I could only watch about 15 minutes of the first half. I found a steam with french commentary. Besides the beautiful way in which they pronounce the names of our players, it is so enjoyable to watch a game where the commentator describes each move with an enthusiasm that rubs off on you. I admit that when I joined the match, I searched for Bendtner among our players. Wenger had instead gone with Podolski and Walcott alternating at the centre-forward role. He would have had his reasons.
Arsenal were camped in Cardiff’s half for the entirety of the match. The only change was that, at halftime we moved our tents to the other half of the pitch. Cardiff decided to do a Chelsea and parked their less expensive double-decker right in front of their goal. I don’t think our fans or players begrudge Cardiff for parking the bus. They defended well, crowded us out and more importantly didn’t kick the shit out of us. Also, you didn’t want to punch their caretaker manager.
This was a challenge. Even though the goal was scored in the end, Arsenal kept trying right from minute one to last. In the first half, Arsenal tried various tricks to get around Cardiff’s defense. A delicious long ball from Wilshere to Walcott almost did just that. Cazorla wriggled and wriggled around the penalty box trying to feed a player or find room to shoot. Towards the end of the half, the ball fell to Podolski but he was quickly herded out before he could improvise a shot or feed a free Cazorla. Arteta and Flamini guarded the defense against counter attacks. Cardiff’s outlets were closely patrolled by Arsenal’s defense and the ball was regularly won in the halfway line.
The second half saw Arsenal increase the tempo. Like those “defend your fort” games, the waves of Arsenal attacks increased in speed, intensity and frequency. Enter game changers Rosicky and Bendtner. Rosicky shifted Arsenal up a gear and to the horror of Cardiff’s defense started playing telepathic one-twos with Cazorla. Bendtner slotted in well into the centre-forward role. From two corners, in the space of a few minutes, Mertesacker had opportunities to put us in front. Painfully for the current Mr. Arsenal, the balls went wide. The second one might have been covered by the player at the post.
As the clock started creeping towards the end, Arsenal did not panic and kept a determined focus to win the game. At the 88th minute, the video of my stream froze, but the sound was still streaming. The unmistakable crescendo and peak of the french commentator’s voice drowned out by the eruption at Emirates meant that a goal had been scored. Replays showed that Monreal’s cross was hit like a bullet by Sagna, parried by the keeper and slotted into the roof of the net, intelligently by Bendtner. Bendtner was injured in the aftermath when the keeper fell and twisted on his ankle. As the Arsenal players (with the exception of Mertesacker, who was busy roaring like a bear) piled on Bendtner, it became clear that he was in some pain. It was the sad part of the evening. Lets hope he recovers quickly. We need him. It was nice to see the Arsenal fans applaud him off the pitch and him to acknowledge that.
Now, Cardiff decided to attack to try and get a goal back. Arsenal concentrated, won the ball back and made a few more attacks. In one such attack, deep in injury time, Master of pre-assists, Rosicky while being chased by a few players, fed Wilshere who in turn nonchalantly and almost arrogantly fed Walcott. We all know what happens when Walcott is through on goal.
A good win for Arsenal.
Today’s post was by our own Sensational Arsenal.