Arsenal Qualify for Last 16

With Man City out, Chelsea heading that way, and Man United losing, Arsenal were really the only successful English team in the Champions League this week.

A comfortable 2-0 win against Montpellier saw us keep a hold of second place in our group, while Schalke beat Olympiacos 1-0, meaning us and Schalke have qualified for the Round of 16. Unfortunately we sit in 2nd place behind Schalke because they took 4 points from us when we played each other, and unless they were to lose points at Montpellier who are now completely out of Europe, our chances of regaining that first spot are impossible.

However as Wenger said, sometimes it’s not certain that finishing 1st is the best because teams such as Real Madrid still manage to finish 2nd. Finishing 1st gives you a greater chance of getting through to the next round, but more often than not it’s not massively important. Unless of course you are drawn against Barcelona.

During our 5th group game, Jack Wilshere scored his first goal in 2 years, first since his comeback, with a tidy dink over the keeper after Giroud headed it down for him. Giroud was also involved with another assist for the second goal, playing Podolski through with a lob over the defenders, where Lukas hit a screamer on the volley rocketing past the keeper who had no chance whatsoever.

It wasn’t our best performance, but it was comfortable and in control. For a change, I never felt as if we were going to let it slip, or even worried that we would. Hopefully this was down to our performance but I fear it may have something to do with how poor Montpellier actually were.

Nonetheless, we have to beat Olympiacos, and Wenger intends to do so, sending in a ‘full strength team’ to get the job done, should Schalke slip up, through what would most likely be complacency. However, Germans don’t often do complacent. Efficient is what they are, so don’t get your hopes up.

And we move on back to the Premier League at the weekend, to face Villa in the late Saturday kick off. A good opportunity to get a win, continue this decent run, and potentially move up the table.

A lot of the teams above and amongst us are playing each other over the coming weeks, and this will provide us a very good chance to gain on them, and get ahead. Should we win these games that we really need to be winning if we want to have a good season.

That’s all for now.

Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham

In 2012, Arsenal have scored 10 goals against Spurs. Two games, two 5-2’s and two easy victories. Tottenham started the game reasonably well, and has us on the back foot on the odd occasion, going 1-0 up through Adebayor early on with the chance to make it 2-0 within 15 minutes. Fortunately for Arsenal, Adebayor got himself sent off with an outrageous tackle, over the top of the ball, studs up, hitting Cazorla’s ankle/bottom part of the leg. It was a potential leg-breaker. And after Bale tried to push Wilshere around unsuccessfully, Adebayor received his marching orders.

This gave us the confidence and urgency we had perhaps lacked in the minutes prior to Spurs going down to 10. From that moment we really took control of the game, and at no point looked back. It was assuring to see us play so well, because even though it was against 10 men, they still had two banks of 4 for us to penetrate. Something we achieved 3 times in the first half. Firstly, Per Mertesacker headed home is first Arsenal goal after a nice bit of trickery and well worked cross from Theo. Next up, rather precariously, Podolski was able to get the ball in the far corner past Lloris, after a couple of deflections and misjudgements from Spurs. Thirdly, Cazorla got the assist with a nice run after being fouled but staying on his feet, round the defenders and crossing it in low where the long swooping leg of Giroud met it to make it 3-1. We went into half time head and shoulders above Tottenham who hadn’t even mustered up another shot on goal.

Once the second half was under way, AVB’s changes started to show as they tried to attack more (more than nothing). It seemed as if they could have the opportunities to get a goal or two, but any doubts were squashed when a long ball from Szczesny, was flicked on from Giroud, expertly controlled by Walcott, who then engineered a pass through to Podolski. Lukas crossed it first time and Cazorla was free towards the back post to hit it in fiercely with his right foot. 4-1 to the Arsenal.

We calmed down for a bit now, in an attempt not to completely humiliate Tottenham and destroy any dignity that they may have remaining. Much to the fans disgust they managed to steal back a goal when Bale drove one in to the bottom corner with his right foot from outside the box. Defenders should have done better in closing him down and stopping the shot, especially Mertesacker. An area in need of undoubted improvement. Tension was surrounding the stadium and given our recent loss of leads, it was understandable. We succeeded in keeping Tottenham at bay, and in stoppage time the pace of Chamberlain and Walcott prevailed. The Ox intercepted a Spurs pass and pushed on, Walcott kept ahead and it was essentially 2 on 1. Alex sought out Theo, and he finished it neatly across the keeper to round off a good game from him, and Arsenal. Another 5-2 against Spurs.

Kings of North London, again. This year will be our 18th year of finishing above Tottenham.