It’s been a good week for us. Chelsea drew and Mourinho officially dethroned Piers Morgan as the biggest hypocrite, United lost and Spurs celebrated for a point at home to West Ham which should be considered an achievement since the Hammers are defending European and Premier league Champions. Liverpool also continued their good run by beating Southampton. The Saints, I think are beginning to wobble and won’t be surprised if they are out of the reckoning by the end of March.
Onto Arsenal. Our performance wasn’t up to the scratch at Palace but we did enough to secure 3 points and that for me at this stage of this season is more than enough. Here are some thoughts on the Palace game, Welbeck, Giroud and Monaco.
We have to find a way to play against high pressing
This is not the first time this has happened this season. Teams, as Crystal Palace did on Saturday, press us high up the pitch without allowing us to build from the back. Tottenham pressed us incessantly without allowing us to settle and forced us deeper. It’s something we consistently struggle with against good pressing teams. Teams will now have found our weakness and its something the manager should recognise and hopefully find a solution to. Arteta has been a huge miss and he’s more like Gilberto in the sense that his importance can be realised only in his absence.
Welbeck is ahead of Walcott
Danny Welbeck started his second game in a row since returning from injury and it’s fair to say that he played an important role in our win. He may not have assisted or scored the goals but he made the moves that led to those goals. If his tenacity won us the penalty then it was his shot that led to Giroud’s goal. There’s no doubt he should improve his finishing but his game is more than just putting the ball in the net. His work rate, defensive contribution and his overall play makes him a better candidate for that wide forward position than the staggeringly inconsistent Theo Walcott.
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Giroud is becoming indispensable
Olivier Giroud is slowly evolving into a complete striker that a team like Arsenal demand. He will never be a Suarez or a Aguero but we don’t necessity want him to be like that. We already have that type of mobile, crafty forward in Alexis, all we need is a good centre forward that links up play and brings midfielders into the game. And Giroud does that better than most. He scored his 50th goal for Arsenal against Palace and notching up 50 in 117 is a record not to be sniffed at. It’s quite decent actually. He may not be ‘world class’ but he is indispensable and Arsenal are stronger with him in the side.
It’s fair to say that Monaco are our easiest opponents we have faced in the Round of 16 for quite sometime. That’s not to say that it will be a easy ride but I would take Monaco all day long over Bayern or Barca. However the first leg will be key, we know all about losing the plot in the first leg and fighting a losing battle going into the second. A clean sheet is absolutely crucial, the French are tight defensively and an early goal will help us but with Arsenal you never know.
Overall things are looking better, we are third in the league and it looks like a Champions league place is ours to lose. We are in the quarter finals of the FA Cup and have a great opportunity to reach the quarter finals in Europe. Who knows we may even end up with a trophy or two? We can dream.