Rocky Remembered As Arsenal Win On The G-G’s

David Rocastle RIP, 2nd May 1967 – 31st March 2001

Arsenal – Reading

1 – 0 Gervinho (10)
2 – 0 Cazorla (47)
3 – 0 Giroud (67)
3 – 1 Robson – Kanu (68)
4 – 1 Arteta (76 pen)

At least the supporters got it right.

Arsenal reduced the gap to fourth place as Chelsea’s implosion continued unabated. Just two points separate the teams as Arsenal’s thoroughly professional performance continued the good form shown before the international break. Reading came with little hope and left rooted to the bottom of the table. Nigel Adkins, it seems, is lined up for a quick promotion challenge next season. For London clubs, the Champions League Hurdles is in full cry as the season comes around the final bend.

In matches such as these, frustration can set in quickly if early chances are spurned. Arsenal stopped that happening as Cazorla dragged the ball across the Reading area for Gervinho to slam the ball into the net, burying a chance that he has readily missed previously. Confidence since returning from the African Cup of Nation is not a problem for the Ivorian at the moment, unlike last season. The remainder of the half was a procession of missed chances, Arsenal denied by wayward finishing and last ditch defending.

Gervinho led the parade, beginning with a header past the post. Giroud was denied a penalty as he was clattered by Taylor, presumably not given as the French forward had wafted the ball upwards before being totalled by the visitors goalkeeper. Giroud and Gervinho both tried again and both failed to trouble the scoreboard. In fact this duo was tormenting the visiting defence without unlocking them whilst Santi Cazorla tried his luck and found it was out as well.

The first half ended with Reading failing to muster a shot worthy of the name; Arsenal having eleven. Having weathered the storm, Reading came out for the second half and found themselves two down with as many minutes gone, Santi Cazorla finding the back of the net with a curling shot into the bottom corner. Once more the visitors were forced onto the back foot as Ramsey came closest to adding a third.

The third eventually came as the maligned Sagna and Gervinho combined to create an opening for Giroud, one gratefully crashed home. Joy was short-lived, or at least muted, as Monreal won the race to slide into the post. A shame Robson-Kanu was chasing a cross instead, sliding the ball home at the far post. Two goals in as many minutes still left Arsenal with a two-goal advantage. Kieran Gibbs replaced the Spaniard who educated a number of youngsters in the crowd in the laws of physics regarding stopping distances for sliding objects; speed = distance over something or other. Biology also came into it, pain = sliding human body plus woodwork.

As it was Oxlade-Chamberlain was the impact substitute, brought down as he drove into the Reading area, Arteta coolly sending the resultant penalty into the bottom corner. Arsenal did not ease off as the Gibbs, Mertesacker and Ramsey all tried to add to the tally, failing but in the end it did not matter as the match had been won at a canter.

The manager observed he enjoyed the match, something of a familiar feeling over the past few games. The Premier League run has been overshadowed by the insipid exit from the FA Cup and the poor first leg performance against Bayern. As it is, one defeat in eight games, six of which have been won is second only to Manchester United in the form table. It highlights the damage done to the campaign by the Autumnal collapse in form.

The mood was further lightened this morning with Steve Stammers claim that Arsenal are going to sign the key personnel from Borussia Dortmund for £70m. For another £30m, KSE could probably buy the club which seems better business sense. If that doesn’t work, Jonathan Williams from Crystal Palace is going to be Arsène’s duty free gift from his holidays although I am not too sure that South London is going to be high on Madame Wenger’s destination list. Of course, transfer gossip wouldn’t be transfer gossip if there wasn’t a French Connection and whilst Gene Hackman might add some steel to defence, I am not sure his tactic of finding out if the attacker has picked his toes in Poughkeepsie is going to be that successful. Arsène’s back-up plan is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from St Etienne whom seems more in tune with the best line of defence being attack.

’til Tomorrow.

33 thoughts on “Rocky Remembered As Arsenal Win On The G-G’s

  1. Same as Jon Jon re Rocky 7

    Good performance yesterday. You can only beat what`s in front of you.

  2. many positives from yesterday..

    reading were absolutely dire and they are going down..the mauling they got was pretty standard stuff but we showed a ruthless streak that has not been all that consistent this season especially..

    we put in a shift, the midfield especially were immense…lots of workrate and the quality shone through and we earned the right to play sexy football..when your 3 goals up you can start to fuck about with the tip de tap against a tired team

    cazorla was my man of the match he was excellent again but gervinho does deserve a mention, he was very effective..

    i still think we need a top quality forward and jack and chezzer’s positions aint under threat but im struggling to see how tommy v gets back into the team..

    which is a good thing becuase hes been crap and kozzers the best cb in the league..fuck knows why it took 30 games to realise it but there you go…

  3. As a matter of fact, we booked the skittle alley at our local last night and had a right old party.

    No cider, just lots of good beer.

    The kids won’t forget the thrashing I gave them for a long time.

  4. watching leggerwood yesterday reminded me of why having your midfield pivot have a high pass completion rate like arteta is rather important.

