West Ham Left Frustrated As Arsenal Are Finally On Song
Arsenal 1 – 0 West Ham United
1 – 0 Song (88)
An afternoon where Arsene may have learnt more about his team than a humdinging win. Little doubt that the performance was not at the level of those achieved against Manchester City, Shaktar and Newcastle; West Ham set out to frustrate, waste time and generally make life as difficult as possible. Allied to those tactics, Robert Green stood proud, determined to deny Arsenal in the process of proving his critics wrong.
Despite this, a win was ground out. The players would not have known it but the pressure had cranked up on them five minutes before Song’s late goal; events at Ewood Park had extended Chelsea’s lead at the top to seven points, essentially undoing the good work of wins since Arsenal’s defeat at Stamford Bridge. Criticism of the performance whilst not misplaced is founded on a false assumption. Clubs lower down the division set out to deny Arsenal space and stop them dominating the rhythm of the match; West Ham succeeded to a certain extent, not attacking as they might in the reverse fixture.
Arsenal showed one change from the team which started at Eastlands, Laurent Koscielny had proven his fitness in the win at Newcastle and was restored to the centre of the defence. The weather reflected the changing seasons, an autumnal shower reflected West Ham’s season so far. A promise of brighter things dampened in the end.
The match started evenly, Arsenal dominating possession, the scurrying Arshavin amply involved but there was little end product. West Ham traded punches but found the fist of Fabianski more than a match for anything they had to offer. Much effort by both sides but Arsenal gradually asserted themselves, creating real opportunities giving Green the opportunity to prove his reputation from his younger years might have been built on solid foundations.
The first clear opening fell to Fabregas. Song released Sagna on the right, the full back putting the first of several decent passes into the box. The Arsenal captain launched his effort goalwards but Green collected the ball comfortably. Post match, it transpired that a hamstring problem was besetting the Spaniard, restricting mobility under some half time repair work assisted his movement. The midweek trip to the Ukraine is surely one the captain will miss. At the other end, Noble found Fabianski’s midrift.
The end of the half threatened a breakthrough. Song’s drive was blocked by Green, the chance fashioned following a neat interchange of passes with his captain. Squillaci found space from the resultant corner but Green found the strength in his fingertips to push the ball to safety.
The second half started in a similar vein. Arsenal were barely able to get into second gear but Samir Nasri came closest to breaking the deadlock with a thunderous free kick that rattled the bar before disappearing into the crowd and safety from the visitor’s perspective. The introduction of Theo Walcott with an hour passed gave the attack an injection of pace and urgency. He almost broke the deadlock, racing onto a Fabregas through ball, cracking a shot against the post, the rebound falling into the grateful clasp of Green. With time running out, Green would once more deny Walcott and Fabregas whilst Chamakh will feel he should have scored with a clear opportunity but a poor header denied him the chance to continue his excellent home scoring record.
The breakthrough when it came was from an unlikely source. Clichy found space on the left, strolled into the area and dinked a cross with his right foot. Having sprayed the ball wide with the outside of his boot to start the move, Song continued his run to the far post and guided his header into the net. The relief was tangible, an afternoon’s frustration erupted for this that had not left early.
Three vital points, a credible title challenge emerging on the back of three straight Premier League wins. More importantly, a oft-stated criticism of the squad not being able to win when they play badly was shown to be fallacy.
There were some bright spots for Wenger, most notably Lukasz Fabianski’s continued good form. Whilst Green is being lauded for his saves, the Pole deserves credit for excellent positional sense. Everything West Ham threw at him was comfortably handled, his awareness of where he was making it seem as if shots and headers were straight at him.
Alex Song’s goalscoring form is important; he is enjoying more licence to go forward and displaying confidence in front of goal, releasing some of the pressure on others by scoring. The threat from Arsenal’s midfield has increased as a result. Equally, there was some intelligent supporting play in the second half particularly, from the full backs. It seemed they made better choices with their delivery and whilst it was not always perfect, it seemed they thought more about where their targets were and concentrated rather than peppering the crowd and photographers.
A welcome win that indicates staying power; a win that shows the determination of the players that this time they will walk the walk as they talk the talk.
