The way I see it - Arsenal v Wolves

Last updated : 28 January 2005 By Jason Hogan

In the run up to Sunday's game I said that the defeat at Bolton carried more disturbing overtones for me than any other that I could remember and that the Arsenal needed to react in order to stand any chance of keeping their title hopes alive. Thankfully the boys did just that.

It's been a while since I've seen us come out of the blocks the way we did on Sunday. The lads tore in to Newcastle quite literally from the kick off and could have been ahead within the first 30 seconds had Flamini not miscued his shot at close range.

Still, when we did break the deadlock after 20 minutes we did it in style. There was a debate as to whether Flamini meant to prod the ball in the direction of Dennis Bergkamp but nonetheless the Dutch master, with the help of three sublime touches, despatched the ball past Shay Given with aplomb.

Speaking of Given, what a match he had. In the second half when The Arsenal threatened to really cut loose in a major way, he was a one-man army in terms of resistance. How he managed to defy efforts particularly from Henry and Pires I will never know.

The last time I saw a keeper put in a performance against us that compared with Given's was when Edwin Van der Sar, ironically enough, somehow managed to shut us out almost single-handedly to earn Fulham a 0-0 draw last season.

The interesting thing here of course is that both Van Der Sar and Given have been linked with the Arsenal in recent months. I am personally a big fan of Van Der Sar but now that the Dutchman has committed himself to Fulham I would definitely love to see us go out and get Given in the summer. No disrespect to Newcastle but I think that the boy is ready to move to a club like ours with a proven ability to win things and he would solve our goalkeeping problems at a stroke.

Looking back at the game as a whole, I was delighted with the way we played. Anyone that thinks that Newcastle are total pushovers should watch a video of when they played us up at St James's Park just after Christmas but if it wasn't for Given we would have torn them apart. Dare we say that the Arsenal are back?

Now it's time to look forward to Saturday's FA Cup tie with Wolves.

I wonder what would have been going through Glenn Hoddle's mind as he sat in the stands at Highbury last Sunday? There's little doubt that he would have had plenty of food for thought I would say.

Mind you, after a fairly indifferent start to the era under Hoddle, Wolves have definitely picked up a little of late and will go into this game with three straight wins under their belts, two of which came at the expense of last season's FA Cup finalists, Millwall.

Hoddle has already said that he will be coming to Highbury with a "game plan" so there are no prizes for guessing what he means by that. I expect them to play with one man up front and that man will probably be Kenny Miller. He has got a little bit of pace and he will be used to occupy our centre backs.

Hoddle will no doubt have noticed how Newcastle posted big Shola Ameobi down the right hand side in direct confrontation with Ashley Cole. The idea behind that was to hit diagonal balls and crosses form the left flank to the far post so that Ameobi could use his height advantage and whenever wolves get a chance to attack from the flanks I can see Carl Cort being deployed to do a similar job.

Down the left hand side I expect us to be faced by Mark Kennedy. Now here's a lad that has fond memories of playing at Highbury in cup-ties. The much-travelled Irish winger scored against for Millwall when they knocked us out of the cup back in 1995.

And then of course, they will probably have a certain Paul Ince in midfield. Now here's my claim to fame in that I actually went to school with "The Guv'nor" and every now and then I actually played football with him in the old school yard. Mind you, because I happened to be FAR more talented than he ever was it will not surprise you all to know that he kicked me a lot more than I kicked him!!

Overall, I can see this game being pretty similar to our tie with Stoke in the last round but once again it will be a tie that will give some of our very capable youngsters more valuable experience. They have already shown their ability this season. Let's hope the trend continues on Saturday.