Arsenal kept their title bid alive last night by beating Birmingham 3-0 at St Andrews. Goals from Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, and a howler from City's Roger Johnson secured all three points for the travelling Gunners. Arsene Wenger and his men didn't succumb to Birmingham and their impressive home record against the top clubs (despite City's struggles this season), and are still very much in the mix for the title.
Arsenal needed maximum points last night after their slip up against Wigan mid-week, and Wenger's men managed to deliver. I had the displeasure of watching that performance at Wigan, and it was pretty frustrating to see the team play in such a sloppy fashion. I understood Wenger resting some key players during this busy Christmas/New Year schedule, but the side he put out were obviously out of sorts and couldn't gel on the pitch at all, leading to a disappointing 2-2 draw. Thankfully the boss learnt from his mistake and started the strongest team possible against Birmingham, the same eleven that dispatched Chelsea so convincingly just a week ago.
I'm not going to go into too much detail about last night's game as you can read a match review on the wealth of other, and more detailed, Arsenal blogs around. Overall, we played well for the entire 90 minutes and created so many chances that the 3-0 scoreline was a bit flattering in the end. Fabianski only had one real save to make all game and it was fantastic to see him record a clean sheet, that elusive statistic he'd prefer to have more of. It was also great to see van Persie play a full game and get on the score-sheet as well, even if it was a deflected free kick off Lee Bowyer. Nasri took his goal well in the second half after some typically stylish Arsenal build-up play with El Capitan, Cesc Fabregas. It really was a nice strike by the in-form Frenchman, who has now increased his tally to 13 goals this season. The Gunner's 3rd goal came minutes later thanks to some more brilliant passing by Cesc and Nasri, the latter's beautiful pass setting up Fabregas who forced City keeper Ben Foster into a save. Unfortunately for the home side, the ball ricocheted off of Foster into the Birmingham defence, finally hitting Roger Johnson, before trickling over the line for an embarrassing own goal. Game over and Arsenal managed to hold on for the win and three crucial points, keeping the pressure on the opposition.
This was a massive game and one that Arsenal had to win. Our away record this season has been sublime and we need these results every week to ensure we are up there at the top, battling for first place. Now Arsenal face Manchester City on Wednesday, another important match in this topsy turvy Premier League season. The blue side of Manchester will fancy their chances when they travel to the Emirates this week and we'll have to beat them to distance ourselves in the title race. Here's hoping we get the result and put those Manchester City playboys back in their place.
Thanks for reading.