  5. Jack needs time to grow and get back properly. We do well without him so no point rushing it. After all we want to enjoy him for years to come. Lets not ruin him before it even starts.if he did not play again at all this year is be cool with that.

  6. It was difficult to make too many judgements yesterday given the quality of the opposition, but I thought Aaron was one of our best performers yesterday. His speed and quality of passing was much improved over performances earlier in the season and on another day he could easily have had 2 or 3 goals. Sometimes it’s easy to forget he’s still only 22 and he’s really starting to look comfortable in the midfield now that he’s playing in a more natural position.

  7. @ClocKender i dont think it was that difficult to make any judgements, after all we have lost games against bradford this year. playing reading is to play bradford. we did well compared to what we done before against similar oponents.

  8. in my opinion this was a great game compared to how we have fared against similar oponents earlier this season.

  9. To me it was the balance of the team was much much better.

    Instead of forcing the best players to play together, i think we finally have a semblance of understanding between the players. No stray passes yesterday, at least not many.

    Keep vermaelen, podolski and sez on the bench for now

    Podolski should only play upfrony, a sub for giroud

  10. This was a huge win for the guys. We needed it. Chelsea lost so we are ever so close to the Blues now. a great win. Onward and upward. check out bobby gee word press.

  11. Good game, good result.
    Reading offered little resistance and were flattered by that goal.
    Good day @ the office..ready for the next one.
    Santi was my motm too…
    TR was purring all game..
    T’would have been a game to see some of the czar
    But alas….

    Well done ARSENAL!

  12. Nice to see proper football back and its also good to see Gervinho looking dangerous out there. His return to form coincided quite nicely with Walcott’s slight dip and then injury.

    I still like the combo of Gervinho and Walcott out wide with Giroud through the center. Although ideally I would like to see Podolski through the center with those two out wide.

    Let’s keep this good run going against West Brom!

  13. Great write up, RIP Rocky!

    Gervinho and Santi were absolutely brilliant yesterday. Yea Gervinho had a couple moments infront of goal but what player hasn’t!

    Our first choice back 4 has seperated themselves and made those sitting on the bench just that. Sagna/Mert/Kos/Nachoshould be out starting back 4 unless they are hurt, need a rest or an early FA CUP OR CC MATCH.

  14. @Vice

    I completely agree with you, Theo/Gervinho/Podolski should be our starting 3 upfront for most matches as they would be the most dynamic of our attack. People speak of Podolski vanishing sometimes from matches but most strikers and wingers have lulls in a match were they are not as visible.

  15. RIP Rocky, you will always be remembered.

    As to the game yesterday, it was a nice change to watch The Arsenal from beginning to end and not feel even the slightest bit nervous. That in itself seems to be a rarity these last couple of seasons. Santi MOTM no doubt about that.

    I thought Rosicky’s energy was excellent as always. I always admire that anytime Giroud or one of our offensive players are out of position, he busts a gut charging forward to put pressure on the opposition’s defense, forcing them into passing the ball/booting it clear, when it is clear they would much rather knock it around and wait for an opportunity. He really does look a few years younger than he is, a claim he made a while back with respect to his 2 years on the sidelines. He injects a lot of pace into the game and we tend to be much quicker in turning defense into attack when he is on the pitch. JW tries to do the same but more in an individual way, whereas Rosicky quite often plays a couple of quick 1-2’s in midfield, thereby bringing at least one other of our midfield players into the game and really putting the oppositions midfield/CB’s under quick pressure. I think most teams realize that JW is much more inclined to make an individual run himself, which leads to him being (seemingly) singled out for more challenges than anyone else on the field. Both Diaby and Arteta have more or less come to expect this and a lot of the time when JW picks up the ball in midfield, Arteta simply holds back while Diaby ( or Santi ) tends to make a parallel run but is rarely used in a 1-2 combo. I think it is a part of JW’s game that needs work, as attacking this way means the defending midfielder simply goes 1-on-1 with JW, a scenario that quickly turns attack into defense (if we lose possession) in a very dangerous part of midfield leaving both JW and our remaining AM isolated. Arteta is not the quickest of DM’s and as we have seen several times this season, losing the ball in midfield can very quickly expose our defense.

    Ramsey and Rosicky were in complete control of the midfield yesterday, which resulted in Arteta having more freedom than I think he knew what to do with. Santi revelled in this too, as he more or less abandoned the wide left role for large periods of the game and just floated around in the offensive third of the pitch. Why Reading did not assign one player to track him was beyond me, as he could easily have scored several goals such was his form. I liked the midfield yesterday, even if the opposition may have made it seem better than it might actually have been. Props to Rambo for finding his game again, he could have had a goal or two himself to be honest. I like having him play alongside Rosicky, as they seemed to have a good understanding of when to cover for each other and linked up well.

