As Arsenal’s fans left the KC stadium after their last-gasp winner against Hull, they couldn’t have prevented themselves from thinking that this is going to be their season. Their 2-1 win was the kind of win that wins championships, the kind of morale-boosting, belief-building, spirit-raising victory that every team achieves on their way to the title.
Until a dubious equaliser from Hull, Arsenal looked set for a straight-forward win but in a championship run in there are no straight-forward games… unless it’s home to Fulham or West Ham.
- Throughout the entire second half everyone would have been thinking the same thing. Whether it be those who think Arsenal have what it takes to go all the way this season or those who think they will inevitably implode, everyone was thinking this is going to a fixture that goes a long way to deciding the Gunners’ fate this season. This was the kind of fixture and situation that the Arsenal of last season would not have found a winner in.
- Nicolas Bendtner’s injury time winner might just be looked back on like Steve Bruce’s injury time winner for Manchester United which instilled a belief that their long wait for a title was about to end. Arsenal haven’t been waiting 26 years for a title but the feeling would have been the same one.
- Much has been made of Arsenal’s fixture run in and how it lacks many tough fixtures and things might just be about to get a little easier for them. If Spurs beat Fulham in their FA Cup quarter final replay they will not be able to fulfil their league fixture on the day of the semi final. That fixture is against Arsenal at White Hart Lane and would then be moved to the second last game of the season when, if all goes according to Arsene’s plan, the title could already be done and dusted.
- Much more attention needs to be drawn to the fact that Arsenal achieved this result and are sustaining these results without Robin Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, William Gallas and Alex Song. That’s the first-choice spine of the team yet people don’t talk of that as an injury crisis because it’s so hard to tell. Imagine any side without their captain, their ex captain, their only defensive midfielder and their main striker and imagine how far they’d get.
- Didier Drogba has scored 12 goals in his last 12 games. If he had been free from injury and did not travel to play in the African Cup Of Nations he could logically have scored more goals this season than Wayne Rooney. Both men are indispensible to their clubs and an injury to either could end their clubs title chances. Also if Drogba hadn’t been injured or absent in January, Nicolas Anelka might not have scored since September.
- Although he has had many, many critic,s surely Dimitar Berbatov deserves a lot of credit for recent league performances. Ten league goals this season and a world class assist for Wayne Rooney against Fulham. Unfortunately for him though, in the big match against Liverpool on Sunday he will no doubt start on the bench. Another who has had his critics but will undoubtedly start against Liverpool is Ji Sung Park who has emerged on the past few games as one of United’s stars of the season. He was excellent against Milan and in his cameo appearances against Wolves and Fulham he’s been exceptional…who’d have thought it? Fletcher and Park…the indispensables!
- Adam Johnson looks a really, really good player. He rescued City on Sunday against Sunderland and although he was subbed early against Chelsea in their last match he has been consistently good since his January move from \’Boro. Something that isn’t consistently good though is Man City. Will they manage to throw away pole position in the race for fourth?
- Fabio Capello is probably delighted that David Beckham got injured and won’t be fit to go to South Africa. Now he doesn’t have to answer any more questions about whether or not he’s going to put him in his World Cup squad…come to think of it he’s probably delighted Michael Owen is injured too…wait this sounds suspicious…hey wait Wayne Bridge pulled out too! This is crazy; Capello is systematically eliminating potentially harmful distractions from his world cup squad. Next thing you know John Terry will wake up with a horse’s head in his bed.
- Hull finally sacked perma-tanned Phil Brown. I wonder what was different about Saturday’s performance from the rest of the last season and a half that inspired the board to take this action now. Surely it’s a bit harsh to sack the man after being beaten by an injury time winner by Arsenal…they did lose 5-1 at Everton last week…and 3-0 at West Ham the previous game…don’t they seem like more sackable results?