What a crazy weekend.
Youngster Aaron Ramsey suffered a horrific injury at the hands of Ryan Shawcross. You know my feelings on that one so I’ll move on but we wish him all the best.
In terms of football though, it was a great weekend for Arsenal.
In Saturday’s early kick off, Chelsea were surprisingly but comprehensively beaten by a recently struggling Manchester City. Struggling so much in fact that some sections of the media believed that this would be Mancini’s last game in charge. But Team Bridge’s second in command Carlos Tevez was on fire with two goals, and sent out a clear message to John Terry, by not only completely embarrassing him on the pitch but standing up to the disgraced ex-England captain when there was a minor scuffle in the Chelsea penalty area.
I love Carlos Tevez, and not because he hates John Terry as much as I do. If there’s any player in the Premier League I’d have at Arsenal it’s him – his work rate and quality are top notch.
I did find it quite amusing that when Tevez squared up to Terry the cheating low-life had to get his team-mates to step in and do his dirty work. He can’t even back up his hard man image – he’s got no balls which is ironic considering all the allegations that have been flying around recently. John Terry is becoming more and more pathetic as the weeks go by, which to me is fantastic news as his performances for Chelsea drastically nose-dived and he has become a liability.
Chelsea made a huge mistake in publicly supporting John Terry and it is now coming back to haunt them.
I realise John Terry is bigger than the club (and Abramovich’s best mate) so in a way they had no choice but now that has caused Chelsea problems as they look foolish in backing a player who doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
Terry’s (on the pitch) performances are badly effecting the team on a whole and the great thing is that they can’t suddenly drop him or give him time off as that would go against their whole hymn sheet. And long may it continue as far as I’m concerned, because the more he plays the more likely they’ll concede ridiculously poor goals, and ultimately, drop points.
Everton, Inter Milan and Manchester City won’t be the last clubs to take advantage before the end of the season.
So despite being dead and buried after the defeats by Chelsea and Manchester United at home, Arsenal find themselves an amazing 3 points off the top of the table.
Absolutely staggering, and the Arsenal players deserve a huge amount of credit.
I said exactly a week ago that the form of Nicklas Bendtner was paramount to whether we win anything this season. Without Van Persie, he is our only real target man and his performances are vital to how the team performs as a whole. And yesterday, he popped up with such an important equaliser. And credit to the boy, it was a fantastic headed goal.
In the same piece, I also wrote that Eboue should play a lot more, whether as a right back or right-sided attacker, because he has the skill and pace to beat players and the final 12 games of the season (see our new ‘Arsenal Title Charge’ graphic to the right) which are essentially 12 cup ties. I maintain that if we want any chance to pulling it off, we need to win all 12 games.
Yesterday’s game against Stoke was a courageous performance.
Arsenal went a goal down to a trademark “throw in goal” from the boring Stoke after only 8 minutes, and you wondered how mentally tough this Arsenal team where. We found ourselves one nil down at a notoriously tough place to visit – this really was a massive test.
But they came through with flying colours.
Bendtner scored that vital goal to keep the hope of 3 points alive and despite the horrific tackle on Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal rallied themselves and managed a late surge to score twice late on and seal the victory.
Watching the game, you couldn’t help remember the similarities to the Birmingham game only 2 seasons ago. Eduardo broke his leg, and in the final minute there would be a last minute penalty that would decide the fate of our whole season.
In 2008, it was Birmingham that won a penalty and scored it, to massively dent our title ambitions, but this weekend it was a penalty awarded to Arsenal that would determine our fate.
As Cesc stepped up to take what was probably the biggest penalty of our entire campaign (although it was only the third we’ve been given this season) his 50/50 record was slightly worrying. Score, and we’d be right back in this years title race, but miss and it could be another one of those almost seasons. In the end, our captain kept his cool and rifled the ball into the bottom corner and you just wonder how massive that single kick could be to our season. If we do end up winning the league, after all the heartache of Ramsey’s injury, you will point to that spot kick as the moment we believed we could do it.
Arsenal could have easily crumbled after the shocking injury to Aaron Ramsey (and in all fairness, you wouldn’t blame them) but they really stepped up and finished strong. Maybe Williams Gallas not being on the field made the difference, who knows, but Arsenal really did take advantage of Chelsea’s slip up and we need to keep the determination and performances going right until the end.
Arsene Wenger might just well pull off the ultimate miracle.