Wolves 0 – 3 Arsenal: Theo dances past Wolves

Arsenal 3 – 0 Wolves

Match Report | Highlights | Arsene’s reaction

This was a perfectly satisfactory night for Arsenal…
Three goals, a clean sheet, and no injuries.  The game was won inside 12 minutes, and we were able to coast for the remainder.  I had the ill-fortune of listening to one Tony Gale on commentary, as he insisted the ‘professional’ thing to do was to attack a ten-man Wolves side and look to score five or six.  I disagree: the professional thing to do was keep the ball, conserve our energy, and focus on greater challenges ahead.

Theo Walcott was electric early on…
Wolves made a strange decision to play a high-line, and Walcott punished them, twice flying beyond the defence.  The first time he was brought down, culminating in a penalty and a red card, and the second he finished superbly.  Afterwards he faded, and may have been a little thrown by the boos he received from the Wolves crowd.  He should embrace that sort of reaction: from opposition fans, a boo is almost always a compliment.

Robin van Persie was magisterial…
His impudently chipped penalty was the highlight of an exemplary display.  He dropped deeper than usual, happy to let Walcott roam further ahead, and was involved in all three goals.  He’s now equalled a record held by Ian Wright by scoring against 17 different Premier League teams.  The Footballer of the Year elect simply must stay at Arsenal.

Szczesny shares a trait with all great goalkeepers…
Concentration: he has the ability to make important saves having been inactive for long portions of games.  The young Pole has had an outstanding debut season as first-choice keeper.  The main thing he needs to eradicate from his game is a tendency to roll or kick the ball out to players under too much pressure to retain it.

Yossi Benayoun has been a vitally important squad member…
He’s been used similarly to the way in which Alex Ferguson uses Park Ji-Sung – brought in to bulk up the midfield with his industry in the big games.   He’s also chipped in with a few good goals, and last night’s was no exception, thumping home in to the near post from the edge of the box.  Despite his impressive displays, I’d be surprised if Arsene were to sign him permanently – with the emergence of Chamberlain, as well as the likely additions to next seasons squad of Podolski and Miyaichi, opportunities on the flanks will become increasingly hard to come by.

Andre Santos looks a long way from fully fit…
…but that is only to be expected after so long on the sidelines.  At times last night he made my heart jump up in to my mouth, but I’m sure that as his fitness improves he’ll regain the form he showed prior to Christmas.  In any case, Kieran Gibbs should be fit to return to the side at the next available opportunity.

Wigan on Monday will be a test…
I watched their game at Stamford Bridge and they were outstanding.  It seems they were in similar form last night, beating a subdued Man United.    Hopefully a third performance like that on the trot proves to be beyond them.  We now face Wigan and Chelsea before Spurs play another league game, giving us the opportunity to open up an 11 point gap.  Indeed, 4 wins from our last 5 games (3 of which are at home) would guarantee third spot and Champions League Qualification.  Keep the focus, and it is within our grasp.

The decision not to punish Mario Balotelli…
…is, of course, ludicrous.   The rules and systems simply must be changed to prevent further miscarriages of justice.

You can hear me discuss all this and more on tomorrow’s Arseblog arsecast. Be sure to give it a listen.

Gunnerblog is the brainchild of childbrained football writer James McNicholas. Aside from Gunnerblog, James currently contributes to Bleacher Report, The Mirror and ESPN.

79 Comments

  1. circa bergkamp   •  

    solid win by the lads. all those late game collapses where we were guaranteed to give up a goal after 80 minutes and finish with a tie or loss seem distant and conincide with the departure of fabregas?
    this season, you expect the lads to hold the lead.
    i wouldn’t say we have a champions league spot wrapped up. wigan, chelsea playing well. we must finish strong, as newcastle, tottenham, and chelsea will not go out without a fight.
    i am not a wenger fan. i must admit after being in what, 16th place or so? earlier in the year i did not think this kind of sustained excellence was possible under his leadership but rvp has raised our level. will he stay? i think it depends on who we buy. let’s get m’villa, hazard, podolski, and another signing or two and maybe he stays. coyg

    • D arsenal   •  

      you must support chelsea or city because we dont buy success. do you really expect arsenal to buy m’villa, hazard, podolski and other 2? learn how arsenal does their business before you comment…

      • Top Cat   •  

        What you talking bout fool

        • F@bz   •  

          TC you fucking stupid cunt!!! U show up after 18months…just when arsenal look set to clinch 3rd place??!!!

