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How The Drama Went Down – Full Review.

@bosunescobar said “Arsenal will chop two, just watch” and we did. But I damn well am glad we gave West Brom three to chop… and Kieran Gibbs must surely have a place in Heaven after that aptly executed stoppage time tackle. Trepidation ‘whelms me at the thought of “had that gone wrong… “.

Francis Coquelin turned 19 on the day, Yossi Benayoun performed well for us again in what likely is his last game for us, anxiety got the better of monsieur Wenger and who better to cling on than Pat Rice, lifted by the players after the final whistle to an ovation from the visiting fans; in tribute to the end of his long service to the club.

It was a tense way to wrap up our season, Arsenal somehow always ensures of the drama. After Fulop flopped to let Yossi give us the lead after four minutes, two goals in four minutes meant we had work to do.

How the first wasn’t chalked off for offside leaves my being perplexed. How the second was scored left my emotions numb at our defensive movement, with Graham Dorrans making light work of Kozzer and TV5 there.

All that happened in the opening 15 minutes and our ‘noisy’ neighbours were at the time, ahead against Fulham by a lone Emmanuel Adebayor goal.

It wasn’t the ideal scenario for a week 38 fixture as far as any gooner was bothered. Any form of goal was craved and Andre the boss Santos duly obliged to get our gays back on level terms just after the half hour mark.

A tinny bit of skill before lashing one into the bottom corner and the Brazilian ensured we’d go into the break at 2-2 with the Sillywhites still leading by Adebayor’s goal i.e. they = 69 and us = 68… *shudders*

We showed some urgency at the start of the second half. Rosicky got replaced by Theo Walcott at half time, leaving Yossi with the task of pulling the midfield strings.

Jermaine Defoe doubled the Tiny Tots’ advantage just past the hour mark and we were on our way to 1) another nervy affair in the Champions League final qualifying round or 2) the Europa Leag… God forbideth!!

Marton Fulop obliged yet again. Making to punch away a van Persie corner but jumping into his (better placed to clear) defender and fumbling his attempted clearance instead, gifting Laurent Koscielny the goal to scramble in the ball.

No amount of goals scored at the Shite Fart Lane could help them now. Ramsey came on for Santos and Benayoun returned to the left wing after Gervinho went off for Kieran Gibbs.

Inspired substitution, the latter, thanks to that tackle I mentioned earlier. Made Gibbs my man of the match, along with the industrious Yossi while van Persie came a close third.

And though he did say in his pre-match note that he’d trade all his goals for a win at the Hawthorns, finishing dead on 30, just one behind the record number 31, had me feel a tad bit of “damn” for captain vantastic.

Nonetheless, he’s the PFA and FWA Player of the Season, Arsenal.com’s Player of the Season (yet to be polled but really, it’s not a contest) and the league’s ‘golden boot’ as well as Europe’s bronze boot behind “Angel” Messi and the oiled one, Ronaldo.

Summarily, it was a bipolar season for the Gunners. A good season thanks to going from fourth bottom to third from top in Wenger’s 900th league match for us. A bad season no thanks to making it seven years without a trophy… take the figurine out of Arsenal’s abode already -__-.

Curtain Calls
We missed Jack Wilshere gravely. Alas, Mikel Arteta would likely not be a gunner now if Jack wasn’t injured. A silver lining to carry into our campaign next season.

Lukas Podolski is a gunner, most imperatively alongside van Persie. Would be interesting to see if we adapt to a 4-4-2 formation or play the German from the left wing. Certainly hope he’s not a ‘replacement killer’ for you-know-who.

And finally, two more arrivals and no departure of players other than the Squillacis and Shishas will have us being real title contenders next season. M’Vila? Vertonghen? Biglia? Belhanda? Time will tell.

Congratulations to Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and (from some corner of my heart) Samir Nasri along with their title winning mates at Manchester City. Thoroughly deserve to be champions and what a breathless way to pip the Red Devils to it.

Take a cue Tiny Tots, that’s what you call a noisy neighbour!

