Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Arsenal Rises From the Ashes

Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks

Wenger’s Arsenal refused to adhere to the script. Tottenham Spurs descended on the Emirate Stadium in third place and with the expectation that they would clobber Arsenal similar to the whipping that Arsenal had received from A.C. Milan.

In the first minutes of the encounter, Tottenham scored two quick goals and it appeared that Wenger’s Arsenal was facing another rout. Arsenal’s traditional game is ball possession, excessive squaring of the ball, and not much running off the ball.

Against Tottenham, down two goals, Arsenal adopted a more aggressive style. Sagna had the room to push forward and Walcott on the right could pinch into the middle.

Arsenal’s midfield of Song, Arteta and Rosicky began pressuring the ball. Tottenham had no answer for the pressure in midfield. Van Persie and Walcott were on the top of their game. When Walcott is bad, he is really horrendous. Against Tottenham, Walcott was at his best, netting two goals. Van Persie was all over the pitch, coming back and helping out in mid-field. He scored a glorious goal to tie up the game after Sagna’s brilliant header placed Arsenal on the scoreboard. Walcott’s two goals and Rosicky’s goal meant Arsenal had scored five goals against third place Tottenham in fairly rapid succession.

Rosicky played his best game for Arsenal in recent memory. He tackled with rigor and he dribbled with fervor. He was constantly breaking down the Tottenham back four. Even Benayoun who has been far from impressive had a decent game. Arsenal’s fortunes for the rest of the season will depend on bringing the same kind of intensity to the pitch and pressuring the ball when not in possession. If Rosicky can sustain his playmaking form, and Gervinho finishes the second half like he performed the first half, Arsenal rather than struggling among the middle tier teams, will have a fighting chance to finish in the top four.

Tottenham lost their rhythm after forging ahead. They wilted under the pressure. Clubs go through slumps and Tottenham’s potency has gone limp.

Harry Redknapp has to get back to the drawing board as the team on Sunday appeared leaderless and clueless. The Bale train came to a screeching halt in the second half. Adebayor in the latter part of the game was uninfluential. Leslie King and Kabul looked old and slow. It was an embarrassing afternoon for the 41 year old Brad Friedel. The Tottenham Bridge is in need of desperate repair.

No comments: