By Walter Broeckx
Let us start with the thing I didn’t like at all. That was only one thing in fact. But a moment that could haunt us for a few week if not months. I mean the injury from Theo with some 10 minutes to go. What is the matter with our central strikers for the moment? In one week time we first lost Giroud, then Bendtner and now Theo. This is surely a world record in losing strikers. Even for Arsenal. I fear an Oxlade-Chamberlain kind of injury to be honest. His foot was stuck in the ground and then he slipped and his knee made a strange movement.
I keep my fingers crossed that nothing is ruptured but I fear the worst. And maybe England may start to fear also for losing their fastest player for the world cup. 6 months is the normal length to recover and even then it takes a bit more to get completely fit. So this is the bad thing for us tonight.
But for the rest….OH MY GOD! Did we outplay them or did we outplay them for 80 minutes? I don’t count the last 10 minutes of course. As we then were playing with 10 men. But even then they didn’t have any clear cut chances. According to my match commentator the spuds only could get to one real chance in the whole 90 minutes. And who am I to disagree with him. That chance came early in the game when a clearance from Koscielny hit Eriksen who had could run towards Fabianski. But he spread himself well and could turn the ball in corner. A great and important save! Well done Lukas! I thought Fabianski had a great game and he sure looks ready to fill in if required. Not that he had to do much but what he had to do it was done in a calm way.
Let us go back to Theo upfront. Well that wasn’t bad if you ask me. Ok the only thing missing was a couple of goals. And he should have scored a few. But his creating space, his running in to space was excellent. He had a few shots from distance that were just saved…I thought we had another good backup for Giroud and Bendtner. Till 10 minutes from the end.
Let us move on to the player that more and more looks to be getting another world class player: Serge Gnabry. The way the young German accelerated in front of the Tottenham defense drawing them to him and then releasing a perfect pass to Cazorla was excellent. Earlier this week the headline on Arsenal.com was an interview from Koscielny who said that this year would be the year for Gnabry to come good. If this young man keeps on doing what he did today I think Kos is right. The way he played and worked was amazing to see. Another well done from my part, Serge! (Koscielny – Gnabry will have a big 2014)
And then that old warrior. Our oldest player on the pitch but as one of the (female) people who was watching the game at our home said: oh what a babyface. She could hardly believe that he was already 32 years old. Or young. Because the way he runs around the pitch for 90 minutes is amazing. By being so badly injured for so long he missed almost 2-3 seasons as a footballer. And each time you see him play it is as if he wants to make up for the lost time.
The way he took the ball from Rose on experience and then ran in to space towards Lorris are sometimes the most difficult runs. You have the time to start thinking about what you are going to do. And as his springing speed is not that one of Theo’s class he knew a defender could get on his tail. He looked behind him to see from where he was coming, positioned his body between the ball and the defender so he would make a foul and get a red card if he would tackle him.
And just on the right moment as he waited for Lorris to make the first move he clipped the ball over the keeper who went to the floor. My fist pumped up and down for a while after that in celebration. He sure likes the derby matches against Tottenham our Rosicky. But not just for his goal he was great all round in working hard both offensive and defensive.
Going back to being unlucky I must mention my compatriot captain Vermaelen. He was having a great game but I think he injured himself also in the first half when he made a great tackle on Soldado. I just hope it is just a flesh wound that he suffered, because I did think I saw some blood and an open wound after that. But he pulled up his socks over the wound and kept on going for the rest of the first half.
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With Per coming on for TV we got back to the old familiar defence in the second half and I felt very assured that they would not let the spuds score. And then when Arteta going off I sure hope this was just a precaution and not an injury because it sure was enough for one match.
This was a great performance from a team that missed several of their best players and lost a few players with injury and even went down to 10 men and had to play the final 15 minutes with one outfield player less on the field. We then sat back and showed that by now we know how to defend when we are in the defending mood.
A complete performance from Arsenal. I don’t demand that we win the FA cup (would be great of course). I will not be calling any ones head if we go out at some stage. But going out against the spuds would be a painful affair. But this performance against a team that had just come back with a win from Old Trafford and full of good vibrations was amazing. Completely dominated the proceedings for 80 minutes is my take on the match. One little bit of criticism is that we could have finished them off much earlier.
Oh, by the way a big thank you for the fans in the stadium. We could hear you. Loud and clear! Well done.