Well good morning everyone… and welcome to Monday 30th September. The last day of the month. Then we hit October. What do we have on the menu this month? Well, it mostly looks like this.
- Napoli (H)
- West Brom (A)
- INTERNATIONAL BOREDOM BREAK
- Norwich (H)
- Dortmund (H)
- Palace (A)
Well, well, well… how are we feeling about that? One would argue that in the Premiership, we should be expecting to max out on points. We’ve already beaten WBA this season, though we’ll have to be on our best behaviour that day because they were excellent against United. They play a very slick style of football and they have a number of player who can damage you. Berahino, Sessegnon… Anelka. Steve Clarke has them purring over there. I still think in our form we should be taking them apart.
Norwich are always a handful, however, at home, I’d expect the three points. They have another good youngish manager who will make sure he prepares his team to take advantage of any weaknesses we might be carrying by then. I’m not sure we have an abundance at the moment, but in the past, putting Per Mertesacker on the ball was their way around us. Palace, really, should be a simple three points. I know their manager is super passionate, but he’s hardly a genius. Shackling Chamakh… I’m sure Koscielny and Per are bricking one about that.
What I’m excited about this month is our warm up games to the big boys in November happen in the Champions League. Napoli at home are a huge test for us. They play beautiful football, have a team packed out with superstars and they’ll be a tremendous test of our discipline and potency up front. Hamsik, Higuain and Insigne are all exciting players to watch. All over the park they have talent. Wenger is back tracking a little on his ‘Higuain wasn’t a special target’ by saying we missed out because Napoli were in the right place at the right time. Rafa will be pinning his comments to the notice board in the changing room… have no doubt about that.
Anyway, it’s a big game and clearly a must win if we don’t want to be chasing a group past Christmas.
Then, after that, Dortmund, last seasons Champions League finalists will prove a hugely tantalising match up. They’re smashing up the Bundesliga this season, banging in a whopping 21 goals in seven games having conceded only 5. Klopp is one of the finest young managers in the world. Exactly the sort of character you’d like to see succeed Wenger. Charismatic, forward thinking, technical and into beautiful football on a budget.
So it’s a big month. Taking the points we should rightfully be taking. Beating big teams in big games ready for the November darkness.
So what else have we got going on?
Well, with Arteta coming back to full fitness, Wenger has a dilemma on his hands. How does he use the Spaniard now we have the resurgent Flamini playing out of his skin? This scene is reminiscent of how the Frenchman broke into the first team back in 2007. On the way out of the club, he was thrown in at the deep-end after Gilberto went to the Copa America. He took his chance and relegated Diarra to a new club and the player of the season the year before to the bench.
Does Arteta come in as cover for Flamini? That probably makes the most sense right now. He’s still a very good reader of the game, he just lacks the mobility Flamini does. Could he move further forward into the central position he used to hold for Everton? Again, mobility may have put paid to that idea. He certainly couldn’t play the Ozil role as we have about 20 players who can own that position.
It’ll be an interesting year for him. A valuable player, but one that needs to redefine his role for the club.
There was a bit of debate yesterday about an innocuous comment I made about Giroud and the second goal against Swansea. In my opinion, football the Arsenal way, is about working the ball into the best position to score a goal. If you are in that position, you shoot. Giroud was played into the box at the weekend and instead of shooting, he elected to cut it back to Aaron Ramsey who had a sea of players to navigate to score. He scored, brilliant. My point is, decision making like that in a big game, when you might only get one chance is a bit weak. Because you’re not always going to have an in form Ramsey who can finish like that. I don’t have it in for Giroud. I love him. I think he works tirelessly, he has a beautiful touch at times and his intelligent runs pull defences all over the place. My worry with him is his lack of instinct in front of goal. It’s fine against Swansea, it’s the big, big games that I worry about.
… saying ‘Ramsey shouted for it’ isn’t a mitigating circumstance. Players always scream for the ball. Ian Wright would scream for the ball if he was stuck in a bear trap. Saying it was unselfish doesn’t matter either… selfishness could be construed as pushing accountability onto someone else.
Anyway, those be my two pennies.
Wenger has been talking about the positive start to the season.
‘It is terrible to lose the first game, but it was the first one we had lost since March. I was proven right by our positive response. We have improved, we have good stability so let’s enjoy the win against Swansea together, that’s all we can do.’
We have had a terrific response, but Jack Wilshere was keen to point out that the first game really wasn’t good enough.
‘In the Villa game we knew we didn’t acquit ourselves well. We knew it wasn’t good enough. The fans gave us some stick which we deserved. We woke up after that.’
… and that the fan response was deserved.
Right, have a great day, I’ll see you in the comments!