Arsenal a tale of three substitutes

What an excellent day of football we all had yesterday, starting with the controversial Manchester United, Liverpool match at Old Trafford , and a result that went our way with Liverpool losing 2-1.

I am not so sure about all the Suarez, Evra hype though as it is obvious that there is bad blood between the two of them, but to the credit of Evra he was willing to shake Suarez’s hand before the match, but Suarez refused.
This is what Sir Alex had to say about the incident. “Suarez is a disgrace to Liverpool Football Club, He should not be allowed to play for Liverpool again. He could have caused a riot.”
Then there was Patrice Evra’s over the top celebrations at the end of the match that did not help the situation either.
Now moving on to our match at the Stadium of light in Sunderland, where we were facing an in form Martin O’Neil side that were unbeaten under their new manager at home.
With us coming off a very impressive win over Blackburn a week earlier I fancied our chances to come away with at least a point, and maybe even snatch a win.
The first half was very disappointing with Sunderland effectively closing us down in the middle of the field, and Phillip Bardsley doing an excellent job of containing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Quite rightly so, we can also complain about the pitch which was in a shocking state of repair that hindered the short passing game that we like to play.
With all of Mertsackers passes looked as though he was taking a shot on goal.
The second half now under way we started to play better, and I noticed that the Sunderland players were begging to look tired, possibly due to their mid-week extra-time encounter with fellow North East rivals Middlesbrough.
With us now starting to take control of the game the unthinkable happened when Mertsacker went to ground as if a sniper in the stands had just shot him in the ankle.
This then allowed Sunderland’s Irish midfielder James Mc Clean to get round him, and slot the ball past Szczesny.
So here we were one nil down in the 71st minute of the game, with yet another defender being stretchered off the pitch.
In comes Aaron Ramsey for Mertsacker and with Sunderland now committed to defending their one goal lead things were not looking good.
We didn’t have to wait long though, as three minutes later a strike from Ramsey hit the post, bounced off the other crossing the line to put us on level pegging.
Now feeling more relaxed I knew that the Black Cats would be forced to come out, and try to score which would allow the game to open up again.
Unlike the Oxlade-Chamberlin substitution a couple of weeks ago Arsene Wenger got it right this time bringing on Henry, and Arshavin for Oxlade –Chamberlin, and Walcott.
For all the criticism he gets Arshavin put in the most beautiful of crosses that allowed for the King Thierry Henry to volley the ball past Sunderland’s goalkeeper Mignolet ensuring us the three points that we so badly needed.
In fact apart from the injury to Mertsacker the Gods must have been smiling on us yesterday as every result was in our favour, and with Chelsea losing to Everton we are now sitting above them on goal difference in that all important fourth place.
I am not too worried about Chelsea now, as I feel they have some serious problems at the Bridge, and with owner Roman Abramovich visiting the training grounds twice this week it will be interesting to see if he will continue sticking by Andres Villas-Boas, and allow him to build a new team or if he will be looking for a new manager.
Speaking of new Managers I can almost guarantee that if offered the job Harry Rednapp will take over as England manager, with team USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann replacing him at his old club Tottenham.
I don’t know if Henry will be playing for us not against AC Milan, but if not he has been well worth his short loan spell scoring in his first game, and possibly his last.
I think the last two games have given us renewed confidence and are looking forward to the match in Italy.
More so than AC Milan, who have been knocked out of the Champions League the last three campaigns by English clubs, so lets hope we can make it four.
It has been a great weekend for the Gunners, and their fans. We are in fourth spot now, and can only look up!