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Super, super Nick… never write a player off before he really is gone

By Walter Broeckx

In this period of the season we all like the odd present like we got last season when we beat Newcastle 7-3 at the Emirates. That was a great and entertaining match. But to have such a match you need two teams who want to play for it. I don’t think Cardiff came with that intention today.  It was clear they set themselves to defend with 10 man and hope for a lucky counter.

The fact that Manchester City won at Swansea surely added extra pressure on Arsenal as they now knew that only a win would keep us top.

Some of our important players missing didn’t help of course. But the good thing was that players who were doubtful like Theo and Jack made the team.  Podolski was the player who came in for the injured Giroud. After missing out for 4 months and with only some 20 minutes of match practice a tough task.

We started slowly apart from Theo who caught offside a few times. The first chance fell to Theo but his shot went in the side net from a difficult angle.  Ref Moss who usually is rather good on important decisions didn’t notice the trip on Jack Wilshere half way the first half.  That would have made life a bit easier for Arsenal but he didn’t gave the obvious penalty.  But do we really expect  decisions to go our way? From a ref point of view the yellow card for Mertesacker was a correct one.

A fine move from Cazorla gave a shooting chance for Walcott but his shot found the side netting again.  Arsenal pressured for almost the whole time but the blue wall was standing firm.  Podolski standing in the way of a Cazorla shot just before half time wasn’t the best thing to happen of course.   And a bit later Podolski couldn’t  get a shot away. Much possession but in the first half but not enough created.

The second half was the same pattern. Arsenal pressing Cardiff back (or Cardiff pushing themselves back) and Arsenal working hard to get an opening. But when there was the slightest opening the Cardiff players were always quick on the ball and with lots of people around the ball.  On a seldom attack from Cardiff the ref didn’t wanted to know about a shout for handball from Monreal. The ball bouncing up from his leg to a hand behind his head would have been harsh.

Not much luck for Jack when his shot rattled the outside of the post after a nice solo. It was the signal for  Wenger to bring on Rosicky and Bendtner. Podolski and Flamini went to the bench.  Mertesacker with two headers in a row but both times it just went wide. The second one also hitting the post.  One of those days…. Surely…

Attacking wave after attacking wave went in the direction of the Cardiff goal. Walcott going down but again ref Moss was determined not to give the penalty Arsenal deserved. Mr. Moss lost some points there.  One more than one occasion I counted 11 players in blue in their own penalty area.  It was surely getting very frustrating by now. Bendtner, Rosicky, Sagna, all and everyone had a possible chance but it just didn’t fall for Arsenal.

Slowly the feeling started creeping in: yes this was such of those lousy days when it just didn’t work out.  We needed a big saviour. A super saviour. Did we have him? Yes, we had him! After a long attack Sagna headed in but another save from the keeper who pushed the ball back in field and then Super Nick was first on the ball and shot the rebound high in the roof. FINALLY!!!!! Thank you Nick.

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But alas… Bendtner injured himself and sprained his ankle and so he seems to be out for a few weeks. How unlucky can you get? Vermaelen came on for Bendtner.  To many people their amazement Cardiff was rewarded with 5 minutes of extra time…surely after having wasted so much time  themselves they shouldn’t have gotten that much time.

But to make up for it minutes later Wilshere released Walcott and he lobbed the keeper to make it 2-0. Nothing less than we deserved.

Szczesny came up with a super block in the 4th minute of Cardiff wasted time in order to not reward the time wasting team.

So a frustrating game finally got the final score it deserved (if not more). The bad thing is that we now lost our main striker last game and now we lost our back up striker…surely the bad luck has to end somewhere….

But here we are back top of the league. And now we see that together with City and Chelsea  we slowly move away from the rest. So it is football against the oilers for the moment.

44 comments to Super, super Nick… never write a player off before he really is gone

  • WalterBroeckx

    Winning in the last minutes…wasn’t this what MU was all about over the last years?

  • Sam

    I have to give NB credit, I was not too confident in him coming back, but he played a role today. Better target man than Poldoski at least. Poldoski is better coming in from the left. Top of the league.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Great win. When is Giroud due back?
    Spurs had their own win against ManU, which takes them out of contention for the championship. adebayor got injured, so I doubt he’ll be making it for the Saturday FA cup game.

  • Me

    Don’t recall Man Utd ever having 3 penalty appeals denied!

