by Guardian Chalkboards
The second half against Stoke and Hull were similar as Arsenal struggled to find a breakthrough.
Obviously there wasn't a horrific injury to an Arsenal player, but there could've been from the first half. George Boateng deserved a straight red for his challenge on Bacary Sagna, and in my opinion, it was worse than Shawcross'. Boateng's was high (on his knee), late and studs up, while Shawcross, which was reckless, was lower and wasn't studs up. It could've been much worse for Sagna, and Boateng should've been sent off earlier for poking Bendtner in the eye. Inexplicably, Bendtner was booked along with Boateng.
The first half was quite promising; Arshavin scored after 14 minutes after great build up play by Eboue, Sagna, Nasri and the final ball to Arshavin. It was a great goal, and Hull were on the ropes. Then the referee and the linesman decided to help Hull back into it, and Hull got a penalty when the ball was flicked over to Venegoor of Hesselink, and Campbell nudged him and he went down. Venegoor was offside, and the linesman was looking right at him. Phil Brown thought Campbell should've been sent off for it, but V of H did not have full control of the ball (it was behind his head), so it wasn't an obvious goal scoring opportunity. In fact, it was the kind of penalty that we don't get; Bullard put it away and it was 1-1.
The second half was all Arsenal; Hull had maybe one attack, when Zayatte broke forward, and got injured when Campbell tackled him. Again, Phil Brown wanted him sent off for it, but for me it was an excellent tackle. The BBC interviewer tried to compare it with Shawcross' but Wenger was having none of that.
Arsenal continued to press forward, but it didn't look like happening. Our passing wasn't the best, and Arshavin missed a glorious chance to score, when Walcott set him up, and he hit it about 30 yards in the air. He also missed a couple in the first half, so it wasn't a great game for him despite the goal. Eduardo came on for the disappointing Nasri, who didn't have the cutting edge that Fabregas might've had in this game. Nasri, though was jaded, and Eduardo played in Walcott, but he couldn't get his shot away. Bendtner had a shot blocked, and even though there were 6 minutes of added time, we really didn't look like getting anything until Denilson, given time and space, shot from 30 yards. The ball was swerving and dipping, but their keeper should've dealt with, but he parried to Bendtner, and the Dane coolly finished for his 6th goal in 5 games. A tough game, but a big three points; this might've been a game previous Arsenal teams would've lost, as Arsene pointed out in his post game interview
We needed the three points and we got it after 90 minutes, exactly like at Stoke. It tells you that it was a difficult game, but as well that we have desire and mental strength and we never give up. And for such a young team that is great
Vermalen was excellent again, he was a bargain for £10 million. Denilson was alright, but we'll be happy to see Song back next week, Nasri was so-so, Eboue was good, and was upset to be subbed off, he's been in good form, and Sanga and Clichy did well attacking on the flanks. Clichy should've had a penalty in the first half when he was brought down by Boateng, I think, but we don't get those kinds of penalties.