W.B.A. 1-3 Arsenal
For me, the strongest emotion coming out of last night is relief.
Relief that we didn’t earn the unwanted record of being the first English top flight side in history to draw 0-0 five times in a row. Relief that we’ve finally – at what seems like the umpteenth time of asking – put some pressure on Villa. Simple relief at a victory. It’s a nice feeling.
It was a good night for the much-maligned Nicklas Bendtner too, who rampaged through the West Brom defence to great effect, scoring twice, hitting the post once and generally making a solid nuisance for himself.
For a 21-year-old he gets a lot of stick, much of it unwarranted, so this – as well as having his name sung throatily by the travelling Arsenal contingent – will do him a world of good. Yes, his first touch is clumsy and he can be maddeningly erratic, but personally, I like him as a player. He offers height and strength and is a bit of a battering ram. His two goals took his haul for the season to 11 – crucial given that our midfield basically doesn’t score goals.
Wenger said of his great Dane:
“I feel it is difficult for a fan of Arsenal Football Club because you are always comparing with players from five, six or ten years ago. But you have to accept that a player of 19 or 20 will be better every six months. Tonight he showed he has the talent to be an Arsenal player and that he’s on the right way to maturity. I like his presence and his determined attitude and the way he took players on tonight.”
Arshavin also deserves a mention. He might be pint-sized but even at 80% fit all the evidence points us to having a sensational talent on our hands. He could have got a couple himself, and the split-second transfer between left foot and right foot before one of his shots on goal was quite fantastic. Even in slow-mo it was hard to see how he did it.
The mouth-watering prospect of having Walcott, Fabregas, Eduardo, Adebayor and Rosicky back by April means we can dream of better times. There’s no doubt they will make a huge difference.
Onwards and upwards. Please.
Finally – well done to James Hoffman who wins the Arsenal TV Online competition.