Although Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City were in a giving mood on Boxing Day (each club dropping two points in their respective matches), the Wolves were a proper Grinch at the Emirates, denying us the three points that would have given us fourth place. Wolves’ goalkeeper Hennessey was particularly mean-spirited, turning away shot after shot as Arsenal dominated possession and created chances right until the final whistle.
It’s hard to fault the Gunners, as they never gave up after the fluke goal by Steven Fletcher. Perhaps I might be a little negative about Alex Song, who had a sub-par game, and Gervinho, who made poor decisions with the ball on multiple occasions. Even though Gervinho scored the lone goal for us, he could have passed to a wide-open RVP on the right side. We also missed Walcott, whose speed would have caused problems for the Wolves’ defense, and who enjoys a seemingly telepathic communication with RVP.
On the other hand, Arteta, Benayoun and often-maligned Rosicky were solid in mid-field, finding their way through the Wolves’ defensive formation. I love Mertesacker’s positional play, and Koscielny’s aggressive but clean tackling. Even Arshavin had a chance to be the hero, but his shot hit the post.
Looking ahead to the next match (December 31 vs QPR), it’s hard to imagine that RVP could score 2 or 3 goals in one game in order to match/overtake Alan Shearer’s record. Rather than risk injury (thus killing our season), I’d rather sit RVP on the bench so that he would be ready for Fulham on January 2. We’ve already lost Santos by over-playing him, and I’m sure that’s at the back of Arsene’s mind as he plans for a busy January schedule. Furthermore, Chamakh could use more than five minutes of playing time.
On a local footnote, we’ve been getting good crowds at Champs Bar to watch the Arsenal matches. If you live in the Montreal area (or even if you don’t), feel free to join our Facebook group: Arsenal Montreal Members Organization (A.M.M.O) . Come on you Gooners!