Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 2: From title challengers to Champions League qualification settlers. Pathetic
With all the gimmicks of me leaving WordPress.com dead and gone, it’s time to write about that club that makes you feel pleasure after one game and more intense pain in the next. Looking at Arsenal’s squad, one tends to wonder how they end up with certain results after the final whistle has been blown. Aston Villa like many other Premier League teams this year has an appalling record against the Arsenal yet they ran out as victors against a club that they had just beaten once in 24 games. One can only imagine how long that record dated back to.
Arsenal was still without the services of Nasri, Fabregas and Diaby with Koscielny joining them in the treatment room so changes were made in the lineup. Clichy wasn’t still fit enough to start so Kieran Gibbs continued at left back. The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the return of the Belgian Verminator, Thomas Vermaelen who has been out for all eternity. I wrote in my previous post that I was looking forward to the defensive partnership of Vermaelen and Djourou but I saw an old rusty Frenchie standing next to Vermaelen.
Arsenal was very complacent at the start of the game with the midfield giving away too many passes. Song failed to control the ball in midfield so there was a breakaway for Aston Villa but they didn’t capitalize. With 10 minutes gone, Arsenal found themselves behind thanks to the oldest story in the book; more woeful defending. A bloke crossed a corner that was nodded away from the box. When the ball got to Walcott’s path, he decided to lash at it like an Under-17 international thereby handing the ball on a plate to another Villa chap. The fellow sent an aerial through ball to that goal hungry predator known as Darren Bent. His chest control was good, the finish even better. A simple clever chip that beat Szczesny all hands down. While the travelling fans were basking in euphoria that they had taken the lead at the Emirates, it was to even get better for the away side when Young sent a through ball to Bent. Squillaci was too deep and the striker timed his run perfectly and placed the ball through Arsenal’s goalie’s legs.
Every fan wearing the Red and White at the Emirates couldn’t believe what they were watching. You truly do not want to know how we at home felt. Arsenal was 2 goals down at home against a side that was sitting pretty above the relegation zone. As expected, gooners went haywire on Twitter as we saw our team cock-up once again against an opposition that usually regarded as our bread and butter. rVp was a million miles offside but he still dribbled Friedel and fired the ball to an empty net. After that infamous Busacca incident at the Nou Camp, rVp has had a series of offside decisions against him where he ended up shooting the ball away.
Wilshere was scythed down by Reo-Coker but the man with the whistle decided to let the play go on because Arsenal had the advantage. Song and Walcott did a neat one-two with the winger trying an impudent chip that went over the bar. The ref brandished a yellow card to Reo-Coker.
The first major talking point from an Arsenal point of view was an incident involving Ramsey and that large oaf known as Dunne in the penalty box. The young Welshman was through on goal and he shaped himself up to pull the trigger but Dunne crept in from behind and got him some Welsh meat. He didn’t even touch the ball at all but the ref let it slip through him, Typical.
Wilshere was also on the wrong end of another cynical tackle form Villa’s skipper. The best Arsenal chance of the first came to rVp’s path but he ensured that the historians would be happy enough to add a new record to Arsenal’s books. van Persie did extremely well to make a complete fool out of Dunne’s bald partner but his shot hit the upright when Friedel was rooted to the spot. That was the 22nd time Arsenal had caressed the woodwork with the ball. What an unfortunate record to hold.
At the sound of the ref’s whistle, Arsenal had it all to do in the next 45 minutes. Just a week ago, they were faced with same situation but the defense self-destructed to give those Rugby fans a pre-Wembley party that was shattered in the hands of those Arab Money boys. At the start of the second half, Chamakh braced himself up to grace the Emirates for another 45 minutes. He had the same chance last week Sunday and he was utter shite but yesterday, he put up a very solid performance. Squillaci was the lamb that was sacrificed to the Arsenal gods so Alex Song was drafted back into the position he played in the African Cup of Nations for his motherland.
Arshavin was a complete shadow in the first half. rVp gave him a nice ball but the Russian fired straight at the 40-year-old bald Brad. Chamakh did well to tee Walcott up but he couldn’t convert the winger’s cross because the ball was too fast for him. rVp then had a chance on the left hand side of Aston Villa’s box but he unselfishly chose to feed the onrushing Gibbs who blasted the ball straight at Friedel when there was the whole net to aim at.
AW then brought on Super Nick to replace AA23 and he almost made an instant impact. He got at the end of a corner and nodded the ball straight to Walcott. The winger was quite panicky in front of goal so he spurned the chance. Song drifted away from his center back position and left Verm on his own because Arsenal was in dire need of a goal. He got tackled by an already booked Petrov causing the ref to blow his whistle for a free kick but he didn’t give the midfielder his marching orders. rVp’s free kick hit the wall and Ramsey’s follow up after some nice touches went out for a corner.
