That Was Sunderland Next Up The Potters

Three points but not a really commanding performance on Saturday. Our defensive and goalkeeping frailities were revealed yet again. Fortunately it didn’t cost us, principally due to the Mackems’ poor finishing, particularly from Kenwynne Jones who missed an easy chance when left clean through in the first half.
Manuel Almunia, preferred over Lukasz Fabiański and Vito Mannone, went on one of his inexplicable walkabouts during the game. Again, Sunderland were unable to exploit it.
Clear Arsenal man of the match for me was Alex Song who really is developing very well as a holding midfield player. If he keeps on progressing as he has he could be our Claude Makélélé. The only holding midfield player better than Song in the Premier League at the moment is Javier Mascherano at Liverpool. El Jefecito (the little chief) is the best holding midfield player in the world at the moment for my money. Oh how I wished we’d signed him from River Plate in 2005 before he de-camped to Corinthians of São Paulo and hence to a bizarre interlude at the Boleyn Ground where he couldn’t get in the ‘Appy ‘Ammers first team before going to Anfield. Not good enough for West Ham United yet good enough to help take Liverpool all the way to the Champions League Final in Athens. Stranger than fiction.
As we enter the closing stretch of the season Song is currently my Arsenal player of the season. He’s consistent and has substantially improved the accuracy and range of his passing. Cesc Fàbregas has been spectacular at times but Song has been the glue that keeps the team together.
Next on the horizon is a visit to the Potteries to play Stoke City, authors of our exit from this season’s FA Cup. Results at Goodison Park and Eastlands went for us over the weekend. Unfortunately neither Wigan Athletic nor Wolves could do the job for us against the Spuds or Chavski. Spurs are now nine points behind us in fourth, Citeh a point behind them in fifth but with a game in hand. Unless we self-destruct we’re currently on course for a minimum third place finish. We need to keep up the pressure with three points against Stoke next Saturday. The Britannia Stadium is not a place we like to go with their long-throw Blitzkrieg. We can but hope that this is being addressed during the week at Shenley. We need to go into the game with our tin hats on fully prepared to go to war if necessary. If we don’t prepare for the long throws and display the same lack of organisation and concentration we’ve seen in Oporto and the Grove in the last two games it’ll cost us.
Still, let’s look on the bright side. We got a result on Saturday. Let’s try and construct a run in the two competitions we’re still in. We’re almost certainly not good enough or organised enough to win either but let’s give it our best shot, both on the park and in the stands.
Keep the faith!

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