Twenty Eight Minutes of Pure Genius.

Our title hopes were today nailed to the mast, raised high and are proudly flying as you read this.  An emphatic three nil win puts us well and truly back in the title race while at the same time puting Villa firmly back in their place. This was a big win but yesterday’s strong Arsenal performance will be remembered, above all, for the twenty eight minute master class given by our Captain in the second half.

Arsenal took to the field and played, in the first five minutes, some of the best Wengerball I have seen in ages with two seemingly gilt edged chances falling firstly to Vermaelen and Eduardo but; alas, we were still unable to change that lead weight of a statistic, hanging around our necks, that we haven’t scored in the first fifteen minutes all season. These squandered chances seemed to give Villa hope and it wasn’t long before it was our turn to soak up pressure and let out deep worried sighs as they missed good chances of their own.

Diaby was skipping through the midfield with the new found zest of a player having been reprieved from the ignominious fate of being sold to the lower divisions; both he and Song, the stars of the first half, were running the show. There was nothing wrong with how the rest of the team were playing except for the out of sorts Arshavin who seemed to lack the belief that an incisive pass was ever going to find its way to him, the result being that he stopped making the runs.

This all changed in the second half when Fabregas came on; the lift this gave the rest of the team was tangible; suddenly Arshavin believed that the ball would find him and started fighting to get into positions to receive it. Nasri started buzzing around with renewed determination while Eduardo started trying just that little bit harder; the only player who seemed to withdraw slightly was Diaby who, rather than bound forward with the confidence that was on display in the first half, timidly rolled two yard passes to the dominant Cesc.

We were starting to pile the pressure on but it still needed the class of our Catalan Captain to break the deadlock — and it came in the form of one of the best free kicks you will ever see; have a look at Nasri in the wall: Villa players jump on either side of him, the Frenchman stays rooted to the ground and by doing so he creates a two foot shaft that Fabregas somehow manages to thread the ball through at speed before it dips past the helpless Friedel.

The goal forced Villa to come onto us and by doing so created the all important commodity that Walcott thrives on – space, and he revelled in it. The second wasn’t long in coming — notice the thirty five yard pass from Traore that landed just perfectly ahead of Theo enabling him to run onto it before playing precision pass to the on rushing Fabregas to slot it home and make it two nil. The worry, of course, is just how much damage he has done but if we see him playing again within three weeks I will be amazed.

Fabregas hobbled off and Diaby as if by magic came back to life. The tall Frenchman slide straight back into the position he feels the most comfortably with and went on to wrap the whole day up by scoring what is rapidly becoming his own trade mark goal: the bound forward, before releasing the powerful side foot drive into the corner. Great stuff.

Player ratings.

Almunia: from bizarre punching, to good catching, from down right poor kicking to a clearance that almost put Arshavin through with a one on one with the keeper; still, two clean sheets in two games are two clean sheets in two games. 7

Sagna: had one of his solid on frills afternoons, kept Ashley Young in his pocket. I like how this alternating thing is working with Eboue: when we need to defend its Sagna and when we need to attack its Eboue. 7.5

Gallas: Every game the image of flicking a coin in the air comes to mind: will he be fit or will he be injured at the end. We have had such a good run with his fitness it scares me to think what would happen if the coin landed on the wrong side. 8

Vermaelen: And Villa think they did well in buying Dunne. Lol. 8

Traore: Well done young man. Today he had his first test in defending (rather than bomb forward) and he came through with flying colours. Someone suggested that TV must have been helping him, good call. 7.5

Denilson: a far more confident player, his goals have helped no end, with Song away we should get a better idea of what he is really about. Or so I thought, rumour has it that his back injury has reoccurred; last time this happened he was out for two months, damn shame if it is true. 7

Song: another fine display, going from strength to strength, just imagine how good he is going to be when he is twenty six, in the mean time I wish he would cut out the few silly passes, I mean, you don’t see Vermaelen make them so why should Song, still he has improved so much I feel justified in nit picking. 8.5

Diaby: I wrote many a comment suggesting that he had until Christmas to prove himself or he would go…..I reckon he has just scrapped in. Played his best game for Arsenal to date, ran the midfield in the first half and scored another goal of some class. 9

