First off, Arsenal showed why it is so hard to play against 10 men, and why there is an increasing trend of 10 men winning games. Arsenal were compact, organized, and they didn't change their shape all that much, especially when Abou Diaby came on, allowing Arsenal to play something like a 4-1-3-1, with Andrey Arshavin up front, and Emmanuel Eboue on the right of the 3, Abou Diaby on the left, and Denilson, who had an excellent game, holding. Alex Song dropped back to replace Vermaelen in the defence. After the first 10 minutes of the half, Arsenal looked more threatening to score than West Ham, and that has to do with the introduction of Abou Diaby. Bendtner was up front on his own, and Arsenal needed a midfielder to help defensively, which Andrey Arshavin can not do. Diaby came on, Arshavin was freed of his defensive abilitites, and Diaby played very well.
Arsenal were fairly comfortable after that, and the only real difference from the first half is that there isn't as many passes to the left wing in the second half after Bendtner was withdrawn for Diaby.
Arsenal's passing was similar in the second half despite having 10 men
by Guardian Chalkboards
West Ham failed to take advantage of the extra man, and they did not make many passes in the final third.
by Guardian Chalkboards
Sagna came on for Nasri, allowing Eboue to push up forward, and not only was he involved in the second goal, and also allowing for Eboue to cancel out Daprela's runs forward.
Arsenal were more likely to score, and that happened when Fabregas won the ball the back, passed to Eboue, recieved it back, and clipped it off the hand of Upson. Upson was lucky not to get a second yellow and be sent off. Fabregas duly scored the penalty, and Arsenal were home and dry.
I know I recapped the second half first. In the first half, we scored with maybe our first attack of the game. A 6 pass move, with Clichy crossing to Bendtner, who knoked it back to Denilson, who played a 1-2 with Bendtner before firing into the bottom right corner for his 6th goal. Another early goal, this one 5 minutes in, and Arsenal had other chances to double the lead. Denilson should've passed to Fabregas a few moments afterwards, and Fabregas almost played in Nasri. Then, almost at half time, the otherwise excellent Song lost the ball in midfield, a long ball was clipped, Vermaelen got behind Franco, and tangled with him. The linesman signalled for a foul, a penalty was given, and Vermaelen was given a straight red by the referee who was miles away from play. It was a bad decision from an inconsistent referee, and a bad decision from the linesman. For one thing, Franco didn't have complete control of the ball, and Campbell could've got a tackle in as well, there was barely any contact, Franco went down easily and for me it wasn't an obvious goal scoring opportunity. Almunia made a great save from Diamanti, and the good news is that Vermaelen will only miss one game because he was sent off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity.
We go top, though Chelsea has 2 games in hand, and plays Blackburn away today, and Man United are at home to Liverpool, and lets all hope Fernando Torres celebrates his birthday in style.
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- ▼ March (15)