Sometimes, when you’re chasing the title, a draw feels almost the same as a defeat. The gap between three points and one seems so huge as to render the point gained negligible. Not so yesterday. Nicklas Bendtner’s side-footed equaliser with the last kick of the game kept us top of the league and will, we hope, be the start of an upturn in our fortunes.
We are not in good form. In our last four games, only Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bedntner (players who would not usually be in the side) have found the net. Finishing from the likes of Cesc Fabregas was wayward, whilst Emmanuel Adebayor (who gives a good interview here) was well marshalled by Martin Laursen. The sooner Robin van Persie and Tomas Rosicky can get back into the action, the better – RVP even has an outside chance of being in the squad for Tuesday’s crunch game with Milan.
We weren’t just poor going forward – we were very vulnerable at the back. Abou Diaby and Aleksandr Hleb offered little support to the full-backs, meaning the likes of Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor found plenty of space in the channels. Indeed, it was no surprise when Agbonlahor escaped the attentions of William Gallas and crossed for Senderos to turn into his own net. Only some good saves from Manuel Almunia kept it at 1-0.
Truthfully, we never looked like getting back into it. Villa defended well throughout, but fortunately we were able to nick that last gasp goal – a fantastic climb by Adebayor and a super-cool finish from Bendtner. Perhaps we would not have found that space in the box had Curtis Davies been on the pitch, but there was something of the karmic retribution about the injury that put him out for the rest of the season. Davies seems a decent guy and I would never wish ill on him, but his own fans certainly deserved what they got when the defender was stretchered from the field. Shortly before, they’d been singing abusive songs about the stricken Eduardo, including the lyric: “He’ll never play again”.
I was disgusted. Sorry Curtis, I take no satisfaction from your injury, but I take plenty from the faces of the idiotic Villa fans who saw their chant come back to haunt them.
This point could be absolutely vital come the end of the season. We’ll have to wait till then to find out.