Saturday, March 5, 2011

Arsenal 0 - Sunderland 0

This was a game the Gunners really needed to win in order to put pressure on Man U, who meet Liverpool tomorrow. In the first half, Arsenal looked asleep. Abu Diaby and Denilson, especially, looked like they had better things to do than be playing a competitive football match. In the second half, the Gunners woke up and were desperately unlucky not to carry away a victory, denied by a combination of dogged defending by Sunderland and their fine-looking young Belgian goalie, Simon Mignolet, two terrible calls by the refs, and in one instance, the goal post. Andrei Arshavin will feel especially hard done by the referee, as he was denied a clear penalty after taking a push in the back in the penalty area just as he was preparing to shoot. A few minutes later, he was sent clear against the goal-keeper, but the linesman flag went up. Replays confirmed he was definitely not offside. Arsenal goalie Wojciech Szczesny deserves credit for making a couple of very fine saves towards the end of the match to keep Arsenal's disappointment from turning to despair. He and central defender Laurent Koscielny still seem to be having communication problems. Let's hope they get those sorted out before the next match.

Earlier in the day, Birmingham fell tamely at home to West Brom 1-3, raising again the question of how the Gunners could possibly have lost to the Blues in the Carling Cup final last weekend. I'm still scratching my head at that one.

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