UK time is: 08:46:35
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Away From the Numbers

After a run of four goalless draws in the Premiership, probably the last thing most people would want to endure is a midweek trip to the Midlands in the driving rain. Though I welcomed it myself, I`m sure the team did too, a chance to escape the vacuum of negativity that seems to envelope our home games nowadays. Arsene Wenger may have dropped a very telling hint in his post match interview when he said, "the away fans have always been great to me." A slight glitch with our coach meant we left Highbury 45 minutes later than was intended, but nevertheless the mood was predominantly philosophical regarding the current malaise. Given the grumpy guts that show up at the Grove nowadays, the coach driver would probably have been booed senseless and dragged across the coals for forgetting the fob key. We arrived at the Hawthorns to be greeted by sheets of windswept rain, the kind which glues fringes to foreheads and makes you rue what an idiot you were to wear a short sleeved shirt.

An amusing chant was doing the rounds in the concourse pre match as we steadfastly queued for a Bovril; to the tune of Doris Day`s 'Que Sera Sera`, "Dave Bentley, Bentley/ he bottled his penalty/ and ****** up at Wem-ber-lee/ Dave Bentley, Bentley." Simple but effective. Arsene sprung a few surprises with the starting line up with Robin van Persie rested to the bench and Arshavin starting as an out and out striker alongside Nicklas Bendtner. Van Persie will probably be asked to plough a lone furrow in Rome next week and will have valued the rest, but I won`t deny I questioned the sagacity of the decision before kick off, nor do I deny that it is a decision I would have been furious about had we not won the game. After four league games without a goal, the first one seemed to come so easily. Nasri`s poor corner was cleared only as far as Denilson- sweeping up as always- and he manoeuvred the ball out to Bendtner who, amazingly in a box packed to the rafters with Baggies defenders, was afforded time to switch the ball onto his left foot and place a low shot into Scott Carson`s far corner. Sitting at the opposite end of the stadium I`m not sure if the shock which seemed to inhabit the celebrations was the surprise of actually seeing us score or the fact that Bendtner`s shot was so lacking in pace that we never felt it goalbound. Either way, it was the sort of early goal you normally feel precipitates an Arsenal onslaught. However, the away fans would invite the wrath of the footballing Gods in their celebrations. "Jump up, if you`re 1-0 up" came the cry as Chris Brunt lined up a free kick, his daisy cutter picked up pace on the unctuous surface and beat Almunia low to his left. The spring was suddenly out of our step and displaced into the home fans as they produced their customary, "Boing Boing Baggies Baggies" salutation.

The equaliser appeared to stir the home side, albeit very briefly. For 88 of the 90 minutes, the Baggies looked like a side who have already accepted the inevitability of relegation. Brunt`s corner swung ominously towards Arsenal`s back post, Ryan Donk headed the ball back across goal and Luke Moore somehow contrived to head over with the goal at his mercy. But that was the limit of the home side`s offering really and Arsenal would waste an equally glorious opportunity when Eboue ran menacingly at West Brom`s back line, before having the customary brain fart the second he enters the penalty area and scuffing his shot comically, however, the ball fell invitingly to Bendtner who, perhaps surprised at the chance, snatched at it and lashed it wildly over from close range. The miss would have yielded a crucifixion for him at the Grove; the same miss from van Persie would likely have invited drooling praise. However, on 37 minutes the Gunners would reassume the lead. Clichy was bundled over on the left hand side, Nasri- feeling an ankle knock- left the free kick to Arshavin whose flighted ball saw Kolo Toure completely unmarked to head home from close range. This being the same defence that four days ago, left Tim Cahill completely unmarked in the area from an Everton free kick. Six minutes later, Toure turned provider with a beautiful chipped ball over the top of the home defence which Bendtner, all at once, killed, controlled and turned before despatching a smart volley past Frank Carson from a tight angle. A carbon copy of van Persie`s stunner at Everton. I rather doubt Bendtner will draw the same praise though; too many Arsenal fans want him to fail for that to happen.

