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Brilliant Arsenal Put Pressue On Utd

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal out-shone and out-fought Martin O'Neil's Aston Villa on Saturday to open up a six point lead over title rivals Manchester United.

Many had predicted a tricky game for Arsenal, none more so than myself, who had predicted that Arsenal would suffer their first league defeat in 8 months. But Gallas and his band of brothers battled from the first minute to the last and managed to grind out a result.

Credit where it's due - Villa made in tough for Arsenal by denying the likes of Rosicky and Hleb time and space to work their magic. Indeed, Villa even went ahead for 10 minutes before Flamini leveled.

And after seeing his boys fight so hard, Wenger couldn't hide his delight after the game: 'We were brilliant and resilient. In the first half we played some absolutely amazing football,' said Wenger.

'We moved the ball quickly, were accurate with our passing in short spaces and made it difficult for Villa.

'In the second half, the physical contribution from Villa and the fact some of our players dropped off a little bit, allowed them back in.

'I felt at the end of the first half we seemed as if we weren't right on top of things and that made it difficult.

'But this is a big result. Because of the belief in the Villa side after their recent good run, we needed something special.

'Maybe in the past, games like that have been our Achilles heel. But we have improved, have more experience and resilience and we panic less.'

The result puts Arsenal into a fantastic posistion going into December, and puts immense pressure on Man United to beat Fulham on Monday.

With a trip to Newcastle and the visit of Chelsea yet to come, there's a long way to go yet before we can say we've got through December...

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

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The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday December 2 2007

Time: 2:07AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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We were amazing in the first half, in the second half they dominated but i'm very proud of the team for getting through this game with a win.
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02/12/2007 02:30:00

How did Carew stay on the field? Anywhere else in the word that is a straight redcard. It was malicious, from behind and although not directly denying a goal scoring chance he clearly cut him down so it wouldnt have to be done in the box. *********.
Ozi Gooner
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02/12/2007 02:33:00

exactly my thoughts ozzy. I hate that ****
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02/12/2007 03:06:00

oh sorry for the double z. I am famous for my spelling
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02/12/2007 03:07:00

and the y. wow. lol. its late
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02/12/2007 03:07:00

When the camera showed the rain pouring down, it brought back memories of last season when we were away to a tricky team and it was a muddy night and we would mess up. This win really shows how far we have come :)
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02/12/2007 03:46:00

Good win.... Lets hope MU stuff up BIG Time
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02/12/2007 04:26:00

I justed wanted to give my props to Bacary "the Hustla" Sagna cus he blocked like 98% of their corners. The ball never passed got to any dangerous positions, they were only effective with crosses during open play. **Gunners All Day Every Day**
Youngest in Charge
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02/12/2007 04:39:00

Youngest in Charge
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02/12/2007 04:40:00

Beautiful performance in the first half. Simply amazing. However, the second half was a total contrast. As a neutral, would feel that villa deserved at least a point. anyway am happy, that Arsenal came away with all 3 pts. Now for the next test at newcastle. lets hope that the injury to hleb is not very serious. cause we need to be in full strength to go all the way
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02/12/2007 06:26:00

Great victory, I thought it's going to be a draw since Villa are playing well, but well done to our guys. Now it will be a perfect week, if the scum (aka tiny tots) loses. Is Hleb's injury serious? I know he's most likely be out for the mid-week match against Newcaste, but how long will he be out?
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02/12/2007 07:38:00

couldn't be bothered about tiny tots anymore its just boring at the moment i'm hoping manu slip up at fulham. on monday and the on wednesday we can go clear by nine....mmmm tasty
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02/12/2007 07:46:00

well clear of manu anyway
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02/12/2007 07:47:00

Good game guys, a draw would of been a fair result though.
Villa 4 Ever
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02/12/2007 08:26:00

It was a good performance overall. Especially in the first half though someone (Rosicky perhaps ?) should have tracked back with Gardiner to prevent the first goal. The man was allowed to run the full length of the pitch on his own. That was sloppy. Sagna is playing wel and getting a few assists to his name too. Villa put a lot of long ball pressure on us in the 2nd half but apart from the inevitable penalty box scrambles didn't really threaten us that much. Carew didn't intend to hurt Hleb but blatantly cynical fouls like that merit greater punishment than that meted out for over celebrating a goal or showing dissent.
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02/12/2007 09:14:00

One of the finest footballing displays I've ever seen in the first half, Hleb played the complete game. His statistics showed that before he was kicked out of the game he only misplaced ONE of his 65 passes, and it wasn't as if he was passing sideways across the back line. By the letter of the law Bacary Sagna should have been booked for waving an imaginary card, but the foul committed by Carew was horrible. If it was a miss-timed tackle it would have been easier to accept, but the sole aim of the tackle was to put Hleb out of the game, and it worked......we never looked the same after that. But credit to Aston Villa, the rest of the game was played in a good spirit, and Villa became the only team this season to give us a running over in the second half. I'd like to say that the deserved a point, but from that first half display, I think we edged it.
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02/12/2007 10:03:00

i think we r over-reacting to carew's tackle.. unfair yes, cynical yes, intent to get hleb out of the game definitely no.. we dropped off in the 2nd half and deidnt maintain the intensity of the 1st half allowing them time and space to put us under pressure but it turned out to be a good defensive showing.. hleb will be fine by saturday just in time to hand boro their heaviest loss in recent history
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02/12/2007 10:30:00

Just wanted to say congratulations and good luck for the rest of the season, I've been on here a few times in the past praising you boys and saying I want you to win the league and none more so than now, your first half performance was just sublime. Having said that I think we were unlucky not to nick a point 2nd half but I wont begrudge you the points, just hope we bounce back againt Pompey next week.
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02/12/2007 10:36:00

