Happy Monday to you. It’s always good starting a new week when Arsenal won. It’s even better when that happens against Tottenham. After 2 consecutive draws, Arsenal maintains their 100% winning record at Ashburton Grove with a comprehensive victory against a side who started the week mouthing off about how great their team are, but has now gone home with their heads firmly between their legs.
Now, it is not often that we see any emotion from the great man that is Arsene Wenger, but judging from his pitch-side behaviour, you would’ve thought that we were the ones losing. According to the official quote on Arsenal.com,
“I threw my jacket up because I was frustrated. I could not communicate with my players because of the noise of the stadium. I am not used to that. That’s why I got frustrated because I felt it was important for the team not to concede a goal today because any goal with what happened recently could have caused a panic maybe and resurgence of Spurs.”
He even threw his jacket down in frustration. Funny how he chose to walk all the way back to his seat before throwing it there rather than on the floor where he first stood. Perhaps it was a very expensive piece of clothing. Still, it was weird seeing him do that. Even the best or worst of times, we rarely see him celebrate or throw any sort of tantrum compared to most other managers. However, in more recent times, we’ve managed to catch glimpses of his antics in reaction to goals scored or conceded.
I’m going to guess that his comments were more tongue in cheek than actually criticising the fans for making the atmosphere a splendid one. Of course, we know that with the move to the Grove comes more fans that traditionally did not attend matches at Highbury, and as such you could always feel that there is something lacking in terms of noise level and also atmosphere. I kinda sense Wenger’s anger because even though we lead the game, we were giving the possession away far too easily. Pass completion might have been one the lowest in any of the games we’ve played this season. After the debacle of the last drawn game, this is a statistic we cannot afford to drop.
The only bad news coming out from the game was Nicklas Bendtner’s withdrawal in the first half. After scoring on his starting return against Liverpool in the Carling Cup, I’d expected the big Dane to feature consistently for the first team. In the games that he had started on the right side of the attacking 3, we’ve always found a better balance in going forward. He will win those headers which gives Van Persie or Fabregas to receive the knockdowns. It’s a pity though. Get well soon Nicky.
Over the past 2 seasons since he signed for Arsenal, Bacary Sagna is one of the many of Wenger’s wonderful discoveries. However all of the attributes that the French right back has, crossing is not one of his better virtues. So in all due respect, his 2 good crosses in 2 games augurs well for the future. Some might argue that the last 2 that came in the Spurs game were more down to luck than skill but at this level, a little bit of luck goes a long way. Defensively he has look as strong as ever and in games like this when Clichy is constrained to do more defensive work than attacking, Sagna will have to assume more responsibilities down his side of the pitch.
After the euphoria of the derby day victory, the squad goes straight back to training to prepare for the Champions League encounter with Alkmaar. Win and Arsenal will definitely guarantee safe passage to the next round and Wenger will be more relaxed and able to rest players for the last 2 remaining group games after that. Judging by Arshavin’s lethargic performance lately, he will need it more than others.
Life is sweet when we beat Spurs.