The goal and the resulting acclaim from the visiting supporters appeared to give Bendtner a few extra inches in height. Without 57,000 pairs of eyes boring into the back of his skull, willing him to fail he looked a much more comfortable player. Don`t misunderstand me when I say people at home games largely will him to fail, make no mistake that these people get off on that sense of hatred and negativity and love buttressing it onto their chosen hobby horse. Supporters find expediency in the failings of such players as it somehow proves them "right" that such and such a player is rubbish and "look at me, I was right all along. See he misplaced a pass, you all saw that, all hail my football knowledge." Whatever happened to supporting a football team? In the opening ten minutes of the second half, the Gunners could well have run up a cricket score. Bendtner drifted in from the left, beat three West Brom defenders before tucking the ball back to Arshavin, but his close range effort was tipped just wide by Carson. Arsenal were in the mood and Diaby was dancing, swaying left then right before beating Ryan Donk only to see his shot deflected narrowly over the bar. By now, Bendtner looked ebullient, sauntering in again from the left hand side, motoring past three players before sending a shot past Carson and onto the inside of the post. You might argue that the inferior opposition made Bendtner look better than his ability suggests, maybe you`d have a point. But I find it difficult to dismiss that there was something ectoplasmic about the support he was receiving from the crowd. The tannoy announced Chris Brunt as man of the match, an announcement which was met by the travelling fans with a rousing chorus of "Super Nicklas Bendtner." I hope that meant more to him than the acclaim of some champagne soaked, know nothing "match sponsors." I suspect it did. Bendtner would again drift in from the flank with good effect, teeing up Eboue for a shot from the edge of the area which went straight at Carson. The home side gave Arsenal a sole cause for raised heart rates with eleven minutes remaining, when Greening sent Fortune free in the channel and he sent his shot just wide from a tight angle. But largely, the fourth quarter of the game was a rare example of a "seeing out" exercise from Arsenal.

After the game, Bendtner ran to the away fans beating his chest, shouting "I`m the man, you`re all c***s", before beating his flaccid cock into the palm of his hand. No he didn`t, but I suspect there are some people reading who were prepared to believe that. Some may have even already text the Daily Star expressing your disgust at his perceived arrogance. It was a cathartic game for us in that we were able to exorcise our goal scoring demons; Bendtner`s performance was not only about his two goals but his general link up play and his proclivity for running at players, all consequences of confidence. It`s a massive shame that around 95% of those attending on Sunday will not have seen this game and I suspect Bendtner will be subjected to abuse before he even does anything. Booing after a game is one thing, as consumers fans have a right to do that, though it's not to my taste, but during a game it really does display a level of idiocy and barely proportioned fury I cannot relate to. Arshavin again showed some nice touches but the result has to be put into some perspective as the quality of the opposition was negligible. Most of the Baggies players emerged from the tunnel with 'surrender` tattooed to their foreheads. Arsenal will seldom have easier games than this in the Premiership. We are now in a situation whereby we play before Villa for the next few games and have the opportunity to see how they cope with the pressure and it really is last chance saloon in terms of keeping that heat firmly burning on their backsides. The hunt is on again.LD.




Use your social login to comment on front page articles. Login using you Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn accounts and have your say!



