The Longest Journey

…must begin where you stand.

And according to me and thousands of others at the Emirates, where Arsahvin was standing was onside. But what is is and the result itself isn’t terrible. We bettered United’s result at Stamford Bridge, much as we did their result the weekend when we drew against Newcastle, and you have to agree with Arsene when he comments that the title is won during 38 games. Not always on the last day of the season, but certainly not in early March. The gap is now three points as it stands and that’s not bad at all.

Liverpool could do us a favour later on today, and with United still to play Chelsea and to come to the Emirates we’re still right in the hunt. Yes it’s frustrating we’re not closer, but what can you do? A draw against Sunderland isn’t the best result, and we had the chances to go one better, but we’re edging closer.

There were some good chances: Bendtner shot from a tight angle in the first half to see Mignolet encourage it over the bar. Nasri’s decent free kick was saved one-handed in the second, and then we hit the bar from a Wilshere cross that found Chamakh’s head. How this wasn’t a penalty on reflection is beyond me, but then perhaps the officials probably didn’t see Bramble’s shove…and don’t have the benefit of hindsight. But there we are. The stats showed we had 14 efforts on goal, half of which were on target, and both of which were double Sunderland’s respective numbers.

A little about the personnel as although we had chances, you’d be hard pushed to have been at yesterdays game and not see that the cut and thrust our captain provides was more parry and block. We should have won without him, but Denilson cut a frustrating figure for much of the game, the ball often bouncing off and squirming away from those Brazilian ankles, while Diaby often held on to the ball for far too long. Perhaps we’re spoilt by Cesc’s effortless space finding and pinged cross field passes, or Song’s solid positioning, cool head and link with our captain, but Denilson and Diaby just didn’t really look confident.

There were chants of “one Aron Ramsey”, and I think some felt he might make an appearance an push us on – fairytale style – to a winner. It just wasn’t going to happen: As I’ve said before, he might be the natural replacement for Cesc in the long run, but with Tomas Rosicky on the bench who, despite what the naysayers might say is perhaps finding his best form for quite some time (finding, not found), it’s not the done thing. Tomas isn’t there yet, but to shunt him behind Ramsey in the pecking order would be slap in the face to a great professional trying his best to have an impact on the season.

Jack Wilshere continues to amaze me just because however the ball comes to him he either gets it under or smartly one-touches it off to a teammate. He’s got a good head for a small guy as well, and is really quite happy nodding on and challenging in the air, with that pace over five yards making all the difference in the middle. Koscielny had as good game, as did Djourou, although the latter seems to have developed a Sol Campbell charging trait, which is fine…when he releases the ball sensibly. Szczsesny…continues to impress, and bring tears to my eyes with those leg-split stretches.

In fact I don’ really have a lot to complain about, apart from the fact that a small step forward yesterday might have been a little bit bigger. We are moving forward though, and there’s legs in the season yet. Let’s just hope that ours are longer than United’s.



Author: AllTheSkill

One time fleet-footed wing-wizard (he tells himself). Now dog-father, writer of bits and Arsenal blogger.

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