That was one good win even if it wasn’t convincing at times. We put ourselves in a spot of bother on more than a few occasions but overall it was a win we deserved and what we needed after so many draws.
To start off with, it was good to see Lehmann in goal and it seems that he is ready after all. He didn’t have much to do in the first half but made one massive save in the second half that helped us stay in the game. To be honest, I was happy that Blackpool scored the goal or else Lehmann would have been shown a red and we would have been down to 10 with no keeper to replace him.
We did score three goals but we should have had at least 8 if not more. I am not being negative but we need to change our habit of taking 5 chances to score one goal, we will need this against Manchester.
At the back too we need to improve our positioning or else we will be having difficult times in the coming games. The way Blackpool got through on a few occasions was alarming and resulted in some nervous moments for us.
Despite all that I am relieved that we got the win and as I said in my preview, hopefully this will prove to be a catalyst for us and we will go on a winning streak from now till the end. At the moment we are still unbeaten in 2011 in the league, so that is saying something.
I would also like to point out that we were lucky today with a couple of decisions that should/could have been penalties. Where I stand, I would say that after plenty of decisions going against us throughout the season; it is a nice change that we got some going our way. But that doesn’t take away the fact that Blackpool had at least one clear penalty not given. Blackpool has been at the end of many wrong decisions going against them this season and imagine what their fans will be feeling right now. Most likely similar to what we were feeling with wrong decisions going against us. And as I said in my preview, I hope they are not relegated.
As for Diaby’s yellow, that was deserved and it will be good if someone tells him to show some common sense when we are winning. He needs to be reminded about the Newcastle draw if he has forgotten it.
Coming to player ratings:
Lehmann (7.5): An overall good game from Lehmann. His decision making was awesome and made one massive save as mentioned before. It was good to see that he was communicating with the defenders.
Eboue (7): Offers us more while going forward but at the back he is still lacking discipline. Scored a very well taken goal after a good one two with Wilshere and always provided good width on the flanks. He needs to improve his positioning at the back and his decision making though.
Squillaci (7): Played one of his better games today. Looked composed and made some good tackles especially in the 76th minute which then led to our third and vital goal. He needs to continue with such performances.
Koscielny (6): We were lucky today that some of his clumsy challenges didn’t result in penalties against us. Besides that, he did well.
Clichy (5.5): Clichy did leave his side exposed a lot today but dealt with the dangers nicely. He provided good support upfront too. However, as always, he made one stupid error which could have resulted in a goal. Thanks to Lehmann, we weren’t punished for it. Was also partially at fault for the first goal.
Diaby (7): Opened up our account after he finished a good move involving Fabregas and Van Persie and which was started by him. Initially he failed to make his presence felt but improved as the game went on. As for his booking, stupidity is the word that comes to my mind. Diaby needs to be reminded what happened the last time he acted like that.
Wilshere (6): Good work rate from the young man. Was all over the pitch and combined well with Fabregas. Tried his luck with a good chip that was saved by the keeper. Did get an assist for the second goal.
Fabregas (7): It was good to see him back today with his delightful passing. His vision is just out of this world and the way he coolly executed the passes was awesome. Should have had 4 assist to his name today had our forwards been clinical. And still he is a long way from his best.
Arshavin (5): Was anonymous for the entire time he was on the field. Nothing went for him today but we all know he can produce something out of nothing. Hopefully, next time.
Van Persie (7.5): Was good to see him finally getting on the score sheet after he possibly missed three open chances. Got an assist on the first goal too. My only gripe, he needs to be more clinical, despite his 12 goals this year.
Nasri (6): I was disappointed that he didn’t score today. Otherwise, he had a normal game.
Walcott (6.5): Brought pace to our attack and made a good run to assist for the third and vital goal that secured the win for us.
Ramsey and Gibbs had very little time to make an impact. No ratings for them.