A very welcome three points in the Premier League indeed. The results before today’s matches puts us back into fifth and even though we originally were aiming for far loftier heights, with all things considered, we’ll take it.
For me, I saw glimpses against Dortmund that perhaps this team has now put on a completely new idea (nothing new really), that if you stop the other side from scoring and defend well you have a great chance of winning the game.
Yesterday, there was only one team in it in the first half, but in terms of clear cut chances in the first half we were pretty reduced to shooting from outside the area, but I didn’t think there was any worry going in at halftime as Nil-Nil as West Brom to me offered little.
Then in the second half a newly revitalised Cazorla skinned Andre Wisdom with a neat trick and pace and provided a superbly weighted cross to Danny Welbeck’s powerful head that was too much for Ben Foster. 1-0.
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Then we had a fairly big choice, would we go gun ho and aim for a second or would we sit back and let them bring on the onslaught. In reality the first 15-20 mins after the goal it was neither- what happened was that if they came forward we defended and if we had an oportunity to attack we would, but we were not in hunger or hunting for a second. A risky game perhaps but apart from a few shots from outside the box and one they had off the bar we never looked in doubt. Lucky you may say that they didn’t get one back, but I think we overall deserved the 3 points.
You could see Arsenal were well drilled and Koscielny’s partnership alongside Per made us look pretty formidable again and that’s amazing really how one player can effect the back four in such a way after the latest exploits its had reaching all time highs against Man Utd for the second last week. It just felt like the old guard had been restored and I think confidence on the pitch and in the stands will slowly come back. Another clean sheet won’t do that any harm either, and away from home against anyone in this league I will take 1-0 all day.
Wednesday night is now a far bigger game against Southampton than what you may have expected at the start of the campaign, and you can be assured that they will be well up for it. Regardless of their loss against Man City today they sit currently 6 points ahead. If they can come away from the Emirates with that 6 point lead still in tact I would say at this point they would accept that. They must realise that if they are to break into the top 4, its going to be one of the usual guys that needs to fall out, and you can be certain that they will consider us as one of those.
You may say ‘don’t be silly, of course Southampton won’t be there at the end’ and to a point I’d have to agree, but at this stage last season if a team had played 12 games and had 26 points they would be sitting four points clear at the top of the table, so don’t be fooled Koeman has them playing well and they will certainly have their eyes on the prize, I just hope we don’t take them too lightly.
My next point from the game yesterday is of that banner that our 18 year in charge manager had to face after the week where for the 15th year in a row he is in charge of the team to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League. I am all in favour of if you pay your money you have a say, but I just doubt that the timing of it was right for this week, or perhaps in the manner it was done.
Let’s say that Arsene was a sensitive man and said ”okay, thats it” and was to leave the club this week. How would that rattle the side just before a huge number of games over the festive period, as well as the transfer window just around the corner. What can make that scenario in anyway positive? It actually makes less sense every time I think about it. I think as fans we should make our point but lets ensure we are doing it for the correct reasons and the long term welfare of the club.
Arsene has this week brushed off comments from Usmanov, and said that the club has solidarity and we stick together. I thought that banner completely contradicted his statement and I would hope that perhaps it is the younger generation who are not aware of what this man has done to revolutionize the club, and its not always about trophies.
I am not saying that Arsene shouldn’t at least be thinking around when to go as it is clear we need something slightly different now, but I felt that this banner yesterday turned us into a Blackburn when they wanted Steve Kean out or Newcastle when they wanted Pardew out, or even Liverpool when they wanted out Benitez a few years back. To me it was a really sad sight and I always thought our club was a bit bigger and better than that. Everyone seemed to be happy when he lifted the FA Cup, and then followed by signing a new three year contract and to be fair backed it up with some decent signings in the summer. I am not sure that a few shit results in the league is worthy of such an outcry.
A few other points though which again seems to be a weekly thing both Monreal and Gibbs are reported by the boss as being injured. It seems like with Laurent coming back it was one step forward but now we could be without both left backs for Wednesday which then would be two steps back.
I would imagine it will be our Champions League 2006 make-shift left back Flamini who may need to cover. All I would say on that one is please let’s hope one of the other lads pulls through. Flamini, was great as that guy in 2006, but that’s 8 years ago.
Have a good week.