A nice through ball came to rVp’s path but he chose to serve as a decoy by opening his legs because Gibbs was in a better position to make good use of the ball but the full back did the exact opposite by trying to chip Friedel instead of shooting or crossing to a teammate. With Arsenal pushing hard for that all-important goal, Aston Villa hit them on the break with a 3 on 3 situation. Young had his shot saved by Szczesny, the ball fell to Downing who fired the ball through the legs of Gibbs but the young Pole was alert enough to make a good save.
The Arsenal players and fans alike were unhappy when the man with the whistle chose to deny them a penalty. His next act against the Arsenal was enough to get his head on a frigging plate. A nice attack built up in Aston Villa’s danger area. Walcott evaded his marker to send a cross into the 6-yard box. Up stepped Chamakh to do what he’s renowned for with his Moroccan gel wearing head into the back of the net. The commentator wasted no time in saying how Arsenal needed the goal and how Chamakh needed it too. The header was supposed to be his 2nd ever goal scored in 2011 but it was not to be because the ref blew his whistle for a bloody foul that never looked like one despite many replay views. Arsenal had been robbed once again by the match official, typical.
Chamakh did a neat one-two with Gibbs but his shot was aimed straight at Friedel. Bent had the chance to get a hattrick but he blasted the ball wide. With 5 minutes left to play, another swift attack saw Bendtner tee up rVp in the box. When Arsenal’s most lethal striker was faced with Friedel, he chose to be cheeky with the ball instead of blasting it thereby forcing an easy save for the goalie.
With Arsenal staring at their first home defeat of 2011, Sagna crossed the ball in the 89th minute into Aston Villa’s box. Bendtner controlled the ball but it was intercepted by some potato sack before it fell kindly to Arsenal’s captain of the day who wasted no time in toe poking the ball into the net. That goal meant that rVp has now surpassed his highest ever goal count for the Arsenal with 21 goals to his name.
As soon as he scored that goal, I read this tweet,
“@RvPfans: Robin van Persie has scored as many #EPL goals in 2011 as the entire Blackburn Rovers team. RVP is a #legend”.
All ye stat lovers can add that to your lexicon.
The last chance of the game was a free kick like 30 yards away. rVp stood with the ball but he chose to feed Vermaelen who lashed his shot straight at the pile of bodies known as the Aston Villa wall. At the sound of the final whistle, it was Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 2. The visitors Premier League status had been secured while the home side might plunge down to 4th place should Man City defeat that Rugby outfit on Tuesday.
Szczesny (6.5) had a simple day at the office. Gibbs (6.3) didn’t impress me offensively. Sagna (6.8) launched the ball into the danger area for Arsenal’s consolation goal. Vermaelen (6.9) did well in his homecoming. Squisha (6.3) was exposed by Bent for the 2nd goal. Song (6.4) misplaced his passes but came good as the game progressed. Wilshere (6.7) was on the receiving end of some rash tackles. Ramsey (6.6) did okay. Walcott (7.0) threatened down the right and provided an assist for a goal that was wrongly ruled out. Arshavin (6.2) didn’t have any impact on the game. rVp (7.2) scored his 17th league goal. Chamakh (7.0) put up a spirited performance. Bendtner (6.9) had a hand in Arsenal’s solitary goal.
There’s a very simple rule in life that states that when you get extremely drunk, you’ll suffer from a hangover but after a few hours of puking and sleeping, you’ll experience soberness then tranquility before you’ll be able to get on with your life. Hangovers are not meant to last forever but this Arsenal side is still telling the World that the Carling Spoon defeat hangover hasn’t left their bodies yet.
Arsenal’s form since losing to Birmingham has been LWDLLDDWDDLWLL. This is the kind of form inconsistent teams like Wigan or Wolves put up all season long. When Arsenal beat Fulham in early December thanks to those wonder goals from Nasri, they were at the summit of the league but since they were usurped by Man Utd, Arsenal held unto 2nd so long that AW labeled it as a success. It’s really shameful to know that these individuals he keeps hyping and protecting have paid him back with misery and frustration that’s not only shared by him but the fans and bloggers alike.
I’m really happy to write that there’s only one match left to play. If Fulham decide to do us what King Kenny and his Reds did to them, it won’t matter because Champions League qualification has been sealed; besides we still finished above Spurs despite our numerous shortcomings. I’m pretty confident to say that since I’ve been an Arsenal fan, Tottenham hasn’t finished above us. If by any chance Arsenal ends up in 17th place, Tottenham will be relegated. Do the math.
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The tweet of the day goes to my pal @eromzy,
“@eromzy: No relationship is perfect, so is mine with Arsenal. We have our ups and downs. It’s what keeps us going”
Keep the faith
And remember that,
“When you’re in the light, everyone and everything shines with you but when you’re in the dark, even your shadow LEAVES you”.
That’s enough for one post.