Nasri: well, it’s not that he didn’t play well it’s just that the gulf of talent comes into full focus when Fabregas comes on. Still, we have scored six goals in the last two games that he has played; this is no time for moaning. 7

Arshavin: struggled to get into the game for the first half, it was as if he knew there was no one capable of threading a pass through to him so he stayed in his shell. This all changed when Fabregas came on, it was like putting batteries in one of those Duracell Bunnies. 7.5

Eduardo: there used to be three certainties in life: Death, taxes and Eduardo scoring in a one on one situation, sadly we are down to two: death and taxes. The Crozilian is still not cutting it, if we do buy another striker I fear he will be the one who has to make way. 6.5

Fabregas: there are simply not enough superlatives purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. 10

Walcott: it is obviously becoming quite fashionable to redeem yourself in the eyes of the more cynical supporters, almost did everything right, now there is something I didn’t expect to write about Theo so soon. 7.5

Ramsey: not on long enough to really say too much but with the injuries and absences he should be getting a lot more action in the very near future.

Wenger: completely out thought Martin O’Neil. 9

All in all, a great day to be an Arsenal supporter.

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114 Responses to Twenty Eight Minutes of Pure Genius.

  1. London says:

    Morning Roadsters

    Hope you are all well.

  2. Guy says:

    Arsenal scored in the first 15 minutes against Burnley I’m pretty sure.

  3. peachesgooner says:

    Morning London

    Looks like its just you and me.

    Good post – I reckon Diaby was told to sit back when Cesc came on and he did, he had to switch his position twice in that game as he then went forward again when Cesc went off……..maybe he has more grey cells than I’d given him credit for 😀

  4. peachesgooner says:

    Top marks to Traore – what a chance hes been given to show how talented he is……I’m thrilled for him.

    Some of our tippy tappy defending was scarily bizarre though 😦

  5. stonroy says:

    great post

  6. Rasputin says:

    Morning Roadsters,

    Very good report London – I can’t believe anyone would disagree with your analysis 😉

    My main moan is MotD – it was the biggest game of the day – 2 top 6 teams and yet the coverage was far less than the manure game.

    We have a few problems looming over the next few games unfortunately. Denilson was obviously the one chosen to replace Song whilst away for the ACN – like Cesc, we can’t be sure how long he will be out for. Diaby was magnificent yesterday. If he can continue that form, we may not miss Denilson.

    I think it is time for Ramsey to show he can be consistent and solid and Nik has the chance that Dudu is currently squandering to show that he can fill the void left by RVP. Theo once again showed he is most effective when used as a sub.

    I agree with everyone that has said that AA came to life when he had Cesc to pay football with … hopefully he will forge an understanding with Nasri in the future.

  7. London says:

    I hadn’t thought about that, you are probably right about Diaby.

  8. Rasputin says:

    Morning peaches,

    Yes Traore was excellent I thought. If Clichy returns to claim the LB position, I’d like to see Traore given a chance at left midfield – he’s superfast and can deliver a cross and rather like Gibbs, he’s too good to warm the bench or languish in the reserves. I don’t know how long Tomas is out for, but I don’t think it is wise to include him in our thinking for the rest of the season.

  9. avenell says:

    Welcome Guy & Stonroy, sorry for the delay you are now free to blog

  10. Rasputin says:

    A positive word re: Dudu. His delivery from freekicks and corners was excellent. Cesc’s corners are generally poor looping affairs easily dealt with by defenders, Dudu’s by contrast, were precise and almost impossible to deal with and we were unlucky not to score from one.

  11. kelsey says:

    Morning all,

    In general I agree with a well thought out post,though I fully agree with peaches about Diaby’s change of role,when Cesc came on.We have actually scored just the once, in the first fifteen minutes,in the seventh minute against Burnley away(Fabregas)though that is not that important.

    AW now finally realises that Diaby is an attacking midfielder(a natural to replace the soon departed Rosicky)and two games on the bounce,he has excelled in that position,and you know what he is right footed as opposed to RVP,Vela and Eduardo who are primarily left footed.