Another Rumoured 2012/13 Jersey|Wilshere Turns Down Pearce Invite + Club News

Rumoured look of next season's kit

Rumoured look of our kit for next season.

What a week of football we’ve had so far with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo keeping up their series of “I can do whatvever you can” after both missed crucial penalty kicks that played a part in their respectively team’s exit from the Champions League.

A case of “we’ll be back” next season for them. Speaking of next season, we’ve seen a number of kits surface in recent times as being our kit for the 2012/13 season. And what you’ve seen above is a new one that surfaced last night.

Evidently, it suggests we’ll be back to having yellow as our second kit, which would be a welcome move. Generally the design looks cool, and is the best looking rumoured kit for next season I’ve seen so far or what do you think?

Other News
The Sun first reported last night that Jack Wilshere will turn down any invitation from Stuart Pearce to be part of team GB’s football side at the Olympics this summer and instead concentrate on becoming fully fit for Arsenal next season.

This comes on the heels of ‘psychotic’ Pearce insisting the 20 year old will be included in the team GB squad if he is fit to play, a move that would see Wilshere miss pre-season with us.

Having not played competitive football this season no thanks to niggling setbacks in his recovery from an ankle injury, Arsenal would rather Wilshere was with us when he is eventually fully fit.

And though we recognise that Wilshere’s made quite an impression on managers with his an immense talent, Pearce will have 79 other players to choose his final 18-man squad to the Olympics from, he really should let Wilshere be for now.

Bendtner to Decide Future After Euros
World’s best forward Nicklas Bendtner spoke on Danish television and basically stated that he is not sure he would be a Sunderland player beyond this season even if the opportunity came.

He also said he will be open to the option of returning to us when his loan spell ends though reiterated his desire to leave the club and I feel it’s the best option for him, with Podolski’s ‘imminent’ signing, Chamakh’s reluctance to be shipped out and the presence (for whatever other reason than competitive football) of Park Chu Young.

He also however stated that a definite course of his future will be made only after playing at the European Championships at Poland and Ukraine.

For now, he says he has enjoyed having games under his belt at Sunderland even though the style of play at the Stadium of Light differs from Arsenal’s.

Wenger Out
Le boss will be away from the touchline in Europe next season after deciding to not go the long (and ultimately fruitless) path of an appeal against his UEFA charge and fine for using fine language on the referee in the win over Milan.

Consequently, Wenger will miss Arsenal’s first three matches in Europe next season… the first three Champions League group stages most preferably.

That’s the bit from here today. Next up will be a preview of the tricky trip to face Stoke City as we look to seal that final Champions League spot in our last three league matches, starting from the Brittania.

Do follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs and have a great day.

RVP Crowned King at the PFA’s + PFA’s Joke Team of the Season.

Robin van Persie has expectedly been named as PFA Player of the Year, ahead of Sergio Agüero, Wayne Rooney, David Silva, Joe Hart and some other fella that should rather have been Alex Song in my opinion.

Anyway, our captain was consequently named in the PFA Team of the Year as well, partnered up front by Red Devils’ striker Rooney, rendering City’s Kun Agüero conspicously missing.

Newcastle United’s Fabricio Coloccini partnered Vincent Kompany at the back, ahead of either one of Laurent Koscielny or Thomas Vermaelen and I’m thinking the own goals cost Kozzer a spot there.

That ‘other fella’ found his way here too; as defensive midfielder, as did Yaya Toure in central midfield, David Silva on the right and the ‘other fella’s’ teammate… the demon monkey himself appropriately on the ‘left’.

A third Sp*ds player, Kyle Walker won the PFA Young Player of the Year award and was named in the right back position while Everton’s Leighton Baines got the nod for the left back position.

Walker beat our own Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Chelski’s Daniel Sturridge and also completed a dire night for Agüero off the field as the Argentine was also nominated in the category.

On a lighter note…….
Ashley Young was named diver of the year with Luis Suarez in 2nd place and Gareth Bale in 3rd. Also, Howard Webb won the 12th man award for the 3rd year running as United’s unregistered player.

