Message sent! The Spuds said: “Ten-four!”
I can’t recall a better afternoon than this one: we thrashed the Spuds with Adebawhore seeing red, Santi Cazorla scoring his first goal at the Emirates, Per Mertesacker claiming his first goal ever for Arsenal, FAnchester United lost at Carrow Road, the Chavs lost against the Baggies, Everton lost against Reading while Mark Hughes is one step closer to being sacked. Life is beautiful, isn’t it?
It wasn’t a perfect display from our team but when you win 5:2 against your arch-rivals, you can have no complaints. There were a lot of positives about this match, here is a selection of the best:
1) We thrashed the Spuds. That should be a satisfaction in itself no matter the standings on the table. However, victory is even more important against a team that will fight for the Top 4 position. Considering that, three points against them with a +6 goal-difference from this match (+3 on our side, -3 on their side) is decent.
2) We managed to take the lead after being one goal behind. Granted, we did make a come-back only after Adebawhore, the man that makes Van Persie looks like a nice lad since 2009, was sent off but considering the horrible form we had before this match, winning a match with the psychological burden after being 0:1 down is a good way to start recovering.
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3) The diversity of goal-scorers. We scored five goals and had five different names on the score-sheet. That is something that has to put a smile on Arsene Wenger’s face. Players from each line contributed with at least one goal from each attacker from the starting 11 scoring a goal (Mertesacker for defense, Cazorla for midfield, Podolski, Giroud and Walcott from attack).
4) Oxlade-Chamberlain contributed during his cameo. Granted, Ox had more space than he would normally have been given that the Spuds had 10 men and they wanted to make things interesting after Bale scored the 2nd goal for them. However, the fact Ox created a goal for Walcott could be a sign of better days after his return.
5) Giroud keeps scoring goals. He scored for the third time in a row but this time we won for a change. Given what kind of start he had at Arsenal, the fact he’s scored 7 goals already doesn’t sound too bad. Sure, he still misses some chances like that header he should had scored in the first half but with his approach and understanding with Walcott he will score at least 20 this season in all competitions.
6) Jack is back. We were a bit shaky to begin with but Jack was in this match from the very start. I don’t know what will happen regarding captaincy in our team but I’m pretty sure Jack Wilshere should be a future Arsenal captain. With all due respect to every other Arsenal player, Jack is the one that is all Arsenal and is consistently top quality. It’s only matter of time when he will lead the rest of the team onto the pitch.
7) Cazorla is back. The Spaniard scored his first goal at the Emirates for Arsenal (his previous three goals were scored in away matches) and created Giroud’s goal. He was the one that Adebawhore fouled and that challenge turned things around.
8) Podolski is back. Sure, the German did score in previous fixtures as well and he did assist Giroud against Schalke in the Champions’ League, but this time his overall performance was really good. He scored, assisted and put in a lot of team-work.
9) Walcott is finally becoming a player that we expected him to be. It was another great performance from Theo Walcott. He used all that space he had on the right side of our attack and assisted Mertesacker for equalizer. His finishing let him down in a couple of occasions but he still managed to grab a goal thanks to Oxlade-Chamberlain’s assist.
10) Mertesacker scored his first goal. The tall German usually knows his priorities. Today he wasn’t the best defender we had but he made up for that with his first ever goal in an Arsenal shirt. His height should be used in attack, at least in the way he did it last week against Fulham when Giroud used space that Mertesacker opened after Walcott’s corner.
11) Chelsea, FAnchester United, Everton and Newcastle lost. Whatever position we are aiming for, today’s defeats of the aforementioned teams is good news for us. Someone would argue about the Chelsea defeat given that the Chavs lost to WBA that is currently above us on the table but I believe WBA doesn’t have enough quality to fight for fourth spot.
12) Sagna gave Adebawhore what he deserves in the tunnel.
13) We thrashed the 5pud2. Again. We scored 10 goals in two matches in 2012 against them. They scored first both times.
However, there are things that should be fixed before forthcoming matches.
1) Our defensive performance wasn’t the best again. We conceded two goals and it could had been worse if Bale wanted to see Defoe at 4:2. It is very hard to stop Bale but it is unacceptable to concede while we are playing 11 against 10. It looks like we have no balance in the defense and opponents tend to use our right side now when Santos is on the bench. Only two weeks ago we had the best defense in the league. In the last three matches we conceded 7 goals while in the previous 9 matches our opponents scored just six times.
2) We needed Adebawhore’s red card to start controlling the match. Granted, it is likely that we would overturn the deficit even if we played 11 on 11 but despite what Wenger and Villas-Boas said, Adebawhore’s deserved sent off gave us the advantage that we used.
3) We were nervous after Bale’s goal. It is something that says a lot of of our level of confidence we brought into the match. We had a 4:2 lead against 10-men Spuds and we were nervous. Sure, we did gave away two-goals-lead in two previous matches but this time we had one man more on the field.
4) Theo Walcott’s contract and rumours regarding him. I think it is absolutely horrible if Wenger plans to give Walcott and 8 million pounds for Raheem Sterling. Even vice versa would be a stupid thing to do given that Walcott is already an established player (with room for improvement, of course) while Sterling is extremely talented winger but far from Walcott’s class (at least for now). We can’t wait for him to MAYBE develop into an excellent player (not to mention we already have Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gnabry). Plus, it is logical – you don’t give 8 million pounds for just one Sterling, do you?
I hope Walcott will get a new contract ASAP because his partnership with Giroud looks exciting so far while his pace is something unique. Plus, it wouldn’t be very smart to give Liverpool such a reinforcement given that they are doing pretty well at the moment with Suarez doing for them what Verrader did for us last season. The Reds could turn out to be our main rival for the Top 4 spot and selling one of the best players to them would be an own goal.
Our next match is possibly the decisive one in the Champions’ League against Montpellier. It’s time for the first home victory over a French club in the Champions’ League.