Sunday, 6 November 2011

Arsenal cruise to win

Arsenal 3-0 West Brom

Arsenal showed they are slowly but surely returning  to their best with an assured performance against West Brom as Robin Van Persie highlighted once again just how important he is to this team. The Dutchman scored the opening goal and set up two more to seal another three points for the Gunners. With Van Persie upfront, the rest of the team has a real focal point whom they have supreme confidence in.
The midfield for example can play the ball up to their captain, safe in the knowledge that he will most likely control the ball, hold it up and lay it off to a team mate. This gives them the confidence to make forward runs to support the attack as they do not have the fear of the ball being lost to the opposition and then being caught out of position. Consequently there are more options when the team attacks, providing more variety and stretching the opposition’s defence, creating more chances.
Carl Jenkinson's performances have improved significanly
Arsenal were always in control of this game, with West Brom clearly missing the services of Shane Long, Peter Odemwingie and Paul Sharner. However, you can only beat the team that is front of you and that is exactly what Arsenal did, restricting the Baggies to only one attempt on goal. Carl Jenkinson impressed me most yesterday. Thrust from league one, where he only played 10 games for Charlton last season, it has been a steep learning curve for the self-confessed Arsenal fan, as he has been forced to play more games than would have been expected. Although he has understandably struggled at times, he has always shown great heart and determination. His defensive work is improving all the time and his attacking play is generally very good, especially his crossing which is excellent. Playing alongside Vermaelen and Koscielny, he was part of a defence that looked assured and comfortable as they dealt with everything West Brom threw at them to secure a clean sheet.
The team as a whole passed the ball beautifully time and time again as they asserted their authority on the game to continue their recent fine run of form. The midfield of Song, Arteta and Ramsey interchanged excellently and controlled the centre of the park, while Gervinho and Walcott were not at their flowing best.  In the 22nd minute a quick free kick from Aaron Ramsey sent Walcott clear, however he shot straight at Ben Foster in the West Brom goal. Luckily Foster’s save fell to the feet of Van Persie who simply couldn’t miss. Arsenal doubled their lead seventeen minutes later as Alex Song’s wonderful cross  was cut back, by Van Persie, into the path of Vermaelen who duly smashed the ball past Foster. In the second half Arsenal continued to control the game, keeping West Brom at arm’s length before killing off the contest in the 74th minute through Arteta’s fine strike. This was due reward for the Spaniard who I believe has been a brilliant addition to the squad. He always appears so elegant on the ball, has a great passing range and shot and just as importantly, he does not shirk his defensive responsibilities.
Vermaelen celebrates putting Arsenal two-nil up

As we head into the international break Arsenal can reflect on improved performances and results in recent weeks which have placed them back in contention for the fight for a top four finish. Hopefully all the players on international duty will return without any injuries and Arsenal can continue to move onwards and upwards.


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