          What a cowardly piece of shit.

  2. D arsenal   •  

    good article

  3. Circa bergkamp   •  

    No I don’t support those teams. If we sell off deadwood that should have been gone ages ago like denilson, almunia, vela, diaby, Walcott, squillaci with their high wages I think we can get mvilla, podolski, and maybe hazard if he wants to play here over man city and man u. The other two should be good squad players not highly expensive ones like gotze.

  4. Big Dave   •  

    Circa Bergkamp, some of us supported Arsenal through the lean years before Wenger arrived and don’t think we have a god-given right to win trophies every year – indeed we never had that expectation pre-Wenger. But why am I arguing with you, anyone who describes Walcott as deadwood isn’t really worth the effort.

  5. Circa bergkamp   •  

    I don’t think we have a right or the ability to win trophies every year. But who would argue that many long-time underachieving players here have been left on the payroll for far too long for a company with a business model that emphasizes value? Maybe wenger is too loyal?

    As far as Walcott, maybe u think yesterday’s game was the norm for him? I think many reasonable fans and bloggers have stated ad nauseum that his growth curve has stagnated for a couple of years maybe more. The Ox appears to have a much bigger upside, no? Walcott was nearly booed off the pitch a couple times this year. Maybe he is the fans’ new scapegoat now that Arshavin is out of town, for now at least.

    And I didn’t think we are arguing. Maybe we just agree to disagree. I respect your opinions maybe you don’t afford me the same liberties. Let’s cross our fingers and hope we finish strong and get a champions league spot! :)

    • Davey B   •  

      You dont discard wide players capable of hitting double figures. The reason Arsenal won the league in 2004 is because they had goals in the team. Not only did Henry score goals, but we had midfielders like Pires, Ljungberg getting into double figures. Them combined with the odd goal from the likes of Dennis, Edu, Campbell, Gilberto, Cole, can make a huge difference.

      There are plenty of wide players who have better delivery than Theo……..Downing, Pennant for example. They are probably better technically, and better passers, but are they as potent? Do they offer the directness, goals, and penetration Theo can? No they dont, that’s why Theo is seen as preferable to both.

      We just have to accept that Theo will always be prone to doing something bad, but also doing something good.

    • Wegrice Weguamba   •  

      I think Theo has more competition now that Ryo and Oxo are on the scene. It might be the making of him. He’s no longer the Golden Boy of the side, and he’s got to step up and be a senior member, pull in consistent shifts.

      I will always think of Theo as a 16 year old kid being taken to the World Cup with a camera and innocent hopes. But the reality is that Theo is a 23 year old man entering the prime of his footballing life. Time for Theo to assume the responsibilities of a senior Arsenal player.

  6. Carpy   •  

    Well said Davey B! I think the fans are to harsh on Theo! He is in double figures with both goals and assists this season and is capable of producing a moment of magic even when he’s had a crap game! Arsenal have always been accused of playing “tipy tapy” football around the box and not putting the ball in the net! With Theo we have that directness now that can kill teams off! There’s a reason wenger is playing him over the ox and that’s because chambo isn’t as good defensively! The other thing I’ve noticed is the last few times chambo has come on a a sub he has had options to pass but decided to try and take on two men instead and most of the time lose the ball! Arsenal fans won’t realise what we have with walcott until he’s gone because a lot of his game is off the ball and the average amature eyed fan doesn’t see this!

  7. Wegrice Weguamba   •  

    GS, I love what you did with the titles. It evokes images of Theo in a Yankee uniform, taming wolves on the great american plains and falling in love with comely Native American girlies.

    Theo’s goal was lovely. It was the type of finishing that gives me hope that he will one day become the striker we all hope he can become. I am still a great Theo fan, and I wish him all the best for the remainder of the season!

  8. Daymee   •  

    Circa Bergkamp, I agree with you in parts. There are at least 8 players on Arsenal’s books draining the funds:

    Squillaci
    Almunia
    Denilson
    Vela
    Bendtner
    Arshavin
    Chamakh
    Diaby

    There is no justification for these 8 remaining on the books beyond August 2012. I’ve not mentioned J Y Park or Flappianski! That makes it 10.

