What a day eh? Nothing worse than sitting down to a game of football when misty rain comes to town… but when the outcome is as tremendous as the 3-1 victory we picked up yesterday, the weather really didn’t matter.
The first half was a bit tedious. Norwich came to The Emirates with a game plan… namely, stifle the middle of he park + waste time from the get go. They did a pretty good job of both. That didn’t stop us creating chances. Giroud hit the bar with a glanced header early on. Gervinho made a superb run only to duff his shot tepidly when the pressure was on to pull the trigger. The same player made another great run later on in the half, he rounded the keeper but his first touch was so bad it travelled 25 yards before he has his second, his cross into the box was met by no one (it takes Giroud 1.30 to run the length of the pitch).
The second half started badly. Gibbs gave away a soft freekick outwide. Snodgrass stuck a cross into the box that connected with Turner who headed home. No one attacked the cross. Really poor defending from the whole team. Everyone was totally flat footed.
The sigh of…’oh dear, it’s going to be one of those days’ reverberated around the stadium.
Arsenal didn’t cave. Wenger decided to throw out the ‘I won’t make subs until the 70th minute’ ideology and brought on Podolski and Theo for Gervinho and the anonymous Jack. The move, a full ten minutes before the legendary 60th minute made a difference. We came to life and started knocking on doors.
The time wasting continued. Bunn, the Spurs supporting Norwich keeper was taking particular joy in winding the fans behind the goal up. It was irritating, he reeked of Spurs smugness.
Still, things were going to change. Podolski found himself in superb positions once or twice with his touch letting him down. He then rifled a shot from a Giroud chested pass that smashed the bar. You hoped something was coming and in the end it did… through a helping flag from the Lino. From a corner, there was some shirt pulling in the box, the flag went up, the ref pointed to the spot. We couldn’t really see much from behind the goal, but everyone else who I’ve spoken to has said it was nailed on. All this talk of the Lino being 40 yards away… utter nonsense. If he saw it, he saw it. He should be praised for a bold decision, not vilified. Also, why had no one pointed out it wasn’t actually 40 yards. Not just that, but how about the eye sight the Lino has to have to work out offside?
Anyway, their keeper was furious which was half the battle won. Arteta stepped up and converted the penalty. We were back in the game.
Wenger made one last change bringing on Oxlade. His impact was felt early, he raced into the box, cut back into the 6 yard box where Giroud and Bassong were tussling… the result was a goal, sadly it was awarded as an OG (at the ground, turns out that changed).
The next two minutes were nervy, Russel Holt found space in out area, firing a low shot at Fabianski, the Pole did brilliantly to block. I’m not sure our number three would have managed that. It kept us in the game which was finished off in injury time when Podolski carved himself out some space and buried his low shot past Bunn.
‘Wa*ker, what’s the score, wa*ker, wa*ker what’s the score’
… was belted out with much pleasure.
3 points were ours… what an important result that was. We leap frog into third, even if it is only for a short while.
So yesterday was all about digging deep and playing patiently. It wasn’t the best game of football but we did what was needed in the end. The winds of positivity are with us. The team can taste top four blood and they’re fighting hard to make it happen.
We really missed Rosicky yesterday, his quick pass and move style would have opened up the game a little more in the first half. Jack really struggled to make an impact. Not that anyone expected him to be tearing up trees. I thought Aaron Ramsey had another really solid game. He gets stuck in and he seems to be thriving in a more central position.
Up top we struggled a bit. Giroud makes a lot of assists, this is a huge plus, trouble is, he doesn’t create many striking problems. He’s the perfect partner in a two man strike force, I’m just not sure he’s the lead at the highest level. Maybe he’ll add the goals in his second season. I just can’t help but think think that in the Premier League you need pace to be an elite striker.
Gervinho took a lot of flak yesterday, I mean, he really is an easy target. I do feel for him though. He was the only player on our team capable of getting into
those positions yesterday. It’s just the total lack of composure that kills his game. You can learn that, I’m just unsure as to whether he should have nailed that at his age.
Overall though, plenty of positives. The team is showing some confidence. We has a strong bench who made a difference. Chamberlain finally made an impact… and my word didn’t he love it? And finally… we took the three points and moved closer to securing what is needed if the club have any hope of progressing this summer…
A great day all round…