Last night’s game, as far as spectacle and entertainment goes, was bloody awful. 90 minutes of tedium was bad enough, but when extra time loomed ominously on the horizon, I wasn’t particularly heartbroken when my stream for the game decided not to work.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss a great deal during the added 30 minutes. The penalty shoot out was enjoyed via the radio, and audio commentary alone seems to make the whole experience all the more nerve-wracking.
When writing match reports, I tend not to dissect each incident, or recount the events that happened. I’ve always found that to be a little pointless. It’s safe to assume that most people have seen the game and know what happened, and if you are heading here as your first port of call to discover the outcome, I would suggest there are better avenues for you to explore.
What I prefer to do is discuss the players and the overall performance of the team, and offer, for what it’s worth, my opinions on how they did. We’ll get to the main talking point in a moment – yes, Nicklas, I mean you – but there are a few players that deserve mention. Of the youngsters, I was most impressed with Issac Hayden, who looked comfortable in possession and very strong. Aside from one very ill-advised tackle that could quite easily have seen a red card on another day, he did very well on his full debut.
Thomas Eisfeld was largely anonymous, but popped up in the opportune moment to score a very good goal. In goal, Lukas Fabianski looked assured and secure for the most part, and made one very good save to deny Mulumbu.
The team performance on the whole was sloppy and a little disjointed, but I was expecting that. West Brom put out a strong side and made it as difficult for us to play as possible. arsenal were unable to get a proper passing rhythm going, and the lack of understanding between the players didn’t help.
Of course, we all know who the focus was one – Nicklas Bendtner. He showed up looking something like a mixture of disgruntled Samurai and homeless Viking, but it would be extremely unfair of me to dismiss his efforts because I’m not his biggest fan. He put the work in, did his best although he was obviously lacking in match fitness and gave an excellent pass that led to Eisfeld’s goal.
It wasn’t a return that will be remembered through the ages, but it did show that perhaps he will come in useful should we need to call on him. Given our alarming lack of offensive options, that could very well be the case. He certainly isn’t the worst option to have from the bench, and he has lead the line reasonably well before in an Arsenal shirt.
After the game, he had these words to say via his Instagram account (lovely glasses…):
Very emotional return, but what better way than with a win! Fans was absolutely incredible throughout the game and help us in difficult periods. For myself I was very moved by my reception and hearing my song again made my heart skip! Young players did ever so well and kept there cool in a difficult penalty shootout.
The fans chanting his name shows how wonderful our away support is. Bendtner may not be the most likeable character. He’s behaved like a royal tw*t on more than one occasion. However, I’d be the first to say we should support him once he’s on the pitch. The past is exactly that, and Nicklas stands a far better chance of contributing to the team with the backing of the supporters.
Perhaps he’s turned a corner and learnt from past indiscretions. Perhaps. Only time will tell whether that’s the case. For now, I’d say he should be given the benefit of the doubt. If he’s willing to be humble, put in the work and do his utmost to contribute, then I’d only ever wish him well. As I’ve said before, he isn’t the worst player in the world when/if he applies himself.
That’s all for today, folks. The comments are below, and I hope you’ll take to them to share whatever may be swirling about your lovely brain and is pertinent to last night’s relentlessly dull, but ultimately victorious fixture. Arsenal face Chelsea in the next round at The Emirates – how do you feel about our chances there? Who was your MOTM? Let me know what you think.
As always: thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.