  • AL

    Nick was looking sharp when he came on, each time he had the ball you felt like something would come off it. Shame about the injury as it might mean AW rushing Giroud back. But at least(never nice to see people get injured, but….) the spuds also lost their on form striker through injury so looking forward to Sat(Soldado couldn’t hit an elephant’s bum with a banjo :)).

  • Persian gunner

    I couldn’t see the game so can’t talk about it very much
    But it’s a real pleasure to see all of the players are fighting hard until the last minutes of the game
    By the way Theo is on fire!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Agree about the fact that Poldi is better coming in from the left. Just as Theo one might say. A big blow for Nick to suffer an injury at such a moment. I think he might have earned himself a starting place for Saturday with his performance. Feel sorry for him.

    And yes we have missed Theo (last season our topscorer but who quickly people forget) for a few months and still are top of the league.

    Come on you Gunners, one more hard job to do on Saturday and then more than a week rest before we go to Aston Villa. And pay back time…unless…Mike sends the one we fear he might send….: Taylor…

  • elkieno

    Wow I am sooo tired at work right now, got to sleep at 4am!.
    Game kicked off at 1:50am and I absolutely must watch it, I can’t record and watch it later its not the same. I also feel that if I ask the team to give 100% then I too should give 100% and get up to watch them. Last time I missed the game was at utd (horrible time) and we lost so I won’t be doing it again!
    Top of the league and were having a laugh!
    Now for a looong day at work, coffee flowing so far so good!

  • bjtgooner

    It was unfortunate Bendtner was injured, he looked sharp today.

    Overall it was a good team performance in difficult conditions and a most valuable win.

  • Gary

    The problem with Bendtner is that he has the ability to score important goals in tough games. His goals to game ratio is quite good when one considers how many of those were substitute appearances.

    This ability to score important goals is the problem because most people probably think he is slightly short of the all round quality arsenal need in a striker, a poor first touch and no real pace and limited ability on the ball. However of all the strikers we have and have had over the last 5-6 years if anyone is likely to get on the end of a scrappy half chance in the box from a misplaced header it is probably Bendtner.

    That is why people don’t really want to just get rid of him because he can make something happen.

    As for Podolski through the middle he isn’t a target man, doesn’t mean he won’t make an excellent centre forward it just requires plan b football, maybe ball into space to utilise his and walcotts pace?

  • soglorious

    I can’t tell you how much of a burden NB’s goal relieved from my heart. Can you see the expression on AW’s face…
    To the game, I really feel, the referee was a little bit unsure of his duties today or their is a conflict in his heart to do what is right or to do the bidding of M.Riley.
    Cardiff has a game plan which was almost executed to perfection but I hope we get teams who really love to play football.
    On to the next game, a home game, let’s just win it cos we are playing the guys on the other side of the lane.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think the clothes from Wenger told the story even before kick off. 😉
    Usually Wenger is in a nice suit and dressed as if he was going to a fancy restaurant. But to my surprise he came out in a trainer jacket. As if to signal that it wasn’t going to be a nice restaurant event but some hard work event that would need to work hard and sweat till the end.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Another explanation might be that he spilled something on his costume jacket? 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    And a great thing is that most of us on here who support every player as long as he is an Arsenal player have never really gone on the abusing Bendtner trail. And so we can enjoy his goal fully.
    As for the AAA types who have shouted all this abuse towards Nick now have to gnash their teeth whilst enjoying the win. If they enjoy it of course as another game has gone by and we are still top of the league.


  • Gord says that Bendtner rolled his ankle when he came down on an opposing player’s foot. Which is probably why they expect him to be out for quite a while, it is probably a 2nd degree sprain.

  • Gord

    If you are interested Walter, you might find this link (to a paper, which is free) interesting:

    Referee bias contributes to home advantage in English Premiership football

    This is nominally looking at the EPL from 1994 to 2006, with some use of 1992-1994. They don’t say who the high bias referee is, my guess it is Mike Riley.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Seems a distinct lack of aaa types on here for the moment and very long may it continue

  • bjtgooner

    @Mandy – seconded!

  • AL

    Just read somewhere that Bendtner has scored more goals in open play than Soldado 🙂

    Rosicky is one hell of a player, the urgency that he brings to our attack is just unbelievable. He does everything at 100 miles an hr, the guy’s just amazing. Would love to see him and Bac finish their careers at Arsenal.