    It has been frustrating for 6 yrs now at least, knowing Wenger purposely carries certain players in the HOPE they will come good. Most of these players pocket a minimum of 50k per week. To unload them has been a problem and we haven’t had any choice than to freeze them and allow their contracts to run its course (eg Almunia this August).

    I agree that Walcott has been very frustrating this season and the arrival of AOC has put him under pressure. He blows hot and cold. I know. If however, you look at how many goals RVP has scored this season and how many of them Theo has set up. Apart from the direct option he gives the front three, there is no doubt that he formed an effective partnership with RVP and that cannot be ignored. Credit to him.

    I don’t think it is fair including him in a scrapheap. Not close.

    • Enjoy   •  

      Just a couple of facts….

      Manuel Almunia is finally out of contract so that will save us 50,000 a week.

      Also, whilst on loan – Denilson, Vela, Bendtner and Arshavin’s wages are covered by their respective loan clubs.

  9. Bona   •  

    This season has been an absolute rolercoaster with so many twists it is crazy. And if we were to get 3rd this season it might just feel like a trophy. That said we should not forget the poor, poor job AW did last summer. Anything close to that this season than AW has to go. Hopefully RVP will stay, but if he does not sell him as early as possible and look ahead.
    Walcott has probably done enough this season to get a new contract too, and hopefully he will stay too. I he has taken some huge steps especially the last 3/4 months. His timing is better, crosses are better and his finishing.
    I observe that many wants Diaby out. I think we should give him one more year, he has great qualities that is needed in modern football and he is unsimilar to other aresnal players. He is big and he can take on defenders. He has been like RVP until now, always injured. But i would have been crying if RVP left last season and i think Diaby can do the same, he has potential. All the others mentioned can leave and should leave.
    We are on course to finish this season with a higher amount of points than last season. That to me says a lot about Nasri and Cesc. I mean if AW bought a player for 25 mill and performed as poorly as Nasri has this season I would have killed him myself. As for Cesc, he is brilliant. But I never thought he could fit in at Arsneal. And as gutted as I was when he left I think we have played more like the old arsenal(97-05) this season than when Nasri and Cesc was here, they both took tempo out of our game.

    • Shaun   •  

      Agreed on diaby , I definitely have wengeritis when it comes to diary and it is annoying but my sixth sense lol……..lol tells me the something has to come out of diaby

  10. Gooner 4 Life   •  

    TRANSFER BUSINESS NEEDED TO CHALLENGE FOR THE PREM:

    1. Sign contract with RvP (Probability: 35%)
    2. Buy an LB (a quality one who’s good in attack, like Baines) and sell Gibbs. (Probability: 10%)
    3. Wrap up Podolski deal and sell Park (Probability: 50%… maybe Chamakh wil go)
    4. Get a good backup keeper (Probability: 15%)
    5. Sell the dross (Squillaci, Arshavin & Benayoun [their not dross… but they need to make way for youngsters to shine]) and get Ox and Ryo more playin time (Probability: 60%)

    Probably the resulting squad wil b good enuf..!!

  11. True Gunner :D   •  

    Gooner 4 Life… why pretending being a fan when your clearly a spurs troll… go complain about how they are imploding and why they don’t get rid of their donkey bale etc…

    • Gooner 4 Life   •  

      Eh???
      I actually liked u b4 this post….

      What the hell makes u think I’m a sp*rs fan…???

      I’m all Arsenal since ’06!!

      • Gooner 4 Life   •  

        P.S I HATE Bale…. he’s a diving cunt…

  12. True Gunner :D   •  

    probability of “Gooner 4 Life” being an Arsenal supporter 0%

  13. S M   •  

    I agree with what you said at the beginning of the post, Tony Gale is so anti-Arsenal, so frustrating to hear his commentary.

    A good article I found on Arsenal’s season: http://footballisdead.blogspot.co.uk/

    Hats off to Arsene for doing such an awesome job and turning it all around

  14. Gooner 4 Life   •  

    RIP Piermario Morosini

  15. Wegmario Wegosini   •  

    Yes, RIP Piermario Morosini. You sound like such a nice young man, with such a great outlook on life. Why these things happen is a mystery.

  16. Me   •  

    Arsene Wenger should be murdered.

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