EPL 2007-2008: Arsenal 3 – Newcastle 0

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
January 30th, 2008 • 9:04 am

“3 nil to the Arsenal”? Sounds pretty good to me. I could get used to it.

It’s certainly been very pleasant to get used to this score line in the little run of form since the mishap against Birmingham at home on January 13.

It was another very convincing performance. This time, the Gunners did not have to wait until the second half to break the deadlock. The Newcastle team made it hard, yes, but ultimately were powerless when the Gunners’ play reached the required level of accuracy, starting with Flamini’s perfect cross for Adebayor.

What about that second goal by the Flaminator? It was awesome. Now, I am not expecting Flamini to turn into a goal-scoring machine all of a sudden. It’s simply not his style. But if he can pitch in with a few of those every once in a while, it will certainly be greatly appreciated, not to mention very pleasant to watch.

I think that these two things by themselves (the assist and the goal) would be enough to make him man of the match. But in truth he was awesome throughout the game. At this moment, he’s having a better time than Fábregas, who is still struggling to regain his form of earlier in the season. He’s not bad at all, of course, and he even got his first goal in ages last night—albeit a “cherry-on-the-cake” type of goal of little significance, and for which he can thank the generous Bendtner and the Arsenal philosophy, when you have a choice between trying a shot and passing, of almost always choosing the latter. (It’s a philosophy that can be costly at times, but this year it’s working pretty well, and not too many people are complaining or screaming “Shoot!” all the time.)

Another player whom I find thoroughly impressive these days is Gaël Clichy. Sure, he still needs to work on his crosses, but defensively he’s becoming a pretty amazing player. He has the pace and the skill to get out of most situations while retaining possession, even when his initial positioning was not the best. It really is quite spectacular, in an understated sort of way. I’m still hoping that he’ll get his first goal for the club one of these days, because he thoroughly deserves it.

The rest of the team were pretty good too, with just the occasional defensive lapse here and there. This is particularly important, in light of the coming fixtures, and in particular the 2-leg tie with Milan AC in the Champions’ League. Keeping a clean sheet at home will be particularly important, and there is concern that Kolo Touré might not be available if he’s still injured. So Senderos needs to keep his confidence up and develop a solid partnership with Gallas, and Gallas himself needs to maintain his concentration at all times. I am obviously not too worried about Sagna and Clichy!

So Arsenal is back at the top, even if it’s only for 24 hours or so. I have very little hope of Portsmouth getting any kind of result at Old Trafford today, but you never know. We could use a little favour from the Arsenal Retirement Club.

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