Well, it wasn’t the prettiest game we’ve ever played but in the end we got the three points I think we deserved.
We opened the scoring through Gilberto, his amazing goalscoring run continuing when he headed in a Rosicky corner. The lead only lasted a couple of minutes though when Tommy Smith finished smartly after a cross from our right was deflected into his path. It was all very scrappy though. The winner came with seven minutes of normal time left.
Theo Walcott controlled a clearance brilliantly on the right hand side and set Robin van Persie clear after he’d beaten the offside trap. He cut in from the right hand side and fired a shot past the impressive Ben Foster in the Watford goal. Considering the chances we had squandered during the game it was no less than we deserved and the lads showed good spirit and character to keep going.
Some people might complain that we didn’t take advantage of the team that sits bottom of the league but nobody has turned Watford over this season, they’ve given the best sides in the league good games at home and it was always going to be difficult. Given the fact that we’ve played excellently this season and not won it seems a bit churlish to complain when we don’t play so well and win. This is something new for this team and they can take a lot of confidence from it.
Despite the hectic schedule it was the same starting XI as against Blackburn and I now expect some changes for the game against Sheffield United. At the back we looked very shaky at times. Both full backs can play better and Johann Djourou seemed to be letting the ball bounce which was causing us problems. When Senderos replaced him at half time he made us much more solid.
In midfield Cesc looks a bit tired, which is only natural, Hleb had one of those games, Rosicky was busy but still looks like he’s in a settling in period while Gilberto was quality again. One tackle in our box just before we scored was just awesome. Up front Adebayor looked tired as well but he still didn’t stop running. He didn’t have his shooting boots on though and a thigh strain will keep him out of Saturday’s game. Robin van Persie did well enough but he’s always capable of a moment of magic which can win you a game and so he proved last night.
Arsene Wenger afterwards compared him to Dennis Bergkamp, saying:
There are similarities between the two of them. Dennis is a good role model for him and Iâ€™m sure Robin copies the way he played. He is now more mature, has been here two years and has developed physically. He is very dedicated and he continues to improve.
Van Persie himself said:
Six points have made it a very happy Christmas for us. We won without being at our best. We put our bodies on the line and had to show a lot of heart.
And although you could pick over the performance piece by piece when the team has to play 4 games in 10 days it’s the results that are the most important and it’s so far so good for us over the Christmas period. Another tough test awaits us on Saturday with a trip to Bramall Lane to play another side who will give everything and battle as hard as they can to move away from the relegation zone.
And that is that. I’m still full to the brim of turkey and ham which makes me wonder why on earth I agreed to play 5-a-side today. Oh wait, it was the beer talking. Damn.
Update: I forgot to laugh at Cuntley’s fine contribution to Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Reading yesterday. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. That should do it.