The green shoots of recovery

Arsenal 1-0 Dynamo Kiev

1-0 to the Arsenal – an old song from a bygone era when our defence was tight, our midfield tough but cumbersome and our attack less than free-scoring. In the last few years it’s our attack that’s been better than our defence, and in the last few games, nothing’s worked at all so a good old-fashioned 1-0 scoreline was more than welcome last night.

In fact Bendtner’s well-taken winner was our first team’s first goal in 357 minutes – just another indicator of how bad things have been in recent weeks.

The positives: The commitment was there. Yes, we should take that for granted from professional footballers but there was none of it during the Villa and City games, so to see a team battle hard and get stuck is a good start. And a 1-0 takes us through to the Champions League knockout stage, which will give us a bit more cash (you hear me, Wenger?), and a bit more kudos. From a player perspective, I thought Vela and then Wilshere did particularly well, and Bendtner (who as Goodplaya points out, was on the receiving end of some thoroughly unnecessary stick), took his goal very well indeed. Wilshere, interestingly, is now Arsenal’s youngest-ever European player. Well done lad.

The negatives: Our confidence is still shot. There was plenty of effort but not a lot of quality, and that’s largely down to confidence. It’s also down to having a huge injury list that last night included Sagna, Toure, Nasri, Diaby, Walcott, Eboue, Eduardo and Adebayor.

So all in all, a very satisfactory evening and one that gives me hope that we have turned a corner.

With a few players back (Adebayor, Nasri and Sagna we are told are 50:50 – so do some praying to the gods of medicine between now and Sunday) and similar levels of commitment, we can give it a good crack on Sunday.

No doubt there’ll be more to talk about between now and then…

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