For the very latest Premier League odds

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

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday March 4 2009

Time: 11:34AM

Your Comments

I was gutted I couldn't get up last night due to work, so cheers for the account of events LD. Will we ever get away from the negativity at home, it's starting to annoy so many real fans now. I'm really pleased for Nicky. Even when he's not playing at his best, he always tries his arse off.
navydave
I was gutted I couldn't get up last night due to work, so cheers for the account of events LD. Will we ever get away from the negativity at home, it's starting to annoy so many real fans now. I'm really pleased for Nicky. Even when he's not playing at his best, he always tries his arse off.
navydave
Was a good trip, and nice to see some goals again! Gotta say, Arshavin is already adding value, he gives us something we haven't seen for a while, that real ability to beat the player with the ball at his feet, he had a couple of touches of genius as well last night. Gotta agree re Bendtner on Sunday, as you say, 95% of the people attending the grove on Sunday won't have seen last night's game. And also, thought Eboue was blatantly at fault for the goal, only seen it replayed on the big screen but he seemed to get his foot out the way of the ball, as a goalkeeper, Almunia can't legislate for that, he had another good game as well last night by the way,
shewore
Was a good trip, and nice to see some goals again! Gotta say, Arshavin is already adding value, he gives us something we haven't seen for a while, that real ability to beat the player with the ball at his feet, he had a couple of touches of genius as well last night. Gotta agree re Bendtner on Sunday, as you say, 95% of the people attending the grove on Sunday won't have seen last night's game. And also, thought Eboue was blatantly at fault for the goal, only seen it replayed on the big screen but he seemed to get his foot out the way of the ball, as a goalkeeper, Almunia can't legislate for that, he had another good game as well last night by the way,
shewore
the negativity of the masses will dissipate with good results. That's just how it is these days.
TPowell
I woke up at 3.30am just to see Nicklas Bendtner!! :)
GoonerLou
the negativity of the masses will dissipate with good results. That's just how it is these days.
TPowell
I woke up at 3.30am just to see Nicklas Bendtner!! :)
GoonerLou
Yeah, the replays on tv showed that Eboue didn't hold his place at all during that free kick. And I agree shewore about Arshavin, he has already shown that if he is given any space at all by an opposing defender, he will beat them most of the time.
TPowell
Yeah, the replays on tv showed that Eboue didn't hold his place at all during that free kick. And I agree shewore about Arshavin, he has already shown that if he is given any space at all by an opposing defender, he will beat them most of the time.
TPowell
Cheers for clearing that up. Also gotta say Cliche's form is worrying...
shewore
Cheers for clearing that up. Also gotta say Cliche's form is worrying...
shewore
Arshavin certainly seems to add a touch of class and operates in the "Bergkamp" area dare I say? Without Hleb we've struggled to join up midfield and attack and I hope AA can be that link. I must say I coulnd't see either screen well, but I did see Eboue going mad after the goal went in, I suppose he must have been frustrated with himself. Clichy is getting caught out quite a lot and hasn't had a great few months, but he has been due a dip for about five years now so I'm sure he'll overcome it. Happens to the best.
Little Dutch
Arshavin certainly seems to add a touch of class and operates in the "Bergkamp" area dare I say? Without Hleb we've struggled to join up midfield and attack and I hope AA can be that link. I must say I coulnd't see either screen well, but I did see Eboue going mad after the goal went in, I suppose he must have been frustrated with himself. Clichy is getting caught out quite a lot and hasn't had a great few months, but he has been due a dip for about five years now so I'm sure he'll overcome it. Happens to the best.
Little Dutch
If he learnt the basics he wouldn't need to go effin mad, i really want him to do well, i truly do, but how many times.
shewore
If he learnt the basics he wouldn't need to go effin mad, i really want him to do well, i truly do, but how many times.
shewore
Yeah saw that bit. I'm kind of glad (for Eboue's sake) that it didn't happen at home. On TV the boss looked furious with that goal and also Ramsey's careless back-pass which Almunia had to come out and catch and took Moore's hit when they collided. How many times indeed, but just give them one more chance..! :P
GoonerLou
Yeah saw that bit. I'm kind of glad (for Eboue's sake) that it didn't happen at home. On TV the boss looked furious with that goal and also Ramsey's careless back-pass which Almunia had to come out and catch and took Moore's hit when they collided. How many times indeed, but just give them one more chance..! :P
GoonerLou
Good point forgot about Ramsey, talk about careless!
shewore
Good point forgot about Ramsey, talk about careless!
shewore
"Eboue ran menacingly at West Brom`s back line, before having the customary brain fart " I'm currently nursing my poorly son on the sofa whos is now having a sleep after having 5 runny turds and throwing up on his dad twice this morning, and the quoted sentence made me laugh so hard he woke up. It's funny because its true.
Rocky7
"Eboue ran menacingly at West Brom`s back line, before having the customary brain fart " I'm currently nursing my poorly son on the sofa whos is now having a sleep after having 5 runny turds and throwing up on his dad twice this morning, and the quoted sentence made me laugh so hard he woke up. It's funny because its true.
Rocky7
