Sunday 4 March 2012

RVP to the rescue yet again!

Having watched the highlights of Arsenal's win against Liverpool, I can barely believe my eyes. How did the Gunners win? Szczeny's performed miracles with his penalty save, while up the other end Robin van Persie took his chances. Reina looked at fault for the winner, but hats off to the team in general. Even Diaby put in a good shift as a sub for the crocked Arteta.

Before the game, I wasn't so optimistic, writing: 'Going to the studio without my laptop is as stupid as heading to Anfield without Arshavin! Nevertheless, I made the decision to rid myself of my tortoiseshell as I feel like a proper tortoise carrying my laptop in my rucksack. Without it though I can't keep updated on what's happening during the Liverpool v Arsenal game! How frustrating! I thought O2's signal would reach my mobile phone, but apparently not. The signal in west London is far from reliable...a bit like Arsenal's defence.

'One snippet of news I did manage to read in the far west of London concerned Diaby. I knew he'd be back said Wenger in a headline. But has Diaby ever been back, I mean the way he was before the horrific injury he sustained? Even pre-injury, I wasn't too sure about him. Diaby's had his moments of glory but too many moments of mediocrity to convince me of his worth, so the announcement that he's back fills me with...fills me underwhelming sense of nothingness. I just hope I'm wrong about him, and Diaby leaps back off the treatment table lack a Jack-in-a-box and scares Liverpool's defence to death. Think he's more likely to scare ours, though.'

Of course, it was Koscielny who netted an own goal. I had visions of Diaby doing that, but the lanky one was sharp on the day.

I was certainly full of pessimism and also wrote this pre-match: 'I write this ahead of the trip to Anfield with Arsenal in 4th and Wenger with the Manager of the Month gong. As we know, the award is cursed and the winner of it suffers misfortune thereafter starting today possibly! Let's hope not, but it's a very real prospect against a Liverpool team that have actually won something, albeit unconvincingly against lesser opposition in the shape of Cardiff City. We can only hope the Reds will get complacent against us. I'm not holding out much hope, but then again I couldn't see us coming back from 2-0 down at home to Spurs. Liverpool have squandered a lot of points at Anfield this season despite their unbeaten record there, so let's hope they drop three more!

'Incidentally, Wenger's gong puts our recent disappointment into perspective. Three wins out of four is not bad form in the Premier League and we should recognise that despite two cup defeats our boss has not completely lost the plot. He's even secured the services of a 16-year-old winger from Luton Town called Tarum Dawkins, who was much-coveted by all the big clubs apparently. Another high coup for Le Boss! Some will say that could spell the end of Theo Walcott, but that's assuming Dawkins is ready for first-team action in the Premier League. And it's also assuming Theo won't sign a new deal in the summer and won't be played as a striker next season. Unfortunately, I can't see Wenger playing Theo down the middle so I think he'll move to another club that will be more willing to play to his strengths: pace and finishing. Ultimately, it will be our loss and Theo's gain. Fingers crossed it doesn't happen for I think Theo is still a potential great. Now I'd better put my helmet on and wait for some flak from the Theo-haters!' Luckily, Theo put in a good shift too, and forced Reina into two good saves. Still, nothing stops Theo-haters from hating so the hate will probably go on unabated!

Of course, I was waxing lyrical (or shouldn't that be 'lyrically') after Theo's performance against Spurs: 'Well now I've seen the (extended?) highlights on Sky and I can state, categorically, that Theo is a natural-born finisher. Yes, his first touch is iffy, but his pace allows him to get away with the occasional moments when he can't seem to bring the ball under control. He was coolness personified when dinking the ball over Friedel for his first. The second showed the precision I've learned to expect from Theo.
His critics will no doubt go on about the chances that he missed. Surely those detractors will admit all good strikers miss chances. I've seen RVP miss bucket-loads but no one ever complains about that. Playing as a proper striker means the next chance will come along a lot sooner than it will for a striker playing out of position on the wing, as Theo does.
Playing out of position is great for eroding a young player's confidence particularly on a big stage like the Emirates. No wonder it's been over a year since Theo's last home goal in the Premier League as you need a reservoir of confidence resources to draw upon when goals dry up. Ask Arshavin!

'Anyway, credit where credit's due, Theo stepped up to the plate and momentarily vindicated Wenger's decision to keep the faith with him rather than going with the Ox. Wenger does deserve praise for sticking to his principles on this occasion and not panicking. Well done, Arsene!'

Before that, I felled compelled to write: 'I can't believe Arsenal have turned Spurs over 5-2.

'I was so sure the Gunners would lose this, especially after Tottenham scored early on and doubled their lead with a penalty.

'I was hard at work and just getting scoreline updates off Sky. At 2-0 down, I was so glad I was working! No way back from this, I thought, and what a good job I can't get 'live streaming' to watch this humiliation. I clicked on 'streaming' and got a toolbar...which makes me a tool for believing that 'live football streaming' means what it says on the tin. Oh, I also got told it was available on Espn in some countries. Not mine though! Great!

'Anyway, who wants to watch an Arsenal team with Rosicky and Benayoun starting? Well, I do, but I didn't expect 3 points. With our two most recent supersubs, Arshavin and Henry elsewhere how could we turn this around?

'I don't know as I've not seen the game yet, but now I can't wait to see the goals. Well done Theo for scoring twice! Your detractors will still say you can't finish though, which is laughable...a bit like our wage bill if you believe the Internet rumours. Not sure I do though.'

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