Are Arsenal actually going to win it?

Are Arsenal actually going to win it?

Arsenal raced five points clear at the top of the Premiership table after taking care of Blackburn 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium. The scoring was opened as early as the 4th minute when Philippe Senderos powered home Eduardo da Silva’s in-swinging corner. Although they dominated most of the possession and chances for the rest of the match Arsenal had to wait until the 90th minute until Emmanuel Adebayor made the game safe with a token goal, cleverly controlling Alexander Hleb’s pass and smashing home beyond Brad Freidel.

Somewhat surprisingly, both Mathieu Flamini and the goalscorer Senderos recovered from their respective injuries to start the match, while Gilberto Silva’s inclusion meant that Cesc Fabregas was pushed across into a right-midfield role. The rest of the team set up as expected with Jens Lehmann in goals behind Bacary Sagna, William Gallas, Gael Clichy and the aforementioned Senderos while Alexander Hleb featured on the left and Adebayor and Eduardo took up the two striking possessions.

The Arsenal boys celebrate another major step towards the title

Frustratingly, I did not get to see this match. I got up at the uncomfortably early time of 5.30am in Brisbane to try and find a stream and to my dismay I could not do so. As such, there’s little I can say about the performance other than what I have read, and what I have read suggested that while Blackburn put up quite a decent fight they caused no real problems for the Arsenal defence.

What I can comment on is the excellent position the club has now got themselves into. Arsene Wenger’s side are now five points clear at the top with just twelve games remaining, a remarkable achievement given the predictions that were made about Arsenal’s downfall at the start of the season. As an optimistic person I always try my best not to get carried away with positive situations but I have to say that for the very first time this season I can actually see Arsenal winning the Premiership.

It’s not a prediction, it’s not me getting carried away, it’s just a feeling that this might actually be Arsenal’s season. You can tell from Wenger’s post-match comments that he’s starting to see things the same way but thankfully it’s also blatantly clear that he realises there is still a great deal of football still to be played.

“I don’t want my team to focus on the difference between us and the rest, I want them to focus on strengthening our lead and going to every game to keep that momentum going and assert our authority and to win every game, play like real challengers.”

It’s an excellent attitude to have and if the players in the squad can echo it out on the pitch then the Arsenal Football Club are going to go very close to winning the Premiership this season. Absolutely amazing stuff, isn’t it?

The Arsenal OpusJust a couple of quick shout-outs before I go today. Firstly I just want to say thanks to Jammathon from Third Gen for naming the Arsenal FC Blog as his ‘Blog of the Week’ for last week. I had a great deal of fun on the blog last week while the international break was on, writing up the mid-term report cards for the players and a couple of other reflective articles as well and I have to say it feels pretty nice to know that someone enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Finally, I want to again mention the fantastic competition being run by O2 where you can win a copy of the epic Arsenal Opus. You can find out all the details of the competition here and you can enter via the O2 Arsenal Opus website here. Good luck!

What do you think?

Have your say on Arsenal’s nice little lead by leaving a comment.

27 Responses to “Are Arsenal actually going to win it?”

  1. sudanigooner
    February 12, 2008 at 7:07 pm #

    5 points clear…at this stage…not even dreams wouldve brought that up at the beginning of the season! you dont get many chances like this, & because the way we lost the title in 2002-3 STILL HURTS…i dont want to start expecting anything.
    howeever we’re in a fantastic position i just hope the boys keep their focus on the pitch now, this is the home straight & they need to keep the momentum

  2. RvP Fan
    February 12, 2008 at 7:43 pm #

    Great Post SF
    Surely though, the Crux of the title rce is going to be Arsenal v Chelsea and Arsenal V Man Utd, especially the latter. If we win those, then we have a great chance. I suppose we can take courage from the fact that we did a double over Man utd last year, (if I recall correctly)

  3. Spanish Fry
    February 12, 2008 at 7:49 pm #

    Thanks RvP Fan. It’s just awesome that should Arsenal keep firing then the pressure in those big matches will certainly be on the other sides. I don’t necessarily think we’re going to win the Premiership, but today is the first time where it actually seems very, very possible. I’m excited!

