If you are about to believe the cheeky Twitter account that calls himself The Tweet of God, Arsenal fans are a needy bunch. Truth be told, I wouldn’t be able to throw the first rock at him for that one as I find myself as a very greedy when it comes to Arsenal.
Whenever we draw, I feel bad for two points lost. This time, however, I’d like to make an exception. I’m thrilled with the fact we snatched a draw from the jaws of a defeat at Goodison Park, which means we have already made an improvement like-for-like compared to last term.
Here are key pointers from the game.
1.We enter into games slowly.
Crystal Palace, Bešiktaš, Everton. Three similar games in which we had a very slow first half with very few clear-cut chances. Alexis is yet to get on the same page with his team-mates and our creative midfielders haven’t drilled too many holes in the opponents’ defences so far.
Perhaps it has something to do with our lack of an enforcer in the midfield who would enable our creative department to put more pressure on the opponents and help our back four in defensive duties. Arteta, Flamini and Wilshere haven’t shown that any of them have the required skills to be one.
2.We refuse to lay down and die.
We haven’t been defeated for eleven matches and it’s not like we couldn’t have been on the wrong end of a beating. In five of those eleven matches we had been a goal or two down before we made a come-back. That says a lot about the character of the team.
Remember, our last defeat in competitive matches was against Everton in April. We played the same opponents today, at the same venue, had the same pathetic first half and entered into the second half with a two-goal-deficit. Instead of losing to Everton again we decided to take things into our own hands and took control of the match. That is a character that wins trophies.
4.Olivier Giroud finally arrived in a big match.
Giroud was heavily criticized after Bešiktaš and I was no exception. However, the French striker turned the game around in the second half. He gave sharpness to our attack and got into good positions but his shooting boots were somewhere else.
Luckily, his, er, shooting head was on his neck and he managed to head Monreal’s perfect cross home to earn us a point. He came close to winning the game but the fact he scored against Everton in the league should be a huge boost for the Frenchman. Hopefully his ankle injury is not serious as Giroud turns out to be our super-sub – he lifted our attack against Crystal Palace too.
5.Aaron Ramsey scores when he wants even when he doesn’t play well.
Just like Matt said before it was a rather un-Ramsey-like performance from the Welshman. Still, he looked more comfortable in the second half once Wilshere was substituted. Ramsey simply knows where he should be in order to score. He will be missed against Bešiktaš but it might be a blessing in disguise as some rest ahead of Leicester won’t harm him.
6.Calum Chambers might use a little bit of rest too.
CC, “Calm” Chambers…call him whatever you want – he is a really exciting prospect. However, he didn’t look too comfortable against Everton and earned himself a booking. With the return of Koscielny, Chambers should get some rest in order to not be overplayed.
7.It’s still too early for Alexis.
The Chilean didn’t enjoy the best game of his life but once when he settles, opponents will beg for mercy and Alexis won’t give it to them!
8.The Germans need time too.
Mertesacker and Özil still have headaches due to their World-Cup-victory-hangover. It’s great to have them back though.
9.Roberto Martinez made a mistake with Lukaku.
We had controlled the game in the second half but our attack started to look really, really dangerous once Roberto Martinez decided to replace Romelu Lukaku with Aidan McGeady. That decision allowed Monreal to be more involved in our attack and both of our goals came through our left flank with the two Spaniards – Cazorla and Monreal respectively punishing the third (Martinez) with perfect assists.
So, it was another nail-biting finish for us Gooners but it should get only better. Firstly, let’s go and beat Bešiktaš to secure a Champions’ League place!