Match report: Arsenal first-rate in second city

Birmingham City 0-3 Arsenal

Now that’s what I call fairweather blogging! I raved about the Chelski performance, but kept mum after earthward bump at Wigan. Now I’m back to doff the cap to the team for today’s performance at lowly Birmingham, which was as excellent as Wigan was disappointing as Chelski was excellent. Maybe that should be my blogging template for 2011: Post when we win, but bury my head in the sand when we don’t. The only negativity you’d get then would be me moaning about not having won well enough. I’m sure you could all handle that.

Hard job being a manager too: Wenger was criticised (and I still think fairly) for rotating too many players at Wigan immediately after our best win of the season, but today, seeing his side buzz, hustle, harry and gurgle at St Andrews, it would be easy to conclude that Wenger did in fact get it right. Three games in six days, seven points from nine.

As ever, the truth is somewhere in between and we won’t know until the final reckoning whether Wigan was rotational genius or two crucial points discarded.

Anyway, enough of that, it’s conjecture and nowt more. The response was excellent today, and while it is true that Birmingham were largely poor, it was heartening to see us play as diligently off the ball as we did on it. I’ll never forget, slack-jawed, how Barcelona last season at the Grove fought like cats and dogs to get the ball back on the odd occasion that they lost it. If you don’t give the ball away much when you have it, and try to get it back as fast as you can when you don’t, it strikes me that you might go places.

Today we saw another eight changes, undoing all of those made at Wigan and reinstating the entire starting XI we saw against Chelski. van Persie opened the scoring, via a deflection off Lovable Lee Bowyer, but overall Robin had the kind of game a man who needs games has. Rusty van Persie. He had one or two other pretty decent opportunities but the WD-40 hadn’t made it through to his titanium ball-bearing knees and they went begging.

Nasri slotted in a very decent second, slamming my nerve cupboard door closed, and from that point on it became a procession and Arsenal were able to extend their peacock feathers and have a bit of fun. The third – though it was an own goal – was a thing of beauty in the build up.

In between all this, there was the usual needle associated with this fixture, with a Roger Johnson studs-up challenge on Cesc in particular causing consternation and Lee Bowyer being, well, generally Bowyeresque. And Birmingham, to be fair, made much more of a game of it in the first half than they did in the second and were aggrieved not to get a penalty themselves.

Overall though we more than merited the three points and the clean sheet (yes! Hark!), and have set ourselves up nicely for Wednesday’s game against Man City. Unless Mancini puts all eleven men behind the ball, it has the potential to be a bit tasty.

Finally, a Happy New Year to you all. I might not say it as often as I should, but thanks to everyone for reading, for commenting, for advising, for tweeting, and generally for being top-draw gooners in 2010. I really do appreciate it. Have a happy, prosperous, healthy and trophy-laden 2011.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Sajit Kunnumkal

    great win for us. They learnt that they cannot kick us into submission. Top draw stuff from the players and the away fans.

  2. East Lower

    The kickings we can now handle. The concentration – jury is still out but it was very encouraging today.

  3. Anonymous

    the players seem to believe their own hype after a couple of wins and come out sometimes like it will be an easy 3 points, which it never is. I honestly believe we have the strongest, most talented squad, and we create the most chances. BUT we are not the best mentally speaking, normally, but today we were magnificent. Just keep that kind of focus and we’ll be champions, but somehow I cant see it.

  4. East Lower

    If we can add consistency to our game, you could be right. We’ve fallen down on that front for several years so who knows. Today though – excellent.

  5. Gooner in Exile

    Unlike the trip to Wigan this one was definitely worth the effort of 7 hour round trip.

    Big hats off to Djouro, Sagna, Koscielny and Clichy, stood up to the challenge of high balls and dark arts. Fab had a positive game too.

    Going forward we were far more purposeful than at Wigan and looked dangerous around the box with not too much pondering.

    In times gone by we would have wilted at the sight of the dubious challenges and non protection from the ref, but today and against Chelsea the team seemed to say well if the challenges on them are deemed fair then we can do it to and appeared to be untaxed by the physicality.

    Travelling away is always good fun especially when we’re given an end to fill, best song of the night:

    We’ve got Cesc Fabregas (repeat 4 times)

    You’ve got Lee Bowyer (repeat 4 times)

    Also an early rendition of :

    Your Grounds too Big For You (re lots of empty seats)

  6. Jeff

    I could hear “Your Ground’s Too Big for You,” and “We’ve got Cesc Fabregas” on the video. There seemed to be a huge amount of singing about Fabregas in the second half. I still can’t quite make out the Nasri song, but in the commentary on the feed in the states, Efan Ekoku mentioned the Nasri song to Steve Banyard. Banyard asked Ekoku to give him the refrain, but he got shy and said “maybe later.”

  7. Gooner in Exile

    Search you tube for Samir Nasri song and play Man City one.


    Samir Nas-er-ee Nas-eri Sam-er Nas-er-ee na na na na na na na

    To the tune of Baby give it up from 80’s?

  8. Jeff

    I checked it out. That’s catchy. I’ll be able to pick it out now! Keep singing.

  9. East Lower

    KC and the Sunshine Band… Ah, memories…

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