Arsenal’s Emotional Rollercoaster At St Andews

Birmingham City (2) – (2) Arsenal
Walcott (49′, 52′)
St Andrews, Birmingham

Obviously the main talking point about this afternoons game was the horrific injury suffered by Eduardo Da Silva only 2 minutes into the game. The injury was so bad that the expressions on the Arsenal players faces told its own story, and the 9 minute delay meant that the severity of the damage done by Martin Taylor was sinking in on the pitch. The only thing we know at this stage that Eduardo’s season is over, and our thoughts go out to a player who has made a fantastic impact in his short time with the club.

Expectedly, the following 20 minutes after the game restarted was one and two touch football from both sides – with the players hardly making a challenge or tackle worthy of note.

With Birmingham down to 10 men and the Arsenal players visibly shaken it was vital that team focused on the task at hand an won the 3 points for the fans and the stricken Eduardo. Unfortunately, with the exception of Flamini and the back four, Arsenal looked jaded and taken aback with the events of the early part of the match and just couldn’t get their game going at all. Adebayor, Hleb and Fabregas looked the most shocked, which you can’t blame them for – when looking at Eduardo slumped on the ground with a broken leg you don’t just see your teammate – you see what could happen to you.

The first half performance was not like Arsenal at all, and Birmingham took advantage on 26 minutes when James McFadden scored a freekick from just outside the penalty area.

Arsenal looked sluggish and you had the feeling with the this could be Arsene’s most important half-time team talk of the season so far, because on the first half showing we looked like the injury to Eduardo would hugely effect the outcome of this game.

Credit to the team, as soon as the second half started Arsenal looked sharp and really up for the fight. Whatever Wenger said to the boys had made a difference as Arsenal stepped up their tempo and really took the game to Birmingham, who quite honestly had it easy in the first period.

And after only 5 minutes of the Arsenal’s pressure paid off.

Fabregas had a fantastic shot well saved by Maik Taylor which was pushed out for a corner and the little Spaniard took the kick which was won in the air by Adebayor and Walcott coolly tapped in from close range.

The pressure kept growing and growing and with the Birmingham keeper made some good saves from Adebayor, Fabregas and Hleb from long range efforts, and on 55 minutes Theo Walcott lashed a stunning left-foot shot into the bottom corner. Theo hadn’t scored in the Premier League before today’s game – and I’m sure you know the cliche about London Buses.

It was a truly fantastic response from the boys to comeback with only 10 minutes of the second half played, and at the risk of being over-emotional I felt so proud of the players. I was as shocked with the injury as the players and fans watching the game, and to fight back like that was really something. It might be only against Birmingham City, but the release I felt when Walcott lashed in his second goal was massive. Joy, anger and redemption all rolled into one.

After that Arsenal were in control, with Birmingham sitting back and waiting for the last 10 minutes to get their equaliser. They held out, despite Arsenal having the ball mostly in the final third and wasting a couple of openings. The opportunity on 77 minutes was probably the best chance to get the third goal and kill off the game but Adebayor failed to slot the ball into the net after another good save from Taylor. Bendtner was available square but the Togan didn’t look up and pick him out.

Birmingham came out in the last 10 minutes, and in all honesty Almunia had nothing to do. Arsenal defended well and even the most nervous Arsenal fan couldn’t see the home side getting back into the game. Unforuntately, with literally seconds of injury time remaining an uncharacteristic lapse in concentration from Gael Clichy gave Birmingham a life-line. Flamini played the ball into the path of the left-back but Clichy just waited far too long and tripped Parnaby to concede a penalty.

William Gallas was in sheer disgust and in some kind of protest walked off towards the tunnel before McFadden stepped up for the decisive kick.

Despite Almunia’s best efforts, McFadden smashed the penalty into the net and rescued a point in a game Arsenal should have easily seen off. You can’t really legislate for a mistake like that and the high range of emotions this afternoon got the better of the captain and while his frustration can be understood it was well over the top.

A positive we can take from this game was the response in the second half, but talk about things going against you. The injury to Eduardo clearly rocked Arsenal and you could almost write off the performance first half. And after fighting back to get the lead to throw away the game so late in the match is so devastating, especially against 10 men – it’s just unexpected.

Talk about an emotional rollercoaster.

It might be hard to remember after all that but Arsenal are still in the driving seat and the destination of the Premier League Title is still in our hands.

32 thoughts on “Arsenal’s Emotional Rollercoaster At St Andews

  1. Despite Andy Grays rantings- Clichy’s challenge was a good one- it was not a peno. That said he shouldn’t have put himself in that position. Our forwards have to shoulder some of the blame- Adebayor and Hleb were guilty of some poor decisions. Yet again we show our weakness- Utd would have won that game and now a mentally weak team has put itself under pressure. Long way to go yet.

