Sometimes you need a bit of luck to win a football match and Arsenal had a couple of lucky moments yesterday.
Lucky moment 1 – The Bolton goal: What I mean by this is, leaving the awful defending aside, we’re lucky the ball went into the net because William Gallas stuck his hand out to try and stop it. Had he done so we’d have been down to 10 men and probably a goal down anyway after they converted the penalty.
Lucky moment 2 – The Bolton ‘penalty': Absolutely no question whatsoever in my mind that it was a penalty for Bolton at the end. Once again Emmanuel Eboue showed he has the brains of a fucking shoe as he handballed it, under no pressure whatsoever. That could have easily cost us the three points and it would have been entirely down to his stupidity.
Games aren’t just won on luck though and at last the midfield started firing as we came from behind to win the game. After we had created a number of opportunities, none of them exactly clear cut though (Freddie’s free kick, a couple of long shots from Rosicky), Hleb played a hopeful ball across, Nicky Hunt dilly-dallied and in stole Tomas Rosicky to take it off him and stab it past that huge cunt in the Bolton goal to make it 1-1. We had a great chance not long after that when Adebayor was clean through but he hit it straight at the keeper.
The second half had barely started when we went ahead. Gilberto played in Cesc, he took it inside a defender, outside another one, waited for what seemed like an age then battered it home for his first league goal of the season. He really deserved the goal and was outstanding after that. His reaction spoke volumes and I’m delighted to see him get off the mark at last. There was, no doubt, a lot of pressure on him because he hadn’t scored and I fancy him to grab another couple before the end of the season. Well done, Cesc.
Bolton didn’t really threaten too much although we could have been caught out a couple of times when Jens came off his line, once flattening Cesc in the process, but at 2-1 you’re always nervous. Especially with our defence as leaky as it is at times. That said we had a good few chances to kill the game off. Hleb put a good chance wide, Diaby headed wide from 6 yards then fired a low shot wide and his hat-trick of misses was complete when he was clean through on goal, with Baptista as support/competition, but he shot straight at the keeper. As I said last week we have to make more of the chances we create, if we start doing that this team can go places, but it’s a curious malaise we have at the moment.
Overall though it felt very good to win again and even better to win against Fat Sam and his horrible pack of cunts. Is there a more dislikeable forward trio than Anelka, Kevin Davies and El-Spitty Diouf? Isn’t victory made all the sweeter when Allardyce is crying and moaning and bitching?
The manager praised the team’s performance and ‘mental strength’ after the game. This time around he’s right. There was a lot of pressure on the boys and most of them delivered, particularly Cesc, who was my man of the match, and Rosicky who was lively, menacing and whose energy and willingness to get in the box brought about the first goal.
The win gives us a 5 point gap over Bolton, with a game in hand, and with Liverpool only managing a 0-0 draw with Manchester City we close the gap to 2 points on third place. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though but you can only hope a win, at long last, provides the lads with the confidence they need to take it on and make the final games of the season as successful as possible. A win over Man City on Tuesday would give us an 8 point gap over Bolton and it would take a disaster of Devon Loch proportions for us to throw that away.
Looking quickly at the other stories this Sunday morning, the Sunday Mirror links us with two players we’ve been linked with a long time. Frank Ribery is one and they say we’ll make a Â£4.5m bid for Hearts keeper Craig Gordon as a replacement for Jens Lehmann.
The News of the World says Mathieu Flamini is considering playing in Italy which is kind of like me saying I’d consider winning the lottery, but good luck to him anyway.
And that’s about it. After a month without a win the Sunday papers will be a good read today. Enjoy yours. Till tomorrow.