I hope you're tight McGooner, I really do, because I don't want to class Villa alongside the likes of Bolton or Blackburn, they have more style than that. I guess I'm just cynical in my old age!!
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02/12/2007 10:38:00

villa fought very well second half and i thought this was a good test for us, i too LD thought this might be a tricky away game for us, i watched it and thought how hard we battled as well as playing our superb passing game. that is the difference this season, everyone is stepping up a gear, we are not reliant on one player ( henry ) and the players are all proving their importance to the team. i hope we don't come unstuck against a leaky newcastle, and then Boro 4 days later away.. personally i would like to think thats 6 pts from those two games and we go into the chelsea game looking in good shape. by the time that game comes around we would of played our game in hand on united, so if all is equal and we win and they win, we could be 6 pts clear, then we play chelsea and on the same day United are away to liverpool, for me this is a critical day !
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02/12/2007 10:44:00

now that impressions are settled I have to give massive credit not only to our resilient and sturdy defensive effort in the 2nd half, but to the attitude and commitment of the Villa squad. They gave it a real and honest go (Carew's tackle left a bad mark on it) and wouldn't have anything to complain had they snatched a late equalizer. That said, Carew was the last one who deserved to score it, and some force out there agreed with me. PG, if we take 6 pts off of Newcastle and Boro, we'd be going into the Chavski game in GREAT shape.
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02/12/2007 11:00:00

You're a bit overpraising yourselves here... quite simply, you pulled off a lucky win despite playing completely outplayed in the second half. It happened before and will happen again, even with the best teams.
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02/12/2007 11:33:00

What was lucky about Midlothian? We were awesome in the first half, and despite a very strong Villa performance in the 2nd, they only pose a serious threat once!!! You're just gutted that you're getting further away from us!!
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02/12/2007 11:40:00

i don't think we are overpraising, i wouldn't begrudge villa a point after there 2nd half display they came out and brought the game to arsenal however our first half display was far far superior if it was a boxing match we would still win on points just because of the first half. it was 45 minutes of perfection and but for a lapse of concentration (maybe commitment would be more accurate) you didn't deserve the first half goal but second half you did we on the other hand should have scored 3 in the first half and at half time i was half expecting us to put another 2 past you guys but credit to villa the didn't come out to save face(as in to avoid a rout) they played like they could win and most teams would have given up at that point.
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02/12/2007 11:46:00

luck had nothing to do with it
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02/12/2007 11:48:00

99s favourite word is 'lucky', except when scum win. Arsenal are lucky, Bolton were lucky, Citeh were lucky, Pompey and Reading were lucky. He should realise that scum are lucky to have cronaldo and wrooney, otherwise his team would be trying to do a spuds and qualify for the CL instead of being automatic top 4. Relying on only two players to stay in the top 4 is dangerous, and extremely LUCKY if they stay uninjured all season
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02/12/2007 12:04:00

Lots of credit to Villa but they only really dominated once Hleb went off after being unfairly chopped in half by Carew. If Hleb had stayed on I feel we would have taken them apart on the break in the last 20 minutes.
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02/12/2007 12:11:00

I didnt think the Carew foul on Hleb was malicious with intent to injure, but it still ended up doing exactly that and took him out of the game. I was a little disappointed with the behaviour of the players - surrounding the ref for the Carew foul, Sagna waving an imaginary card after Young dived, and Gallas over arguing with the ref and getting booked for it. This doesnt normally happen in a single game, and I hope its a one-off. Focussing on the field performances, I am quite happy with that. Villa might be slightly unlucky, but I think Arsenal did just about enough to nick the 3 points. Hleb was the stand out for me.
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02/12/2007 13:51:00

Definite credit to Villa, who look so much better... For all the pressure they gave us in the second half though, we were just as admirable in toughing it out and not conceding. In the second half our passing was actually quite woeful too, but the commitment at the back was excellent. I agree with Arsene taking the chance to play Diarra central, and he did a good job. To summarise the game though, I'll quote one of the 5-live presenters after the game: "I mean what can I say... the only criticism I can really make about Alexandr Hleb is that he's not English."
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02/12/2007 14:08:00

Maybe no intent to injure, prits, but it was 100% cynical. While you are right and we might do with a bit less of the lets-surround-the-ref routine, I reckon we are not too much worse than other teams, and we have a way to go before we approach Chelsea/Terry standards.
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02/12/2007 14:14:00

lucky ? pffft i don't see how you can win lucky. win ugly perhaps, win when not playing well, win with a dodgey penalty or the other team scoring a goal which went clearly over the line and the ref doesn't give it ! but if you had listened to Linekar and Hansen, we were not lucky, we were brilliant against a wdll organised second half villa and we still won. lucky is not something arsenal are ever.
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02/12/2007 14:17:00

Always enjoy watching Arsenal but thought you looked much better against Liverpool when you drew. Didn't think that you were that good until your first (excellenty finished) goal and think that Villa's heads dropped rather than your improvement. RE: Carew challenge on Hleb. There was no malice and think that you are seeing this because it isn't the first time this season that he has been taken out. Also the ref was holding hands with and hugging Carew directly after the challenge which surely isn't part of his job?
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02/12/2007 17:11:00

I agree Andy, I am *****ed off about the Carew challenge, no doubt about it, coz it took Hleb out of the game.
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02/12/2007 18:14:00

does anyone know how serious is Helb's injury and how long will he be out for? nothing is mentioned on as yet..
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02/12/2007 18:48:00

anonymous, you are probably right, but if it's not for those tiny tots fans gloating and how "we should be afraid", even though their team are performining quite pathetically, I would just leave it. Anyway, tiny tots 2 - 3 Birmingham!!! The winner scored by ex-Arsenal Sebastian Larsson, good on him!
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02/12/2007 23:03:00


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