    I don’t think anyone beforehand thought we would brush Villa aside, and don’t be fooled we beat them fair and square,and none of their star players got a look in.I am convinced(though it can’t be proved) we would have won without Cesc,but his cameo role must be the best of the season.

    Eduardo is lucky to be playing football, thanks to the quick action by Gary lewin at Birmingham, and he is hard to weigh up,as he never shows emotion,but he is scuffing the ball too much.Time will tell if he can recapture the form that was just beginning,after his 6 month settling in period last season.

    Traore was impressive for a third choice left back against an England winger.

    Gallas and Vermaelen are a rock and our defence except for once in the opening 15 minutes looked firm,and we got stuck in.

    Again as mentioned before,AA needs quality players around him,to see the best of him,and he improved immensly when Cesc was on.

    Walcott,made the second, but for me still to many aimless passes into no mans land.

    Finally Song, I can’t believe how he has improved,a player loaned out to Charlton,is now pivitol to many things in the team.When was the last player we loaned out to come back with such a vengence ?

    I really enjoyed yesterday,long may it continue.

  12. London says:

    Guy, I think you are right.

    Thanks, Stoneroy

    Great summery Kelsey

    I also don’t like this idea that we only beat Villa because they were below par, I think it was our good play that made them look ordinary.

  13. Big Raddy says:

    Excellent post London.

    The best review of the game I have read.

    We had players at the very top of their game yesterday, TV, WG, Cesc, Song & Diaby. Well done to all of them.

    Prior to the game I was concerned about the pace of AV’s counter attack, but our FB’s neutralised( probably) the best wingers in the country. Carew & Angbo didn’t get a sniff, which is a testament to the brilliant and burgeoning combination of TV & WG. Please sign an extension William…..

  14. London says:

    Thanks BR

    You probably noticed: I stole one of your lines from yesterday for the title 😉

  15. avenell says:

    Morning Roadsters..

    This is the real me now Mrs Avenell was on earlier to let the guys out of moderation.

    Excellent post London.. I knew it would be good because when we win well the enthusiasm in your writing shines through.
    In fact as Rasp said it took me longer to read your post than it did watching us on MotD last night.

    I love it as well that we are still not being taken seriously as title contenders, this game in hand is sure fooling the media.

    They are all banging on how Roonchester United played yesterday.. lol..

  16. avenell says:

    Oh and thanks for the name check in the post London.. I have never been called Somebody before.. 😉

  17. avenell says:

    Oh and before any other blog steals Roonchester United.. you heard it here first.. 😉

  18. villarobbo says:

    Yesterday I came on here full of hope…and apprehension. After the first half I was still hopeful as your lot seemed to be missing the creative spark you’d need to cut through our much improved defence.
    My guess is that at half time you were nervous that we’d be able to keep you out and score a breakaway goal.
    Shame games aren’t 45 minutes long though eh?
    We seemed to run out of steam, misplaced a few passes, and the greater footballing skills of a number of your players shone through. I wasn’t that impressed with Walcott again, but what I’d give for a Fabregas on the bench!
    I’m hoping that you lot can go from strength to strength now and that we can bounce back against Liverpool.
    Both things would be good for the future of the premiership.

  19. peachesgooner says:

    Morning ave

    I think the media had dropped us out of the top four not just out of the running for the title. Everything I’ve read today is laced with surprise that we are up there competing………how wonderful if Arsene actually buys a couple of re-inforcements to help us keep up the challenge.

  20. avenell says:

    Cheers villarobbo.

    Fabregas certainly brings us to life he is our heartbeat and quarter back all rolled in to one. How we started the second half we normally start all games then we die off as the game progresses.. That’s like you say when we get caught on the break.
    I’m glad that Carew didn’t start though.

  21. avenell says:

    Morning Peaches.. I thought you got kidnapped last night. 😉

  22. peachesgooner says:

    Sorry ave I got engrossed watching the telly 🙂

  23. rico says:

    Morning Roadsters,

    Off to read the London Review 🙂

  24. London says:

    Good Morning Somebody

    I didn’t realise it was you lol 😉

  25. avenell says:

    Everybody… needs Somebody.. Morning London and Rico..

