Posted on Tuesday, 28th February 2012 by Akshay
Well that was fantastic wasn’t it? I’m sure everyone is still buzzing and basking in the glory after Sunday’s brilliant performance and comeback against the enemy.
In my match preview I questioned whether the players felt the fans passion and what it means to beat Tottenham in the north London derby – how wrong I was. At 2-0 down, due to a fluke and a dive, it would not have been a surprise if the team folded and retreated in to their shell. But the Arsenal team on show on Sunday showed guts, heart and desire to score an incredible 5 goals in 28 minutes. This was epitomized by the first goal by Bacary Sagna. After his thumping header hit the back of the net he picked up the ball and started running back to the centre circle with a clinched fist. It was like he was saying ‘we are the Arsenal and we are no way losing to these marsh men’. The team understandably started nervously, but after the first goal the whole team were rejuvenated and played Spurs off the park.
It was also so heartening to watch Arsenal working so hard off the ball. In a 4-3-3 formation it requires the front players to close down the opposition defenders in order to regain possession as quickly as possible. A prime example of this was the lead up to the fifth goal. Arsenal were 4-2 up and realizing Spurs were there for the taking. Whenever any Spurs player received the ball, Robin van Persie, Mikel Arteta and Theo Walcott were quickly closing them down and not giving them anytime on the ball. This lead to one of the defenders playing the ball long which lead to Alex Song picking up possession and he played a delightful ball to Walcott over the Spurs defence, who finished expertly passed a hapless Brad Friedel. What makes this frustrating is that if Arsenal had played like this in all the games up until now they would have been top of the league!
Credit must also go to Arsene Wenger, who slightly changed the formation in the second half. With both Sagna and Kieran Gibbs playing almost like wingers, he pushed Walcott up to play closer to Van Persie and, in order to prevent any Spurs counter attack like their first goal, Song played almost as a third centre-back alongside Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny, who were both exceptional on the day. I wonder if we may see this take place more often because given Walcott‘s pace he can give any defence nightmares if he tries to run in behind.
Let’s hope Arsenal use this as a blueprint for the rest of the season and if they do fourth place should be accomplished. Right, its 5 to 2 and I got to get going.
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Tags: Alex Song, Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Bacary Sagna, Brad Friedel, Kieran Gibbs, Laurent Koscielny, Mikel Arteta, Robin Van Persie, Theo Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen
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