Posted on October 31, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, West Ham. Bookmark the permalink. 73 Comments.
Very good write up YW – it looked like the Rob Green show for a horribly long while didn’t it?
To do what jungledon?
A great result after a patchy performance. I’ll take that.
Really good persistence by the boys, and a continuation of our happy knack of scoring late goals – that’s 10 in 15 games between minutes 81 and 90 so far this season.
Also good to see the benefits of Song’s more versatile role bearing fruit. A great pass to Clichy, and then a timely finish. Unlike some, I’m happy to see him add these extra dimensions to his game – it makes us more unpredictable and therefore harder to defend against – as long as he doesn’t do it excessively and the rest of the team are disciplined enough to plug the gap.
A great win in the end. Song you just keep dying your hair.
We looked better after Denilson went off though. Dont know if that changed anything or if it was just coincedence.
Did the team really play badly? From the highlights it doesnt look like it
The team played well Ole, the passing wasn’t quite as quick and slick as usual but we created enough chances to score a few more goals. West Ham, understandably came to defended, did it well, were very organised and Green made some great saves. At times it did seem that it would be ‘one of those days’ until that new blonde bloke scored.
I don’t think that Alex Song is good enough to wear the shirt of Arsenal though, he looks very lazy to me.
I have just watched the first half and I don’t think they have played badly, either. Some lovely moments, lots of hard work, good runs and rock solid defending from us is what I have seen. Midfield and forward lines not in scintillating form (Nasri the exception) but overall, if West Brom was 5/10 and Man City was 9/10, this was a 7.5/10. So far.
The amazing thing about Song this season is he has practically played every 90 minutes of every EPL and Champs League game in which he has appeared. He was red carded once and thus missing one EPL game. According to the dot com it is 12 appearances and 4 goals. This guy is growing into a beast. I just hope he can sustain this level of performance throughout the season.
Mattyboy, me thinks that song is good denoti to play in arsenal’s midfield he put in more effort than our entire midfield yesterday.
Addendum to Song:
To have grown from someone who was mercilessly booed in the stadium by his own supporters and slated online in 2006 in a game vs Charlton to now become one of the linchpins of our midfield should be a salutary lesson to those fans who presume they are experts at judging Arsenal quality for a talented player making his transition to the 1st team. By now I have come to the conclusion that most will never learn the lesson. Step up Wookash Fabianski.
It’s interesting those who say that Arsenal didn’t play well. The assumption being that we have the divine right to walk over every team we play and that we will beat them with a cricket score while playing total Wengerball.
The fact of the matter is that West ham defended like their lives depended on it and Rob Green was in imperious form. I mentioned a few days ago that the most impressive thing about Arsenal’s play so far is that the players have shown patience and maturity.
We needed to be confident that we can wear down the opponent and take our chance when it came. That shows that we played very well to counter this specific opponent. Derby games against Westham have never been a shoe-in.
I’ve just watched the whole game again on ATVO and the team certainly did not play badly. They were not as fluid as usual and the passing was a little off, but they made up for it with hard work and a ‘never say die’ determination, which is equally important. I also want to know how Da Costa and Parker managed to come out of the game without a yellow card each?
I don’t think anyone would say we played badly if just one of those earlier chances had gone in. There is always a period of patient attacking play with Wengerball before the first goal, sometimes that lasts 20 minutes sometimes 80.
I still watch live with 100% emotion then the next day or two I watch the match again in a more calm analytical mood and seldom do the two produce the same reaction.
The game you’re referring to where Song wanted the ground to open up and swallow him was against Fulham. As a result of that performance and the reaction from the Arsenal crowd, Wenger then sent him on loan to Charlton where he made at least 13 appearances that he’ped him build some confidence.
Charlton were relegated that season, but Song’s involvement made the relegation a smoother ride and Charlton fans were appreciative of his overall contribution.
Shotta, it was very gratifying at the game to hear a few people behind me trying to get a ‘Wookash Fabianski’ chant going. The humble pie servings are becoming bigger and bigger!
Thanks Darius. I am getting to the age where I mess up names and dates. Can’t even remember my anniversary. But I remember the booing well enough. So furious was I, that my search began to find a blog to post my repudiation of this type of fan behavior. Eventually I found ACLF. Thank goodness.
You’re right steww, when the game is on the emotions take over and the ‘impression’ you come away with doesn’t always tell the whole story.
Just take a look at Songs pass with the outside of his boot to Clichy for the goal. Before the ball even gets to Gael, Song is already making his way into the box. It’s a side to his game that is quite unexpected to me as I always saw him as a defensive midfield player, and an exceptional one at that. However, he is quickly emerging as one of the best box to box midfielders in the league this season. I am no longer surprised when he pops up in the box to score. Wonderful player to have in the team.
“Criticism of the performance whilst not misplaced is founded on a false assumption. Clubs lower down the division set out to deny Arsenal space”
Good stuff YW.
WHU did it well and even had some threat themselves in the 1st half but that diminished as the game went on. We basically won the game through sheer pressure, which is a good sign.
Mr Jones had a very inconsistent game. I thought. Song was correctly booked but he let a number of similar incidents go. Chamack was carded for a shirt pull but there was nothing for Cesc for the same offence seconds later. Overall he didn’t have a bad game but there were several clatterings that went unpunished particularly one on Cesc, with him less than a yard away.
Tim of 7am Kickoff has done a piece titled “If Tony Pulis wants to stamp out diving he should start with Matt Etherington.” This is an excellent expose of the stunning hypocrisy of the leading member of the anti-Arsene neanderthal managers who are holding back the English game.
Just for everyone unaware, while Arsenal.com has the game on Wednesday night media just listed as ‘ATVO’ it is in fact on SS2.
I must say I have to question the logical equation of a less emphatic scoreline to a less convincing performance.
Arsenal played bottom of the table West Ham, on the back of averaging 12 goals in three games, thus an emphatic win was expected. So that they could only manage a 1-0 scoreline must be considered a shaky performance right?
Barring the excessive impression the winning margin of a game has on how the teams performance is evaluated, Arsenal played no worse in yesterdays match than they did in the two preceding. It’s common knowledge that a team can do the same thing twice and end up with different results. I wouldn’t want to bore my post with what ifs, but if Cesc had buried the cutback from song in the first half, the match WOULD have ended with an emphatic scoreline.
Did denilson play any worse yesterday than he did against city? no.
Did Arshavin play better in this game than in his last outing? Yes.
Every other player (maybe barring an injured Fabregas) performed at a level similar to what we’ve come to expect from them. The flow of these games where a team set’s up their stalls to frustrate, depend on how quickly the attacking side is able to break the deadlock. Score an early goal, they come out in search of an equaliser, and we should have gone on to a respectable 3-0 or 4-1 scoreline.
But I maintain that arsenal did put on a solid performance yesterday. The only difference being that the situations which presented themselves in previous matches (eg Naivety on the part of city to not defend in numbers following their red card, the late first half goal against the barcodes…haha…barcodes) didn’t this time.
Credit to Green though. Hopefully he will replicate his form when they play united and the chavs.
I’ve just been watching MOTD with my wife – I enjoyed her cursing at Alan Hansen for his stupid comments about her beloved Chelsea…LOL!. Even Chav supporters hate his guts.
I didn’t notice until she pointed out to me Walcott’s role in splitting the West ham defence and giving Song the licence to attack the ball. As Clichy receives the ball, you can see Theo time his run to draw out two defenders hell bent on stikcking to him like glue in the instance that Song starts his dart into the box.
Beautiful play. Clearly nobody expected a defensive midfielder to fill in the gaps left by our attackers. It’s not in the script you see. If it wasn’t for Theo, I don’t think Song would have got to that ball very easily.
And they say Walcott has no footballing brain….sheesh. Chris Woddle was still stuffing sausages working with his father in a factory up north when he was Theo’s age.
Great quotes from Arsene as usual, particularly regarding Alex Song. http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/35290/wenger-reaction
I just catch the game (finally)! I thought we played well myself; the lateness of the goal was the vindication of and served well such a tense narrative. Quite apt for a Halloween game I think.
That should be caught. As in “I just caught the game”. My brain’s in recovery mode, so allowance must be made.
Flint, it Denilson who got taken out by Parker right in front of the referee. That one alone was worth a yellow.
“Barcelona will switch attention to Luka Modric after losing patience over Cesc Fabregas”
You’ve got to laugh at such desperation. Whether it’s the resident hack looking for a new angle to keep the Cesc to Broke back Barca story alive – or just Barca showing their uncouth selves up yet again.
Me thinks they wouldn’t even be able to afford Cesc, let alone pay his wages.
“Barcelona – a mess of a club.”
That is the translation of “mes que un club”, right?
Lol sounds about right FG! And to answer you question yesterday(which I missed) I was hiding under the duvet with the t.v and radio off, with only my phone and ACLF to keep me informed! After the clock hit 80mins!!!
On MOTD why have the Beeb relugated Keown to the bench? Personally I found him more informative and felt he analysed the game better than Dixon, who’s just turning into a high pitched Merson!
Don’t Barca want our very own Arsene’s god child championship player?
We are not a team that plays for or hopes for 1 – 0 games. I am not really a fan of 1 – 0 games. I am a fan of being able to grind out a 1 – 0 games when the need arises. Games like yesterday where it is difficult to score for whatever reason are inevitable for even the best attacking sides and you have to be able to get 3 points out of a significant % of those games to win titles. Concentrating and playing rock solid defense for 95 minutes is the only way to do that. Great job by the boys yesterday.
I have not been a big fan of Song going forward this much but he certainly is doing it well. Its a long year and the final verdict will come at the end of the season. So far so good. Fabianski has also been excellent, he certainly has earned his spot as #1.
Fabianski is playing really well and he has been very solid so far. Of course there will be loads of Gooners waiting (even hoping) he makes a mistake and when he does, he will get the same shit that befell Almunia. That is some sick twisted shit right? I have always felt Lukasz had it in him to be a great number one and his mistakes were borne out of nerves/lack of confidence. Now finnaly he has been given his chance and he has grabbed it with both hands. It was funny that on Sky Sports, Phil Thompson was saying Fabianski’s punched clearances were dodgy! What a twat he is! Still bvitter about his relegation fight candidate scousers!
I was at the City game and there were a few renditions of a great Fabianski chant! Dada da da daa da Lukasz Fabianski, dada dada daa daa Arsenals Number 1! And on that note
I can’t believe the bloody Beeb are using my TV license money to pay tango face!!!! Arrrrrghhh
FG, nice Barca motto translation!
Why does reading some posts, feel like reading the dictionary?
Poliziano referred to an interview Bob Wilson gave radio 5 live yesterday – where he intimated a few interesting things.
1. The fact that before the end of the transfer window, Wenger actually made a bid for the goal keeper of a possible title challenging rival. He refused to be drawn on naming names despite the shameless effot of the interviewer interested in only generating new sensational headlines. By process of elimination though – you didn’t have to be a genius to conclude that the bid was for Pepe Reina. The bid is dead though, especially with Wookash’s resurrection.
2. That Wookash Fabianski is in pole position (forgive the pun) to keep the No. 1 jersey permanently. Both he and Wenger have always insisted that from what they’ve seen of Wookash in training and the reputation he came with – all Wookash ever needed was a solid run in the team. Wilson compared Wookash’s purple patch with the one offered to him by Bertie Mee who told Wilson “you only have 8 games” – and the rest is history. Wilson strongly believes that Wookash has exorcised his demons and built confidence that will stand him in good stead – as opposed to the patchy stop and start appearances that he’s had so far in his Arsenal career. It’s very hard for a keeper to build confidence if he doesn’t play regularly and only comes in from the cold. The pressure on Wookash has been that he’s felt he only has one match to prove himself instead of a fair run of games. The more games Wookash has played, the more relaxed and the more influential he has become.
3. That Tech 9 has great ambition and has a huge pair of balls. Wilson talked to him about his loan spell at Brentford and suggested to Tech 9 that “Brentford was good for you and gave you experience”. To which Tech 9 swiftly answered “No! I was good for Brentford”. Now that’s a level of arrogance that you have to admire. According to Wilson, Tech 9 is on a mission to be the No. 1 at Arsenal and woe betide Fabianski if he doesn’t recognize the fact that Tech 9 is banging down that door.