  2. you’re always going to have some bad luck like a penalty that wasn’t being given but if you’re going to make sure that doesn’t affect the points you’ve got to be better than luck and give yourself a cushion when you can, bloody adebayor and his stupid golden boot, that pass would have been worth 2 points!!!

  3. Mate,

    I’ve seen the stills ….it looks like a break and a dislocation. His ankle and below looks like its been flattened against the turf. A similar injury to smith took 2 years to recover from …..end of next season he will be back i think.

    Amazing distraught Gooner

  4. i think it is days like this that we know the league is gone and as for ade what a tool all he wanted was to score his next goal and get a record or two he would not pass the ball and in the end HE cost us the pionts as much as geal who by the way won the ball it was not a pen but as long as we have a arse like that messing around up front we have no chance i am really pissed off as if he had of bothered to play in team mates and not be so selfish we would have won with alot to spare the man gets on my nerves i could not believe he missed that chance wed i had to see the replay when i got home after the game and still cant believe he missed it ass ass ass

  5. Saw the game in Malaysia. If Arsenal don’t win the title they have no one but themselves to blame.All top need to display ruthlessness in front of goal and the fanciful football doen’t help.Clichy shd have whacked the ball into touch instead of trying to be clever.
    All is not lost. The gunners need to tighten up at the back when leadiing with one minute by hoofing the ball far and away. I know this is alien to AW but this is what win trophies.
    If not for the BC goalie and some wastefulneess from the Arsenal players, the gunners could have won have won easily. so the lesson is don’t try to overpass and play pretty soccer if you want to win prizes.

  6. Could not have put it better myself.

    At the end of the match I wanted to cry and scream at the same time. We should have won this!

    But I just want Eduardo to be OK. I know the season is over for him but his career, at least, shouldn’t be finished. That would be a tragedy.

    And that s**t Taylor should be punished! It probably wasn’t malicious but it was a disgusting foul nonetheless.

    Get well soon Eduardo!

  7. Just seen the challenge from a different angle on net. Awful tackle. I hope taylor is banned for a very long time. He should be banned for as long as eduardo is injured!! Result was very dissapointing but immaterial really in the whole scale of things. Also, richard keys is the worst pundit on tv. He was more concerned with gallas going mad than anything else. The thing is richard keys doesn’t know what its like to challenege for trophy. He’s never even kicked a ball in his life. Mug. At least bbc has pundits that have achieved things. And david platt. Call yourself and ex gooner. Your a mug mate. According to platty it wasn’t even a yellow card!!!

  8. Good report, but I am so fucking angry, understandably we were por in the first half, and straight after the break we came out and went for the jugular, got the goals and were in control, but we had many chances, particularly Ade when he should have squared for BBB, at 3-1 we could have then fucked about, but no, we don’t take our chances, switch off and then get hit for a stupid, stupid error in the last minute.

    I totally understand Gallas and if I was captain, I would have gone mental in the dressing room, because some of these players have to wake up and realise what’s at stake, I can tell you now, there is no way Chelsea and Man Utd would have thrown that game away, and that lack of knowledge could really hurt us at the end of the season, a big 2 points dropped, and I’m so fucking angry! ARRRGGGHHH!

    BTW, my heart goes out to Eddy.

  9. As the titile run goes into overdrive be prapared for more challenges like the Eduaurdo one. You never know. What an innocent challenge could be masked to hurt and deprive Arsenal of their most important players.
    Who is next?Feb?Hleb? Ade?
    The challenge on Hleb was not punished with a card?The ref was nearby.
    Your comments please.

  10. bottom line is Man U and Chelsea would have won that match. disgusting challenge and horrific injury aside, we messed it up as soon as Gilberto came on. He is a liability and has no place in this Arsenal side. Wenger has been too sentimental with him. the sad fact is we do not have the strength in depth of squad of manure and the chavs and that is why we will not win the title. we have dropped 7 points to boro and b’ham. rubbish. Walcott was good but way too little too late. this club needs to buy quality back up players – rvp and rosicky have been out for way too many matches and that has cost us too. i can’t remember a season where i have seen such opposite sides of our team. Gallas’s behaviour today was an utter disgrace – no man u player would ever have done that. we simply do not have the team to win the league yet. gutted.

  11. I bet if it was some english player that got hacked off like taylor hacked eduardo it would have been all over the news with replays and slow motion played across the media…..

  12. bloody skychester sports could they be more biased, angry at them, but even more at our players, stop dicking about and score the next goal!!!