Good game for us, and thankfully, a few goals. Bendtner was very good and this game will do good for his confidence, which he needs at the Grove. I'm impressed by the way Arshavin has settled in and its only a matter of time before his first goal - he was deeperately close on a couple of occassions. We really should have scored one or two more and thats the only criticism of the performance. Denilson had another very solid game and we look a much better team with Diaby partnering him, rather than Song.
prits
Good game for us, and thankfully, a few goals. Bendtner was very good and this game will do good for his confidence, which he needs at the Grove. I'm impressed by the way Arshavin has settled in and its only a matter of time before his first goal - he was deeperately close on a couple of occassions. We really should have scored one or two more and thats the only criticism of the performance. Denilson had another very solid game and we look a much better team with Diaby partnering him, rather than Song.
prits
Did Merida have any impact? Whens Toure expected back?
MeetTheGunners
Did Merida have any impact? Whens Toure expected back?
MeetTheGunners
Nice chant boys!
HuddersfieldYiddo
Nice chant boys!
HuddersfieldYiddo
Top write up LD, ectoplasmic wow that had me poor old brain working overtime. Will put that word down, it put me into a trance. I maybe one of the few but I still like Eboue playing for us. A bit worried about how they will use this result in Sunday's game but the boss seems as always to be on top of it. Just hope people will get off his back a bit. I wait with baited breath for to-nights results.
alwaysgunner
Top write up LD, ectoplasmic wow that had me poor old brain working overtime. Will put that word down, it put me into a trance. I maybe one of the few but I still like Eboue playing for us. A bit worried about how they will use this result in Sunday's game but the boss seems as always to be on top of it. Just hope people will get off his back a bit. I wait with baited breath for to-nights results.
alwaysgunner
I'm so glad that we not only got some goals in the back of the net, but the 3pts are some very welcome!
hackneyval
I'm so glad that we not only got some goals in the back of the net, but the 3pts are some very welcome!
hackneyval
Merida did little, but he was thrown in a bit too late on. Arshavin, for me, should play every game off the main striker. Drop whoever, move whoever about, but he should play in that position. it is what we are good at and it is how we play. van Persie ahead of him by all means, but Arsh has to be in the "hole"............ :D
Tom14
Merida did little, but he was thrown in a bit too late on. Arshavin, for me, should play every game off the main striker. Drop whoever, move whoever about, but he should play in that position. it is what we are good at and it is how we play. van Persie ahead of him by all means, but Arsh has to be in the "hole"............ :D
Tom14
I think Song might end up at centre back rather than midfield where his lack of pace and mobility is less of a problem. Gael looked a bit out of sorts again and perhaps needs a rest. A disciplined and confident performance from Denilson and Diaby added some spark when he came on. Arshavin is class but still not fully fit. All in all a good team performance but we should keep it in perspective by acknowledging it was 'only' West Brom. Should push on from here though.
norfolk dumpling
I think Song might end up at centre back rather than midfield where his lack of pace and mobility is less of a problem. Gael looked a bit out of sorts again and perhaps needs a rest. A disciplined and confident performance from Denilson and Diaby added some spark when he came on. Arshavin is class but still not fully fit. All in all a good team performance but we should keep it in perspective by acknowledging it was 'only' West Brom. Should push on from here though.
norfolk dumpling
Song may end up as a CB, but he will never make it to the top level imo.
Tom14
Song may end up as a CB, but he will never make it to the top level imo.
Tom14
Ramseys back pass to almunia deflected of Sagna on the way through slowing down. Not saying it wasnt his fault though
paul_ownz
Ramseys back pass to almunia deflected of Sagna on the way through slowing down. Not saying it wasnt his fault though
paul_ownz
Eboue and Bendtner still looked poor to me, no basic control of a football, shocking!
Frosty B
Eboue and Bendtner still looked poor to me, no basic control of a football, shocking!
Frosty B
Game on villa lose three points in it, are we in for a ride, go you gunners
alwaysgunner
Game on villa lose three points in it, are we in for a ride, go you gunners
alwaysgunner
Thanks Man City for defeating the Villa! Game on for 4th place!!!!
hackneyval
Thanks Man City for defeating the Villa! Game on for 4th place!!!!
hackneyval
Phew, how different the table looks like now. All these pundits are saying don't know why Arsene signed Arshavin but its plainly obvious we need a cutting edge and threat upfront and in my mind he's exactly what we need otherwise there's too much pressure on van Persie and Nasri to be creative. He does look great, such as shame he can't play CL.
Gooner_Vin
Phew, how different the table looks like now. All these pundits are saying don't know why Arsene signed Arshavin but its plainly obvious we need a cutting edge and threat upfront and in my mind he's exactly what we need otherwise there's too much pressure on van Persie and Nasri to be creative. He does look great, such as shame he can't play CL.
Gooner_Vin
Villa could find themselves 5th by the time they take on the spuds. and we have to beat Blackburn to ensure that happenss, it'll put them under even more pressure, it's game on again. but it's a must win game Blackburn..
luckys_10
Villa could find themselves 5th by the time they take on the spuds. and we have to beat Blackburn to ensure that happenss, it'll put them under even more pressure, it's game on again. but it's a must win game Blackburn..
