A good start to the year with a great win and a clean sheet.
That was some good football played by us out there. We played with good organization, good movement, on and off the ball, some great passing, which at times simply left Birmingham players rooted to the spot, and scored plenty of goals.
The first half overall was a bit scrappy but we did enough to hold on to the early goal. The start was better as we got our early goal thanks to a deflection. Van Persie was fouled just outside the box, and on the resulting free kick, on a deflection from Birmingham player, scored.
After the goal, Birmingham had some good time in attack. With plenty of free kicks going their way, they were delivering in balls after balls into our danger area. A couple of times they went close to scoring but we survived.
We, on the other hand, should have killed the game had we taken our chances. Nonetheless, we headed into the break with a goal advantage.
The return from the break was when we started to control the game fully. Nasri, Fabregas and Van Persie got more and more into the game and our movement improved. The second goal was a treat to watch. Nasri and Fabregas exchanged one-two before Nasri coolly slotted the ball home.
From that time on, Birmingham never got hold of the ball. Fabregas and Nasri again combined well for the third, which was an own goal, turned in by Johnson when Fabregas’ shot was saved by the keeper.
With the game in our control, we started to toy with Birmingham as we looked for our fourth.
Arshavin and Denilson were brought on and Arshavin straight away brought about a save from the keeper. Van Persie still had time to miss one more goal before Birmingham, at our end, stuck the cross bar near the finish.
We held onto the clean sheet as the game finished with the score three goals to nil in our favour.
One thing I liked about the game was that we weren’t put off by the Birmingham tactics. We kept our focus and did what was our task. At times our movement was just awesome.
The other thing that I liked was the combination among Nasri and Fabregas. The moment they both connected with each other, Birmingham were shut out form the match. The way they shifted positions and passed the ball was awesome. Van Persie also did his part with excellent off-the-ball movement.
One thing of concern is that we missed a lot of chances. Thankfully we weren’t punished for it but we need to work on that.
In the end, I would just say that it is a great win and a great performance and hopefully we will continue with it in the games to come.