And they say we have a goal keeping crisis…
Dave Seaman said similar things about Fabianski; that in training he is awesome, and just needed a run in the side to show his quality.
we have a new crisis: how to make sure we can keep Tech 9 and gave him sign his contract when Fabianski is playing so well ahead of him!
As far as your first point about our summer bid for Reina, I thought that was common knowledge. All transfer business is dead right now because, as Arsene keeps reminding the journos hunting for transfer stories, the market doesn’t open until January.
If we keep playing as we have and injured players come back by the end of November, I don’t see many rumours even arising about transfers to Arsenal.
Now that’s interesting!
Fabianski needs confidence to boss his area, any keeper does. There was one incident yesterday which highlighted his growing sense of self confidence. We were defending a corner late on (we always seem to be defending a corner late on!) and he could be seen dragging his skipper by the shirt into the position in which he wanted him.
It’s like a ship – the captain is in charge no matter what rank the visiting dignitaries hold and the goal area is Fabianski’s ship.
Bill, credit to your Rangers to get back into this series. Sterling pitching performance by Lewis, but we still managed two homers to show we could threaten and make things nervous in the 7th and 8th innings. But your rookie Feliz is an awesome talent, cool as a cucumber.
As far as Song, even Arsene Wenger seems surprised and amused by his attacking force, joking that he is playing like a striker after starting at the club as CB then holding DM, a reverse in typical career direction! I did a guardian chalkboard on the midfield and he was the best by far: he was everywhere, making accurate and good passes, breaking up play with tackles and interceptions. Clear MOTM even without the goal. He played both ends of the field very effectively. If he can avoid cards, he will be even more superb.
I agree with others that we didn’t play badly, not like we did v. WBA, but ChMakh and Arshavin looked a bit jaded, tired. They have played so much and could use a rest at Donetsk, I think. Fabregas didn’t have the kind of game we expect, because of his tight hamstring. This is becoming a chronic or recurring problem–I am not sure which, but either way we shouldn’t risk him starting in the next two games. Let’s get him healed for the tough run of games after Newcastle.
Thats a really interesting point you make there maria!
I hope Cesc is rested for the CL game. No point risking him and Wilshere can come in for the captain. Is Song banned for the next premier league game now?
Steww, Goonerholic made a similar point about that corner and the assertive confidence shown by the keeper to position the captain. It is very telling and perhaps our success in keeping out goals shoes how that confidence has spread to the defense. Glad you raised it here.
Steww at 1.55pm – I said the exact same thing to my brother as we were watching the game, it’s amazing what confidence can do to a player, Fabs looks so comfortable organising the defensive situations and it was great to see him commanding his box in that manner, as is his right.
Very interesting on the goalkeepers. I thought the Reina bid had been made in the January window! Perhaps they tried again?
Tonight a big game. Our starter Tommy Hunter is a grinder but clearly the weak link. 6 good innings would be a surprise and our middle relief has really been bad so a real danger game for us. Don’t know much about your starter. Series getting interesting now. Feliz is awesome. My voice is getting weak but I will press on tonight.
Still amused when FABianski dragged FABregas into a defensive position. Fabregas headed the corner away!
Very good read from Piers Morgan
Why are Sky Sports *spits* billing football matches as haloween spectaculars! Its Bolton vs Liverpool ffs, football has nothing to do with haloween and all the cliches in the world does not make the game more interesting.
It is interesting how often it seems that goalkeepers have “blinders” against us.
The truth, it seems to me , is that, by and large, most Premier league goalies are pretty good. A goalie’s performance is usually only as good as the quality of the defence in front of him and the opposing attack’s ability to test him.. It is rare that a goalie actually makes a mistake that causes a goal, but they all do, some more than others, but they still all do.
On the basis that games where more than 3/4 goals are scored are rare, the truth, therefore, is that goalies make saves regularly during a game.
