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Arsenal 3 Burnley 1

Following a week of furious remonstration, it was nice to get back to on pitch matters. Though much of our pre match pub discussion revolved around working ourselves into a lather with the moronic coverage of Ramsey`s injury. For some very odd reason it has been Arsenal and Arsene Wenger who have been taking the stand and having to defend themselves, sickening fuckwits like Stan Collymore penning three words of pseudo pretend concern for Ramsey before then dribbling on for 1,500 words in unveiled hatred for our manager and the club, their agenda couched in xenophobic bile. Fortunately an article from the Guardian was brought to my attention which spoke some sense; it was penned by Dara O`Brian. It took a fucking comedian to talk some sense about a shocking incident, I shouldn`t laugh but it`s hard not to. I should not be surprised if the supporters are criticised this morning for not producing a "There`s only one Ryan Shawcross" banner. Did we not consider poor Ryan`s feelings? How selfish of us. Credit to RedAction for arranging the banner and to everyone that contributed fiscally and physically to its production. The players warmed up and took to the pitch in tee shirts bearing the legend, "Get well soon Aaron."

The pervasive feeling of injustice amongst the supporters needed to be reflected on the pitch and with England`s worst away side in front of them, positively spanking Burnley felt imperative. The Gunners started with a swagger too, Cesc Fabregas taking advantage of Burnley`s high line by dinking an impudent through pass to Bendtner who had taken a good position on the left, the ball just wouldn`t quite sit for him as he advanced on goal and Leon Cort toe poked the ball back towards his own goal and Brian Jensen palmed the ball wide. The Clarets briefly fluttered when Clarke Carlisle headed a Jack Cork corner straight at Almunia, but the predictable pattern was one of Arsenal attack. Fabregas and Eboue played an intricate, delightfully executed 1-2 on the edge of Burnley`s box which culminated in Fabregas driving the ball just wide. Eboue was causing Burnley problems on the right and when Nasri found him with a searching ball, Eboue hit a low first time cross which just about crept to Bendtner on the back post, but Jensen was already on top of the ball to block the goalbound effort. A goal was portent and it arrived on 33 minutes, the insouciant Samir Nasri had the idiotic cries of "shooooot" ringing in his ears instead engaged his brain and dinked a delightful through pass over the top of Burnley`s back four for the onrushing Fabregas to slot the ball through Brian Jensen`s legs. A quite beautifully crafted goal, but the celebrations were enervated when Fabregas limped off with a hamstring injury two minutes later. A quite devastating blow for Tuesday night and one can only implore the sky and ask why injury must be such a persistent foe. Arsenal nearly motored into a two goal lead within seconds when Eboue again found space on the right and pulled back for Bendtner who stretched but just shot wide.

The home side raced out of the blocks for the second half, someone clearly lit a fire under Theo Walcott`s arse because he performed like a man who had just been shown the Top of the Pops video for 'Diamond Lights` and told to try to do the impossible and make Chris Waddle look even more of a twat. Walcott skinned Danny Fox on the right hand side, composed himself and slung in a pinpoint cross for Nicklas Bendtner who unbelievably contrived to head the ball wide with the goal opening its legs and begging for it. Chances against Porto on Tuesday night are likely to be harder to come by and such opportunities will need to be buried. The point was made all the starker on 50 minutes as Burnley scored an unlikely equaliser. Eboue`s clearance only made it as far as Jack Cork, he headed the ball innocuously forward, Silvestre once again was not attuned to his defensive line and had stayed behind whilst his colleagues had pushed up (recall Diamanti`s goal in the Cup at Upton Park), Vermaelen had gone to sleep and the ball drifted through to David Nugent who calmly lobbed the ball into the back of the net. The Gunners were clearly stung and sprung straight back into life, Eboue found Walcott on the right, who seemed to be taking a personal vendetta against Danny Fox, Walcott nudged the ball back, Bendtner controlled and steered the ball towards goal only to see Leon Cort block the ball on the line. Walcott was pushing right up against his full back and was in the danger area again when Denilson found him with a probing pass, Theo looked a different animal to the listless presence he has been for much of the season, attacking with zest and purpose, and he forced a diving save from Brian Jensen at his near post.

