Archive for March 22nd, 2010

Let’s worry about McFadden, then Messi…

114 comments March 22nd, 2010

Denilson fires home our first

Arsenal 2 – 0 West Ham (Denilson 5, Fabregas (pen) 82)
Highlights | Arsene’s reaction

A good weekend
Between now and the end of the season, every Arsenal fan will be supporting three teams: our beloved Gunners, plus whoever happens to be facing United and Chelsea that weekend. If we are to snatch the title I believe we’ll have to win every game, which makes our job very simple. In the meantime, any points dropped by our rivals help us along our way. A weekend where one of them slips up and we win is a good one, so Chelsea’s draw at Blackburn and our win against West Ham are cause for restrained celebration. As for United’s victory over Liverpool? Never rely on the scousers.

Vermaelen shouldn’t have been sent off
Having given the penalty, he had to go, but it was an incorrect decision on two counts: the alleged foul consisted of the slightest physical contact, and was initiated outside the box. That said, there are plenty of referees who would’ve sent off Sol Campbell against Hull, and one wonders if that incident was in the official’s mind when he reached for his card.

Vermaelen will miss his first league game of the season at Birmingham
31 league games this season and Vermaelen has started every one of them. It’s been an outstanding first year from the Belgian, who must surely go down as the Premier League’s signing of the season. For a long time we marvelled at how no matter what injury problems we suffered, we managed to keep Vermaelen and Gallas in situe at the back. Next Saturday will herald the first time we have to go in to a league match without either of them.

Song and Silvestre could start at St. Andrews
If Sol Campbell is required against Barcelona, it’s hard to see him starting the league match just three days earlier. In his absence, Alex Song could well be the partner for Mikael Silvestre: he was superb in the role at the weekend (albeit against the rotund Mido), and with Denilson’s form improving we may be able to cope without Song in the holding role.

Diaby makes a difference
Removing Song from midfield is a luxurious move, but one made possible when you have the strength and skill of Abou Diaby to replace him. His arrival as a substitute at West Ham helped secure the game – his ability to win the ball, dribble it past players in absurdly small spaces then carry it great distances serves two obvious purposes: it relieves pressure on our goal, and gives us a threat on the counter-attack. Diaby has had a very good season and, along with Song and Fabregas, now features prominently in Arsene’s first choice midfield.

Messi-watch is a waste of time
One of my fears about the Birmingham game is that it will sit in the shadow of that enormous game with Barca. It’s easy to understand: with Lionel Messi in this kind of form a little nervousness is entirely natural. The only way to get through this period, however, is to take each game as it comes. Messi can wait – we’d be better off worrying about McFadden & Co for this week.

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