By Randy Osae
Arsenal got back to winning and scoring ways as Bendtner’s virtuoso display heaped some belief in rallying for a top four spot.
The result marked an end to a 10-hour goal drought in the league, but it is distinctly during weekends and in north London that the Gunners have really faced scoring deficiency. Away from home and in midweek, the odds were not astray – to be honest.
Arsenal still have some bettering to do, but today was the much required thrust.
Wenger’s line-up can be ironic sometimes. With Arsenal itching to simply guide a ball into the net, Van Persie, – one of the likely candidates to untie that knot – was rather rested with Bendtner leading the front line. Song and Eboue were recalled ahead of Vela and Diaby, while Djourou was patched in for the stricken Gallas.
Arsenal have recently experimented just about any football method to find a league goal. But it was apparent the order for today was to gamble for an early goal. Thus, it is the only tonic to prevent another goalless draw.
And Bendtner worked the magic with just four minutes on the clock. Denilson released the Dane into the box and he cut some space to lash a left-footed low drive curling past Scott Carson.
Indeed, after snapping a rusty spell with that goal, Arsenal grew naive. And as a result, let slip of their mean defensive spell also. Albion pulled level with a lowly-struck free kick which drilled through Arsenal’s effortless wall and past a stretching but hapless Almunia.
Bendtner then blasted a point-blank chance to restore Arsenal’s command. Eboue had surged into the box and fizzled the ball to him, but the Dane sent it into the crowd.
Moore then turned and tested Almunia with a snapshot at the other end, as an even game grew fiery from end to end – sensing a goal was in the offing. Then Arshavin looped in a free kick with Toure loose in the box. The Ivorian jumped and headed home his first goal of the campaign.
Wenger‘s men were wiser to retain their lead this time and made sure of a gleeful return to the dressing room as Bendtner latched onto Toure’s floating pass, skimmed past Meite and fired past Albion’s stopper who had hurried off his line.
Scott Carson negated Arsenal’s second-half dominance by meeting Arshavin’s efforts twice, and then denying Diaby who had replaced Toure at the start of the half.
Eboue was taken off for Ramsey with 23 minutes to go, but the substitution of the day was that of Fran Merida who made a cameo by replacing Nasri. Bendtner struck the post late on – adding to relentless Arsenal tries to widen the margin on the score board.
But that mattered little with the points already grasped.