luckys_10
Can't believe the turnaround of feeling after Saturday.Talk about being given another chance! Brilliant stuttering from the Villans! Back to 3 points - come on Arsenal; Gun 'em down!!! Nice one, city!
julieloveshenry4ever
Can't believe the turnaround of feeling after Saturday.Talk about being given another chance! Brilliant stuttering from the Villans! Back to 3 points - come on Arsenal; Gun 'em down!!! Nice one, city!
julieloveshenry4ever
Luckys - except the Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd games, I think every game is a must-win for us pretty much.
Gooner_Vin
Luckys - except the Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd games, I think every game is a must-win for us pretty much.
Gooner_Vin
spot on Gooner_Vin, but if we are not leading Villa by atleast 5-7 points going into May, then i'm afarid we can't afford to not win those games. we play all 3 of them along with Pompey and Stoke in our final 5 games. that is why as yu said we need to win all our remaining games besides those 3, and even those 3 we can't afford to lose them. either way, this is going down right till the final 2 games of the season..
luckys_10
spot on Gooner_Vin, but if we are not leading Villa by atleast 5-7 points going into May, then i'm afarid we can't afford to not win those games. we play all 3 of them along with Pompey and Stoke in our final 5 games. that is why as yu said we need to win all our remaining games besides those 3, and even those 3 we can't afford to lose them. either way, this is going down right till the final 2 games of the season..
luckys_10
lol, must win game for both teams, but looks like u will be sittin back in 4th very soon, dont worry we kept ur 4th spot warm :C
Blitz
lol, must win game for both teams, but looks like u will be sittin back in 4th very soon, dont worry we kept ur 4th spot warm :C
Blitz
Woohoo, game on!! :D I also hope this will make the home fans relax a bit and get the booing merchants off the team's back. And I agree with Tomf re AA. He's the best No. 10 kind of guy since the master Bergkamp himself. In that role and working as the link between midfield and attack, he's better than Hleb, Diaby and even RvP.
GoonerLou
Woohoo, game on!! :D I also hope this will make the home fans relax a bit and get the booing merchants off the team's back. And I agree with Tomf re AA. He's the best No. 10 kind of guy since the master Bergkamp himself. In that role and working as the link between midfield and attack, he's better than Hleb, Diaby and even RvP.
GoonerLou
I now like Man C and especially SWP! Frosty B, I agree that sometimes Bendtner's control lets him down but often it is good and it is improving. More goals and more games will help. Eboue? Well Eboue is just Eboue I'm afraid - plenty of energy and pace but his brain seems to disconnect from his body at times and he is so excitable!
norfolk dumpling
I now like Man C and especially SWP! Frosty B, I agree that sometimes Bendtner's control lets him down but often it is good and it is improving. More goals and more games will help. Eboue? Well Eboue is just Eboue I'm afraid - plenty of energy and pace but his brain seems to disconnect from his body at times and he is so excitable!
norfolk dumpling
4 out of 5 league goals of Bendtner have come Away from home. amazing stat that one. only proves that he plays more freely and under no unwanted pressure when we play away from home. our away fans are simply the best. i hope all those morons at Emirates take note of this and understand that booing a player and putting him under unecessary pressure really affects the lad mentally which in turn hampers his performance on the pitch. give each and every one of them the same love & support & then just watch how well even the likes of Eboue, Song & Bendtner will play..
luckys_10
4 out of 5 league goals of Bendtner have come Away from home. amazing stat that one. only proves that he plays more freely and under no unwanted pressure when we play away from home. our away fans are simply the best. i hope all those morons at Emirates take note of this and understand that booing a player and putting him under unecessary pressure really affects the lad mentally which in turn hampers his performance on the pitch. give each and every one of them the same love & support & then just watch how well even the likes of Eboue, Song & Bendtner will play..
luckys_10
Bendtner was brilliant i thought. Villa could easily pick up just 1 point in the next 3. I fancy spurs to get a draw and Man U & liverpool to beat them
paul_ownz
Bendtner was brilliant i thought. Villa could easily pick up just 1 point in the next 3. I fancy spurs to get a draw and Man U & liverpool to beat them
paul_ownz
Excellent result for us, now the gap is only 3 points and looks more bridgeable. For a long time throughout Jan & Feb, I felt that Villa will feel the fatigue of their early season start and small squad, but when that didnt materialise in Feb, I became more apprehensive and feared for our chances, more so as we couldnt capitalise on Villa's dropped points. Our previous season's slide started after our FA Cup defeat to ManU, a game which Wenger threw IMO. MON may have done just that with their UEFA Cup loss, and to a lesser extent, the FA Cup exit. Lets hope so.
prits
Excellent result for us, now the gap is only 3 points and looks more bridgeable. For a long time throughout Jan & Feb, I felt that Villa will feel the fatigue of their early season start and small squad, but when that didnt materialise in Feb, I became more apprehensive and feared for our chances, more so as we couldnt capitalise on Villa's dropped points. Our previous season's slide started after our FA Cup defeat to ManU, a game which Wenger threw IMO. MON may have done just that with their UEFA Cup loss, and to a lesser extent, the FA Cup exit. Lets hope so.
prits
this is great,the article I mean
mtlgooner
this is great,the article I mean
mtlgooner
 

