Arsenal’s Future In Their Hands

Arsenal 3 – 3 Norwich City

1 – 0 Benayoun (2)
1 – 1 Hoolahan (12)
1 – 2 Holt (27)
2 – 2 van Persie (72)
3 – 2 van Persie (80)
3 – 3 Morison (85)

A bright new tomorrow briefly flickered through reliving yesterdays. Arsenal’s European fate for the following season was it seemed sealed by a Dutch master, Lord of all he surveyed. Instead Arsenal’s participation is in their hands, reliant upon the title desires of Manchester City and the survival instincts of Aston Villa to keep them ahead of the chasing pack. Either or both of those clubs are quite capable of going missing in their hours of need, City’s away form is far from convincing against big clubs whilst Villa seem content to let those below them do everything in their powers to get relegated so the West Midlanders stay up.

And yesterday’s performance deserved this situation yet it need not have been so. From kick-off, Arsenal gamboled through the Norwich defence finding Benayoun on the left side of the penalty area. He looked to pass but then stumbled before curling the ball sumptuously into the net. An outbreak of joy and from the stands, a genuine appreciation of his contribution to the improved form since February. Few, based on that reaction, would be unhappy if he returned on a permanent basis but I am still not sure it will happen.

But from then on, the match became instantly forgettable. Arsenal just switched off; I don’t know why, I would hate to think that the early goal bred arrogance in the players thinking that Norwich were poor but I certainly do believe it brought complacency to the surface in enough of the team for a negative impact to be felt. Within a quarter of an hour, the price would be heavily paid.

Warning signs should have registered quickly. Norwich mirrored their manager’s touchline persona, Jack Russell’s constantly on the move, skips and jumps from Lambert bringing about vigour and determination on the pitch. The visitors snapped at Arsenal’s ankles and Holt was denied by Gibbs with Szczesny rooted to the spot. That warning was not heeded and minutes later, Hoolahan’s shot was helped into net by the Pole; it is hard not to believe it a goalkeeping error although in fairness to Szczesny, it looked from our vantage point as if he had his weight on the right side of his body whilst the ball went left.

Arsenal offered little, their frollicking start had turned into the lumbering strides of an Old English Sheepdog. Not all of the side were affected; Rosicky flitted and buzzed into the Norwich midfield consistently all afternoon, offering a constant outlet and source of irritation to the visitors as well as hope for those of us stunned by the sudden impotence.

And still nothing of note emerged from elsewhere; Gervinho was ineffective on the right whilst starved of possession, Benayoun drifted inwards with Gibbs the only outlet on the left, leaving the full back exposed. Song could not find anything resembling form and descended into a morass of petulance and antagonism whilst Szczesny was hasty and inaccurate with his distribution. Ramsey offered calm and tried to form a barrier but was all too often isolated as the visitors easily by-passed. The result left van Persie on the periphary and the defence overworked.

And Norwich 2 – 1 ahead. The goal itself might have been entirely fortunate but was not undeserved. Another break into acres of space as an Arsenal attack needlessly broke down left Holt facing Gibbs. The youngster got his block on the City striker’s shot but instead of ricocheting to safety as it normally would, the ball arced over Szczesny into the back of net. Fortuitous, yes, and entirely merited.

It sparked a brief revival. van Persie could not connect with Sagna’s cross, the first of several that would traverse the six yard box without meaningful contact made. It was Sagna’s last contribution, collapsing on the turf in agony. Arsène suggested it was the result of an earlier robust challenge but contrary to the manager’s assertion, the defender was alone when it happened which is never a good sign.

Coquellin injected life, copying Rosicky’s zest rather than the lethargy of others and Arsenal picked up for the remainder of the first half. Gibbs tame shot went wide, Gervinho occupied the minds of the Norwich right with a switch of sides of the pitch before van Persie came to life with a shot from an acute angle.

The threatened revival never materialised in the second half with Norwich seeming more likely to nick a third than an Arsenal equaliser. On the hour signs of life; Oxlade-Chamberlain came on for Ramsey and injected pace into the midfield whilst Benayoun should have done better with a header from a Rosicky set-piece. But it was Chamakh’s introduction and a move to 4-2-4 with AOC and Gervinho on the flanks that brought the pressure that changed the game.

