Much has happened during the past 7 days! Beating AC and then dropping 2 points up at Wigan yesterday. It has been up and down. Euphoria on Tuesday, and then reality check on Sunday!
The result against Wigan was a disappointing 0-0 on an atrocious pitch, with Wigan battling hard and doing a good job of really limiting our passing and chances. Wenger’s post-match interview here.
We started with Fabregas on the right, Walcott injured himself in a behind closed doors match against Colorado Rapids earlier in the week. We seem to be suffering from a lack of wingers at the moment! Gilberto and Flamini in the middle, Senderos kept his place in defence. Good news is that Toure and Van Persie both started on the bench and then came on to play a part. You can argue that maybe it was unwise to play Walcott in the friendly with our current injury problems, it probably was, but that only comes with hindsight.
Within the fi<rst minute we could have gone ahead with Adebayor clear on goal, but Kirkland made a good save to keep it level. During the first half we played well we did lack width in midfield, and Gilberto played quite poorly in the centre. Nevertheless we had some good chances and seemed to be on good form.
The bad condition of the pitch, and Wigan's fighting mentality saw us go into half time nil-nil. The second half saw us lose momentum and dominance, possibly a bit drained after the win in Milan. Van Persie came on for Bendtner, nice to see him back, but he did look a bit rusty. Toure also came on for Gilberto, Fabregas moved inside and we had Toure on the right.
All in all, we dominated the first half, but had limited chances, and Wigan upped their game in the second half, we still were frustrated in attack whilst they kept us busy defensively with some good work by Valencia on Wigan's right. Fabregas had a great chance blocked by Kirkland's legs in the final stages. It was quite depressing really, by stoppage time although we had made some inroads, Wigan renewed their attack and might have even nicked a goal on the break.
It seems like we dropped 2 points, but that is the nature of the game. The press may make a big deal of every game we don't win but at the moment we are 2 points ahead. Man U may have a game in hand at Derby, but a win there only gives them a one point advantage. Unusually I have some praise for Andy Gray's commentary, he played down the hype about our league form and pointed out that the race is very close, and defintely not over yet!!
MOTD 2 picked up on Bendtner and Adebayor not linking up well, this was true at times, but maybe it just wasn't our day. Senderos deserves a mention, he has lacked in confidence in recent years and taken a lot of stick, but the guy is on form, and he kept Toure off the team sheet. Good on you Phil.
To cheer all you up: Tuesday, March 4th, the San Siro, that has to go down as one of our great European nights, I just watched the highlights hereat Gunnerblog. That made me feel better! Fabregas’ goal was fantastic, and we totally outplayed the current champions, and they admitted it. It was great to see Walcott run clear of Kaladze to cross for Adebayor to get his first goal for us in the CL. Pity he couldn’t get another against Wigan.
This post wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the FA Cup this year:
Barnsley 1- 0 Chelsea
Man U 0 – 1 Portsmouth; against all the odds, Man U ended up with Ferdinand in goal after Van der Sar’s injury and Kusczcak(?spelling!) was sent off. Fergie went mental about the ref.
Middlesborough 0 – 2 Cardiff
Bristol Rovers 1 – 5 West Brom
Amazing results, only one Premiership side in the semi’s for the first time in 100 years. All the big four out; it’s up for grabs.
Middlesbrough at home this weekend, another team fighting for their lives in the Premiership.