Arsenal 1 – 1 Bolton Wanderers
0 – 1 Nolan (12)
1 – 1 Gilberto (90)
OK I’ll admit it, I got it wrong although on another day against a lesser determined team, I’d have still got it wrong – we’d have won by seven. Seems that my assessment of Jaaskelainen was correct. He may well have played himself into an Arsenal shirt if Wenger decides to go after a new keeper in the summer. Quite simply, he was superb.
It was pleasing to see Gilberto score – in this respect, he and Vieira are very similar. They should both score more! He has taken time to win over most fans but I believe that despite the critiscism he has had this season for sub standard performances, he is a player who we miss more than most and have done so for the last eighteen months. A fully fit Gilberto has a tremendous ability to break up the opponents play and set off an attack with a simple short pass.
The game itself was one of those afternoons – in the first half, we never really found our attacking fluency. Might one suggest that the choice of Reyes over Pires was not a good decision particularly as Pires had an afternoon to suggest that his services might be worth retaining. He was the hub of all things good, having several efforts saved and creating more for others.
As is becoming commonplace in the game these days, the two – footed tackle is the talking point of this match. If Faye was lucky to stay on the pitch, Flamini was even luckier. Faye jumped in with both feet up, studs showing, taking the ball first – only because Reyes hesitated – and caught the Spaniard on the follow through, with a feared broken leg as the outcome. Flamini never even got close to ball, having overrun it in the first place, and fortunately Gardner came out unscathed. The two footed lung is also bringing harsher punishment as Essien found out earlier this season after the West Ham game, although both Flamini and Faye will probably escape further punishment as the Referee dealt with the incidents on the pitch. Only if he changes his mind and advises the FA that he should have sent either player off can they take further action.
As Big Sam bemoaned afterwards that the art of tackling, in particular taking pride in the timing of a good tackle, is being lost and that this type of tackle wouldn’t have happened in “his day”. For that read, it wouldn’t have happened as someone would have broken the culprits jaw – it was a man’s game, y’see. It would be interesting to see the whole of that interview to see which one he was talking about, Faye or Flamini, or whether he was referring to both as he did not look impressed, choosing his words carefully and thoughtfully. If it was his own player, presumably he will be reminding him, and maybe even show him, how to make a tackle. If it was Flamini, then he handled the situation well knowing that Wenger enjoys nothing more at the moment than complaining to the media about Bolton, his new bete noir for this season at least. Why Bolton? They are our nearest rivals, along with Tottenham, for fourth place.
Noticeably, neither Mourinho nor Ferguson mention Arsenal at all partly through the fact that they have uneasy truces with Wenger and also because, quite simply, we are not a rival this season through our consistent performances. Consistenly inept, that is.
This weekends quote of the day, heard on Radio 5Live’s “Fighting Talk” in response to the question, “If you could have a face transplant to look like a famous Sportsperson, who would it be?” – the response, “Jose Mourinho – he’s got two so he could give me one and not miss it”.
Todays tunes are from a band who seem to be what called be loosely called, “a popular beat combo”. They remind me of the post – punk era of the 1980’s and it seems unfair that they have missed out on being on an indie label based in Skegness, pestering John Peel for a session, which is what their true calling should have been.