  • Ian Jenkinson

    Great win, I was trying to suck the ball into the net! I also feel sorry for Bendtner, he could have kicked on from this goal. A real shame that he will be out for a while now.

    Very interesting comment from Moyes after the game. He said about the penalty not given on Young (maybe Young’s reputation has finally caught up with him), and I quote “….the people who employ the referee’s are going to have to have a look at that….”.

    I found that very interesting indeed, when managers normally give out about the referee’s they speak about the individual referee themselves. It is very unusual to hear a manager mention the PGMOL (who are the people who “employ the referee’s” as mentioned in Moyes comment).

    More evidence that Untold work is spreading further still? Either way it is great to see the focus of blame switching to the PGMOL. And straight from the mouth of a “top” Premier League manager too.

    May a wider circle of scrutiny of the PGMOL begin

  • Cyberian

    From what I could tell from NBC stream, the crowd actually supported the team today. Can anyone attending game comment on the role of tyher crowd?

  • Grayfox001

    Crowd were good today although very quiet to begin with. My block is usually quite nosy but even we had a hard time trying to get support going. It really did seem like 90% of the ground were hung over. The depressing weather didn’t help much – it’s not often the crowd get soaked at AG.

    Cardiff fans were in good voice to begin with as to be expected.

    Our fans weren’t on the teams back though (apart from a few individually moaners – NOT AAA just people who like to moan). People did start to find their voices as match went on and the chances we had in 2nd half really got the crowd going.

    I think support was good right up to the goal when in the past crowd would have got really, really nervous at 85 mins

  • AL

    Noticed that too and thought it was a bit odd for Moyes to talk like that. It basically sounded like he was pointing his finger at somewhere else. Perhaps he felt a little let down that in years past he’s seen penalties given for much much less at the very same ground, and thinks utd are now being denied decisions which were automatic previously. Could he be about to renew his war with Riley?

  • Persian gunner

    Loved your way of explanation my friend!
    Actually I do that too, not exactly for watching the games, but for other tasks such as work out or study! I call myself common man! How do you expect Aaron Ramsey to work harder and harder, why you, yourself are a quitter! 🙂

  • elkieno

    Persian Gunner: I hear ya homie, practice what you preach etc.

    When Nik put the ball in the net a massive weight was lifted off my shoulders, my nails were gone (not really but you get it) I woke my daughter up when dancing in living room, all at 3:30am. They say that managers age alot during their tenure, surely us fans must too but no one has a before/after shot so really can’t tell.
    What are we gona do now with both strikers out? We showed how much harder it is when Pod played there (match fitness missing, granted) and Theo scored but he really came from the right to put the ball away, plus game was over by then?
    AW has some decisions to make indeed!

  • AL

    ‘Have you seen that decision?’ The United boss fumed, ‘That is a terrible decision. Adnan has got bumped, the boy (Danny Rose) has tried to edge him off the ball and it is a terrible decision.’

    ‘You would hope the people who put the referees out there would have a look at it and see if they think the referees are doing as well as they can do.’ – DM

  • para

    Well done lads, i was a little nervy as the game went on, but the second half was much better in our attacking, and i thought we will nick it, but 2 goals i did not expect.
    Glad ManU lost, don’t want them in Europe next season. Moyes says Manu will be a changed team next season? They are already a changed team now.
    Onward gunners.

  • Asif

    In a long while I missed an Arsenal match…as my online subscription played up and Starsports (a part of Sky network) which telecasts PL in India…chose to show the Chelski game! So I suffered more than anybody else (maybe)…

    I thought 1-0’s are the worst but the lesson learnt yesterday was that to wait for your first goal till almost the match is over in a game where you have created about 30 chances is priceless.

    Elkieno – you and I go through the same emotions…what it is like to scream in joy at 3 in the morning when everyone around is in a slumber!!!

  • bob

    “Would love to see him [Rosicky] and Bac finish their careers at Arsenal”
    From your keyboard to AW’s decision. Happy New Year!

  • bob

    “….the people who employ the referee’s are going to have to have a look at that….”. – David Moyes
    Ian Jenkinson,
    Nice catch. A small quibble: I think you made a spelling error: it’s not PGMOL, but PGMob. Do watch your p’s & q’s. 🙂

  • bob

    “seems to be out for a few weeks. How unlucky can you get?”
    It’s not “seems”, but, as AW said it yesterday, it is a matter of weeks. This (eventuality at striker) is why some have advocated for quality ensurance at striker in January.