Mikel Arteta won “best hair in the league”, Papiss Cisee won “how-to-pull-a-drogba/Torres-on-your-strike-partner” award. John Terry wasn’t left out as he won Racist of the year edging out Suarez again.

A big congratulations to van Persie who becomes the fifth Gunner to win he award and the first Gunner since the talismatic Thierry Henry won it successive years in 2003 and 2004.

All that said, what players would you have preferred to see in the PFA Team of the Year?

Share your thoughts on that and more below and tell a gooner to follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

van Persie with his PFA 2011-12 Player of the Year Trophy

van Persie with his PFA 2011-12 Player of the Year Trophy

Arsenal Disappoint in Stalemate with Chelsea + Player Ratings

It was an overly dull London derby as Arsenal played out a goalless draw with Chelsea, a result fans of the Blues will be happier with but one that may well have ended their Champions League ambition from the Premier League point of view.

As for us, we were absent for much of the first half against a second string Chelsea. Captain van Persie hit the post (yet again) and the highly impressive Koscielny was denied by the crossbar.

Below is the player ratings…

Player Ratings
Szczesny7
Assured performance from the Pole on his 50th Premier League appearance for us.

Sagna6
Good game as well on his century of matches for Arsenal.

Vermaelen7
When RvP hit the post off Walcott’s freekick, Vermaelen was next to him ready to pounce. Turn the 5 upside down and add a line where necessary… you have a makeshift 9. And he defends very well too, that we all know.

Koscielny8.5
Sterling performance from the Frenchman, especially in the second half. Unfortunate to have the bar deny him after losing his marker well.

Gibbs6.5
Good game from him.

Song7.5
A rock in midfield. Delivered some good balls and dispossessed the visitors on a number of occasions.

Ramsey3
He did throw a cool long ball for RvP in the second half. He however lost possession too many times, lingering on the ball when his job was to keep the game going.

Keep the faith here gooners…

Rosicky7
Was at a loss when he was substituted, then got word that he’s been ill recently. Good game from him nonetheless, felt he could have played a bit longer.

Oxlade-Chamberlain5
Not the Ox we’ve come to love. Troubled the Chelsea back with his agility at times but brought little to the match.

Walcott5
Went off with a hamstring injury, hopefully not a serious one. Had an average game.

Van Persie5
Let’s be honest here, our captain vantastic hasn’t been the Robin that had us no longer needing a Batman lately. Now, he’s gone over 11 hours without a goal from open play, that’s not right!

Substitutes

Gervinho5

Diaby5
Thankfully, he saw this through unlike when he came on at Liverpool.

SantosN/A

Summarily, we go six points clear with three games to play but Sp*ds and Newcastle now have two games more to play. When you do the math, today’s point is actually valuable. We just would’ve preferred three.

Do share your thoughts about the outcome and its implications below.

Match Preview: Drogba Doubtful for Arsenal Trip + Other News

Arsenal will look to complete a Premier League double and also get a third successive win over Chelsea when the Blues visit the Emirates in Saturday’s early kick-off.

Roberto di Matteo’s side will be without David Luiz and suspended Branislav Ivanovic while according to a tweet by @BornGooner, Didier Drogba will miss the encounter as well, after picking a knee injury in the lone goal win over Barcelona on Wednesday.

Arsenal will be without Mikel Arteta who is out for 6-8 weeks with a sprained ankle that thankfully does not require surgery, while Yossi Benayoun is ineligible as part of the loan deal from Stamford Bridge.

Serial cold table patient Abou Diaby will likely be in the squad as a result of the above absentees while Laurent Koscielny returns from his two-match suspension, relegating Djourou to the bench and Squillaci to gunner-oblivion.

Possible line-up
Szczesny. Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Santos. Ramsey, Song, Rosicky. Walcott, Ox/Gervinho. Van Persie.

With Diaby playing a half of the lone goal win over Oman’s Olympic team during the week, he won’t be ready to play from the onset. Fellow Frenchman Francis Coquelin is back to full training as well but will miss the match due to match fitness.