The Moroccan offered the cameo that everyone has been desperate for, a thorn in the visitor’s side, a different outlet to the passing attacks that had meandered through the game. He was unfortunate not to score and more of this type of performance would have surely led to him featuring regularly? As it was his strike partner, breached the visitors twice in eight minutes. Alex Song momentarily stopped arguing with Holt to seize upon the rebound of Chamakh’s shot, clipping the ball into the path of…well, you know the rest, everyone has seen he and the Dutchman combine so effectively yet opponents are unable to counter.

With ten minutes to go, the relentless pursuit paid rewards. Panic on the edge of the visitors area allowed Rosicky a second bite of the cherry, Rosicky feeding van Persie, the Dutchman’s rampant finish into the net setting the stage for three points.  Almost instantly, Arsenal retreated into their shells, the midfield close to the defence but ceding possession too readily as the gap to attack was too large and they paid the price, as once more a ball over the top of the Arsenal back found Morison with enough composure to beat Szczesny.

Enter Mr Taylor. His performance started promisingly, clamping down on snappy tackles but descended into the mires of ineptitude. Hoolahan should have been dismissed but his studs first challenge on Coquellin went unpunished yet there was no difference between that and the foul which saw Ramsey cautioned. His commonsense approach to Song and Holt benefitted both sides but how he missed the stonewall penalty at the end as van Persie ended in the net instead of the ball, is beyond comprehension.

Arsenal’s efforts were summed up when Reddy blocked Song’s backheel as the embers of the match briefly flickered. It didn’t and now Arsenal wait, staring the Europa League squarely in the face. But this season has twisted and turned so many ways that nothing can be taken for granted in the next two games of others. That is where we have come to; reliant upon the efforts of others, subservient rather than masters of our own destiny. And that is where it never should have ended.

’til Tomorrow.

345 thoughts on “Arsenal’s Future In Their Hands

  1. LSG – RVP is going nowhere mate. He is a lifelong Arsenal fan and will sign when he is ready to.

  2. A husband and wife are getting ready for bed. The wife is standing in front of a full-length mirror taking a lang, hard look at herself.

    “You know, dear,” she says, “I look in the mirror, and I see an old woman. My face is all wrinkled, my hair is grey, my shoulders are hunched over, I’ve got fat legs, and my arms are all flabby.” She turns to her husband and says, “Tell me something positive to make me feel better about myself.”

    He studies hard for a moment thinking about it and then says in a soft, thoughtful voice, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight.”

  3. A mental patient is in hospital when a nurse catches him with his dick in between 2 biscuits! “what are you doing Jonny/Susan?” she asks. “I’m fucking crackers” he says…..

  4. Irish, I didn’t say he was going anywhere. I said Juventus want him and I don’t like that! Right now I like Juventus but if they get too cheeky about it, I’ll have to harbor a dislike for them.

  5. Al wakes up at home with a huge hangover. He forces himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins and a glass of water on the side table.

    He sits up and sees his clothing on the chair beside his bed, all clean and pressed. He looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotless, clean.

    So is the rest of the house. He takes the aspirins and notices a note on the table: “Darling, breakfast is on the stove, I left early to go shopping. Love you.” So he goes to the kitchen, and sure enough there is a hot breakfast and the morning newspaper.

    His son is also at the table, eating.
    Al asks, “Son, what happened last night?”

    His son says, “Well, you came home about 3 A.M., drunk and woke up the whole house! You then broke some furniture, puked in the hallway, and gave yourself a black eye when you stumbled in the bathroom and crashed through the shower doors. Which you are going to have to buy new.

    Confused, Al asks, “So, why is everything in order and so clean, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?”

    His son replies, “Oh, that! Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your pants off, you said, “Stop! Stop! Leave me alone, I’m married’!”

  6. So that chillani butcher wins a laleaga with old lady. Basterd.

    Its late at night and the policies in streets of Chicago are rounding up the working girls all in a van to take them before the night judge.
    As they are leading them before the magistrate one by one his eye catches one of the young ladies. As he is handing out his sentence to her his curiosity gets the best of him and he has to ask her:
    ” excuse me young lady. You look native American. By any chance are you a Navajo ?”
    She look nervous and confused ,then she says:
    ” ah, no ser. I’m a Chicago ho”

  7. @ Dexter tragic isn’t it? I knew about the cancer but it had been so long since they’d said anything about it. I guess the warning signs were there last month when he didn’t make the Hall Of Fame ceremony, but it was such a shock. Probably my favourite band.

