Thursday, 22 March 2012

Arsenal score from corner! -Vermaelen/Koscielny outstanding -St Totteringham's day is on!

Morning Gooners.

I wasn't able watch the whole game due to work commitments but was buzzing when I heard of the full time score. To go to Merseyside in the last two weeks and take six points is the kind of robbery I like. These two grounds are hard places to go and win. I know at Liverpool we "nicked" the points as Robin van Persie said, but last night - on what I've seen and heard from other - was a much more Arsenal-like performance.

I was slightly surprised the manager made a change to the starting 11 which beat Newcastle. Aaron Ramsey coming in to replace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who took a place among the substitutes. When I heard the team I had assumed that Tomas Rosicky would switch to the left and Ramsey would play centrally. In fact, the Welshman took up a position on the left of our attack and the Czech international kept his central role.

The opening half our was all Arsenal. We should have been 4-0 up in the opening stages had Ramsey brought his shooting boots with him. The Welshman had two excellent chances, Walcott had another and van Persie could have also put us in front.

Instead it was Thomas Vermaelen who leaped above five Everton players to head home from a van Persie corner. How often do we moan about Arsenal's set pieces? And finally we score from one!

There were other chances for us but the one time Everton did put the ball in the back of the net, the linesman ruled Drenthe was offside. The call from the official was wrong - the otherwise excellent Laurent Koscielny playing the Everton player on side.

All level at half time and the home side pegged us back in the opening 30 minutes of the second half before we could again find our attacking game in the final 15 minutes. Van Persie had a shot which hit the post and that was probably the nearest we came to hitting the back of the net again.

Credit to the players for their resilience. They were determined not to lose and played for the most part very well.

I have to admit I love a 1-0 to the Arsenal.

With other results going our way - Tottenham clawing back a 90th minute goal to draw at home to Stoke and Chelsea losing 2-1 after going ahead at Manchester City - we now go into third place, one point ahead of our north London rivals and six ahead of Roman Abramovich's lot.

We've got some tough fixtures ahead with nine games to go so I'm not going to start celebrating yet. But to come back from 13 points behind our local rivals within the last month is excellent determination. We'll face Villa on Saturday at 3pm while Chelsea and Tottenham slug it out in the day's lunchtime fixture. An ideal result for us at Stamford Bridge would be a draw or a Chelsea win, coupled with three points for us.

Being the league's form side with six wins out of six, we should have no problem getting that result. But we have to continue to play with the same attitude which has been one of the reasons we've had such a good run. Keeping this team fit is another major factor. I don't think that it's any coincidence that being able to play with natural full backs has coincided with our good run of form.

We can be happy with the result and the performance. St Totteringham's day looks likely to come again this season - it might be a little later than usual - but it's still on the horizon.

Until tomorrow.

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