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Friday, 10 April 2009

Cometh The Hour

Still salivating over Adebayor's goal the other night. For someone as gangly and as awkward looking as Adebayor, there was a grace and a fluidity of movement in the way he cushioned the ball on his left shoulder, before performing the overhead shot with his right foot, that made it just about the most perfect example of the bicycle kick that I can recall seeing (although with my positively sieve like memory that doesn't mean too much!).

At least that is in the heat of a proper match, as there was a natural, relaxed air to the way in which the Togonator performed this feat, that made it look like something you'd see on the training ground, rather than doing it amidst the tension of being 0-1 down in a Champions League quarter final.

It was also an extremely pleasant surprise that Adebayor actually managed to find sufficient space to perform a bicycle kick in the penalty area, without the ref blowing up, as nine times out of ten nowadays, there'd be such a throng of bodies in the box that one would automatically get done for dangerous kicking!

It was all the more amazing considering the fact that (and I am sure I wasn't alone) up until this point I'd been bemoaning Ade's every, infrequent touch as being far too clumsy and ineffective. I mean you know you are in big trouble, when you are absolutely begging for Bendtner to be brought on!

Having done the business, I would've made the swap, as Adebayor was likely to have been so chuffed with scoring such a picture book goal that it seemed to make sense to replace him with a player who still has plenty to prove.

Moreover I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed that we seemed to settle for the draw after equalizing, when in truth we should've gone for the Spaniards throat. It was like watching Arsenal v Sunderland for much of the first half. Albeit that it was the Yellow Submarine making hay with their mazy passing patterns, while the Gunners were giving it the big 'un, in the vague direction of an ineffective lone striker.

In fact it was a repeat of the Roma game and I have to admit that utterly perplexed as to why it is that we seem to start these games totally devoid of the sort of intensity and focus that one might expect of a season making (or breaking!!) match. On paper Villareal's positive passing game should be perfectly suited to bringing the very best out of the Gunners and in the past, when we've got about such sides, persistently pressing them in two's and three's, the ball has become like a hot potato and we've forced them into constantly conceding possession, preferring to release the ball rather than being clattered.

Instead of which, we invited pressure on Tuesday night with a powder puff first half performance, constantly conceding territory as we ran away from the man with the ball instead of confronting them. On the face of it, you would have to say that there is something wrong somewhere, when we seem to repeatedly appear from the dressing rooms for such crucial encounters and instead of being energized by a frantic bout of headbutting the lockers, we look like we've just woken from an afternoon snooze? (it's not a literal suggestion, as knowing our lot, they'd fracture their skull from the slightest contact with a locker, but you get my meaning).

I can appreciate that having come back from 0-1 down, a 1-1 draw was a decent enough result, but I'm concerned that we might rue the fact that we didn't press home our advantage, as both psychologically and physically, the home side seemed to visibly wilt once they'd conceded the goal and having seen what Chelsea did at Anfield last night, I felt we could've done likewise, since Villareal were ripe for the sinking once the Submarine had been breached. And it would've stood us in far better stead, as it would take a far braver man than me to put their house on us being able to hold out for a clean sheet in next week's home game!

However having been so under the cosh in the first half (and having lost Almunia and Gallas), we appeared far too relieved with the prospect of coming away honours even, to even consider the possibility of putting the tie to bed. Thus it was frustrating to see us turn tail and pass the ball back into our own half, preferring to retain possession, rather than taking them on. I only hope we don't come to regret not having pressed home our advantage, having gained the upper hand, as who knows how next Wednesday's home leg will go!

I also owe an apology to Manuel Almunia, as I was under the misapprehension that if he could've carried on for twenty minutes, he might just as easily have remained between the sticks for the entire match and so I couldn't help but wonder if he'd instead decided to make the most of his opportunity to bottle it. But his three week injury confirms that I couldn't have been further from the truth and in fact I should be expressing my gratitude for his attempt to soldier on, when many players would've immediately been calling to be replaced and in fact his bravery might've been foolhardy, as perhaps he would've healed sooner if he'd been subbed straight away.

It just goes to prove that one must not judge a book by its cover, even ones adorned in fuschia, accompanied by fey toy doggies


Anonymous said...

Yeah, Adebayor was rubbish for the entire game except for the goal, which frankly was a one in a million he will never repeat again but we all know he will be attempting in every match from now on. He is a pretty useless footballer in the fact that he can't control a ball, can't pass a ball and can't stay onside. With a bot of luck that goal will convince someone stupid like AC Milan or Barcelona to give us £20m+ for his average services. Wenger will bite their hand off in a heartbeat because he knows the future is at the feet of Arshavin, Eduardo and Walcott all pairing up with RVP and the ever improving Bendtner.

Anonymous said...

I am convinced our early lethargy during performances at home can be largely blamed on that awful elvis "ballad" that puts everyone to sleep before the game begins.

Anonymous said...

We can take solace in the knowledge that an ankle crucial to Arsenal fortunes clearly has a loving home in which to convalesce.

Anonymous said...

I thouhgt we did have a bit of a of a go at Villareal, remember Nasri having a couple of half chances but then in the last 5 mins we really sat back and then the Submarines looked dangerous again......therefore it seems attack will be the best form of defence at the Emirates.....

One other thing, didn't you think Fabulous was playing to high up the pitch? and do you agree that he is most effective as a proper midfielder and not a second striker?? (we had the same problem against Wigan on Saturday).....

just thinking therefore would probably play a midfield three of Song, Fabulous and then either RVP or Nasri as the link between midfiels and Ade.....with possibly diaby (if fit) on the left...

Keep up the good work, really enjoy the blog.....