St Andrew’s curse halts Gunners
The days of St Andrew’s being a happy hunting ground for the Gunners are well and truly over.
Arsenal won 4-0 in the Midlands back in 2002/03 and grabbed a 3-0 win the following season, but since then Arsene Wenger’s men have tasted victory just once and Saturday’s draw, like the one two years ago, has put the skids on the Gunners’ title charge.
Sami Nasri’s 81st-minute strike looked like being enough for Arsenal. It was strike good enough to win any game and if he pulls a few more of those out the bag between now and the end of the season, then he should find himself in South Africa with France, who are currently eighth favourites in the World Cup 2010 online betting.
However, on Saturday sub Kevin Phillips popped up to equalise at the death, leaving the Gunners four points behind leaders Manchester United.
It was a shattering blow and just as damaging as the one struck by James McFadden two years ago when he rescued a late point for Birmingham against the Gunners in a 2-2 draw.
That game was marred by the horrific injury to Eduardo and although there were no leg breaks this time, Cesc Fabregas did pick up a knock which almost forced him off. Arsene Wenger was keen to keep him on even with Wednesday’s tussle with Barcelona looming. The midfielder is facing a few days of intensive treatment on the heavy blow he took from Craig Gardner.
Wenger, who ahead of the game said he had not forgiven Martin Taylor for his lunge on Eduardo two years ago, described the tackle as “another bad one” but he is hopeful Fabregas will line up against Barca.
Still it was another disappointing end to a trip to Birmingham, which at one state looked like being a victorious one despite The Gunners not being at their free-flowing best. Arsenal’s Premier League betting odds suggest they are still in with a chance of the title, but Wenger will know his side cannot afford to slip up again.
St Andrew’s was thought to have had a 100-year curse placed on it when it was built something, which prompted former boss Barry Fry to urinate in all four corners of the ground in the 1990s to try and lift the hex.
The so-called curse was lifted in 2006, but try telling that to Wenger who might well have been advised to take a toilet stop on the pitch before leaving on the team bus in preparation for next season’s visit.