  8. ROBIN THE PRINCE will never be teammates with chillani THE BUTCHER who broke his ankle in a friendly, ffs. Give him some credits for his brains and most of all for his loyalty. He will sign.

  9. The question is if the moneybags come for him with anything like 50 -60 mill, will ARSENAL be willing to sell?

  10. Kam

    I think it will be more about the wages they offer the player. That was their way of enticing Nasri. I really dont think RvP will be swayed though.

  11. @DEX
    no man, I don’t think so either. He would want to stand by the club that gave him a second chance and stood by him repeatedly. He isn’t a sewer rat like na$ri.
    How’s my buddy IRISH doing this fine evening?
    Any good jokes??

  12. MCA is smoking a fat one with Dimebag I imagine.

    Lots of acronyms today MGK with his OTBAGS and COYGS.

    LSG is just three letters removed from hallucinations.

    But that might just be Lazy Susan talking.


  13. Well in which case….

    A man walked into the doctor’s wearing nothing but cling-film. “I can clearly see you’re nuts.” said the doctor.

  14. DEXTER, why not grace us with one of their finest. Tunes mate. I’ll be honest, I never got into the rap music. Don’t like it at all. Specially that brand they call gagsta rap. Pure fuckedup evil..
    Not you EVIL.

  15. Anything could happen next weekend. I’m going to go all Bill on your a*se and say, first and foremost, I hope we concentrate on defensive solidity. Then go on from there. That’s all.

  16. To put it simply, these boys changed the music scene forever. It really does not matter whether you like them or not, there is no denying the sheer size of the impact they had on music the world over. I for one think they one of the best bands of all time. RIP MCA!!!

  17. BRF, I couldn’t agree more about the new home kit. The look on the players’ faces says it all. Chamberlain’s expression in particular is spot-on. He looks like his mother just told him he’s grounded. The only pic in the whole “reel” where any of them are smiling is when Chamberlain is running away from the camera.

    Scanning the headlines on the site, just below the one announcing the new home kit, there’s a quote from Wenger, ‘We have character to come back from this’. Evidently, even he thinks it’s terrible!

  18. you the best IRISHGRAY. Hell ,no sign o gray in your heart and soul. Interesting beat. Tell me the dude didn’t die of throat cancer? Also non o these guys look like the dude I saw in a magazine once photographed buck naked with his thingee in a tube sock. I thought this was them.

  19. That anyone could confuse the genius of the Beasties with the mediocrity of the Chilli Peppers brings me great sadness. ‘Oh is that Thierry Henry? I thought it was Christopher Wreh’.

  20. Well it seems his was liked and respected. RIP.
    that is after all what’s important when one passes. His or her good name and the memories people have of them.
    If I may though, in what way were they innovators and pacesetters of their profession? How do mean ” changed music”?
    MD!!! you made it safely!! Awesome.
    If it is the burgundy and mustered color kit, I totally conqer. Not very.impressive. By the way BRADY RF , I agree with you 100% on YOSSI. if we can arrange for it ,I would love to have his terrier like attitude with us next year. I think he is happy with us. He bas been great for us as an option.

  21. Sorry to make you sad buddy. Didn’t mean to. One can’t be expected to like every kind of music and all kinds of art forms. We pick and choose. I’ll make it a point to view a few more of their works if it will make you not sad. :]

  22. LOL Personally i like the Chilli Peppers, awesome in concert. But The Beastie Boys have always been one of my favorites. A latter day version of The Clash in some ways. Very influential, both in music and style-wise but their greatest achievement was taking hip-hop into the mainstream. The basic fact is that white, middle-class America was terrified of them and what they represented. And well they should have been because they single-handedly made it acceptable for the white kids to jump on the hip-hop bandwagon. They were the white version of Run-DMC and will be sorely missed. Especially here in NYC where a lot of bands got there start because of them, both becuse of their musical influences and the fact that they always supported local talent.

  23. Yes, hip-hop was started in NYC. Specifically in Da Bronx in the 70’s. Rap is in fact a part of hip-hop along with beatboxing, breakdancing, graffiti and DJing.

  24. Cool. Tnx for da info. IRISH.
    Awesome night here on Rodeo dr. Super weather. Hope everyone has a great week.

  25. Thanks to the elements of jet lag, I am always awake at 4.00am on the second day of travel. So I wait for YW to post so I can beat bigbrovar and I got nothing.
    Bank Holiday lie-a-bed Yogi. Five hours and waiting.
    Oh well off to work then….

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