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Arsenal
March 28, 2010
Posted by David Young on 03/28/2010

Having become late-goal specialists over the past couple of months, Arsenal got a very unfortunate dose of their own medicine at St Andrews. Samir Nasri looked to have sealed the match for the Gunners with a rasping drive in the 81st minute but a deflection off Kevin Phillips that Manuel Almunia could only parry into his own net denied them all three points and put a dent in their title hopes.

It was a maddening outcome to a game that could - and should - have been won. After a lacklustre first half, Arsene Wenger’s side looked the more likely outfit in the second period. Birmingham City have one of the meanest home defences in the league but, having breached it with only nine minutes remaining, the Gunners really should have held on. Several other chances to put the match beyond the home team went begging and these misses were punished in the cruellest way.


Pantomime Time at St Andrews ©Empics
March 21, 2010
Posted by David Young on 03/21/2010

Arsenal produced a victory to be proud of at Ashburton Grove on Saturday that sent them top of the table. Controversially reduced to ten men just before half time, the Gunners dug deep, applied themselves and produced a second-half display that was a serious statement of intent with regard to their title aspirations.

The afternoon had gotten off to a great start when Denilson and Bendtner interchanged passes and the Brazilian fired home from just outside the area after five minutes. For the remainder of the half Arsenal wove together some neat attacking moves but couldn’t find the cutting edge to extend their lead.


Manuel Almunia Saves Diamanti's Penalty ©Getty Images
March 14, 2010
Posted by David Young on 03/14/2010

A late, late strike from Nicklas Bendtner saw the Gunners take all three points at the KC Stadium yesterday afternoon and keep their title aspirations well-and-truly alive. Sometimes there are moments that turn a season - or at least seem to nudge it in the right direction. The injury to Aaron Ramsey and the resultant response by the players to go on and win the match at Stoke was one and the big Dane's winner late in injury time at Hull could turn out to be another.

Arsenal started the afternoon well enough and took the lead after 14 minutes through Andrey Arshavin. The build-up to the goal was a fantastic sweeping move that showed the best of Arsene Wenger's team. Crisp passes were inter-changed until Bendtner fizzed a final assist into Arshavin’s path. The diminutive Russian still had plenty to do but managed to fend off the attentions of two defenders before firing off a shot into the net.


Arshavin Fires Arsenal's Opener ©Empics
March 10, 2010
Posted by David Young on 03/10/2010

In the absence of Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal swept aside Porto with a five-goal victory to advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. It was a wonderfully determined performance by the Gunners, the highlight of which was a hat-trick from Nicklas Bendtner who made amends for his striking horror show against Burnley at the weekend.

Samir Nasri scored the goal of the night, finishing a mazy run in the box that left Porto defenders in his wake with a rifling shot into the far corner of the net. Emmanuel Eboue also got on the scoresheet by rounding the keeper at the end of a thrilling breakaway.

You have to admire the way Bendtner bounced back. Some of the criticism he received from the media after the Burnley match was completely over the top to the extent that by yesterday morning BBC Radio Five Live reported that Arsene Wenger was keeping faith with his young striker after he had missed "six open goals" on Saturday.

I don’t know about you but my definition of an open goal is quite literal - there is no opposition player between the striker and the goal and all he has to do is place the ball into the empty net. As bad as the Dane’s misses were on Saturday to report he squandered half a dozen open-goal opportunities was a scandalous and grossly exaggerated distortion of the truth that does the player no favours at all.


Hat-trick Man Bendtner ©Getty Images
March 7, 2010
Posted by David Young on 03/07/2010

Arsenal made heavy weather of seeing off Burnley at Ashburton Grove yesterday. Though they dominated the match, a host of missed chances meant the three points could not be considered safely banked until Andrey Arshavin drilled home a third goal for the Gunners in stoppage time.

After the events at the Britannia Stadium last weekend, Aaron Ramsey was very much the focus of the pre-match proceedings. Several banners were unfurled around the stadium and the players came out of the tunnel wearing “Get Well Soon” t-shirts over their kits. One would have thought that fuelled by righteous indignation and the desire to “Do it for Aaron”, as one of the large flags exhorted, that the Gunners would really tear into Burnley from the kick-off with some real blood and thunder. In reality, their first half performance was measured, patient and, at times, a bit pedestrian.


Get Well Soon Aaron ©Getty Images
About
David Young Sam Limbert: My retirement as a football player came at the age of 14 due to being rubbish, it's fair to say I was more Kaba Diawara than Thierry Henry, so I turned my focus to writing about the game. I'm a lifelong Arsenal fan and have been lucky enough to watch the team across England and Europe. My favourite Gunner of all time is Dennis Bergkamp, and the 2004 Invincibles is the greatest side I've ever seen in English football. I try to be positive about the Arsenal as it's the hope that keeps us going! Follow me on twitter @SamsMatchReport.

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