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December 29, 2011
Posted by Sam Limbert on 12/29/2011

It’s easy to write off the Wolves match as ‘one of those days’. One where we have a large number of shots, the visiting goalkeeper plays a blinder and we find ourselves generally lamenting the lack of a plan B.

Ordinarily, we’d just accept that whatever we tried, we just weren’t going to score. However the position we find ourselves in at the moment means we can’t afford to have ‘one of those days’. With Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City dropping points the day before the Wolves game, it was the perfect opportunity to move into the top four, and put some pressure on Tottenham.

Whilst Wayne Hennessey did have a superb match, the lack of a plan B when Robin van Persie couldn’t find the net continued to be a worry.

December 22, 2011
Posted by Sam Limbert on 12/22/2011

We weren’t as good against Aston Villa as were against Manchester City, but when you score a late goal to claim all three points, who cares?

At this stage of the season, obviously it helps if performances are good, but ultimately with games coming thick and fast, it’s just about getting the job done. With the moving of the Wolves game, we’re going to head into a period of three games in less than seven days. Players will get tired physically and mentally, so maintaining a fluent style of play will be tough. Grinding out a win at Aston Villa was a great way to set us up for the hectic festive period.

As I mentioned in my last blog, we could easily have slipped into a bad run of form following the Manchester City game. We had to somehow find a way of getting a result against Villa, otherwise we’d be playing even more catch up football during the Christmas period, and be at risk of other clubs getting away from us. It may not have been pretty, but that’s what we did. No-one would have predicted Yossi Benayoun to be the man to get on the end of a corner, but we’re all grateful he appeared at the back post.

December 20, 2011
Posted by Sam Limbert on 12/20/2011

Our last visit to Manchester was forgettable to say the least, and considering the way Manchester City destroyed their neighbours, who had subjected us to the horror of 8-2, fear of a thrashing on Sunday would have been understandable. However the team showed that the horror showing in late August is miles behind them.

Yet us fans were still left frustrated. The performance was very good, although there was a feeling that one, even three, points were there for the taking.

I was worried before the match that I was confident we’d win the game, fearing my confidence could lead to an embarrassing defeat. We definitely weren’t embarrassed, but it seems that all too often in the big games in recent years, we’ve come out of the match with a lot of credit, but no points.

December 13, 2011
Posted by Sam Limbert on 12/13/2011

It seemed fitting that, on a day where Arsenal were celebrating the amazing history and heritage of the club, the final score against Everton was a score line that has become synonymous with the Arsenal. I doubt that there have been many 1-0 wins down the 125 years of Arsenal Football Club that were won by such a sweet volley.

With three true legends of the club deservedly honoured and immortalised outside the stadium, the modern day icon and legend of the current team continued to do his best to lead this new and developing team to make history of their own. As a squad, the current team aren’t nearly as good some of the ones represented by the legends at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, however they’re nowhere near as bad as we all feared they would be at the start of the season.

A classic 1-0 win now looks even more valuable after the footballing weekend, with Tottenham and Manchester City’s defeats opening up the top four again. Chelsea’s win against City knocked us back out of the top four after we temporarily held the position, however it did signal the end of the last team’s unbeaten start to the season, so we can all breathe easy about still being the only Invincibles.

December 7, 2011
Posted by Sam Limbert on 12/07/2011

The defeat in Greece was, in most respects, completely meaningless. However that doesn’t mean it wasn’t disappointing to see Arsenal get turned over given our recent form as a club. It also served a reminder of the dark days of the not-so-distant past, when our defence looked shaky and we were prone to spectacular goalkeeping mistakes.

Our first team defence, which had been beginning to look settled, is now going to be without its’ left back for the foreseeable future as Andre Santos picked up an ankle injury. We now have no fit full backs, either on the left or the right. Despite being our best centre back, I suspect Thomas Vermaelen will fill as a left back, with Johan Djourou as the right back. Laurent Koscielny can then move back into the centre to play with Per Mertesacker.

It also means we’re one injury away from Sebastien Squillaci playing regularly again. Having said last week he had a good game against Manchester City, Olympiacos saw the return of the Squillaci that we thought had played his last game for Arsenal. Per Mertesacker might have some critics, but he is such a massive improvement on Squillaci.

December 5, 2011
Posted by Sam Limbert on 12/05/2011

Wigan hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal in recent seasons. The North West of England in general has been regarded as somewhere Arsenal don't like to go, especially when it's wet, and cold, and grey, and overall pretty grim. However, the new look Arsenal barely broke sweat as we swept Wigan away in the sideways rain, and our waves of attack.

In terms of the overall state of the team, many will argue that the match didn't tell us much about the side, however I think the ease of the victory was extremely encouraging. It feels like a long time since we went away and won so comfortably; not just in terms of the score line, but in the performance as well. Apart from Jordi Gomez's early chance that was blocked by Andre Santos, we didn't allow Wigan to build on any momentum they built up by beating Sunderland last weekend.

Our draw with Fulham and defeat to Manchester City could have put the development of the team on hold, and although they weren't awful performances or crushing defeats, we had to respond positively as we know Arsenal have had an amazing ability to implode in recent seasons. The response was excellent and puts us just one place off the coveted top four.

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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