  26. rico says:

    Nice one London, who could really disagree 🙂

    Great result, just ‘Fab’ 🙂

  27. Irishgunner says:

    Morning all,

    Nice to see a gracious Villa fan around. I want them or Fulham to finish 4th (or higher, just below us)

    Have a peek if ye have time.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/315137-cesc-fabregas-arsene-wenger-rumours-couldnt-be-further-from-the-truth

  28. rico says:

    Come On You Hammers 🙂

  29. avenell says:

    That’s about 5 posts all in one Irish..

    Well done..

  30. Irishgunner says:

    I was tired after writing that one Avenell ha ha

    I just clicked on the Timesonline article and didn’t get why the journalist had to link Wenger and Cesc with a move away just because we won…

    When we lose they are off, when we win they are off…

    Strange creatures are sport commentators.

  31. London says:

    Life is definitely better with them Irish

  32. rico says:

    Great report Irish,

    I posted yesterday that anyone who thinks Cesc is off needs to watch his celebration, and rewind several times over – his face was a picture and was not a face to suggest he was on the move any day soon…

  33. Irishgunner says:

    That it is London and it would be just fabulous with a few trophies.

    Imagine Rico some fans were questioning Cesc’s commitment to Arsenal – think he has answered them.

  34. Irishgunner says:

    Flip……..

  35. Rasputin says:

    Poor ol’ wham, Parker – their best player off injured, then Ilunga subbed…. Lucky spuds, let’s hope Diamanti can produce some magic … he reminds me of DiCanio

  36. avenell says:

    Irish.. if you are about.. do you read your emails still.. if so I would like to send you one if that is okay.

  37. Irishgunner says:

    Yep do indeed Avenell

  38. avenell says:

    Haha Rasp.. DiCanio always reminds me of Winterburn giving him a load of verbal when he got sent off for SW.. DiCanio turned around and Nige bottled it.. Do you remember that?

  39. JonJon says:

    nice one london..

    i watched the game with plenty of beer at hand as i thought it was going to be a tough affair, but it looked like villa never turned up…it was too easy..

    even in the first half i thought villa were poor…we just couldnt break them down becuase we looked untidy going forward…we were beating oursleves..everything just seemed to keep breaking down and i kept shouting at song to stay back…i thought he was pushing upfield far too much and alot of his passes were going astray…i wasnt impressed with denilson either…he always passes to the man who has nowhere to go or is marked by 2 men…his stats for passing looks great but the bloke he passes it to loses the ball 50% of the time cos hes got nowhere to go..

    i found it very frustrating, there was a moment early in the second half where we won the ball in our own half and nasri,dudu and AA had a three on three with the villa defenders and if the right ball would have been played the break was on, but song and denilson decided it was better to pass it from side to side to one another in the centre circle, 3 needless passes i counted and both were in yards of space..too slow, no decisiveness and very frustrating, by the time the ball got released properly villa were back in position…pure crab football…thank god cesc game on..

    young, milner and ablongahor had very poor games..on another day they would have taken advantage of so many mistakes…

    cescs class shone through and he tidied things up in the midfield..he calmed things down and found the space denilson and song couldnt…

    and if rvp thinks hes taking the freekicks again when he comes back hes got another thing coming…he hadnt scored from one in 1000 attempts and as soon as hes injured we bang in two from two different players..amazing…

  40. Irishgunner says:

    This game is sooooooo dull, I’m not wasting my eyes on it anymore, off to bed, laters all.

  41. avenell says:

    Afternoon jonjon..

    Night Irish.. and thanks..

