet more proof that project youth only works in extremely rare situations, like Cesc, Messi and Rooney.

Most players in football only really come of age when they are 22 onwards, 26 maybe middle aged in Wenger’s book, but worldwide it the perfect age.

Players like Kaka, Zidane, Ronaldo and co only really come good when they get into their twenties, and that’s what is happening to Eboue.

What I don’t like is going through years of watching players learn at our expense and filling our team full of weak links in the hope that one day they will come good, I think you can afford to have one or two, but the bulk of them should be ready to go.

Arsenal are finally getting to the point where they are good to go, we have few weaknesses these days, bar maybe Denilson, but he’s still young enough to come good and Almunia, but he’s too old to come good.

I think sending Wilshere out on loan makes sense, when we get him back he’ll be ready to rock, Ramsey will come back a stronger player and hopefully Djourou will get fit in time to help out at the back when we need him most.

Until the likes of Djourou and Bartley grow monster heads I think we could do with one to look after our players, a Peter Story type, Cana would have done it, and yes I know he’s a DM, I don’t care where on the pitch we get one, but we don’t have one now. And we absolutely need one.

Robin is due back in April, which isn’t far away and he’s another that after so long was beginning to look world class.

So in all, this team are closing in on completeness and hopefully at the right time, I think Eboue offers that incisiveness we need on the right, though I would prefer to juggle him and Sagna and persevere with Theo as the winger.

We were out of the blocks against Porto and we need to do the same today, do that and we are top of the league, say we are top of the league.

Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?

Have a great day Grovers, this is it! Oops, sorry Michael!

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Wenger will see out his contract and I suspect his experiment. Torres anyone?

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Arsene Wenger has come out quickly to stop any unwanted speculation about his position with Real Madrid, well done Arsene, that nips it in the bud, it will keep the team focussed when they need it most and it really does show why you would have been nuts to go there last year.

I have a feeling that if Arsene wins the league and/or the ECL this year he may well retire at the end of his contract, ask Cesc to stay one more year, then sell him, give us a shed load of money and retire, project youth done and dusted.

Whilst it has been hugely frustrating as a fan, it has kept us solvent, I have always felt had he met halfway and signed some key players, success would already have been assured, he didn’t but that’s his way. As long as we don’t get taken over and plunged straight into debt it would have worked (financially that is).

Watching Madrid did show the world why spending a gazillion doesn’t win you the ECL overnight, as it also does with the northern and southern chavs, but a few good ‘uns added to our young ‘uns could have won something by now, and if you need proof of that look no further than Rosicky, Gallas, Arshavin and Campbell for steadying the ship.

However, we’ve won nothing yet, I was talking to a manc mate yesterday whilst playing golf, and he thinks we are indeed the real favourites, I agree, but we need to put chump teams like Hull tomorrow away convincingly, and by 5pm tomorrow we’ll find out if we can!

It would give me almost as much pleasure as winning a trophy to see the spiv get relegated, hopefully we can speed him on his way, ha, ha, that would be funny!

I thought Eden Hazard last night looked interesting, however he is small and it was only Liverpool, and aren’t they complete crap now! Maybe a cheeky bid for Torres?I know he gets injured a lot, but who doesn’t at Arsenal and he could interchange with Robin during their fit spells, anyone?

So well done to Arsene Wenger for coming out so quickly, that will help the team a lot and might just say to people like Gallas, if I can do it, so can you!

I’m posting early today Grovers following the debacle of yesterday, have a great Friday, tomorrow will tell us a lot about this team and our chances.

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