Where one team constructs more chances, the goalie will make more saves. Not all chances bring magnificant saves, and, from what i have seen from the highlights, not all of Green’s saves were of the magnificant variety. They were just saves. He was not reserving his better play for games with us, it was just he had more saves topmake and was perceived, by saving them, that this was something special. I do not think it was.
As we, and Manure and Chavs create more chances than most, the opposing goalies will have more shots to save and will, inevitably same almost all of of them.
Yes ,Green made a number of saves, some better than others, but that does not mean he was having a terrific game, but just that he was doing his job, as he was given more opprtunities than in other games to make saves.
As the meerkat constantly reminds us “simples”.
Darius – re the Song performance at Fulham that earned such criticism a few years back it’s worth remembering that Fabregas was on the bench for that game and we played Gilberto and Song together in midfield. They basically got in each others way and were rarely seen more than two yards apart – both wanting to do the same job in the same space. Song was the one that suffered the brickbats but too much was being asked of a young, and obviously, nervous, player. The fact that Wenger saw through the problem and stuck with Alex is a tribute to both of them.
I am overdue at the opticians, Passenal!!!
This is England
Whatever that cunt has written today, he will spout the exact opposite next week. He is a pure LG AAA.
Bill, our starter tonight is young and inconsistent but has confidence and talent–one start that wasn’t good and a long relief that was excellent, so he isn’t to be especially feared. Have fun–your stadium looked very nice with enthusiastic fans, but the cameras kept settling on George and Laura Bush, which wasn’t so pleasant. It’s Halloween, so you have to expect it will be no trick and just a treat for the black and orange Giants tonight!
It is rare for you to use that language in your posts so I know exactly hoe you feel about that c**t. I could not agree more.
George W and Laura are as close as we can come to celebrity so they show them alot. See you tomorrow.
Really happy for newcastle they are growing in me, except for their two washed up thugs!
However I have taken a liking to that Carrol guy. His abit of a typical Englishman off the pitch to though.
Anyhoo i hate fat Bruce and his smashed pancake face, we really should only be 3 points behind the Chavs!!
Next Week Newcastle as they had a impecable win against Sunderland wouldn’t be a hard game but we shouldn’t have worries about them. I mean Wilshere back but Fabregas said ” I was not confident at the match” to BBC SPORT
Samir Nasri nominated for PFA fans’ player of the month. Vote for him here:
Well we don’t want bloody Nani to win it, do we?
Voting closes at midnight.
This is England- Piers Morgan might be an Arsenal fan but he is the most fickle fan I have ever seen. Last season he slated Wenger and the team. Just wait till we lose few games and he comes out with his usual rubbish.
Song is the best striker since Thierry Henry, I’m not joking. If Wenger decide to put him upfront he will not disappoint, the goals he scored so far are top quality that any striker will be proud of. not long ageo the media and the fans slated Wenger for letting Palacios and Yaya toure go after their trials . Well to all those idiots out there now you can see why. Wenger knew right from the start he has a man who he is better than Palacios and Yaya Toure , Toure struggled to get into the Barcelona first 11 and Palacios is the same ? How much is Song worth today? This is an all around player wins tackles plays the football that is suited to Arsenal’s passing style and now he added something else, scoring goals and he has just turn 23 last month.
I have already voted for him!
So far, Wilshere, Nasri have played outstandingly to earn new contracts. Very soon, we will have to reward Song, and then the rest of the team with new contracts for their brilliance this season. 🙂
From the sportsmanship perspective, what do you guys think of the Nani goal against Spurs and the Kuyt goal against Sunderland where the Man U and Liverpool players (Nani, Torres, Kuyt) capitalised on their opponents errors. In my opinion, it smacks of desparation to take advantage in such a manner and I would still condemn the action even if it is our team who is guilty of it.
Caught MOTD last night and was wondering – has AW, and his “rugby” comments, been blamed for Stoke’s disallowed goal yet? If not, I’ll be surprised if Pulis passes up the opportunity in the next couple of days.
The other talking point at the Man U game must be Rio Ferdinand being allowed to get close to (and snarling all the time at) the referee and assistant referee while they discuss the Nani – Gomez incident.
Fabregas is the KING !! No doubt about it 😀
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