Andrey Arshavin scored in injury time to seal the victory and bag 3 points for the gunners, as they overcame Burnley 3-1 to keep their title challenge on course. To say that we were wasteful in front of goal is an understatement, the main culprit Nicklas Bendtner, spurned numerous chances that could have put this contest to bed by the start of the second half. Instead we let Burnley hang around way too long, and they even threatened to equalize off a corner kick. Fabregas hobbled off with a hamstring injury as we await word on the extent of the damage. He was replaced by Abou Diaby. It is likely Cesc will miss the game against Porto on Tuesday (fingers crossed).
We went ahead in the 34th minute through a wonderfully crafted goal, capped by a cool Fabregas finish assisted by Samir Nasri. I felt we were sluggish right from the start as we couldn’t turn possession into goals. We weren’t helped by the linesman to be fair, there were two instances in the first half where i felt we had clear chances only to be flagged offside. After the first half goal Fabgregas was taken off as a precautionary measure because of a slight hamstring pull. I wish him well and hopefully he makes a quick recovery.
The start of the second half was more of the same from Arsenal, lots of possession with no bite in the final third. Bendtner missed an open goal as he headed wide off the post leaving us still searching for that killer second goal, but it was Burnley who took advantage of our wastefulness to equalize in the 51st minute through David Nugent. At that point i think the lads realized they’d been dicking around long enough and began to pick up the pace. The extra pressure saw us pepper Bryan Jensen goal with more shots. Finally, the deadlock was broken as Walcott turned his defender and shot into the corner of the net. The introduction of Arshavin in the 61st minute, meant more pacey wingers for Burnley to deal with. Walcott silenced his critics for a day but u know they will still be questioning his performances. After being called a player with no footballing brain by Chris Waddle, it was nice to see him score. He needs to build on this performance if he is to make it to South Africa.
If i counted correctly, he missed 4 clear-cut chances and by all accounts he should have had a hattrick, and I’m sure he knows it too. Wenger tried to protect him after the game saying;
“I believe at the surface he looks like ‘okay, I missed the chances’, but underneath he is really disappointed. Everybody has a different way to show his emotions, and he hides well, but he cares”
I am sure he cares Wenger, but as a self-proclaimed best striker of the league, Mr. Pink Boots should be putting those chances away. You won’t always get them so easy and if this game had been away at Hull, we’d be coming back to the emirates with 2 dropped points. Maybe it’s because of the midweek internationals everyone is getting to know each other again, but we can’t afford performances like this knowing that Fabregas could potentially be set for a spell on the sidelines. I think Nicklas puts too much pressure on himself, I’ve seen his performances for Denmark and he not at all shabby. When he plays for club though he seems uncoordinated and clumsy, hopefully this is just one of those days – a bad day at the office – he now needs to focus on the next game.
As it stands we are tied with Chelsea and 2 points behind united, having played one more game than Chelsea. A win by Chelsea would return the gap to 3 points. We just need to take care of our business and forget about Chelsea and United, who looked very ordinary against Wolves.
‘Til Tomorrow Come On You Reds!!