Have Your Say

Log in...
with your social network     OR     with your Vital account

Recent Arsenal Articles

A Busted Flush (Thursday October 23 2014)

Isn't It The Sign Of A Great Team? (Thursday October 23 2014)

Team News: Anderlecht vs Arsenal (Wednesday October 22 2014)

Anderlecht v Arsenal Match Preview (Tuesday October 21 2014)

The State Of Play (Sunday October 19 2014)

Arsenal v Hull City Match Preview (Friday October 17 2014)

Scouting Report Hull City (Friday October 17 2014)

Archived Arsenal Articles

List All Vital Arsenal Articles
Have your say
Click here to suggest an article
Click here to suggest a poll

Vital Members League (view all)

1. Amos. 56
2. Naijagunner 49
3. paul_ownz 39
4. Galway Gooner 35
5. Guyfox 28
6. Joe_@** 21
7. shewore 18
8. Rocky7 12
9. Nwankwo25 10
10. damiano_tommassi 8

League Results (view all)

Latest Results
Arsenal 2 - 2 Hull City
Chelsea 2 - 0 Arsenal
Arsenal 1 - 1 Spurs
Aston Villa 0 - 3 Arsenal
Arsenal 2 - 2 Man City
Leicester City 1 - 1 Arsenal

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
4. West Ham 8 4 1 3 4 13
5. Liverpool 8 4 1 3 1 13
6. Man Utd 8 3 3 2 3 12
7. Arsenal 8 2 5 1 2 11
8. Swansea 8 3 2 3 1 11
9. Spurs 8 3 2 3 -1 11
10. Stoke 8 3 2 3 -1 11

Breaking League News

Madrid Want a Permanent Deal!
Man Utd : 24/10/2014 07:48:00
Happy Birthday Roman
Chelsea : 24/10/2014 07:32:00
Cech Heading for Turkey?
Chelsea : 24/10/2014 07:31:00
Whelan suffers fractured leg
Stoke : 24/10/2014 00:18:00
New Poll: Will Swansea City Beat Leicester?
Swansea : 23/10/2014 21:40:00

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Who is most likely to end as top scorer this season?
Suggested By:  
Campbell 4%
Giroud 2%
Podolski 2%
Ramsey 2%
Sanchez 33%
Sanogo 2%
Walcott 5%
Welbeck 50%