Thursday, December 31, 2009

3 Successive Wins in the Last Days of 2009

No. 1: Conquering the Hull

London (12/19) - First it was at home against Hull City. Denilson, Eduardo, and Abou Diaby each contributed a goal to secure three points. It was a very essential victory to maintain Arsenal's chance of winning the Premier League, after being held by promoted club Burnley only in the previous match.

When Andrei Arshavin was fouled, the Gunners were awarded a free-kick. However, Samir Nasri was involved in an emotional as well as physical battle with the Hull players. Even Manuel Almunia had to help his teammates cool down. Nasri took the free-kick, but he failed to score.

Denilson brought the matter into his own hands when only a few moments later Arsenal was given another free-kick. He thrashed the net and gave Arsenal a 1-0 lead before half-time.

In the 56th minute, Mikael Silvestre's tug on Fagan's shirt granted a penalty kick for Hull but Almunia managed to save it. And three minutes later, it was again Arsenal who doubled the lead, Eduardo finishing Diaby's crossing with an accurate tap.

In the 80th minute, Arshavin, who had been kept quiet by the Hull players, gave his assist to Diaby, who then made it 3-0 for Arsenal.

Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey, who came for Eduardo and Nasri respectively, had chances in the last minutes but Arsenal secured the win 3-0.

No. 2: A Tale of Cesc's Carol

London (12/27) - To triumph over Aston Villa, who aimed to enter the Big Four, the Gunners even practiced in Christmas morning, being allowed to celebrate the holiday with their families in the evening. However, their sacrifice was not in vain.

Two days after Christmas, Cesc Fabregas gave his best to his team, even if it meant setting him back to another three-week absence due to an injury rearousal. He scored two goals in his just 27-minute appearance, bringing Arsenal to a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa.

Though definitely the better team, Arsenal was stagnant throughout the first half. The players had a number of chances but they could not produce even a single goal.

Then, seeing that his team desperately need a new spirit, Arsene Wenger risked the health of the still-recovering captain by pulling out Denilson in the 56th minute.

Wenger's strategy proved right. Only 9 minutes later, Fabregas ended the goalless state when his free-kick netted his eighth goal in the Premier League this season, making him Arsenal's top scorer, over Robin van Persie's 7 goals.

In the 81th minute, Armand Traore passed the ball to Theo Walcott, who in turn slid into the path of Fabregas. The Spaniard then charged past Brad Friedel to be Arsenal's top scorer with 12 goals in all competition, as well as Arsenal's top assist.

But in the middle of the crowd's joy, there was concern. Fabregas was hobbling as he celebrated, and he was almost immediately replaced by Aaron Ramsey, with the crowd giving him a deserved applause.

In the 81st minute, Abou Diaby came through the middle and added a third goal.

No. 3: In the Bottommost Land of Premier League

Portsmouth (12/30) - On Wednesday evening, the Gunners visited Fratton Park without Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, and Nicklas Bendtner.

Arsenal seemed to have no difficulty in earning the third consecutive win with a three-goal margin over the team at the bottom of the Premier League standings. But this time, the score was 4-1.

Eduardo struck the opening goal in the 27th minute. And Samir Nasri added a second in the 41st minute.

Three goals were created from the 68th minute to the 81th minute. Aaron Ramsey gave his team a 3-0 lead, but then Nadir Belhadj of Portsmouth gave a consolation finish 5 minutes later.

Alex Song, who will be out to defend Cameroon in African Cup, added a fourth in the 81st minute.

Now Arsenal is still four points behind leader Chelsea and two points behind Manchester United, but with a game on hand.

The Gunners can comfort themselves as the top scorer team in the Premier League with 51 goals and 30 goal differences, though.

all pictures from

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