Variables
A win for us is crucial for, other than local bragging rights, getting closer to sealing third spot in the league and a place at next season’s Champions League group stage.

With Chelsea (boldly) harbouring hopes of making next season’s Champions League through winning this season’s, fourth place in the league would become a ticket to the Europa League in the (un)likely event of that.

It either way keeps alive hopes of finishing third for the Sp*ds and Newcastle United; both on 59 points from 33 matches, in fourth and fifth respectively, consequently serving a good incentive for both to put pressure on Arsenal with 64 points from 34 matches played.

Other News
Former Arsenal forward Tony Woodcock has joined the queue of voices imploring on captain Robin van Persie to remain at the club beyond the end of his current contract.

According to Woodcock, “With somebody like Robin, it cannot be a financial thing at this stage in his career. Players want to win things and he is not far from doing so at Arsenal”.

The forward who spent four seasons with the club in the 1980s stated further that Arsenal is close to ending the trophy drought and though finishing third should be considered a success in lieu of our start to the season, the fans do want to see the club winning trophies again.

Elsewhere on a lighter note, captain of the Arsenal Ladies Faye White has called time on her international career while also contemplating her future at the club after revealing she is expecting her first child, due October.

White has spent 15 seasons at the Ladies with 27 honours to show for her long service and according to her, would wait for the feeling (for football) to “switch off” in her head before deciding to retire from the club as well.

We extend our best wishes to her, just as we hope a repeat of last season’s 3-1 win last time Chelsea visited occurs. Share your thoughts ahead of the encounter below and have a great weekend.

Latest Team News ahead of Wigan + Wenger’s thought on divers


Good day wherever you’re reading this from. Tonight we come up against Wigan Athletic with a chance to open an eight point gap on the Spuds and Newcastle United.

Both teams were not involved in league action over the weekend due to the FA Cup semi finals in Wembley. The weekend proved that the FA Cup still has its magic. I mean…Carroll scored a winner, how often does that happen?

It was also fun to see Chelsea thump our noisy neighbours 5-1. This season they have conceded 5 goals to City, Chelsea and Arsenal. Big club mentality, you say?

Quite funny how Harry Redknapp is still the “top candidate” for the England manager’s job.

There were mentions of cheating from Chelsea and the win (despite the margin) was tagged controversial by ESPN. The Sp*ds lost and that’s what matters.

Talking about cheats, Le Boss claims divers should be hit with a 3-match ban. Who can blame him, considering how many cases of simulation we’ve witnessed in the past week. Said Arsene:

“I must say the English players learn quickly. If an obvious dive is punished by a 3-match ban, then players wouldn’t do it anymore. I would support it”

Ashley Young alone won 2 penalties in 2 games, both undeserved and set United on the way to claiming maximum points from both games. Whether they would still have won those games without those penalties is open to debate.

Onto Arsenal news, Wigan visit the Emirates brimming with commendable pride after being ‘overlooked’ to get at least a point at Chelsea before deservedly defeating league leaders Man. United in midweek.

It therefore doesn’t look to be the easy 3-0 win we got over them here last season, a notion Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky stresses:

“Wigan beat Manchester United on Wednesday, so that’s an indication that it will be a tough test for us.”

Even Fergie thinks they can win if they manage to nick a goal against us, and that’s saying a lot.

Coupled with the fact that the Latics are fighting against the drop, the importance of this match is not lost on Rosicky.

“People might not usually regard a match against Wigan as such a big one, but they are still battling relegation, so there is a lot at stake for both of us.”

Rosicky is likely to return for this tie after being rested for the win at Wolves last Wednesday while Gervinho is in contention as he’s recovering from an ankle injury. Gibbs has a 50-50 chance, and following Santos’ horror defensive showing at Wolves, the Englishman should return to LB if fit. Djourou will partner Vermaelen again at the back with Koscielny serving the last of his two-match suspension.