    Giroud I thought was immense too. His strength is a real asset and I was very happy to see him score as I thought I saw some frustration entering his game near the end of the first half when he missed a few chances. Like JJ said yesterday, a prolific and much more selfish goalscorer would be a great asset to have along with him in the side. Someone with a lot more pace and a more direct style of attacking would really allow us to change a game with just one substitution, something we are unable to do attack-wise IMO right now. Although if Gervinho can maintain his form and really grow in confidence, allowing him to be more ruthless in front of goal, we might end up with just that type of player. Should be interesting to watch him in the next few games, but I have a feeling he may just have been told of Galatassaray’s interest, as that does tend to raise a player’s game. I hope he is raising it to prove he should stay, as he does have the potential to be a very good player.

  16. With our central midfield a couple of players light, I’m really looking forward to seeing chemistry develop between Santi and Super Tom. With the possible exception of JW, these two are our most technically adept. Santi’s quickness of thought was on beautiful display against Reading. A couple of times, Giroud and Gervinho were just a beat slow in reacting to Santi’s passing ideas.

    If Santi and Tom can develop a telepathic connection, it will be a beautiful thing to see!

  17. Interesting stat – Rosicky, Ramsey and Arteta combined to make 22 more passes than the entire Reading team. To me that is simply ridiculous and if ever a team fighting relegation deserved to lose such a fight, it is with a performance like that. Adkins has his hands full needless to say with keeping them up and while I think he is a decent manager, I do not think he will do so.

    In saying that, I think we should all take a break from looking at the top of the table and the fight going on there for CL spots and cast our eyes to the bottom half of the table –

    12 S’ampton 31 -9 34
    13 Stoke 31 -9 34
    14 Norwich 31 -19 34
    15 Newcastle 31 -15 33
    16 S’land 31 -10 31
    17 Wigan 30 -20 30
    18 A Villa 31 -26 30
    19 QPR 30 -22 23
    20 Reading 31 -25 23

    While I think Reading and QPR will go down, realistically any of the teams above them could get relegated. You could also include West Ham and to a lesser extent Fulham in that list but I think both of those teams will manage to remain safe. I think Sunderland without O’Neill are doomed but I, as I am sure all of you, would much rather see the back of Stoke and that little runt Pulis.

  18. C – I think you can afford for your CF to be quiet if they turn up with that vital goal or assist at some point during the game, RVP did it on occasions, but you can’t really get by with your wide men doing so. I think playing Podolski through the middle seems like a sensible idea to experiment with but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

  19. Irish – on that point, I read that today Arsenal have finally hit the safe zone on points due to Villa’s loss and can no longer be relegated. Good news for all.

  20. There were some fantastic performances from front to back yesterday, with Kos in particular putting in a great shift whenever Reading even thought about getting into our area. I though the MOTM was between three players, Gervinho, Cazorla and Ramsey. It looks like the website vote will go to Gervinho and I can understand that as he had a goal and two assists. I’m surprised that Ramsey didn’t get more of the votes (showing only 3% at present) as I thought he had an outstanding game and was playing in the role I think really suits him best. Some of his late runs into the box were brilliant and on another day he might have bagged a couple of goals himself.
    Never a doubt in anyone but the ref’s and the linesman’s minds that Giroud was taken out by Taylor and we should have had a pen. Wouldn’t have been a red card, but we should have had the spot kick.
    A minor niggle was Gervinho’s hesitancy sometimes, especially for our third goal where a better defender would have blocked the pass to Giroud rather than running past him to try to get between him and goal. But Gervinho made the right choice in the end and Giroud got his deserved goal. Perhaps Sagna was also beaten a bit too easily in allowing the cross from which they scored, but that’s just nit picking.

  21. @Zinc

    I agree completely and thus why I think Podolski playing centrally would really push us over the top. His ability to score at vital times or even just when a chance is ther is the difference I think in a couple of our close matches that we’ve lost. Lets even think against Bayern how crucial his header at the Emriates was.

  22. Manure can win the title against West Ham if they keep winning (the gap will be 18 points with 15 available) as their next league game is the home match against their noisy neighbours. Hopefully that means they will be completely switched off and giving some of the squad players a run out when they come to us.
    Could do with Chelsea winning in the FA Cup tomorrow though. Rafa is more interested in a cup or two on his CV rather than 4th in the league so their continued run in the cup can only be good for us.

  23. Podolski has proven in the past he can be as prolific as RvP though if given the chance. he scored so much in a under paur Koln side last year. imagin what he can do in a arsenal side. hes very clinical, not preatty to watch but oh so effective!

    Given the chance im convinced he could have replaced RvP. Poldi really is that good.

  24. Mystery why he’s started centrally only once this season, why he never finishes games, what his injury has been about etc… But we don’t see training. Up to this point he’s been our best option wide left however, so perhaps that’s it. I just hope we don’t have another Arshavin case of a highly paid player who prefers to be a number 10 but plays wide left and disappears from our starting squad over a couple years! So far this season he strikes me as a very capable finisher with a good final ball, so I’d be happy to see him get some time up front.

  25. Actually was expecting a much tougher game. We played some really good football with great fluency, can remember only a couple of games this season where we were this good. Gerv had a good game, a much needed confidence booster for him.

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