  4. RvP Fan
    February 12, 2008 at 7:57 pm #

    Yeah, we shouldnt get ahead of ourselves, but if we win those games, we will have a definite chance. Hopefully we wont lose anymore key players through injury….

  5. JacktheHat
    February 12, 2008 at 8:27 pm #

    As the rest we know we can’t get to excited as yet but with 12 games to go we are in better stead than anyone in the country would have imagined with the departure of Henry who I guess now is kicking himself as he is being played out of position if at all, the man was a legend and we can never forget what he done for us but also he can never forget what we done for him, without us he would have been a winger in Italy without notice but we saved him from his nightmare and made him the best striker in the world who now – is unfortunately finished!

    Anyway I am sure our boys know that the league is in our hands and with our next 6 fixtures we should take at least 15 points from those games Chelsea being the last of the 6 away which I think if we win or draw having getting the 15 points we will win the league.

    We have a team now, they all play together, they all love the club, they fight together, they know as well as us that no matter how long to go now it is in our hands to throw away so lets all get positive and get behind our boys because we have the team to do this! They don’t want to lose any more than we don’t want them to lose!

    Come on you Gooners, for the first time in 4 years I can not see this team losing again in the league and I am a pesimist!

  6. Q - Arsenal Way
    February 12, 2008 at 8:53 pm #

    Spanish Fry, agree with you in not thinking we could do it until today! The ManU game at Old Trafford in April will be our most important in years! There is a really good Premiership title run-in calculator that I uploaded to my site, it shows you how close it will get.

  7. Spanish Fry
    February 12, 2008 at 9:10 pm #

    Great positivity there JacktheHat. It seems you’re just as excited as I am about the boys chances now.

    Q – Looks interesting. I’ll have to have a play around with it when I get a bit more time. Cheers for the heads up.

  8. C-Bass
    February 12, 2008 at 9:28 pm #

    Brilliant cap to a brilliant weekend for us. The depleted Blackburn did play better after the first goal. But it amounted to little more than a few chances and more equal possession.

    Hard to pick a man of the match. Helb continues to impress. Every time he has the ball at his feet I can’t help but feel something magical is going to happen. Amazingly he even had a few tries at goal! In fact he absolutely carved the Blackburn defenders up on a brilliant meandering dribble only to be denied by the woodwork.

    The shocker for me was United dropping points. I still can’t believe it and after watching the highlights I had to pinch myself. Maybe it’s just the air of invincibility that ManU fans place over their team.

    Needless to say I’m quite excited.

  9. Gooner Don
    February 12, 2008 at 9:31 pm #

    In 2003 we lost a 5pt lead to Man Utd and that still hurts.Its not over yet.

    Cant see many of the team that played last night playing v Man u in the FA cup,not with the Milan game coming up.

  10. JacktheHat
    February 12, 2008 at 9:42 pm #

    Thats it Dan, live in the past.

  11. arsenal malaysia
    February 13, 2008 at 12:30 am #

    well done my gunn

  12. TayGoon
    February 13, 2008 at 2:05 am #

    Like I said a few days back, I am more worried by Chelsea grinding results rather than Man U. I also said that many people will be surprised by how many points Man U are going to drop. I answered one poster 3 games back about how many points both Man U and Arsenal are going to get, and I felt that Man U won’t get through the games unscathed. The good news is, they are going to drop more points before we meet them at OT. I see us beating them and Chelsea. We just need to button Ronaldo, the rest are easily manageable. They have become a “one-trick-pony”. We have the best full backs in the league, better midfield and attack. Looking @ the fixture list, I think Man U are more nervous as out of 5 home fixtures they have left they face Arsenal, liverpool, Westham, bolton and A.villa. WH & Bolton beat them this season and Arsenal & WH beat them @ OT last season. Liverpool will be fighting for 4th so they have to realy turn up the heat. And who knows if Bolton still remember the formula they used at Reebok. Of the away fixtures, they have Chelsea, a 0-0 draw is what I pray for. For us, all games are winnable unless we use the 4-4-1-1, which blunts us a bit. The spuds are going to do us one more favor with chelsea. With them dropping points against Man U and Arsenal I would say the title is ours to lose.