Predicted Line-up:
Szczesny. Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Santos. Arteta, Song, Rosicky. Walcott, Benayoun/Ox, van Persie.

We all would love for Oxlade-Chamberlain to get some starts but Benayoun has played well in the last two games while we all know Walcott (somehow) remains an ‘integral’ part of Le Professeur’s plans *sigh*.

If we go into this in the business like manner we did last time out at Molineux, I fancy us picking a win. And having in mind that while Arsenal have won nine of the last 10 in the league, Wigan have lost just once in its last six.

Final word on this post goes to Piermario Morosini, who suffered a heart attack on the pitch in Italy and died over the weekend. Our condolences extend to his family and friends in this trying period. These events put football in a different perspective.

That’s all from me for now, enjoy the game wherever you watch from. I’m putting my money on a 3-0 win, to the good guys of course!

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

Cheers!

Campbell as Arsenal Chairman?|Wilshere’s Euro Hopes| Wenger on Technology.

Top of the morning Gooners!! Well bummer, no football for us this weekend so I’ll be following the Chinese Grand Prix and hoping Jenson Button is first past the chequered flag on Sunday.

I’ll be rooting for the Toffees on Saturday though, while hoping Sunday’s other semi-final stretches out to penalties just so both sides wear thin ahead of the run-in to the league season.

For now, Sol Campbell had quite a bit to get off his chest regarding Arsenal’s enduring trophy drought, wondering if the club actually wants to win anything or is satisfied with life as it is now.

“You’ve got to ask yourself where Arsenal are going? Do they want to actually win?” asked our ex-defender, adding “you can have players for the future but it is about getting players that’ll make a difference now”.

It’s not hard to see where the only Arsenal player to have scored in the Champions League final is coming from, having also been part of the Invincibles of 2004 and the last team that won a trophy for Arsenal; the 2005 FA Cup.

He certainly knows what it is to win and definitely would’ve become disillusioned at the seven year drought.

“… you’ve got to have the personnel, the fire-power and edge” Sol advocated, “(and) Arsenal have great players but even with everybody fit I still don’t think it’s enough. They’ve got to get players that will make a difference.”

Campbell’s campaign isn’t new with every Gooner at one point having clamoured for a bit more aggression in the transfer market from the club, most especially after a horrid start to this season that had a lot of Mus touting possible replacements for Le professeur… I was all for Martin O’Neil or Laurent Blanc.

Anyway, Wenger in typical fashion has taken Sol’s outburst per se calm as always, pointing out jovially that “Sol has a lot of money, his gifts are welcome”.

He even goes further to say that “if he (Campbell) gives us money, we will spend it, believe me.” further stating “The best way always to give advice is to show example. Give your own money and we will spend it”. So, Sol Campbell to be Arsenal chairman? Sly man that Wenger.

Video Technology
Wenger meanwhile has clamoured once more that video technology be brought into the game to “help the referees, not question their authority”, off incidents in Wigan’s famous win over Man. United, Balotelli’s stamp on Song, Chelsea’s goals in their win over Wigan among others.

“It will give them more credit, more authority and less mistakes” said Wenger, debunking claims that the introduction of video technology will slow down the game. I just am curious to see how Wenger will react when an unfair advantage to us is rescinded due to video technology.

Wilshere’s Euro Hopes
It is unfortunate how Wilshere’s season has turned out, from playing a pivotal (breakthrough) role last season to not managing one competitive minute on the field this season.

And Wenger updates us with same of the same, ‘we’re being cautious with Jack’, ‘he’s making slow progress’, the next (now) two weeks wil decide if he goes to the Euros’. That last bit is what I’ll go in on.

Wilshere is definitely an immense talent and I always remember the Champions League quarter final second leg at the Nou Camp, a night he was in my opinion the only Arsenal player that performed.

Surely however, immense talent or not, I wouldn’t expect any gooner or fan of the Three Lions to still be hoping Wilshere is named in England’s squad to the Euros! Are you mad?!