  42. rico says:

    Afternoon peeps…

    Still 1-0 to the scummers then 😦

  43. avenell says:

    No, 2 poxy 0 now 😦

  44. JonJon says:

    hi guys..

    not bothered about the spuds..we are still ahead of them with 2 games in hand…

    now villa are out of the way weve got some good looking fixtures for the next 4 games…with or without cesc we should be top of the league by the time we play villa again..then the real test begins…

  45. rico says:

    Bummer ave, but look on the bright side, WH will be low in confidence and we have got the in the FA Cup on Sunday 😉

  46. rico says:

    Hi JJ – couldn’t agree more, look at our next three league fixtures

    06 Wed Premier League H Bolton Wanderers

    09 Sat Premier League H Everton 15:00

    17 Sun Premier League A Bolton Wanderers

    🙂

  47. rico says:

    Chelsea have to go to Burnley and play Birmingham and Sunderland – could be tricky without the Drog & Essien

    😉

  48. avenell says:

    We can’t have the Spuds winning or St Tott’s day will be late..

  49. JonJon says:

    dont forget pompey rico… 😉

    i think chelsea are begining to collapse…

    and im not worried about roonchester utd…they are capable of losing to anyone home and away…

    the titles between us and chelsea and if we can be top after the bolton game i think we’ll start to pull away…

  50. avenell says:

    The three games against Roonchester United, the Chavs and the Dippers at the end of Jan will make all the difference we need to keep the confidence up then if we are close to the top after that it is an easier run in for us than the others..

  51. rico says:

    😳 JJ, I forgot Wednesdays game 😉

  52. avenell says:

    I don’t know if you know rico.. but there is a widget at the top.. 😉

  53. JonJon says:

    yeah ave..

    if we go into those games top of the league and on a 5 game winning streak i think we’ll come through those games and pull away…

    confidence and injuries will be a key factor…

  54. avenell says:

    I’m going to do some work now before the abuse comes.. 🙂

    Soon..

  55. JonJon says:

    yeah rico..

    ppl take a great deal of effort to set up those widgets.. 😉

  56. JonJon says:

    seeya ave

  57. rico says:

    😛 😛 JJ, you are full of naughtiness I see 😉

    ave, I thought it was your new years resolution to do some work, you have a couple of days yet and it is a Bank Holiday today 😉 😉

  58. JonJon says:

    im always full of naughtiness rico. 😉

    fulham beating chelsea…. 😉

  59. rico says:

    Never 😉

    Come on Fulham 🙂 🙂

    Got family coming over in a minute 😦 😦 Back very soon 🙂

  60. JonJon says:

    seeya rico

  61. avenell says:

    Phew I missed her.. 😯

    Fulham Rd 0.. Fulham 1.. 🙂

  62. JonJon says:

    chelsea fans booing…lmao

  63. JonJon says:

    drogbas been down injured 4 times already… 😉

  64. avenell says:

    That must be a record… why so few times?

  65. JonJon says:

    i can sense a new manager at fulham roadski for xmas… 😉

  66. JonJon says:

    wenger should rest cesc now until the villa game…

    we shouldnt need him against any of the teams we play inbetween…

    what concerns me is where the hell is rosicky??

  67. avenell says:

    Sod it I’m going to watch the Second half..

    Kettle going on.. 😉

  68. avenell says:

    T Rosicky Groin Strain 9th Jan 10

    K Gibbs Metatarsal Fracture Feb 10

    R Van Persie Sprained Ankle Apr 10

    G Clichy Back Injury 9th Jan 10

    N Bendtner Inguinal Hernia 9th Jan
    10

    J Djourou Knee Injury Mar 10

  69. Rasputin says:

    Hi JonJon,

    What’s happened to Nik too? He went off to have a groin op -0 back in 3 to 4 weeks and now he’s got a knee injury?

  70. JonJon says:

    hey rasp..

    never??? i was hoping nik would be back soon to fix out striker problems…

    if he aint back soon i think wenger will buy a striker…

  71. Rasputin says:

    If you believe that Arsene tells lies for the greater good to deflect attention away from his real plans, that may be true JonJon. He’s said that he has no-one in mind at the moment. I still think that the most likely outcome is that we won’t buy anyone 😦

  72. avenell says:

    bollocks Drogba.. c’mon Fulham…

  73. avenell says:

    ffs lucky Chavs get a own goal now.. why don’t we get there luck?