  13. knightman
    February 13, 2008 at 2:34 am #

    right now am not sober enough to understand this blog comprehensively AUTh can tell tht it’s good. one thing tht will do all th gooners some good is to take one game at a time (same way u take a bottle of beer at a time) and it will leave us all NOT disappointed or QUITE pleased n TOTALLY proud in th end. BLESS U ALL :*

  14. TayGoon
    February 13, 2008 at 2:43 am #

    Chelsea has Man U and Arsenal at home which means they ARE going to drop home points, and Away trips to spurs, Man city, Westham and Everton. With the exception of Man city, they struggled at home to these teams. They are not a high scoring side which means their wins could easily be draws or loses. We need to go into Man U FA Cup game with everything we have. A win there will sort of “tenderize” them for others so by the time we go to OT, the race is almost, if not over. We need 32 points out of 36 to clinch it. If we beat or draw with Man U, we need 30. As for chealsea, We have to hand them the title otherwise they are playing for 2nd.

  15. vlcgooner
    February 13, 2008 at 2:49 am #

    Twelve games means anything can happen — injuries, loss of form, total collapse at worse. But what I saw yesterday makes me think we definitely can win the Premiership. The team came out determined and ruthless and scored an early goal. They couldn’t quite put them away –credit to Blackburn and to our lack of precision in the final third, but they were not going to give Blackburn a chance to take the game. That kind of ruthlessness makes me think they have what it take to grind out the wins.

  16. TayGoon
    February 13, 2008 at 4:21 am #

    vlcgooner: it is unlikely that we will have a total collapse, and we have just come out of a loss of form and we are getting back from an injury crisis. In the game with Blackburn, the team played with injuries in mind. We never got out of second gear. We were over-cautious to avoid over-exertion, thus lowering the risk of injuries. With a healthy squad going for blood, we could have pulverized BB. The tricky part is to come out of Man U and AC Milan unscathed both on injury and results front and we are almost home dry. One concern though is that Cesc is nearing a 2 match suspension(8 YC). We drop an average of 1 point every 2 games, which if holds true, Man U can afford just one draw and tons of goals which is a tall order considering they have both Us, Chelsea Liverpool, and their bogey side Westham. They might be going into a rough patch at the moment, mostly psychological, realizing that they may actually lose the title and how ineffective they are without both Rooney and Ronaldo. Anyways I appear to be “too” optimistic to a lot of people. I am a risk taker. So don’t mind much my rumblings here. I am just feeling good.

  17. TayGoon
    February 13, 2008 at 4:32 am #

    Correction: We drop an average of 1 point every 2 games, which if holds true, Man U can not afford to draw. They have to be perfect from now on (They have to beat us) to have a chance.

  18. A2Gooner
    February 13, 2008 at 5:57 am #

    Yesterday was a great result, but to their credit, Blackburn actually came to play football, not just to push, grab jerseys and kick ankles like usual. Granted Savage is no longer there and Dunn was out, but they put forth an honest effort. Mark Hughes comments after the match were laughable, since his side played so differently than they usually do, but for him to say that they deserved more than they got is absolute rubbish.

    While Arsenal did not play as well as we have seen earlier in the season, they played well enough to win. Blackburn may have enjoyed a good bit of possession for several periods during the match, they never really pressured Jens. The back four, plus Flamini and Gilberto made a real effort to defend Jens and prevent Santa Cruz or McCarthy from bothering Jens. It appeared that every time a pass went into the penalty area, a red shirt was in the way and cutting it out. The offensive output seemed lacking a bit, but the defense stood strong and essentially told Blackburn to F#%$ off! Well done!