He is only 20 years old, and has not played a competitive match this season. It will be outrightly unfair on other players not called up if he was and the fact that there are “hopes” of him making Poland and Ukraine is a bit far fetched. Well…that’s what happens when you’ve got talent like him.

Yer lot for today fellas! I’ll be at a friend’s wedding, so you can bet it’s going to be a wonderful day (if they serve the food early that is).

One last thing!

Should Wilshere be called up to the Euros if he is declared fit before the end of the season? Or should he just forget it and train to be ready to start next season with Arsenal?

It would be interesting to know what you think. Do share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Have a fun-filled weekend. Mine starts in a bit!

Arsenal Consolidate 3rd Spot With Wolves Win + Player Ratings

Good night for the Gunners this as goals from RvP from the spot and Walcott soon after put us on our way to a 3-0 win at bottom club Wolves, Yossi Benayoun wrapping up the night for us at Molineux.

That puts us five ahead of the Sillywhites and Newcastle as third place looks assured with five matches left to play and nine wins in 10 matches is a good run to carry into the run-in.

Straight to the ratings then:

Szczesny7
Another relatively quiet match for the Pole but showed great awareness with two top draw saves early and late in the second half. The former to deny Doyle’s header was classic.

Sagna6
Good game and good work rate from him. Got replaced late on by Jenkinsom.

Djourou7
Solid performance from him. Hope he keeps it up when Wigan visit. Wigan by the way beat Man. United and added a good twist to the title race.

Vermaelen7
An assured perfomance, as almost always from him.

Santos5
I’m not sure why he bothered. Attacked much but his defending was suspect a lot of times.

Arteta7
Quietly anchored the midfield superbly.

Song7.5
Complemented Arteta well, and bagged an assist yet again… this time for Benayoun rather than you know who.

Ramsey4
Oh dear. Hesitated when he should’ve taken a first time shot at goal. Had a clear penalty shout waved away but generally lived down to expectations.

Walcott7
Gets a 7 only because he got a goal and won us the penalty that saw Sebastien Bassong get sent off, otherwise wasn’t exceptional.

Benayoun8
Good work rate yet again and got himself a well taken goal from the edge of the box.

RvP8
You’d think some confidence would’ve drained from him after going four matches without scoring… then he does that from the penalty spot. He scores when he wants and apparently, how he wants. Vintage stuff.

SUBSTITUTES
OxN/A

JenkinsonN/A

So next up for us is the red devils’ unlikely conquerors Wigan Athletic on Monday and from what we’ve seen the Latics play in their last two matches, it’s safe to say we have a cracking encounter coming up.

Do tell a gooner to follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs, see you Monday night.

Wolves Preview + Club News & Clowny FA Decisions

Good day wherever you read from. Last night was proof that the established routine can be broken when ten-man Liverpool actually managed a win, more so shocking that the winning goal came courtesy of Andy should-rather-runway-model Carroll.

It’s the sort of scenario Wolverhampton Wanderers will (however absurd it may seem to the world) hope for, to break the established routine when we visit Molineux tonight in a Premier League encounter.

I’m always wary of stats when they’re in our favour and the ones for this fixture is an avalanche that’s heaped pitifully on Wolves. Just a point won in the seven matches manager Terry Connor has overseen so far to add to the club losing the last five matches at home to Arsenal in all competitions.

And while we have kept a clean sheet in three of our last four matches, our hosts have failed to keep one in 15 home matches. Then there’s our run of eight wins in nine league matches compared to Wolves’ quite appaling run of six consecutive league losses; the worst such run in the top flight in three decades.

Without the rest of the overwhelming stats, we should win this outright, yes? Sure. Same way the three points looked assured going into the QPR encounter. Coupled with the fact that Wolves held us to a 1-1 draw t the Ems earlier in the reverse fixture only makes tonight’s encounter potential banana skin for Arsenal.

In light of this, Wenger said “Believe me, they don’t know much better than you or me and the result of every game is just a consequence of your performance on the day.” adding that, “Nobody can really predict that (team performance) because your performance on the day depends on you, but also depends on the other team as well.”

