By Walter Broeckx
Oh sometimes you can’t wait to write your article about the match and then you find other things on your path so you have to wait a bit. A bit too long. Certainly after a match like this.
A match that even before the game was started was all about Aaron Ramsey.
Jack likes to start quick for the moment it seems. Hardly a minute gone and Jack curled in a wonderful shot. But the cross bar saved the keeper who was well beaten. That would have been some goal. And amazingly how Jack has found his shooting boots lately. Long may it continue. That was a big scare for the Cardiff fans.
The next scare was for Arsenal fans. When Sagna and Mertesacker both went for the same ball their heads clashed. The Big German went f*cking down and looked K.O. On the TV you could see that he was bleeding in his mouth. I admit that after the early ball coming of the woodwork and seeing Big Per down I feared: surely, this isn’t going to be one of those days. Hitting crossbars, getting injured players and then concede a penalty goal in the last minute… But to my great relieve the Big German spit out the blood and maybe some teeth and came back on.
His influence could be seen immediately as it was the only moment when Cardiff threatened in the first half from open play. But the header from Campbell went wide. The next moment was a controversial moment.
A ball ended up with Giroud who was so sure he was offside he stopped play and looked up and then saw that the assistant didn’t raise his flag and that he could have continued. One replay showed that Özil had a little touch on the way and then Giroud was indeed offside. And Giroud knew it and stopped accordingly.
Now the assistant did make a strange move. I think the assistant wasn’t sure that Özil had touched the ball and he kept his flag down (maybe talking to the ref? ) but he also stopped his run and that is strange. Because he didn’t follow the second last defender at that moment any more. So it all went wrong at that moment. Giroud his honesty can be applauded but if it would have been the difference between winning/draw/losing the others might not have been so forgiving. I can imagine the fans not liking it.
But as I like that games are won fair and square I would have hated it if we would have won a game with such a goal. And about what followed was no controversy.
During all this Arsenal was in control. One could say complete control. It was waiting for the moment we would score our first goal. And when it came it was no surprise on who was involved.
A few seasons ago Arsenal went to Cardiff for a cup match. It was Ramsey his first visit back to his old club. Ramsey was completely rubbish in that match. I remember seeing it and thinking to myself: ‘take him off, Arsène, take him out of this nightmare’. But nothing of that today. Ramsey was impressive as he has been all season so far.
And of course we have our BMS (Big Money Signing) Mesut Özil. His perfect cross found Ramsey who had seen the gap in the Cardiff defence and scored with a nice looping header over the keeper. Poor Aaron scoring such a wonderful goal and then not feeling able to really show your excitement and joy. Of course when Ramsey went to Arsenal I think most Cardiff fans will have regretted his move but would have understood it. Maybe we have a lot of Cardiff supporters who support since that moment Arsenal as their second team? It was amazing to see however how many Cardiff fans stood up and applauded Ramsey. I don’t think they would have applauded if it would have been any other Arsenal player that would have scored that goal.
What followed was more control by Arsenal. It felt as if we didn’t want to finish them off. Something that we would like to see happening at some time of the season. Ramsey had the best chance to do it just before half time but he couldn’t keep his shot on target. So we went in being 1-0 in front at half time.
And in seasons before you then could be afraid because you know at some moment there will be a chance for the other team. But our defenders were as we know them they can be this year: strong, calm, cool and not letting much pass. The biggest chance came from a corner that was looped high up in the air and Campbell could head from some 7 meters out but then Szczesny showed what a great keeper he is by pushing the header out. Mertesacker did the rest and blocked the ball out for a corner and the danger was diverted.
We leaned back a bit and at times Cardiff tried to press us but with not much happening apart from a few shots from distance that were comfortably held by Szczesny.
People who have been moaning about the return of ‘cheap Flamini’ had to swallow another bit of humble pie. When he came on, he organised, pressed the Cardiff players, pointed at others where to run and what to do. Özil once again showed his brilliance in assisting goals. He got the ball on the right hand side with some options on the left and down the middle. His inch perfect pass with just the perfect weight on it found Flamini who had joined the attack and his fierce shot flew high in to the Cardiff goal. What an amazing pass and what a great finish by Flamini.
There were 86 minutes on the clock and this was the moment we could finally relax. A 0-1 lead is always risky how well you play and how strong you are. We should have finished off the game a bit earlier but well as long as we win it doesn’t really matter of course.
After Wenger had brought on first Flamini and then later on Monreal he then took Özil off and replaced him with Theo Walcott. Theo was close to a Cardiff attack in our own penalty area and then Ramsey could break and brought the ball up field. He released Theo on the right who waited for support in the middle and who else but Ramsey had followed up his run and was unmarked in the penalty area. Theo to Aaron and he thumped the ball ‘in the pin’ (as we say it in Flanders) for another Arsenal goal.
0-3 was the final score against a team that had beaten Manchester City already at home. Against a team that almost had beaten Manchester United that only managed a point with some referee help.
But hey let that not be a reason for the pundits to change their point of view about Arsenal. Well gentleman: Keep on predicting it. I think our players find it another reason to stuff it up as we do for the moment.
As I type this we are 7 points in front and the other teams have to catch us up. We have 11 points more than we had last season this time of the season. I noticed that Hansen and Shearer (Waldorf and Stadtler from the Muppet show) were absent today. They must be sick of us winning our games I think. Long may they feel sick.
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