Firstly we must congratulate Gunners captain and talisman Robin Van Persie for another fine individual performance that has seen the Dutchman equal Thierry Henry’s impressive 30-goal milestone in a Premier League season. The sensational striker netted a brace in yesterday’s 3-3 draw with Norwich, and Arsenal’s final game against West Brom provides the opportunity to break yet another record. The Dutch international made headlines earlier in the season for breaking Thierry Henry’s calendar year record of 34 goals when he managed 35 which just one short of the all-time record held by Alan Shearer, and has now carved his name in Arsenal’s record books once again with a sublime individual accolade of reaching the 30-goal mark.
But unfortunately Van Perise will not be joined by Frenchman Bacary Sagna in Arsenal’s final match as the fullback has been ruled out of the remainder of the season, and the upcoming Euro championships, after suffering another fractured fibula to his right leg. Wenger has stated that the injury suffered was the result of an earlier challenge rather than the awkward high-legged touch that had resulted in the Frenchman landing in a heap.
In terms of the season, Arsenal’s fate is now out of their hands with Newcastle and Spurs trailing by 2 points with a game in hand that they are set to play tonight. Newcastle face title contenders Manchester City at home, and it’s difficult to see them gaining any points despite their impressive form, meanwhile Spurs play away against an Aston Villa side who are currently involved in the relegation battle. While there is certainly a possibility that both the Spuds and the Geordies may drop points, it is highly likely that Arsenal will be fourth placed tomorrow.
The Gunners have had plenty of opportunities to cement third place, but their third consecutive draw further illustrates the loss of Mikel Arteta, who added so much finesse and control to the midfield that has been lacking in his absence. Young Aaron Ramsey again showed why he should not be starting, why on earth Wenger persists with the Welshman even when he admits the 21-year-old is going through a tough time, I just do not understand.
Wenger said in his post-match conference:
[On Aaron Ramsey] He was unlucky with the first booking, it was a good tackle. It is part of learning your job, you have to deal with all kinds of situations and he will do that. He is very strong mentally and is going through a difficult period at the moment. But he will come off that stronger.
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[On dropping two points] It is more than frustrating because we were very poor in the first half, not switched on. The quality of our first half was absolutely not at the level we wanted in a decisive game like that. in the second half we did very well. We created at least 10 chances but again not only did we not take our chances, but on top of that we gave them a third goal in a situation that was absolutely unbelievable. In the end we got punished for our mistakes.
[On conceding the third goal] It was five or six mistakes in the same goal.
[On Arsenal’s Champions League hopes] It leaves us with one thing – it is not in our hands anymore. We have to wait for the results to see where it leaves us tomorrow night. We knew that if we didn’t win today, that is what would happen. We have 67 points, and every year you qualify with 67 points.
[On the defensive performance] We were [too frail], of course. We lost too many challenges and it is surprising because recently we were quite good, but today I feel that defensively the whole team was very poor.
[On RVP’s penalty claim] I don’t know, we have to accept the decisions of the referee, that is the only thing I can say. Here, the whole season we have got zero penalties. It is absolutely amazing because you see other clubs who have 10 or 11.
[On Bacary Sagna] The season is over for him. He will not play in the Euros. It is the same leg [he fractured against Tottenham Hotspur in October].
It has not happened alone, he has been kicked on the leg. I don’t know exactly what happened and will have to see it on the television again.
I could not understand how on earth Arsenal weren’t rewarded at least one penalty. When RVP was shoved over infront of an open goal it seemed like it was going to be a given, but the blind referee bizarrely waved play on. I have never seen such a clear-cut penalty in my life, Van Persie slowed down to tap the ball into the open net and was blatantly bundled over by the dousch bag Norwich left-back. But still the Gunners had plenty of other opportunities to seal the deal, even the Dutchman missed a one-on-one which would have won the game and broken Henry’s record.
But the match should never have been so tight, not only was the midfield poor in their passing and distribution, the defence was a shambles which was extremely surprising with the first-choice backline starting. It’s difficult to pinpoint any particular reason to what happened, but there can certainly be no repeat of yesterday’s performance against West Brom defensively.
But anyway congratulations to Robin Van Persie who has managed to equal Thierry Henry’s club record of 30 goals in a Premier League season, and hopefully he can break the milestone in Arsenal’s final match away to West Brom. And a quick final note of recognition to Coquelin who played admirably in place of the injured Sagna, his composure was much needed and hopefully he can get an opportunity to start in the midfield for the final match in place of Ramsey.
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