There was some inevitability that Walcott would put Arsenal back into the lead, Bendtner looked right and picked out Walcott again, again the young English winger looked to take on Danny Fox, he cut onto his left foot, showing a flair for variety and curled a lovely finish into Brian Jensen`s bottom corner. Chris Waddle, that one was for you. The goal put an extra spring into an already bounding stride and Walcott was at the heart of Arsenal`s next attack, sauntering to the by line before cutting the ball back to Andrey Arshavin who skied his effort with the ball bouncing. Walcott put another chance on a plate a few minutes later when his low cross saw Bendtner in space eight yards from goal, but he put the ball just wide again with the goal gaping. I felt this miss was a little unlucky, Bendtner could get the same chance 1,000 more times, do exactly as he did in that incident and he`ll score, he was perhaps guilty of trying to be too precise with that particular finish. I`m wary of bland platitudes about "the bad striker being the one that doesn`t get any chances" but I have always reiterated that Bendtner is a player that does not hide and wants the next chance, therefore I was somewhat surprised to see him substituted, I would have backed him to stay on and score, but it wasn`t to be. Bendtner is not the sort of player that will let yesterday trouble him overly.

The game became needlessly nervy in the last ten minutes, with our profligacy meaning Burnley were still in the game and hearts collectively fluttered when Cork`s corner was flapped at by Almunia, the ball fell invitingly to Steven Thompson who hammered the ball over the bar. But in injury time, Arsenal did display some clinical finishing to put a more respective sheen on the score line. Eduardo smuggled the ball to Arshavin by the corner flag, the diminutive Russian accelerated into the box before generating trademark power with his left foot and utterly spanking the ball past Brian Jensen on his front post. Arshavin is able to generate such power with so little back lift in his shooting. With Fabregas and van Persie out of Tuesday`s game, much will rest on his slight shoulders. In the end we had the three points we expected and wanted, were it not for some wayward finishing, we might have sent an even more resounding message to our title rivals that we`re in it to win it. But on Tuesday, we will not have the same premium of chances and if and when they come, they will need to be buried. For now, Waddle and Collymore, that was for both of you. Cunts.LD

1.ALMUNIA, 27.EBOUE, 5.VERMAELEN, 18.SILVESTRE, 22.CLICHY, 15.DENILSON, 7.ROSICKY (23.Arshavin `63), 4.FABREGAS(c) (2.Diaby `37), 14.WALCOTT, 8.NASRI, 52.BENDTNER (9.Eduardo `76). Unused: 3.Sagna, 21.Fabianski, 30.Traore, 37.Eastmond.

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

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday March 7 2010

Time: 3:09PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
These are the games where the ball just doesn't seem to run for you and you hope that someone turns up to make enough of a difference. Most of the players put in a performance yesterday including - maybe especially Bendtner. It was good to see that the crowd ignored the chance to get on his back and accepted that it wasn't going his way as the game sometimes stubbornly refuses to do for most strikers at some point.
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07/03/2010 16:16:00

Nice to see Theo stand up for himself aswell
No 10
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07/03/2010 16:37:00

Gael Clichy is lookin a real contender for player of the month.
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07/03/2010 17:10:00

beat me to it Amos, the crowd was excellent yesterday
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07/03/2010 17:11:00

Bendtner's movement and ability to get into the right positions was first class yesterday, when he gets that composure that'll enable him to back up what he's saying with real finished he'll be a real player
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07/03/2010 17:41:00

I was worried for Nicky B when he was subsituted, but was astonished to see him get a good reception. As he should, he worked very hard yesterday, and in fairness even though all of his chances were close in, only one of them was an absolute shocker, the others had eliments of difficulty to them, that had it be just that one or he'd scored nobody would have even mentions.
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07/03/2010 18:10:00

From total mare on Wednesday to MoTM for you yesterday. Will the real Theo Walcott please stand up? On Wednesday's evidence he's going on holiday this summer, on yesterday's he's a dead cert to go to SA.
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07/03/2010 18:32:00

The crowd did surprise me, but it does look like the fans have learned their lessons with Eboue, Song and Diaby - all proving the doubters wrong. Hopefully, the fans have worked that out with Bendtner. I dont think any match report can fully describe all the chances that Arsenal created, so from that aspect, it was a pleasing performance. The defensive slip up wasnt so pleasing, and there will be games when we wont have the luxury of scoring when we please, and it will hurt then. But this point has already been made before, so I really wonder whether this team is learning.
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07/03/2010 21:05:00

