The Hope-Keeper

Manuel Almunia proved to be the title savior for Arsenal when he denied the controversial penalty on the 45th minute. Arsenal were one goal up when Thomas Vermaelen was shown red for making a tackle on Guillermo Franco, thought it was a Yellow Card offense and a penalty but the referee had an opinion of his own.

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Arsenal had an upper hand on the game until Thomas Vermaelen had been sent off for making a challenge inside his penalty box. Their title hope could weaken then and there but the Heroic Save by Manel Almunia preserved the clean sheet and helped Arsenal to cling to the top.

Denilson gave an early lead to the gunners when he scored a stunning goal on the 6th minute, Arsenal were looking good and were eyeing their sights on the precious three points until they went 1-Man-Down. Though it was a harsh decision to send the player off when he had not made a harsh challenge but the referee showed him red card and the player left the pitch in mixed emotions.

West Ham could have easily equalized but Manuel Almunia who has always been criticized and pointed out as the weaker link to the Arsenal team, stood up and saved Alessandro Diamanti’s penalty on the 45th minute. He had only been able to do this by believing in himself.

In the second half Arsenal showed the consistency and the character they got in them and didn’t allow the East Londoners to threaten much, but Cole almost got a crucial goal when his effort was denied by the pole. Arsenal were able to make an impact on the game as Cesc Fabregas sealed the victory by converting the Hand-Ball penalty into a goal, putting the essential three points in the bag.

It is often said that a good GoalKeeper can bring a team up to 12 points ahead and Almunia earned it all on the brink as Arsenal progressed to the top of the league.


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