The pass masters go long ball

At half-time yesterday, I was ready to write Arsenal off for the season (I can be a bit melodramatic like that). We’d created very little and that didn’t seem likely to change. Up front, Bendtner toiled to no great effect while Eduardo had hardly touched the ball. Elsewhere we were being harried and hustled and we didn’t have the answers. Wenger called it being “nervous” but I prefer “pretty rubbish”, while credit should also be due to the hosts.

The turning point was my lucky poo.

I should explain.

Just after the second half had restarted, I texted Arseblogger such was the way the game had gone, and pointed out how crap it was. Only, I used the word “poo”.

Barely had the networks delivered the digital missive than Eduardo controlled a long ball from Clichy and coolly slotted in the equaliser. Was it deserved? Absolutely not, but if you get a chance, you take that chance, and thus was the lucky poo born.

Arsenal had toiled to pass it through Everton, so they went long ball instead. And as if to prove route one wasn’t a fluke, they went and did it again; this time Hleb long-balled it to the head of Bendtner, who flicked it onto Eduardo.

Hulla hulla hulla Eduardo! It’s hard to work out exactly how he scored it, even having watched a replay, but in essence he took the ball with his left foot and went left of his man, before swivelling right of his man and transferring to his right foot to control it, before finally re-introducing his left foot into the fray to slot the ball home. The goal was sumptuous, even if there was a cheeky handball along the way.

At 2-1 the game was still finely poised, but it was soon 3-1 with a calamitous cock-up letting Ade Cool in. This time, long ball barely does it justice. Almunia took a goal kick, the ball bounced without being touched, then as the goalkeeper and his centre-half did their terracotta army impressions, Adebayor nipped in to steal the ball and walk it into the net. An assist for Manuel Almunia!

Of course, the fourth was slick and cool but it was right at the death when the game was to all intents and purposes over.

What about the red cards? Bendtner can have no complaints really – the second yellow was not malicious but was clumsy and dangerous. Arteta, by the letter of the law, was also correctly sent off. Having said that, it pains me to say that Fabregas made a meal of it. And if you’re really that injured, would you roll over four times? Cesc is a young player of supreme quality so there’s no need. It was a red card though.

Overall though, what a result. We’re back on top with a thumping 4-1 win (though it really didn’t feel like a 4-1), and we’ve finished our arduous nine-game month largely intact. Unbelievably, seven of those games have been in the league, of which five were away from home. Given that our two home games were against our biggest London rivals, a final points tally for December of 14 from 21 is superb.

Happy New Year! What a first half of the season it’s been – better than anyone could have expected.



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