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Brum Bummer

Brum Bummer

Meeting with Jon and Trev pre match it has become something of a ritual to share our predictions. Mine, on this occasion, turned out to be no less a prediction than a prophecy. '1-1, we'll take the lead, take our foot off the gas and it'll finish 1-1.' You're going to have to take my word for that! (And of course I won't tell you about the dozens of times I'm wrong), but I just felt that of late Arsenal have slightly over relied on that handy trait of playing badly and getting results and I felt that maybe our luck had run out on this occasion.

The Gunners began brightly enough, the extra rest afforded to some players since the New Year looked evident as the movement was crisp and Birmingham, who had taken a point at Anfield and run United very close at Old Trafford already this season, looked a little ragged. But the first opportunity of the match actually fell to the visitors. Olivier Kapo slid a wonderfully weighted pass betwixt Toure and Gallas and Cameron Jerome's low drive had Manuel Almunia sprawling down to his left to make a smart save. If anything it acted as a catalyst for the home side, Adebayor's delicious backheel found the fleet footed Hleb on the left, the Belarussian whipped in a precise cross which Eduardo headed straight at Maik Taylor. Another swift move involving the hungry looking Hleb saw Eduardo close in on goal, only for Phil Dowd to ajudge Stephen Kelly's tackle as illegal and give Arsenal a penalty. I have yet to see the incident back, but I think Kelly might have got the ball and Eduardo's fall did not look convincing on first viewing. A replay may assuage my cynicism.

Another spot on prediction as I declared, 'low and to the keeper's left', Ade obliged placing the ball into the corner via Taylor's fingertips. Ade will have to vary his penalty routine as every one he has taken thus far has been a carbon copy. Arsenal looked good for a second goal, but did not adequately lay siege on Birmingham's goal. At half time, 1-0 seemed very comfortable, crowd and team in a mutual zone of complacency. But both were ejected from their reverie three minutes after the interval. Seb Larsson's left wing corner saw Gary O'Connor unmarked to head goalwards, the deflection off of Fabregas' foot diverting the ball beyond Almunia. Led by the impressive Ridgewell, Birmingham defended stoutly, whilst Arsenal alcked the sharpness and creativity to break them down. Adebayor disappeared from the game and Eduardo is that unfathomable type of player because you rarely notice an all round performance from him, yet you cannot afford to replace him because he is always capable of a goal.

Nicky Bendtner arrived from the bench to form a three pronged attack and Arsenal's prospects appeared to improve. Bendtner showed some good movement and Fabregas picked him out with a slide rule pass, but Bendtner snatched at the chance and swerved wide. It was Bendtner again who forged an opportunity, moving ointo the box with Bergkampesque poise, but curling his shot well over the bar. The skipper nearly made another invaluable contribution from centre forward, Hleb span the ball across the six yard box at pace, but Gallas could only deflect the ball towards the touchline. The final flourish came deep into injury time when Cesc Fabregas hit a long range shot inches past the post. The final whistle sounded to audible groans. Two points very much dropped. But I feel philosophical in truth, it is the first time we have dropped points at home this season (the more creditible tie with United withstanding), and even the most successful seasons have these kind of results, we just have to make sure it does not happen with impunity. I have said before that there are many forks left in the road yet, United will have another bad result, we need to capitalise. The return of van Persie needs to come soon though, we have missed his star quality and ability to turn a game with a piece of genius.LD.

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Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Sunday January 13 2008
Time: 1:24PM


Bit *****ed of about the whole situation really. I felt confident with a good start, but just reminded me of 'last years arsenal'. I agree though, i felt we were becoming too dependant on not playing so good but pulling out results. Gutting!
13/01/2008 13:33:00
We've been off for a while now. The only comforter is that despite playing badly we are still joint top. Hopefully we will kick on now with our traditional end of season style and tear it up a bit. I also think Adebayor needs a kick up the bum.
13/01/2008 13:45:00
It did cross my mind that things wouldn't go our way when simmo predicted a win in his match preview! I suppose a home game/result like this was inevitable at some point. It wasn't that we played badly. In parts we looked very good indeed - Hleb 1st half especially. But while that little piece of creative magic wasn't exactly missing altogether, the tricks didn't quite come off. Either of the two flu victims, RvP and Rosicky, would have brought that little more experience I am sure. But you are right we really do need RvP back for that extra 'goal-from-nothing' threat in our game.
13/01/2008 13:48:00
Only positive was Sendoras.
13/01/2008 14:42:00
we had enough chances to win the game even without RVP n Mozart Rosicky.. we didnt take them.. this was just one of those games every top teams hv in a season.. we'll be back from this.. judging from wengers comments on skysports, the whole team is pretty disappointed n they should be.. but it doesnt look to pretty for fulham at the moment, more so after our result.. a huge win to go back top next week me thinks
13/01/2008 14:55:00
I cant say anything about the Fulham game.. cuz we lost 2-1 last year over there.. didn't we? As Wenger said.. we need to re focus.. and big time. I think we totally under-estimated Birmingham yesterday and paid for it.. The players should forget abt Man Utd, Chelsea et all.. and focus on getting 3 points in every match.. and I think so should we. I believe that if we win 12-14 of our remaining games.. we've got a real shot.. it wont be easy.. but at least its do-able.. unlike last season.
13/01/2008 15:30:00
Walcott was again dreadful. It's like he's relying on his speed as his only weaon, and indeed he seems to have very little to back it up with. Bendtner came on and immediately showed what was missing on the right. Oh, and LD, "betwixt Toure and Gallas"?.....I know, we all already miss the big Ivorian too! hehe
13/01/2008 15:43:00
Walcott concerns me, it's like he's learning his trade to the detriment of the team,
13/01/2008 16:02:00
I'm glad this result didn't make it all about doom and gloom here. And to look at the positives, I agree with Lew that Senderos indeed looked solid, playing better and better, especially in the 2nd half. I was surprised that it was our attack that had problem when I had been worried about defence since Kolo left. But I really don't think there's a fundamental problem with our attack, it's just an off day. Individually the strikers and attack-minded midfielders are a good collection of players really (except Theo who's really not there yet, but nothing worse than 'not there yet' so I'm glad we are cutting the kid some slack). It's a question of finding the right striking partnership while Ade and Eduardo didn't seem to work well together. I guess I still tend to think RvP/Ade and Edu/Bendtner are the most viable options for now. I'm not worried about Fulham, but then I wasn't worried about Birmingham either, what do I know?
Lou the Gunneress
13/01/2008 16:08:00
oh well you can't always win and if you are qpr you can't always lose so a draw is a good result for us and at the very least you play in the prem
ozanne park rangers
13/01/2008 19:02:00
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