  13. The ref was crap! They were leaving there foot all the time. Although, I didn’t think taylors challenge was that bad until I saw the diff angles. Hope the papers show it in morning as he deserves to be shown up for what he is. A slow, fat thug who shouldn’t be on the football pitch!!

  14. i think we need to buy completely new strikers am no longer convinced by the commitment of all our forwards to our success and the whole attacking team seems to have developed an attitude of playing towards Adebayor even when u think one sh`d have scored i actually think we are going back to our days of depending on one man for goals overall we are profoundly lethargic in the final third than any team in the premier and unless the coach looks critically at this i have counted us out of any silver ware this season its painful as a fan to admit but for sincere reasons i do appreciate this fact

  15. Man… wat a fkn bad day.

    I hope dudu’s career isn’t finished yet..we havent even fkn seen the best of him.

    Taylor should be banned for 2 yrs. That tackle is just wrong.. was it necessary after 2 mins?

  16. We are (at this moment) still 6 points clear gents, lets hope that this is finally Newcastles chance to get a result! But enough of that, all the best Eduardo – what a nightmare, the pictures look like his ankle is hanging off – no wonder Lewin looked so distraught during the game. It’s been a nightmare week really, and we just have to get it out of the system and move on. the away games at Chelski and the Mancs is where we will know if we have what it takes to win this league, or if we’re simply not ready yet. As captain, Gallas needs to hide his petulance behind the cameras – i understand as a human being, but as a professional it wasn’t on.

    Bring on the Villa!

  17. I am so angry with the Referee Dean. He was obviously with his buddies last night at a manc center. He made one good decision and that was the red card. He allowed Hleb to get kicked time and again and gave 2 goals to Birmingham. The first was not a foul as Flamani played the ball whilst shielding it. The Penalty — in anyones book it was never a foul. The prat fell over Cliches outstretched leg.

    Dean – I hope you suffer in agony for the cheating decisions you made today.

  18. I got wasted last night, managed to get up to watch the game and all I expected was a routine football match.

    How wrong was I?

    The back luck throughout the game was crazy. A career ending injury to Eduardo, and then giving away a penalty in the last minute. I mean f*cking hell!

    Wenger said some teams come out and try to rough Arsenal up and you can’t argue against him. If that happened to United, Red Nose would be reacting worse than Wenger is!

  19. We still have not learned to be ruthless. Agree that MU and Chelski would have won the match if in the same situation. We piss around and are not keen to get the third goal. We just want to show off. Ade is guilty, so is Hleb. When will Hleb ever learn to shoot? When you are 6 yards out you dont pass! You shoot and if the goalie gets it, there is a chance it might rebound to a teammate. It is games like this that tells us we are not ready to win the Premiership.

    Another observation : why bother to substitute when you are 4 mins away from winning as no-one is injured? You think the subs will eat up some more time? Arsene’s substitutions in the last 10 years are not uplifting. They tend to concede after subbing. His subbing has never been very smart. I am not saying the subbing led to the penalty, but it surely gave a false impression to the lads that the end is near, hence they dropped their guards.

    Everybody wants MU to beat us to the title, even God. There is no more mercy. Even the commentators are laughing at us again and again.It is so cruel, and we conspire to let them. Dont the players feel the hurt? I do.

  20. I just cant understand why Clichy dont clear the ball away, he always seem to play the ball away from danger. Well a good performance from Clichy(in my opinion) will be remembered for his disastrous mistake. As for Eduardo I first thought he’ll start running again but after the incident I was speechless for almost 10 minutes. That taylor guy should never play again. I was furious when andy gray said Taylor didn’t mean it. It sounds like car driver never meant to kill a guy it was just an accident after being caught drunk. It’s just fucking horrible. You can see this accident at http://scotzine.com/blog/?p=185. Well taken goals by Walcott.

  21. I think there’s a good chance his career is over — complete breaks, not in the middle of the bones, but at the joint, and an incredibly important joint as well.

    That’s the worst I’ve seen since this one, which ended the quarterback’s career. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1i_bJv_0z-k

    One big difference, though — the man who broke Theisman’s leg was bothered that it had happened, and in fact played like a shadow of himself the rest of the game. Didn’t seem to bother the Birmingham players one bit that one of their number may have had his career ended on their pitch, by their captain — remember his place on the team when you go forth to criticize Arsenal’s captain for showing disappointment and emotion.

  22. Im from Croatia,on index.hr stands that he will play after 6 months (around).EDUARDO BRZO OZDRAVI TREBAÅ  NAM NA EURU!!!!!!!!!!Eduardo I love u!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. I was really a game we shud have lost, Clichy shud have know better, althought the real culprits are our attacking players who shud have put few behind the net.. hope we bounce back though… it not over yet

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