Arsene Wenger elected to rest one player yesterday. He’s taking this season seriously and he’s clearly very concerned about changing things to violently. Cazorla, the out of form Spaniard, felt his way back into the side at the cost of Rosicky. Theo retained his place in the forward line and the rest of the team remained the same.
The first half was pretty dominant without dominating the shots on targets stats. That was flowery way of putting it, but, as has happened a few times this season, we controlled the game without peppering the goal. Normally, not a concern, but off the back of some pretty upsetting results, you did feel a slight twinge of panic.
Theo had the best chance of the half, a ball over the back four of West Ham from Rambo fell perfectly into the path of the wide man, sadly his side foot cut wide of the post. He said after the game that he was disappointed.
Giroud… well, what can you say here. He was utterly woeful. He looked sluggish, he was out of sync and he really should have had a least two goals. I’d like to pin this on ability, but clearly, the man is a completely broken. People have highlighted the 9 day break as being sufficient rest time… come on… don’t be ridiculous. 9 days, then a hard game at Chelsea is not enough of a recharge for players who’ve been played in every minuted on offer.
The second half was more fun. Chezzer failed to hold a rasping strike from Nolan, he parried in in front of him, quickest to it was the slowest man in the retirement home… Carlton Cole. What a laugh. He looked as shocked as the Arsenal players that he’d scored.
Things had to get worse before they improved, West Ham missed a glut of chances. Carlton Cole missed a gift wrapped beauty of a cross… some other guy glanced a header wide. It looked worrying. Coming back from two down would have been tough.
Theo came to rescue though… he found himself in the area, he fired off a shot barely powerful enough to make the netting… but somehow, it slipped over the line. Theo’s crap shots that slip in are the new Frank Lampard deflection. It’s like he’s in a competition with himself to see how crap a goal he can score. Bravo. I was pleased.
His second goal was another LOL moment. Lukas fired him a wicked cross, it took a slight deflection off the man on the front post… but Theo rose like a very small salmon and powered his header home like Alan Shearer in his prime.
Someone give that man a round of applause and a firm high five!
The final goal of the game came from Lukas. Giroud did something with his 90minutes. He controlled the ball with his back to goal, laid it off to the German who guided the ball home with a typically ferocious shot.
Hooray! We could relax. We’d taken 3 vital points in a tough London Derby game.
Aaron Ramsey went off with a thigh strain. He’s out over our busy period. This is disappointing and predictable. As I’ve said all season, tired players pick up injuries. Soft tissue strains are usually down to fatigue, especially in young super fit people… they’re also preventable. Some people online were saying that this premise was false and I don’t have the data to back it… guys and gals, look at how many games he’s played this year. Look at how his performances have dipped over the last few weeks. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what went wrong… and the medical team will no doubt be looking at the data and working out what they can do moving forward to prevent this happening again.
Someone did make an excellent point… really, Jack should have been playing yesterday over Rambo.
That’s a warning sign to Arsene. Start rotating players. Bring Nik B into the fold. Leave Ozil on the bench. Give Per Mertesacker a day off as soon as you can. A couple of games off will benefit out season immensely. Trouble is, now we have an in for Newcastle… so it’s even less likely he’ll rotate. If you don’t have the trust to rest players against the Hammers… when will you?
Giroud was terrible yesterday. He’s drained and he’s out of sorts. A bad combo. We need a body and we need one quickly.
Lukas looks like he’s going to contribute! An assist and a goal. He’s fresh, he’s hungry and he’ll be fighting his way back into consideration for both Arsenal and his natiaonal team. Great to have him back.
Santi Cazorla was excellent. He’s had a bit of a rough patch since returning from injury, but he found his form yesterday. His passing improved, he looked happy and there was an edge about his game.
My final shout out goes to Gibbs. If he’s not on that world cup plane, i’ll be surprised. He was excellent yesterday. He’s matured really well as a player and he’s delivering so much consistency this year.
WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE!
Happy Christmas people!