Arsenal 2-0 WBA | Santi’s cheating taints a comfortable win

What a shame that the main talking point from this game was the blatant dive by Santi Cazorla that earned us a first half penalty. The little Spaniard has been brilliant at times this season, winning over fans of all teams with his technique, awareness and incisive passing. And he put in a good performance yesterday as well. But he stained his reputation by cheating (no, I don’t think that’s too strong a word) West Brom when he fell over after no contact and even had the cheek to hold his shin in pain as he waited for the whistle. As an Arsenal fan I felt ashamed. Tony Adams would’ve dragged him up and told him that wasn’t how we did things over here, but sadly those days are long gone.

Some will argue that this controversy unfairly overshadowed a good display from Wenger’s beleaguered men. I would agree somewhat as overall we were by far the better side and this was an improved performance on last week’s horror show. But up until that 26th minute incident we’d struggled to create much, despite having most of the ball as West Brom sat back and tried to soak up pressure before looking for lone striker Shane Long on the counter. The penalty lifted the tension and ensured there was no pressure from the crowd, which might not have been the case had we reached the break scoreless.

Santi Cazorla dives against West Brom

Santi gets told off after his embarrassing dive

The goal knocked the stuffing out of West Brom for a while as our confidence started to return and Wilshere (who was excellent throughout) nearly slid in for number two. There were still some sloppy passes, but thankfully the Baggies had nothing to hurt us and looked every inch a side coming off the back of two successive defeats. It was a good time to play them.

We continued to dominate in the second half and Oxlade-Chamberlain was unlucky to hit the bar, but it took another poor refereeing decision to give us that crucial second goal. The Ox clearly shoved Goran Popov after losing control and everybody stopped, waiting for Mike Jones’ whistle, but it didn’t come and the winger was upended in the area by Chris Brunt for a stonewall penalty. Arteta scored with a similar finish to his first spot kick.

Podolski came on and missed a golden chance to make the scoreline more emphatic, but it stayed 2-0 and many pundits are saying this has eased the pressure on Wenger. For the time being maybe, but he will have a few more uncomfortable matches to sit through before the season is out because we still aren’t as good as we should be.

Let’s face it, West Brom were poor yet we couldn’t break them down in open play and needed two shocking decisions from the ref to get us the three points. Yes we were better than in recent weeks, but looking at the bigger picture we are not good enough to finish in the top four and it won’t be long before the knives are out for him again.

However, there’s the welcome distraction of Bradford in the Capital One cup on Tuesday and I’m not even contemplating a defeat. This should be an easy passage into the semi finals, but if the players and Wenger think that too we could be on the end of a shock defeat. I’m allowed to take it for granted, but they aren’t — it’s their job to approach every match the same, no matter who the opposition are. We all know that we’ve been guilty of underestimating ‘weaker’ teams over the last few years so I hope we take it seriously, because this competition has suddenly become a glorious opportunity to lift some silverware.

Maybe lifting the Capital One cup would rejuvenate my enthusiasm in the midst of what is fast becoming a depressing season, because despite today’s result, there are still way too many problems on and off the pitch for me to enjoy being a Gooner as much as I used to.

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  1. nedox

    You cant be this negative can you? The boys created a lot of chamber but couldn’t take them. Or do you take “couldn’t break them down” to mean “couldn’t score more goals”?

    FYI: if westbrom where poor, we made them so. What with the high pressing game and the excellent defence?

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  2. Philbet

    I doubt very much whether you will ever ‘enjoy being a gunner’ again,you are too prejudiced,bigoted and sad to enjoy things, your search for pleasure and satisfaction cannot be helped by hoping that the owner of AFC calls you one day asks you to take over and you end up winning four trophy’s in consecutive seasons at the same time playing like a Brazil/Barcelona cross and reducing the wage bill to £4-89P (per annum, your character is flawed and bitter and your lack of perspective precludes you from change,That said I do often read your blog just to see the depressing levels of despondency you can sink to and it helps me make it through another week knowing someone is having a harder time than me…….

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    • Shanzuman

      What a plonker you are Philbet. Why can you not see the writer’s point of view on yesterday’s very mediocre game played by two mediocre sides.Yes we did pass the ball well and created a few chances but than we do that every week and our results are not what you expect from a championship side. Had we played a stronger passing team yesterday, I doubt the result would have been the same. We are very poor in the final third and seems to me that we are not gelling as a team yet, some passes are mistimed, players are not running into position, our crosses are probably the worst I have seen in the league etc. Giroud was presumably bought for his heading abilities but the service he receives in that area is diabolic. These are problems that need to be resolved on the training ground and in discussion in the technical room by the coaches and team manager but unfortunately they are NOT which is why in my opinion we are a mediocre side when compared to the side we had some 8 years ago. The management and coaches are dated and perhaps it is time to look for a new approach – I hear that Guardiola is now not keen on Chelsea so now is our opportunity to seek new blood! I love Wenger but truely it is time for a change.

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    • Gooner Steve

      So Philbet, you often visit this blog, but only comment when we win (so not that often these days) and even then it’s just to have a pop because I’m negative.

      Why don’t you comment after a defeat then? Where were you to explain why we lost to Swansea? Why Walcott has been allowed to reach the last 6 months of his contract? Why thousands of season ticket holders are being priced out of Emirates while Gazidis gets a 26% pay rise? Why we continually sell our best players? Why dross like Squillaci and Djourou are put on £50k a week, thus tying up funds that could be allocated to payers that deserve higher wages like van Persie? Why we only seem to win these days after help from the ref (red cards or undeserved penalties)? Why the players aren’t motivated for matches like Norwich?

