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

Best of Vital Network

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

Are Players Set For A Football Exit?

With the country narrowly voting to leave the European Union in Thursday's Referendum, there are certainly plenty of real questions that have to be addressed in terms...

Back To The Drawing Board After Vardy Snub

Gunners search for a striker continues

Six Clubs Set 2015/16 Premiership Records

Who were the six clubs to register a record breaking or equalling 2015/16 campaign?

Xhaka Likes To Beat Manchester United

Who doesn't?

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)

Player of the Year
Suggested By:
Petr Cech4%
Hector Bellerin7%
Mesut Ozil78%
Alexis Sanchez8%
Olivier Giroud3%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Leicester City 38 23 12 3 81 32
2 Arsenal 38 20 11 7 71 29
3 Spurs 38 19 13 6 70 34
4 Man City 38 19 9 10 66 30
5 Man Utd 38 19 9 10 66 14
6 Southampton 38 18 9 11 63 18
7 West Ham 38 16 14 8 62 14
8 Liverpool 38 16 12 10 60 13
9 Stoke 38 14 9 15 51 -14
10 Chelsea 38 12 14 12 50 6
11 Everton 38 11 14 13 47 4
12 Swansea 38 12 11 15 47 -10
13 Watford 38 12 9 17 45 -10
14 WBA 38 10 13 15 43 -14
15 Crystal Palace 38 11 9 18 42 -12
16 AFC Bournemouth 38 11 9 18 42 -22
17 Sunderland 38 9 12 17 39 -14
R Newcastle 38 9 10 19 37 -21
R Norwich 38 9 7 22 34 -28
R Aston Villa 38 3 8 27 17 -49
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Recent Arsenal Results (view all)