Birmingham City 0 – 2 Arsenal
0 – 1 Adebayor 21
0 – 2 Henry 63
Henry scores his 200th goal for the club
The first away win since Boxing Day, against a team who would have fancied their chances of “out bullying” Arsenal in the midfield and who had enough aerial power in their forward line to have created the full strength Arsenal defence problems, let alone a patched up one. As it turned out, the defence dealt with them reasonably comfortably with Senderos choosing yesterdays match to remind everyone why Wenger rates him so highly and why he is a regular for the Swiss national side even at his young years. Yes, he has had a tough time in the first team this season but hopefully he will take confidence from his performance and build on it. Obviously the defence were helped yesterday by the fact that Emile Heskey was in the forward line and his impression of Frank Bruno in his prime, i.e. spending most of the game blundering around but ending up on his backside having been knocked down by the lightest of knocks, is uncannily accurate.
In midfield, Diaby is trying to live up to Vieira’s reputation and is certainly making a similar start by getting stuck in and picking up a booking or two along the way. Reyes continues to infuriate with his hit or miss performances and cannot be doing his World Cup chances any favours with the indifferent form he is showing. I suspect that he believes the Real Madrid tie is the one that will tip the scales in his favour and Madrid will not have forgotten the match in his last season at Seville (where Zidane commented that “it was like he was on a motorcycle”) which ended in a 4 – 1 defeat. See I can clutch at straws as well as Jose Antonio does.
It is too early to pass judgement on Adebayor but a goal on your debut in a team that is struggling away from home cannot be a bad start. He should also take comfort from the fact that he was not substituted by a manager notorious for introducing a new forward between 60 – 75 minutes in most games, even when things are going well. And Henry scored in an away game for the first time since Wigan in December. Hurrah!
The Sol Campbell affair continues to rumble on as it was always going to do so, except that the statement from his solicitor now means that it will rumble on for a damn sight longer than it would have done. To claim that he is not suffering from Personal problems is at odds with his behaviour. It is inconceivable that he is having a strop simply because he was substituted. Whatever the truth of the matter is, he may have effectively ended his England career by proving that he cannot handle the pressure environment that will come with the World Cup in Germany. Having played for England at this tournament before, he knows expectations are high, particularly in the Red Tops. Although it may well be that the managers pecadillos will save the players from too much criticism as the reporters will be mainly aiming their vitriol in Sven’s direction but they will, like your average school playground bully, pick on any weakness displayed by the players as well.
My oldest son, AKA Power Ranger, had his first formal training session outside of school yesterday. It was good to see 60 kids between 5 – 11 years of age enjoying being taught the basics of the game properly and having so much fun at a Wycombe Wanderers FC Football In The Community Scheme event. Power Ranger was as proud as punch to be wearing his Arsenal Kit and his first pair of football boots to, in his own words, “play in my first proper football match”. If you have any such courses being run in your area by your local team, go to them. The WWFC course is £4 (turn up and pay) for each two hour session and is well organised. Which beats the hell out of £70 going to Legoland. Perhaps the most reassuring thing about the whole event was the round chorus of Boos that met with the notice that there was the opportunity to visit Chelsea and have a tour of the ground. The morning has left a deep impression on Power Ranger, to the extent that he went to bed last night with his Arsenal kit folded over the headboard of his bed with the video of the 2000 – 01 season on the TV, instead of the usual Thomas The Tank Engine. And I know what you’re thinking. I’ve brainwashed him and ordered him to be an Arsenal fan. Didn’t have to as the photo shows. Sitting next to Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp is a pretty powerful marketing tool for a 5 year old boy, or for a 39 year old Dad…
From a band called Soulive, whom I profess to know zilch about other than the fact that they have toured with The Rolling Stones (is that a recommendation?) recently in the US. A slab of the finest Acid Jazz / Funk as a cure for a Sunday morning hangover.