Therefore the team must avoid complacency in our quest to open a five point cushion between us and the chasing pack in the race for the lucrative Champions League places, for which we occupy the final automatic qualifying spot.

Boss Arsène Wenger therefore cannot afford to toy about with the starting line-up though some changes will inevitably be made from the team that started against Man. City.

Possible line-up
Szczesny. Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Santos. Arteta, Song, Rosicky. Walcott, Ox/Ramsey, van Persie.

Johan Djourou will start thanks to Koscielny’s two-match ban for receiving his 10th yellow card against City, while Gibbs will likely make way for Santos after picking a slight knock on Sunday. And in attack, it is obvious we’d prefer the Ox started but… you just never know with the boss, could even start Gervinho for all we know after the ‘Eddy’ didn’t even make the bench on Sunday.

Club News
With Abou Diaby and Francis Coquelin still on course in their recoveries, the big surprise is the big f**king German Mert4 apparently coming back from his ankle injury sooner than expected, much sooner that he’s expected to resume training later this week.

And in the reserves’ league, our January arrival from Borussia Dortmund Thomas Eisfeld yesterday evening scored the lone goal; his first for the club, as the Arsenal Reserves defeated the Newcastle Reserves in its penultimate match of the season.

Finally, the English FA, that just always have a way of reinventing themselves in the black book of world football following its acutely contrasting decisions on incidents involving Ivanovic, Wigan’s and Mario Balotelli, with the latter to only serve a ban for his red card without the addition of being charged and banned for his stamp on Alex Song’s knee on Sunday.

Consolation is in Song being available anyway and here’s to going a step closer to sealing third spot in the league with a much needed win tonight.

COYG!!!

Arteta Earns Vital Win for Arsenal; Player Ratings

We deserved the win and for a long time it looked like we’d punish ourselves but Mikel Arteta’s long range beauty earned us a vital victory. Straight to the ratings then, where we’ve incorporated the highlights of the match that saw Balotelli get sent off.

Szczesny – 8
Had relatively little to do but was much assured in goal, tipping over a goal bound header and rushing out to clear when Balotelli was through on goal, the latter proving most crucial. Solid game.

Sagna – 7
Impressive defensive display from the Frenchman, handled Balotelli whenever the Italian ventured down our right side.

Vermaelen – 7.5
Very solid defending from the Verminator, making interceptions and going forward with the ball at times. Unfortunate to have kept out Robin van Persie’s goal bound header in the first half.

Koscielny – 7
Good game from the Frenchman too.

Gibbs – 4
Uncharacteristically poor today, didn’t impose himself and his substitution was inevitable.

Song – 6
Good game. Saw one of his trademark lobs to van Persie end up bouncing away from Man. City’s post. It did seem then we were destined to somehow not win this.

Arteta – 7.5
Cracking long range goal from the Spaniard when someone needed to take the bull by the horn. It was that or we’d rue all our missed chances.

Rosicky – 6
I feel he didn’t pull the strings as well as we know he could. He did get better as the game wore on.

Benayoun – 6
Great work rate shown by the Israeli, compensating for a somewhat flat performance.

Walcott – 3
The Theo we hate to see came out today. Clueless for 80 minutes though could have got a goal in the frenzied moment his shot came off the post (only for Vermaelen to miscue the rebound and Beayoun see his effort somehow cleared off the line by Lescott.)

Van Persie – 7
No goals in four games now though he had one (rightly) ruled out for offside and his two headers denied by Vermaelen and the post. He scores when he wants, do score soon enough RvP.

Substitutes
Santos – 6
Imposed his presence soon as he came on and added some bite to our attack.

Ramsey – 3
He could have squared to RvP in stoppage time but decided to try curl it in, wrong move.

Ox-Chamberlain – N/A

Most importantly, we’ve got the much needed win and put ourselves back in third on 61 points, two ahead of the sillywhites and five of Chelski and Newcastle United. For City, we’ve in essence ended their title hopes; you’re welcome Old Trafford.

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