  • Nepalese Gooner

    what a game it was!!!I almost peed when bentdner scored as i was holding it for a goal which never came… 😉 the screnning of football matches in south asian countries like Nepal,India etc is absolutely horrendous…starsports has 4 channels but they show football in only one and nonsense cricket in others and they always choose chelski game upon us… :(.hope they sort this out and atleast give live matches in 2 channels.Anyway Up The Gunners!!! COYG

  • WalterBroeckx

    Bob, nobody could predict Giroud being kicked out at Newcastle and then Nick getting injured 3 days later. Tomorrow the result of the scan of his ankle will be known according to Bendtner and then we will see how it goes from there on.

  • AL

    Happy new year to you too bob 🙂

  • bob

    Right, agreed, it’s not predictable. That’s the point of going for quality ensurance before there’s a problem at a known point of vulnerability. Nick seems to be coming good; but if he’s to be out for weeks, Poldi isn’t the backup man in that position. The fall-off there from Giroud is evident. In any case, it’s time to buy, now that we must.

  • Digvijay

    Off topic: I was watching a Chuks Aneke goal for Crewe Alexandra(where he is on loan). And o boy he is scoring goals, not many, but his goals are very well taken. Watch his . Does he not remind you off Viera?
    I havent seen Viera much but I heard at one point(From the DVD Arsenal Unbeaten, I believe) whenever the team was in trouble(like in the last game when the goals were not coming) they passed the ball to him and he scored. Cheers to the youth development!

  • Digvijay

    Woops, trying to get the link work :

  • bob

    p.s. and the last time we had to buy (when Gibbs went down), Arsene and scouts came up with Nacho Monreal. Real quality there.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Please give credit to Gooners in the US.
    I would have loved it to watch at 3 AM, as that would have been a continuation of the New Year’s Eve events, but we curtailed the celebrations early at about 2 AM, and we were up at 9:30 AM getting in the NBC sports extra feed, NBC sports having decided for the Chavs game instead. But it must be tough to have to wake up really early every weekend for the rest of the season. Growing up in the Near East, we had no access to any games, and I would routinely listen to games on the… radio!
    Anyway, Saint Nicklas showed up late, but what a wonderful present it was. It also looks like Mata may leave Chelski after all. And then there is Moyes bemoaning the fact that penalties are not aplenty as used to be under Red Nose (not Santa Claus) and not conceding that the manure of play has been: pass to Young or Januzaj, let them dive, and count on a sure penalty. It is not only Young caught out crying wolf, it is the whole despicable team being found out.

  • OMGArsenal

    Now is the opportunity for Gnabry,Walcott and Podolski to step up and show what they can do,in the absence of Giroud and Bendtner. What I found curious is that a month ago Bendtner was deadwood and a burden we needed to remove asap. Now he has become our saviour and an essential backup for Giroud. A little birdy tells me that we’ll NOT see a panic transfer of a striker this January but rather none at all OR maybe someone from out of left field who nobody expected but Wenger had as an option.
    Fortunately we can field an experimental team against the Spuds this Saturday and even IF we get out of the FA Cup, it could prove to be a blessing in disguise, alleviating our schedule congestion and worsening the Spuds. Regardless, it will tell us how Wenger will cope. Don’t forget that Ramsey,Ozil,and Gibbs are all due back in the next 3 weeks or so and our perennial crock Diaby is nearing full fitness (whatever that means for him) so we’ll be back to full strength sooner than later.
    We have Vermaelen, Monreal, Gnabry, Fabianski & Viviano, Jenkinson, Miyachi, Rosicky and Frimpong available as subs and Wilshere is showing promise once again so I’m comfortable with our choices for the moment….and Wenger isn’t panicking at all….nor should he.

  • The font

    Our chuks is quality

  • Stuart

    Good find about the referee bias, will have a thorough trad of that later.

  • edissimmo

    Ray, for Indian gunners they’re ahead of the UK so they would have been watching at 3am on the night of the first, not the 31st. Still good effort dragging yourself out of bed that early!

    I was there, and to echo the comments above the crowd were a bit subdued.

    Just in my way for tonight. Frankly if it wasn’t spurs i’d say we should put out the youth team and focus on the league but we have to give them a proper game.

    Fingers crossed