Nasri had a fanstastic game, another player who has improved from as recently as last month, when he came in for deserved criticism on this blog. He took on the creative burden well, after Cesc' substitution, showed good work rate, and I know all the praise will be reserved for Walcott (and deservedly so. Perhaps, a kick up the arse is something that he needs more of), but Nasri was the stand out player for me.
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07/03/2010 21:07:00

I wouldn't worry about NB52, Rocky. He is one fellow with self belief (you will too, if your Beau was the Princess or some royalty fro your country, I guess); he misses one chance and immediately after, makes himself available for another, never letting his head drop. He will soon be a 20+ goals-per-season striker for Arsenal. Theo was amazing yesterday and if that is a sign of things to come, some full backs in the league (and Europe) will have their work cut out for them. The shot from which he forced a near post save from Jensen was so cheekily taken, with little back-lift (a la Arshavin) yet he generated so much power. I think his confidence has returned from his time in the England camp, midweek; or, something Arsene may have told him. Can anyone interprete his goal celebration; the gesture pointing at his wrist and enquiring ("how long before the plane to SA?", perhaps?) of someone.......?
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07/03/2010 21:19:00

I thought the goal celebration meant "it's about time"
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07/03/2010 21:19:00

Ooops!! Double posting; sorry.
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07/03/2010 21:21:00

More like triple posting Naiji! ;)
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07/03/2010 21:23:00

Thanks, GK. Agree with you, Prits, about Nasri. Even while he was being so criticised in the last few weeks, I hesitated to join in cos he was returning from injury; I always thought he keeps possession well and is difficult to dispossess of the ball, though he often dwells too long on it. Yesterday, he was magnificient and shows he is coming back to form after his injury worries. He also seemed to relish playing the Cesc role. The team can only get better, starting with qualifying for the next round of CL, midweek.
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07/03/2010 21:31:00

That last line was perfect, also note wenger on bendtners misses 'he will put them in next time'
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08/03/2010 05:43:00

The watch celebration was in reference to him missing the bus on the morning. The team bus i think, bit of a weird notion though.
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08/03/2010 09:35:00

Yeah shewore, a bit weird, but quite nice. Theo ran to the equipment manager Paul Johnson for celebration cos he drove him to the team hotel:
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08/03/2010 14:44:00

Just wanted to say that 3 players who've underperformed this season -- Nasri, Denilson, Theo -- really stepped up their game on Saturday. As for all the criticism Bendtner is getting...Nik SCORES AT AWAY GAMES, he rarely scores at home games. Interesting how people failed to notice that he scored in his last 3 games (all away) yet suddenly dried up the minute he played AT HOME. Even so, Nik never hides and keeps trying. And it was noticeable how we lost our shape and momentum the minute he went off.
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08/03/2010 21:44:00

What is interesting is that Bedtner is getting praiser for his performance where he SHOULD have had a goal. Put Drogba/Rooney/Torrest/RVP in HALF of those posistions Bedtner was in and they would've probably all had at least 2, infact probably most strikers in the PL. It's absolutely mind boggling that he is being not even defended, but praised for having a ***** game? We've been complaining and complaining about not having a striker upfront. Now we have one and the he couldn't put the ball in the back of the net from very basic posistions? How bad does he have to play, for you guys to actually say "Yeh he had a ***** game?" ...And that's absolutely ********* about RVP not getting into those posistions, RVP posistional part of what makes him such a good player. Jaelle, no one is NOT noticing anything about the last 3 goals he score. Simple fact of the matter is, he should've put away 2 or 3 in that game. Any half decent striker should've with those chances.
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09/03/2010 02:27:00

"Put Drogba/Rooney/Torrest/RVP in HALF of those posistions Bedtner was in and they would've probably all had at least 2, infact probably most strikers in the PL." -- Fui, your comment beggars belief. What are the ages of those strikers? Rooney: 25, Torres: 26, Drogba: 32, RVP: 26. Hello? Comparing Bendtner to more experienced strikers is incredibly unfair and just plain wrong. Bendtner is being defended for showing progress and improvement in his overall game. It is a FACT that we lost shape and momentum when he went off on Saturday. He is being defended because, unlike other players, despite being embarrassed in front of the crowd and the TV cameras, he never hides and keeps trying, keeps getting into the right positions. He made one terrific assist on Saturday too. And he scored in his last 3 games, incl. a fantastic header at Stoke--hardly a nothing game.
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09/03/2010 13:28:00


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