Snippets first up:
According to The Daily Mirror, Arsene Wenger has added midfielder Luis Gustavo to his wanted list for next month’s transfer window. The 6′ 2″ Brazilian defensive midfielder/centre back is reported to be anxious for a move away from Bayern Munich. He only joined them in 2011 so unless he’s really unhappy, I can’t see there being much truth in this. £10 million is the suggested price tag.
The Huntelaar rumour wont go away either, in fact now it’s ‘hotted up’ a bit. The Sunday version of L’Equipe, the same source which started the Cazorla and Giroud rumours back in the summer, has suggested that personal terms are close to being agreed with Arsenal.
Lukas Podolski and the boys decided to pound the streets of London last week in order to raise cash for Arsenal and before any jokes, the cash being raised was for charity not players. On top of any money they managed to raise, the players were donating a day’s wage to The Arsenal Foundation, which funds education and sports projects to transform young people’s lives.
Arsenal also dedicated yesterdays match against West Brom to the same charity and Podolski said:
As players, we know we are in a privileged position and can help people who are less fortunate than us.
To donate a day’s wage is an easy choice to make.
Hopefully the club will raise more money on Saturday than I managed when I walked around Hampstead.
Good on them all I say, mind you, just a day’s wage. Bit tight aren’t they?
Talking of charity, yesterdays referee Mike Jones was full of goodwill for us wasn’t he?
Neither penalty should have been given. The first was a big piece of ‘Swan Lake’ performed by Santi Cazorla and, although the actual decision was spot on for the second, there was a foul in the build up. However, we have had plenty given against us when one of our players has been fouled during the build up, so tough, blame the ref!
Nice to see Mikel Arteta step up and bury both….
Maybe we needed a bit of good fortune to give us a kick-start and that came on 26 minutes through the first spot kick.
Team line up and substitutions:
Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Coquelin – 77′ ) Cazorla (Podolski – 87′ ) Giroud, Gervinho (Rosicky – 81′ )
Back to the game, one that we should have taken the lead much earlier in. Cazorla curled one chance wide of the post and volleyed another over the bar. The latter would have been quite spectacular had it been on target.
Oxlade-Chamberlain had a shot blocked and then we nearly got caught out when Mulumbu won the ball just outside our penalty area, fed Brunt who fired a shot just wide of the top corner.
Then, that moment came.
Olivier Giroud found Santi Cazorla on the left side of the penalty area and as he tried to take the ball on towards the goal, Steven Reid tried to nick the ball away from him. Cazorla went over, not sure why as there was no contact whatsoever!
Referee Mike Jones pointed to the spot and up stepped Arteta to make the penalty count.
It was the first spot-kick we had converted at The Emirates since Robin van Persie’s against Liverpool in April 2011!
Jack Wilshere almost made it 2-0 before half-time but that would be one of a number of chances that went begging. Gervinho was the next, his shot was saved well by Myhill.
West Brom then had a penalty appeal of their own turned down when Per Mertesacker got his hand in the way of the ball but just prior to that, out big fella had been tugged back by Jonas Olsson. Phew!
Just before the half-time whistle Oxlade-Chamberlain put one over the bar.
Hal-time came and went and second half started as the first one ended and that was with an Oxlade-Chamberlain chance. This was from a tight angle and his shot got the slightest touch on the bar. Gibbs fed Wilshere into the left-side of the penalty area and the latter played in a good cross to Gervinho, who somehow managed to send his header wide! Centre Forward? I don’t think so!
Within minutes, Gervinho missed another chance, this time he totally miss kicked his shot.
Chances were coming and going and despite the one goal lead, it was never going to be enough to satisfy or settle the home fans, or the fans sat at home….
On 64 minutes, we got our second. As said earlier, the penalty was clear-cut when Oxlade-Chamberlain burst into the box with the ball but was sent all ends up by Brunt. Blame the referee for missing the push on West Broms Popov in the build up, not our young Englishman.
Arteta stepped up again and got the same result.
2-0 and to be honest, the way West Brom were playing, that looked to be enough, even for a shaky side like ours….
We had a few more chances, we missed a few more chances – Podolski being the worst offender. He had time to pick his spot from close distance, but yesterday that was row z behind the goal!
West Brom also had a couple of chances before the final whistle, but like us, they missed theirs too.
That was pretty much it, we finally stopped our rot with a victory at The Emirates. It was hardly a convincing display but as I was reminded yesterday, we did create chances.
But we can create as many chances as we like, if we don’t take them, what’s the point? We have to start making our chances count.
Yesterday we were fortunate that a Premier League referee favoured us for the two penalties and trust me, that won’t happen again this season. To be fair though, Jones was poor full stop. Poor old Mertesacker found himself in the book after a perfectly well-timed tackle on one of the West Brom players. Not sure exactly what Giroud did to deserve his yellow card either.
Inevitably, Arsene Wenger was asked about the penalty incident and he confirmed he’d spoken to Santi Cazorla because he knew that the topic would be raised:
Santi told me there was contact. I have not seen the replay, but if it shows there was no contact, I will speak to him after I have seen the replay. I will look at it, don’t worry.
If it shows he was not touched, I’ll say to him I don’t want to see that.
Well trust me Arsene, none of us want to see that….
Don’t mind seeing a few more clean sheets though, wonder if Steve Bould been allowed back onto the training field?
All in all it was better performance yesterday, the game was played at a much higher tempo, the players gave more and we created chances. Now to start taking them as I said before.
Next up is Bradford City in the Carling Cup, a huge game and a victory would take us a step closer to Wembley…..
That’s it from me