Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sweet Revenge as Arsenal retaliate in style

Arsenal snapped out of their Portugal misadventure in time to dispatch
Sunderland home without a point to show for their troubles at the

The Gunners came into the game on the backdrop of Manchester United's
defeat at the hands of Everton at Goodison Park. And they were
definately aware of the part they had to play if they were to deflate
Manchester United's title ambitions further.

Nicklas Bendtner heeded the supporters clamour for the curtain-raiser,
as he arrived at the right place and time to poke in Eboue's cross.
Francesc Fabregas ensured the safety of the points in injury time as
he cleverly forced Campbell into a challenge the youngster would
never have dreamt of commiting. Fabregas was available to assertain his
position as the most prolific midfielder this campaign as he slotted
in his 12th Epl goal of the season via the spot-kick to fast forward
Sunderland's dream of ending their winless streak.

Walcott and Eboue distinguished themselves from the pack as they
literally purchased the wings to cause havoc to the Sunderland
defence, thereby enabling Nicklas Bendtner and Nasri's potency up
With Walcott fully conscious of Capello's presence - he knew pretty
well there were no vacancies for mistakes and that might have been his driving force as he strived to please two gaffers and infact the
entensive Arsenal supporters fanbase.
He broke away successfully from his marker and it took the stiff resistance of
Craig Gordon (Sunderland's watchman) to deny him and make his presence felt.

Almunia back in for Lucasz Fabianski after the Pole's midweek blunders
against Porto cost us the advantage.
Almunia was rarely tested apart from Bent's clever shot - he was
visibly elated after the match. Sunderland's best opportunity fell to Jones who recieved a neatly calculated
pass from Kieran Richardson but his lack of composure was clearly
evident as he drove his low shot wide.

Despite our numerous defensive lapses, Almunia will be very proud of
his ability - he has kept two clean sheets. Didier Drogba was the last
player to get past the Spaniard and I hope it goes a long way in
boosting his confidence.

Mccartney by my standard was Sunderland's saviour and player of the
day albeit he lost a couple 100 metre sprints against Walcott. The
fastest Gunner made it a point of duty to afford him a headstart prior
to a potential chase before overtaking and leaving him for dead
several times.
What he couldn't attain in speed he achieved in blocks.
He was able to keep Sunderland's comeback dreams alive on two notable
occasions. He deflected Samir Nasri's powerful drive over the cross
bar. And recovered just in time to divert Nicklas Bendtner's goal
bound effort, the defender was relieved to see the post come to his
rescue and indeed that of Sunderland as a result of his vital touch.

We were unarguably the better team, though the scoreline didn't
flatter us but it was definately good enough to curtail Manchester
United's pace and reinstate the genuineness of our title pursuit.

Our performance might have been below average, but the most important
thing is we are within Manchester United's sight and it's only a
matter of tougher fixtures before Chelsea lose steam.

Bottomline - we played below average and still managed a win. That to
me is the stuff Champions are made of.
What about you?