I was a relieved man when that ball went into the back of the net and so must all the Gooners around the word. Clichy and Song saved our day at the right moment.
It was again one of those games where we were supposed to win it easily but things weren’t going our way. We had plenty of possession, we created a few clear chances which were denied by the keeper and the ones that missed the keeper were stopped by the woodwork. At one point I was just cursing our luck and hoping that it doesn’t end with us dropping points.
As it was the goal was provided late on in the match by Song, who might not be doing his defensive duties well, but certainly is scoring important goals for us. Till that moment the anxiety would have been sky high among all the Gooners and there would have been plenty of nail biting. Still I will take such a win any time and it doesn’t matter if we didn’t score plenty and that we had to score late. It just shows that we really have grown and even if things are not going our way, we still can grind out wins. Awesome stuff by Arsenal.
It was started by us in an impressive way. We had good movement but the chances created were few and far. Our first real opening was created in the 24th minute when Song found Sagna with a brilliant through ball and he squared it to Fabregas. Fabregas’ shot was heading into goal but only stopped by a good reflex save from Green.
Before this Arshavin was released a couple of times but he couldn’t exploit the opening and Song had sent a head over the bar. West Ham had a free kick punched cleared by Fabianski and Luis boa Morte had a shot from range.
Green further produced some good saves to deny Song and then Squillaci on a head from a corner. Due to our failure to create better openings, West Ham were growing in confidence as they were coming out and trying to find a goal. We managed to hold on as did West Ham as the half ended in a stalemate.
The Second half saw us with a bit more urgency. Arshavin miss aimed his strike before Nasri Sent in a thunderous free kick only to be denied by the crossbar. We upped the momentum as there were flurry of shots by us only to be blocked by the defenders.
Walcott was brought on for Denilson and he had an immediate impact. Fabregas released him with an early ball and Walcott latched on to it and he released the shot that beat the keeper but the post denied us a goal. Arshavin had a penalty call that was, correctly, not given .Green again came to the rescue when he saved Fabregas’ low drive and Walcott’s deflected shot. In between this West Ham had a couple of corners otherwise they didn’t create much.
Bendtner was brought on. The game entered the final 5 minutes. Clichy got the ball on the left and he did well to make space for himself. He delivered in an excellent cross and Song made a diving header at the far post to nod the ball into the back of the net. The celebration was amazing as the hammers had their hearts broken.
I would divide our performance into two halves as both the halves were entirely different. The first half saw us not creating many chances that allowed West Ham to believe that they can get something from this match. Also our defending wasn’t convincing at times. West Ham was finding space especially from the Clichy’s flank. Our movement was good but the passing was too slow that allowed the Hammers defence to settle and close any openings.
The second half was different in that we showed more urgency. We created more chances and we didn’t’ let West Ham have anything against us. Our passing was good and we pressed really well up the field. Our defending was better as we were determined to get the result.
As for West Ham they clearly wanted something from this match as they defended brilliantly for the whole match. They were very well organized at the back. Green had an awesome match as he denied us many times. They didn’t create much though as they were hoping for a stalemate. They had the luck on their side too but in the end it proved insufficient.
Coming to player ratings:
Fabianski: Did what was asked of him. Made a few good punches, distribution was good and was solid whenever called upon. 7
Sagna: He had a good match defensively and offensively. Delivered in some good crosses. 7
Koscielny: Solid at the back. Didn’t win many headers but did enough to stop their attacks. Made some important blocks. 7
Squillaci: Solid at the back and there wasn’t much wrong with his performance. Did enough when called upon. 7
Clichy: Delivered that all important cross. His flank was the most attacked one but he did well on most occasions. Made some good runs down the flank. 7.5
Denilson: He was wasteful in his passing. Not one of his best matches. 5.5
Fabregas: Didn’t make much impact today. He still had a couple of good shots and found a few killer passes. Was not up to his best as he misplaced a few balls and lost possession on a few occasions. 6.5
Song: Scored the vital goal. He was playing way up field and defensively was also contributing. 8
Nasri: He too was quiet today. He had few good runs but couldn’t make clear shots on except that wonderful free kick. Looked dangerous with the ball but didn’t create clear openings. 7
Chamakh: Linked up play well and defensively contributed. Otherwise he had a normal game as the West Ham defence denied him space. 6.5
Arshavin: Had his moments. Still wasn’t effective as he can be. Wasted a few decent openings. 6
Walcott: Mad an impact as soon as he came on. Had two shots one denied by the keeper and one by the post. Added the pace that was required. 7
Bendtner and Eboue: Too less time to make an impact. Bendtner had a chance though to make it two near the end but couldn’t take it. No ratings
So a well deserved win and it just shows that we clearly mean business. The beauty about such a win is that even if you are not having the best of games you still win it. We were the clear favorites today and even though the score line doesn’t show it, the win is a massive one. As Chelsea and Man Utd have won their matches the importance of Song’s goal further increases.
Next up is Shakhtar away in the Champions League.
See you in comments and please do comment.
Keep the faith!