Well, three points were the order of the day yesterday and we got them but not without making life difficult for ourselves and on the back of a performance which clearly showed the players had one eye on Wednesday night.
The first half was pretty dull stuff, a seriously off-colour Thierry had the best chance but he skewed the ball wide after racing clear of the defence and with only the keeper to beat and it was jsut before half-time that we took the lead. Some neat passing in and around the area saw Alexander Hleb make just enough space for himself to crack in an excellent left foot shot. The second half had to be better you thought.
Not so, it was even worse than the first. Thierry came off after about 15 minutes to rest him before Villarreal and Adebayor came on. Nothing much happened. Then Pires came on for Hleb and to a massive roar Dennis Bergkamp came on for Robin van Persie.
Within 30 seconds West Brom were level when an unusually sloppy Emmnuel Eboue made a horrendous mistake on the edge of the box and gifted the ball to Nigel Quashie who finished smartly. “Oh bollocks”, you thought.
Not to worry though, the script was written for Dennis. First he set up Robert Pires who eventually stabbed the ball into the net to put us back in front, then Eboue went some way to make amends by charging his way upfield and giving the ball to Bergkamp on the edge of the box. You just knew what he was going to do. The kind of curling shot that has been his trademark at Arsenal down the years and on ‘Bergkamp Day’ at Highbury it was fitting that his goal made the game and the points safe.
Afterwards the boss admitted that there was a lack of focus with the Champions League semi-final upcoming. He said “We had all a bit one eye on the game on Wednesday already. That is why I am very pleased we have got the three points and did the job in a professional way. I feel we deserved to win the game today.”
In terms of chances we probably did but at 1-1 West Brom looked to have a decent penalty shout when the impressive Curtis Davies (strongly linked with a summer to us and based on his display yesterday somebody worth keeping an eye on) went down when Eboue seemed to hang out a leg. It’s all academic now though and the three points were absolutely vital with Sp*rs winning at Everton.
However, we are going to have to perform a lot better against Villarreal on Wednesday but I’ll talk more about them and that game during the week. For now though a quick round-up of the Sunday papers.
New boy Adebayor talks to the News of the World about how important Champions League success will be in keeping Thierry Henry, The People says we’re after Sp*rs midfielder Michael Carrick as he delays talks on a new deal at Wh*te Ha*t La*e and the same paper says Barcelona will blow their entire £30m transfer budget to try and bring Thierry Henry to the Nou Camp. It’s getting close to the summer, the speculation grows, transfer rumours become more ridiculous.
Ok, that’s it for today. Have a very happy Easter, see you tomorrow.