  74. JonJon says:

    i dunno rasp…

    its a tough one to call…

    i actually think we have enough options to handle the upcoming fixtures..but when the games against the top teams come up at the end of jan i think we need someone…

    so he may not sign someone if nikki can make a comeback…and if he does sign someone it wont be until late jan anyway…

  75. JonJon says:

    bollox…chelsea winning…bastards…
    comeon fulham

  76. JonJon says:

    bollx

  77. London says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that Wenger says things designed to steer attention away from his real goal. The best example is what he said about Arshavin.

  78. avenell says:

    Jammy pieces of shit…

  79. rico says:

    Ave you old git, I saw your comment….. 😦 😦

    😉

  80. avenell says:

    Moi.. 😉

    Rico I don’t know how to put this, but we need to clean up the Girlie Bits.. chuck out the piccies you don’t want sometime..
    People are viewing it and seeing a load of lizards and chickens with no explanation..

  81. rico says:

    Best you get on to it then ave 😉

    Personally, I would bin the whole section, but you’re the boss 😉 😉

  82. avenell says:

    Let’s get some idea’s for a page up there then if nobody likes it..

    I didn’t want to just bin your pics, it was always handy as a place to show pics of a more personal nature.

    Arsenal Songs? Jokes? Arsenal history.. I don’t know all have a think..

  83. avenell says:

    We could put a list up of all the rows everyone has had on the blog…. and call it the London page. 😉

  84. peachesgooner says:

    Having girlie bits like a lizard is no mean fete 😳

  85. peachesgooner says:

    The London Page 🙂 😛 😀

  86. avenell says:

    Glad you changed the subject there Peaches.. my carry on joke book was coming out.. 😉

  87. rico says:

    ‘Tit Bits’ ave – with a write up for why the page is there ?? How’s that? JJ, what do you think?

  88. rico says:

    😆 😆 peaches, that lizzard comment has made me chuckle…

  89. peachesgooner says:

    Hi rico how are you?

    I spent over an hour in heaven this afternoon while Fulham were one up 😀

  90. peachesgooner says:

    We all know JJ is a bum and legs man …… 😉

  91. avenell says:

    Yeah the duracells in the remote contol don’t seem to last as long.

  92. peachesgooner says:

    😀

  93. Rasputin says:

    Is a man fete one where you don’t win any prizes? 😳

  94. peachesgooner says:

    Where did my 😀 go ave?

  95. avenell says:

    Where was it Peaches I’ll edit it in?

  96. Rasputin says:

    opps – just made myself look silly 🙄 man fete = mean fete

  97. rico says:

    Just tip top thanks peaches, you??

    Hi Rasp, great cricket today 😛

  98. peachesgooner says:

    Yes rasp a man fete is where you don’t win any prizes

  99. Rasputin says:

    I have some ideas for categories ave…. 👿

  100. JonJon says:

    lmao guys..

    i really dont know about the top of the page..it does need a tidy up i suppose but im out of ideas…

  101. London says:

    There’s not enough room up there for all of them 😉

  102. avenell says:

    haha.. classic.

  103. avenell says:

    What about a page on strimmer maintenence Rasp?..

    Fuel mixes and how to adjust the head etc..

  104. peachesgooner says:

    rasp – We’ve already got Raifs terminology for bad typos and spelling 😳

    Talking of Raif, where’s he been?

  105. avenell says:

    He’s a bit stressed out Peaches.. he was on a few weeks ago..

    I’ll edit your comment later you naughty girl. 😉

  106. rico says:

    And there was me peaches thinking you were just about to rescue a few Battery Chickens 😉 😉

    It must be because I am so young and innocent…. 😉

  107. peachesgooner says:

    No you must edit it now……stamps her feet in true spoilt princess style 😳

  108. avenell says:

    Don’t hurt your bad foot..

  109. peachesgooner says:

    Its ok I’ll stamp the other one….. 😀

  110. avenell says:

    I’m off out to do a bit.. I’ll be back in an hour..

    keep the blog warm..

  111. rico says:

    Off for the night, catch you all tomorrow

  112. avenell says:

    Yeah nite rico.. 😉 I might nip off too.

  113. rico says:

    Morning Roadsters

    New post

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