  19. Le Gunner
    February 13, 2008 at 11:42 am #

    I think the Psychological war is about to begin starting this Saturday and I can see the rude old man, blue veined nose (fergie) doing his best to upset Wenger and the squad. He said “Arsenal are still to come to us” as if he’s guaranteed to beat us he forgot we stuffed them at old Traford last season. There are few twists and turns of course but if you look at the stats we are the only team who lost once and still unbeaten at home and that is no coincidence nor luck it is hard work and the good thing is all the Pundits still think Manure will win it so pressure is till on them after all we were supposed to finish 5th behind the new Mickey Mouse cup specialists Spuds. Now Bentley, there is so much talk about him in England as the one that got away from Arsenal and worst they think he is better than David Bekham what a load of crap. Even now he will not get into the Arsenal side.

  20. Spanish Fry
    February 13, 2008 at 12:54 pm #

    Knightman you crazy kid, that’s awesome haha. We’re looking good folks. Just watched the extended highlights for the first time on ATVO and it looked like we did pretty well in the second half. Adebayor made some good chances and with Hleb hitting the post I think we deserved the win.

  21. tom
    February 13, 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    we certainly did. senderos looked better in defence. and he is always pretty dangerous in the air too.

  22. ramugunner
    February 13, 2008 at 5:39 pm #

    Spanish fry, I don’t know how come you miss to watch games. I hope you try livefooty and myp2p.eu links to watch them. Interestingly, I have not missed even one match including carling cup and other cups too this season. I am so proud to do that and more proud of a winning team.

    I was wrong when I wanted Wenger to buy new players and criticize some players like Ade during Dec/ Jan but I have been proved totally wrong. As for title race If we can get at least one win from trafford or Stamford we should win the title. Players are high in confidence and hopefully we will get rid of intense injury shits.

    Come on gooners!!!!!

  23. Ma7medGOONER
    February 13, 2008 at 6:41 pm #

    man…i can tell half the ppl here have just jumped on the bandwagon & want to add their amazingly insightful expert opinion on the arsenal, well..to be honest the most sense ive read so far is from the ”not sober enough” knightman, just the fact some R conceding they werent convinced ade had what it takes even ONE MONTH ago tells me to totally disregard whatever theyre saying, its a shame how some players have to go through the form of one’s life to convince some ppl that they’re good, talk about having walls for brains

  24. Jay
    February 14, 2008 at 4:51 am #

    Ronaldo has not played well in his last 2 games and in a result Man United havnt won in their last 2 games. They are dependant on Ronaldo. Great win ova Blackburn. Hleb is my man of the match. Adebayor cannot stop finishing. Tomas Rosicky, Kolo toure, Emmanuel Eboue and Emmanuel Adebayor are all playing in the F.A. Cup against united. 5 points clear is great with only 12 games left. Only 2 weeks ago we were 2nd on goal difference. Cannot wait for these next 2 matches am a bit scared and nervous becuase I want Arsenal to win them both but am not sure if we will. I know thats negative but I am not sure if we can win 2 massive games in such a short period of time. Only time will tell.

  25. TayGoon
    February 14, 2008 at 11:59 pm #

    Jay, we have what it takes to win both ties. Man U are not playing well and are in a confidence crisis at the moment. I watched the highlight of Milan’s draw and I believe not only we are going to win, but we are going to win comfortably. They have been unlucky with injuries a bit.

  26. Gooner4life
    February 15, 2008 at 2:42 am #

    Good stuff as usual from u Spanish Fry.It seems there are a lot of Arsenal haters out there and judging from the stuff thats coming from Alex cherry face Ferguson Man U’s lack of consistency has definitely got to him.So much for Arsenal cjoking and Man U steam rollering all opposition and Arsenal cracking under pressure.Maybe Im being biased here but the stats seem to be showing that Arsenal are doing most of the Arse kicking. So to all the Man U loving tabloids and Rocket Ronnie lovers, Mark fake tash Lawrenson and your winning mathematical formula for Man U winning the title, Ian Wright who backed Liverpool to win from the start, and Paul Merson who gave no hope after TH14 I hope ur choking on a very large slice of humble pie and you bet were enjoying the satisfaction of being Premiership tops no matter what.

  27. ???
    April 9, 2008 at 1:29 am #

    NO THERE ARE NOT GOING TO WIN IT HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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