Vital Football

Latest Arsenal FC News

Bendt It Like St. Nick

Bendt It Like St. Nick

I have spoken before about my disdain for lunch time kick offs. It has become customary to enjoy Goals on Sunday with a cuppa and a mouth that tastes like a mixture of Guinness and monkey piss. So it felt a little odd to view it with a Guinness in the Arsenal Tavern pre match. We arrived in the stadium in time to watch Cesc Fabregas pick up his well deserved PFA Young Player of the Year award and for Arsene Wenger to announce on the screen that Jens Lehmann would be leaving. More on that later.

The game began in a moribund, anti climatic atmosphere between two sets of players who just seemed to want the season to end. With Arteta, Cahill, Fabregas, Hleb and Flamini all peering on from the sidelines, it is hardly surprising that the game was bereft of fluency, the best player on display was probably Everton's Steven Pienaar. Walcott, looking lost on the left, had the first shot in anger as he curled an effort well wide on his right foot. Everton were compact and looking for the point they needed to secure UEFA Cup qualification. In truth, with a little more ambition they could have pushed us for all three. Fabianski, starting in goal, had an indecision that permeated him that one expects from a young keeper. Fortunately, Alex Song and particularly William Gallas were on top form. His detractors seldom mention it, but even before he was made captain, it has always struck me how he looks after younger players.

Everton only created one opportunity in the game when Arsenal were at their most contemplative. Pienaar played a ball into the right channel, Andy Johnson homed in on goal, but Fabianski beat his effort away with his right foot. Pienaar followed up, but Alex Song blocked and cleared his effort. This seemed to spark Arsenal into something approaching life. Another of Toure's pinpoint diagonal balls found Adebayor, he controlled brilliantly out of the air but Howard saved his shot. Emmanuel Eboue made a rare forray down the right and played in a teasing cross, which Adebayor stretched his neck muscles and could only glance it wide.

The match continued in much the same vain in the second half, until Wenger added a touch of sentiMENTALity by bringing on Jens Lehmann for a chance to say a farewell to the home support. It was a fitting tribute to one of football's, ahem, characters. I have to pay my own tribute because Jens gave me the single greatest moment of my Arsenal supporting career when he stopped Juan Roman Riquelme's penalty. He gave me someof my funniest moments too, a guy who absolutelyloved to be the villain. Who would sometimes agitate opposition supporters for his own amusement. But above all he has been a top class goalkeeperand I have expressed here my belief that he should have been reinstated following the defeat at Stamford Bridge. Cheers Jens, it's been emotional. But it was the other substitute, Armand Traore, who would make the difference. Bendtner was playing a slightly withdrawn role as he did at Derby on Monday night, he picked up the ball between Everton's midfield and defence, pushed the ball out to Traore on the left, Traore flighted in a beautiful cross which Bendtner climbed to power home an unstoppable header.

Everton were unable to respond and Bendtner's goal proved to be the decider. Bendtner is still rough around the edges, but he does make a difference, many of his goalshave been winners or equalisers and I think there's plenty more to come from him. At the end of the game Gallas persuaded Lehmann to take a virtuoso bow in the centre circle for a well deserved ovation. And what to do with Gallas? Firstly he refuses to move from the pitch at St. Andrews, now he is encouraging his team mates to do the same! What will be the psychological effect on the team? The traditional lap of honour took place, with Matty Flamini waving the Arsenal fans goodbye. The result preserved an unbeaten home record this season, which is quite an achievement and testament to the side's consistency. Unofrtunately, it hasn't contributed to any silverware, but their is a solid foundation to build on. Next up a long trek to Sunderland, every time I go there it seems to be a meaningless end of season encounter. After that, I am left to contemplate becoming a normal, functioning human being again. A chilling thought indeed.LD.



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

Join the Vital Fantasy Football League - its Free!

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Monday May 5 2008
Time: 12:58PM

Comments

0
Nice write up Tim. And the more I think about it, the more I'm gunna miss Jens. Funniest fella ever to play football!!
Rocky7
05/05/2008 13:05:00
0
Good stuff indeed - and spot on about Bendtner. Right from the start Gallas has always acknowledged the fans more freely and shown them more respect than any of his team mates. It is a quality that should earn him more brownie points that it does.
Amos.
05/05/2008 13:41:00
0
I will miss Jens terribly, I've missed him all season long!! I love that crazy German, despite his stupid comments in the press. I wish Arsene had played him more often this season. And what a dreadful game that was! It took Jens to change the entire atmosphere. And how about Traore? Should've included him in the line-up all along!
jaelle
05/05/2008 14:35:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Arsenal Articles

2016/17 FA Cup Quarter Final Draw On Sunday

The Quarter Final round draw for the 2016/17 FA Cup will take place on Sunday evening.

Vital Preview - FA Cup, 18th-20th February 2017

The 2016-17 FA Cup season continues with the fifth round this weekend. We'll be taking part with the aim of continuing our progress in this world famous competition.

Match Day Officials v Sutton (20/2/17)

The Football Association have now announced the Match Day officials that will take charge of the game against Sutton United this Monday.

Gibbs The Arsenal Leader

When Koscielny was forced off - and Arsenal fell apart against Bayern Munich - the captaincy was handed over with Kieran Gibbs taking on the armband.

Archived Vital Arsenal Articles

Vital Arsenal articles from

Site Journalists

Rocky7
Editor email
Profile
ClockEnd124
no email
Profile
Amos
no email
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

FA Cup - Sutton United v Arsenal
Suggested By:
Arsenal win50%
Sutton United win50%
Draw0%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Chelsea 25 19 3 3 60 34
2 Man City 25 16 4 5 52 22
3 Spurs 25 14 8 3 50 28
4 Arsenal 25 15 5 5 50 26
5 Liverpool 25 14 7 4 49 24
6 Man Utd 25 13 9 3 48 17
7 Everton 25 11 8 6 41 13
8 WBA 25 10 7 8 37 3
9 Stoke 25 8 8 9 32 -6
10 West Ham 25 9 5 11 32 -9
11 Southampton 25 8 6 11 30 -3
12 Burnley 25 9 3 13 30 -9
13 Watford 25 8 6 11 30 -13
14 AFC Bournemouth 25 7 5 13 26 -14
15 Swansea 25 7 3 15 24 -23
16 Middlesbrough 25 4 10 11 22 -8
17 Leicester City 25 5 6 14 21 -19
18 Hull City 25 5 5 15 20 -27
19 Crystal Palace 25 5 4 16 19 -14
20 Sunderland 25 5 4 16 19 -22
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
The Vital Football Members League

Recent Arsenal Results (view all)

Arsenal Fixtures (view all)

Feb 20 2017 7:55PM : Sutton United (a)
FA Cup
Feb 25 2017 3:00PM : Southampton (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 4 2017 5:30PM : Liverpool (a)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 11 2017 5:30PM : Leicester City (H)
Barclays Premier League
Mar 18 2017 12:30PM : West Bromwich Albion (a)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 1 2017 3:00PM : Manchester City (H)
Barclays Premier League

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.RockAndRoller1
Vital Football Comment