Wolves 0-2 Arsenal
A fine rearguard performance, bookended by two well-taken goals from Chamakh and notable for an exceptional goalkeeping performance from the enigmatic Lukasz Fabianski.
Watching Fabianski is not good for one’s general health, it seems. Recent performances have tended to be steps forward, albeit with a mini step backwards against Newcastle. Last night the lovable Pole laid the ghost of Carroll (not meant to be quite as eerie and sick as it sounds) by putting in a fantastic shift to deny Wolves time and again.
Pick of the bunch came right at the end, while there was still only a goal in it, when he parried away a powerful shot from Berra. When the final whistle blew Fabianski afforded himself a little roar of approval. He was a lion last night.
We couldn’t have started the game better, Chamakh heading in a lovely Sagna cross [correction - it was Song] before a minute was up, but when Arshavin (otherwise very good, I thought) missed a one-on-one, Wolves came back into it and though we had other chances to seal it sooner than we did – Fabregas missed a good one – much of the rest of the game was for marvelling both at Wolves’ dogged refusal to give in and at Arsenal’s for once solid back line. It was only our third clean sheet in 12 league games. Their rarity makes me enjoy them even more.
The inability to put the game to bed sooner did lead to a collective outbreak of heart palpitations on Twitter, with Sunderland and countless other late concessions in mind, but the late counter sealed it.
I must admit, I was impressed by the Wanderers and McCarthy’s exasperation at yet another defeat is understandable. They played very well.
Fabregas’s yellow card gave everyone another talking point. It might have been red on another day and with a different referee, but I think yellow was probably the right call. It was not a good tackle at all. Afterwards, Cesc sought out Ward and apologised, saying it was an accident. That took all the sting out of the situation but it’s interesting that we have now had two such incidents committed by our players this season – Wilshere and now Fabregas. Rightly or wrongly, it’s cannon fodder for critics of Wenger’s stance on bad tackles.
Apologising is a good start, learning from it a wise outcome.
After two very poor performances this was a pivotal test. Lose it and the knives would truly have been out. But we ground out a very good win, and off we go again into happyland. We’re well placed. Let’s keep going.