By Avenell Dave
The sigh of relief when Marouane Chamakh’s second goal went in last night could be felt all the way from Wolverhampton to the Holloway Road.
According to @Orbihno, we have hit the woodwork more than any other team in the Premier League and let’s be honest, when you miss chances, you have to wonder if it’s going to be one of those nights.
Andrey Arshavin may have been unlucky with his dinking run and shot which hit the far post, but he should also have done better early one when he robbed a Wolves defender and hit his shot straight at Marcus Hahnemann.
With Cesc Fabragas also hitting wide when he had a clear shot at goal, we had to dig really deep to win the game and full credit must go to Lukasz Fabianski for some outstanding saves, particularly at the end when he got down low to his left with as strong a left handed block as I have seen.
We’d had three bad performances in a row before the trip to Wolves, scraping to victory over West Ham before the defeats to Shaktar and Newcastle, and last night was an important lesson which in some respects compounds the frustration us Addicts feel about this team.
Arsene Wenger spoke afterwards about the team fighting to keep the result, alluding to the fact that we needed the win after recent results.
There’s no doubt that Wolves are a decent team even if they can be a bit reckless at times. Yes, Cesc made a bad tackle for which he apologised and it’s hugely frustrating that Karl Henry got away without so much as a ticking off from the referee for his potential leg breaker on Arshavin. That may result in a review and suspension by the FA, but somehow I doubt it.
But what the Arsenal players and Wenger need to realise is that every great team fights for every ball, fights to the last in every match.
It’s all very well being known as the best footballing side in the country but that alone doesn’t win trophies.
As we see with all the best teams, you need a combination of flair and moments of magic to win tight games, but above all else, you need a solid base and a fight to the end to ensure that at the very least you don’t get beaten, even on those occasions where the ball doesn’t run for you.
Seeing Bacary Sagna, Sebastien Squillaci and even Arshavin (at times) put themselves in front of the ball. When Johann Djourou slipped (he had a decent game besides), Sagna was back there throwing his leg in the way – something he doesn’t do enough of.
I’m not for one minute suggesting that we sit back when we go ahead and invite sides onto us – let’s be honest, we have far too much attacking flair for that ever to happen.
On other days, some of the Wolves chances may go in and some of our openings may bear fruit too. But while I don’t advocate a return to the Boring Boring Arsenal days of olde, being difficult to break down, difficult to score against and resolute in our determination to stay unbeaten must be a founding facet of the team.
Particularly away from home, making it difficult for the hosts to take the lead usually means that they push forward more, leaving the gaps our flair players can exploit and that, rather than the gung-ho approach we often use, must be the way forward.
There’s a lot to come from this team, but if we could just maintain last night’s determination a bit more often, we’d be looking at a glorious future rather than glorious failure.