Good morning Grovers! What a weekend eh? The weather was stunning, the football was vintage and our goal difference ended up 2 better than anyone else despite us having played one less game than most.
My key thoughts from the Pompey game were based around Diaby, Eduardo and the 4-3-3.
I was looking for a strong performance from Diaby because this is pretty much his make or break season… if he can shift the injuries, he has to make a stake for the first team. I’ve read a lot of negative talk about his this summer… some say he’s clueless, others say he isn’t intelligent enough…etc… for me, he has always been one of the most talented players in our team… his problem looked to be not to dissimilar to Eboue’s… his lack of application could have sent that talent to waste.
However, he’s worked on his strength over the summer and he’s arrived back in a formation that suits him. His finishing was top draw at the weekend… he covered plenty of ground and he made some very good tackles. His skill levels are still outrageous… which lead to the PV04 comparisons. If Diaby can make a flump (Flamini jump) this year… we could be in for a treat.
Eduardo was again, utterly superb. His intelligence on the ball and off the ball are unrivalled up front. He has bags of skill and hidden pace that I’ve been telling everyone about all summer! His positional awareness is fantastic… and for that reason, I am fine with us not having purchased a striker this summer.
Finally… the much maligned 4-3-3. I think Wenger may have pulled a master stroke here. Firstly, because it’s working. Say what you want about the teams we’re playing… but we’ve bagged 12 goals in 3 games… if ManU had done so, we’d all be scared. Our movement is almost impossible to track if you’re the opposition, we’re using the wings to greater effect and we’re defending as a team. I saw Eduardo slot in as left back, I saw Denilson in at centre back and I’m pretty sure I saw Nik B as a right back. Somthing else that impressed… we pretty much destroyed our squad from the last game, and though we were a touch shaky at the back… we still dominated… that’s good depth there! So far, I can’t knock its introduction…
In changing the formation, Wenger has improved the squad depth. 3 strikers can be a mixture of strikers and half strikers (Diaby, Nasri, Arshavin). Three midfielders can be a mixture of defensive midfielders and attacking midfielders… there seem to be so many more options. As someone pointed out to me at the weekend… when you put 3 in midfield… everyone knows there role because it’s a lot more defined… a five man midfield can lead to a ‘it’s ok, someone else will deal with that’ type attitude.
Arshavin says we need to sign some players and it’s hard to disagree with him. I think it’s easy for everyone to get carried away with our game when the sun is shining and the Rosick list is bare… but when it’s November and the games are piling up, I’m still not sure whether our squad could deal with a Gallas hamstring injury… or a Cesc 4 weeker.
In other news… operation road beer went down a dream. Peachesgooner, Franchise and Raif enjoyed a cold Peroni all the way down Gillespie road without and bother. Viva la Road beer!
Le Exchange has been getting pretty busy recently… so I thought I’d see if I could make things easier by starting a facebook group dedicated to the exchange of tickets. Remember, this is not a touting scheme… but if you can’t shift a spare, log onto the group and post the info there… then you guys can sort it out between yourselves. If you don’t have FB… I will still happily advertise your tickets on the site. I still have some going for the Celtic game by the way, so e-mail in if you’re interested.
Lastly… continuing on from Geoff’s point about the scarves… I have to agree with him. The scarves were indeed of improved quality, but I can’t help but see the PR stunt as a touch pointless.
1) You gave us a scarf a few weeks ago in our welcome pack, why would we need another one?
2) It was 25 degrees… hardly weather conducive to wearing a scarf.
3) Scarves on seats completely covers up the fact that despite all the complaints about the atmosphere last season, the board did nothing to address it in the summer. Ok, the ‘Arsenalisation’ of the stadium is pretty… you’ve covered the concrete with nice bits of white sheet metal… but you’ve yet again missed a great opportunity get some noise going in ground… Saturdays atmosphere was flatter than usual, I hope that’s not a sign of things to come.
Have a great day Grovers, two days till our next run out, 5 days till we play the champions and 7 days till T-day… it’s going to be a very interesting week!
P.S. Nice to see there was no shame in our kids losing to Burnley… they’re taking scalps for fun at the moment… well played Mr Coyle!