Archive for January 18th, 2009

Van Persie’s hassistrick sees Arsenal keep pace

Add comment January 18th, 2009

Nasri fires in the vital second goal

Hull City 1 – 3 Arsenal (Adebayor 30, Cousin 65, Nasri 83, Bendtner 86)
Highlights here; Arsene’s reaction

There ought to be a word for a hatrick of assists.  Seeing as there isn’t, I think I’d better take it upon myself to introduce one.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ‘The Hassistrick’.

They were three moments of real class from Van Persie: a whipped corner for Emmanuel Adebayor to head home, a turn and through-ball for Samir Nasri to put us back in front, and a one-two with sub Nicklas Bendtner to set the seal on a fine result for Arsenal.

After Villa, United, and Chelsea all picked up victories in hugely improbable circumstances, we had to win to prevent ourselves from falling six points behind the top four.  I feel we responded to the challenge with one of our best performances in some time, inspired by the front pairing of Adebayor and the aforementioned Van Persie.

It was those two who combined for our opening goal. Shortly after the Dutchman’s thunderous free-kick had been tipped onto the bar, he swung in a corner which Adebayor rose impressively to nod back across goal and into the net.  The towering climb was part of an all-round performance from the Togolese striker that was as good as any display he’s offered this season – Arsene’s comments about him needing to step-up seem to have had an immediate impact, which can only go down as good man-management.

Later in the half a good move ended with Eboue (who was up to his old, rather distressing tricks – the principle trick being managing to go an entire game without completing a pass) firing wide.  However, we were not able to assert our dominance by adding to our one-goal lead.

The second half was a very different affair – Hull were sparked into life by a goal for which Gael Clichy has been heavily criticised.  He’d been given a torrid afternoon by the pacey Bernand Mendy, and as a cross-field pass was launched towards the right-winger, Gael was so worried about Mendy going outside him that he backed right off the former Bolton man.  However, this allowed a cross to be swung in, which deflected off Clichy onto the head of Daniel Cousin, who finished expertly, just as at the Emirates a few months ago.  An error from Clichy, and not his first of the season, but I still hope there’s no truth at all in this story.

Hull’s team and crowd were revived, and they could even have had a penalty after a clumsy aerial challenge by Johan Djourou on Manucho.  However, we managed to find an extra gear.  Eboue was replaced by Bendtner, and our attacking threat was instantly more potent.  First Van Persie swivelled on the edge of the box and slipped in Nasri, who finished brilliantly on his weaker foot; then the front three combined to put the icing on the cake, with Bendtner netting his second goal in consecutive games.  One would imagine the Dane will get a well-earned start in the FA Cup at Cardiff.

I think the scoreline was a fair reflection of our supremacy.  Hull aren’t the side they were at the start of the season – but then, anyone who realistically thought their early form would last has about as much logic in their head as Harry Redknapp does in his transfer policy.  We, meanwhile, are putting a little run together that shows signs of promise in the battle for fourth place – it’s worth Aston Villa will be without Ashley Young for the next three games after he was sent off at Sunderland in a game they were a little fortunate to win.

That is the battle we’re in – not the title race.  The difference between us and a side like United is clear: they’ve managed to keep ten consecutive clean sheets, whilst we are always liable to concede a silly goal like yesterday’s.  Their success is built on the back of their defence – our achievements would have to be in spite of ours.

Tomorrow the transfer madness resumes.  Be here or be happy.  I know which you’ll choose.

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