Per-shaped, points plundered

Fulham 0-1 Arsenal

What will posterity tell us about this game? Not, I suspect, that it was a curiously below-par performance despite an 80-minute numerical advantage. History will record it as a win. Three potentially crucial points for supremacy among the title unchallengers.

I do not deny that it would be preferable, having accelerated into some promising form, for us to be playing with a bit more swagger than we are. We looked sapped yesterday, as if the pressure was getting to us a bit. I wish there was a handy catch-all phrase that Wenger could come up with to describe playing in this way. Something that refers to us playing within ourselves. Perhaps something automotive. Anyway, here’s what he said:

We played a bit with the nerves, a little bit with the handbrake in the second half

The bottom line is that we won. What is a bit of a concern is that the goals have dried up a bit since thumping Reading. A 3-1 win against Norwich that could so easily have been a 1-1 draw. No goals against Everton and the solitary one yesterday. But 7 points from 9 – I call that efficient…

Red cards? Sidwell (Slidwell? Slidbadly) can have no complaints and I suspect Arteta will have a sore ankle this morning. And Giroud’s, while I think less dangerous, was still over the top of the ball. I can’t really envisage Arsenal challenging it but as someone asked on Twitter (and I forget who, sorry), is there anything to lose in giving it a go? Can the FA extend a ban if it considers the challenge to be spurious? I think it might be able to but I can’t remember.

Of course, Giroud’s card has a knock-on effect, banned for three games as he is. I guess in simple terms it opens the door for one of Walcott, Gervinho or Podolski to lead the line for a bit. Walcott’s form is such that I wouldn’t even go there. Gervinho simply doesn’t need the opprobrium that would inevitably be heaped upon him and Arsenal could do with someone more reliable in front of goal anyway. It’s Podolski all the way for me. Plus, he ought to be the freshest of the lot as he’s made his home in recent weeks on the bench. He’s probably the best striker of a ball at the club.

There are some huge games today but whichever way they go, next Sunday’s visit of the champions elect is shaping up to be a humdinger. They have a bit of a hoodoo on us right now. We’ll need to douse some WD-40 on the old handbrake if we’re to undo the hoodoo.

If I could sum up the reality of the last few games of the season, it would be ‘points first, performance second’. If we can end the season well – by which of course I mean *weeps silently at the thought of bygone eras* coming in one of the holy grail places – then we can worry about our deficiencies a little more calmly at a later date.

Glorious day here in London – go on, off you go the lot of you.

PS – This blog was brought to you in a 2002 gold Grimandi 18 shirt. Possibly my favourite shirt.

3 thoughts on “Per-shaped, points plundered

  1. Grimandi was in the team when I started watching, around March 2000. Here’s one where Gilles got the hook (2nd yellow). Seems like Luzhny was just here.

    Result : Arsenal (2) 2 Tottenham (1) 1
    Scorers: Armstrong og,19, Armstrong 31
    Henry pen 45

    Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Silvinho, Adams, Luzhny; Grimandi,
    Vieira, Parlour, Overmars; Kanu, Henry
    Subs: Ljungberg (Overmars 56), Winterburn (Henry 76),
    Bergkamp, Suker, Lukic
    Booked: Kanu, Grimandi, Parlour, Adams
    Sent off: Grimandi (85, 2nd bookable offence)

    Only three Frenchman? Can we bring in the winger Pires?

  2. how could anyone have possibly predicted that our only striker would get injured/lose from/get suspended at some stage during this season. If someone had only had imagined this incredible scenario, maybe we would have bought another one & had an option for next week !!

    Podolski has never been a main striker in his career. He’s either played on the left or behind someone like Klose. Plus he’s clearly not fit, that end of the season operation we’re hearing about cannot come quick enough. And yet I agree, he’s a better alternative than the other two ! Starting & ending the season without any striker at all (cos Giroud’s 45 mins of pre-season meant he clearly wasn’t ready to start the season in the team) is just a shocking indictment of Arsene. If we manage to sneak 3rd or 4th, get in the CL & Arsene is still the manager at the start of next season, he will be an extraordinarily lucky man to still have his job.

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