      I could go on but I know you won’t reply because you don’t have any answers. You’re just a blinkered idiot who thinks I’m miserable because that’s my nature. Wrong. I’m miserable because our club is being run purely to make profit, thus denying fans the chance to see a competitive team challenge for trophies on a consistent basis and I’ve become disillusioned as a result. We could and should be doing so much better, not going overboard because we beat a poor WBA at home.

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  3. nedox

    *chances not chamber

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  4. drewks

    Blimey….Philbet’s comments are very personal towards the writer who has got every right to say what he feels. You should be ashamed of yourself, you sound like a stupid little boy. SO brave, having a rant at people like this via a keyboard just about sums people like you up.
    I actually agree with everything the writer has said, and it’s good to see that all football fans aren’t blinded by their support of a team.

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  5. Baggie9

    The penalty changed the course of the game.If the longer the game went on,the tension from the crowd could have got to your players.The 2nd penalty was also a foul in the build up.We are not a poor side,we are up there on merit.You can moan about lack of spending ,we have only spent £4 million on Ben Foster this season.We have no debts,a proud history,one of the founder members of league football but we never get any credit.
    After watching Albion for over 51 years and loving football.If we lose to to a better side on the day,i will hold my hand up and say ” the best team won”

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    • Shanzuman

      Than you should cos the best team did win, albeit by a small margin! As I said above the game was between two mediocre sidesk.

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  6. Patrick Ssekatawa

    I’m disappointed with the writer of the article! You can’t slam the team you support like that. It’s a shame! Actually, people like you have contributed to the team’s poor displays lately, because instead of showing full support for your team to help them out of the current slump, you boo them to pile more pressure on them! Shame on you!!! It is your utmost responsibility and indeed obligation to support and encourage your team, no matter what, isn’t it? Arsenal fans would do well borrowing a leaf from the Anfield faithfuls, who, when their team gets to play, sing their hearts out as though Liverpool are the defending league champions

    If you have not just come from Mars, you should be able to know that every team goes through difficult times when results are hard to come by, and that during that time, confidence levels are at their lowest, and this is exactly what is at our club, not lack of quality. Maybe you would rightly have said that results have not been good enough lately. But to say that we are even good enough for a top four finish is completely miopic and very poor assessment from you, my friend.

    Would you say the same of Chelsea because results haven’t gone their way lately? I don’t think so. Yes, I admit that Wenger made some mistakes in the transfer window, say, of not adequately replacing Money-Persie, leaving a huge burden on Giroud. That was poor judgement by Wenger. He was also wrong to let go of Song and not replacing him, putting his trust in Diaby, who despite being at the club for six years now, has never completed a full season injury-free. Apart from that, I think we have a good team who are capable of finishing in the top four and even challenge for the title.

    As for yesterday’s game, I think we were far more positive than against Swansea, and the team deserves more credit that you’re willing to give them. Cazorla dived, yes, but you need to put into account that he had beaten Reid, who had absolutely no chance of getting the ball. Secondly, Players have to protect themselves against possible fouls, and, believe me, if Reid had caught Cazorla, the little Spaniard would have been stretchered off, so you need to appreciate the fact that Arsenal got a result they badly needed. The end justified the means, and most importantly, it could prove a stepping stone to the return of the confidence that would see us put up a run of good results.

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    • baggie bird

      Total nonsense a cheats a cheat and you should be embarrassed by your feeble response and defense remember what goes around comes around. Second goal was also down to rubbish officiating. However that’s life we move on and look forward to getting even in the return !!

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  7. Gooner Steve

    “Apart from that, I think we have a good team who are capable of finishing in the top four and even challenge for the title”

    It’s amazing how one win causes some people to ignore all the problems we have. A bit of spin from Wenger and suddenly everything is rosy again. Until the next time of course…

    Also, is it really my fault we’re having a poor season because I’m not cheering and smiling as we lose to Norwich, Swansea etc. Does the management not take any of the blame in your world?

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  8. Patrick Ssekatawa

    You’re missing the point @Gooner Steve! Arsenal did not start looking good for competing for the title only yesterday, after the win against WBA, no. Since the start of the season, we appeared to have the squad to go all the way and that has not changed. We certainly have the quality, what we still lack is the consistency, which I think will come with two, three good results, I’m sure.

    On your second issue, I still insist, if you really support Arsenal, you must, I repeat, you must support it through thick and thin. If you think you should jeer and boo your team because they’re not winning games, then you have no difference from a man who CLAIMS to love their wife so much when all is well, but then turns away from her when she gets an accident and gets her leg amputated!!!!! I’m not like that.I’ve supported Arsenal since I was a boy, since the days of George Graham, and nothing will ever make me fail to turn up for Arsenal games and to cheer the team on, nothing!!

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    • Shanzuman

      Patrick, your last paragraph is a bit severe and a load of crap!!!! Look for goodness sake, we all love our Arsenal and always cheer them on but come on now, we are allowed to comment and be critical of the management and their tactics etc particularly when the results are not what they should be! Read my previous comments above and hey get a life it is not the end!!!

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  9. baggie bird

    Can not believe most of the rubbish written on this site especially the comments written by Patrick. Without the intervention of possibly the worst ref working in the premier league this game was finely balanced . The Baggies had a game plan that was working Arsenal were looking toothless and the natives were getting restless . However the ref wanted the please the home crowd and the rest is history. Still think the baggies will have a good season hope Arsenal improve but got a feeling your going to struggle to reach champion league place.
    COYB (Come on you Baggies)

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