You know what I love? Waking up and the only drama about an Arsenal game is a banner.
… no issue with the score. A win. A marvellous three points that puts us back in contention for the top four trophy. Sweet, sweet happiness.
Wenger brought in the changes from midweek, Danny Welbeck found himself out wide with Giroud returning to the middle. Flamini pinned the midfield with Santi and Rambo in slightly more advanced positions. The defence was pretty strong considering where we’ve been over the past few weeks. Koscielny back in the fold gave me a happy feeling, it was also good to see Monreal given the nod over Kieran Gibbs at left back.
The first 2o minutes we held our shape well, lost out left back to injury (standard), but we kept things solid and looked like we were shooting for defensive solidity over anything else. We have a few notable chances, the main one coming from Danny Welbeck when he latched onto a through ball but fired his shot a little too close to Foster. There was also a penalty shout at the edge of the box when Giroud went over the feet of one of their full backs. Not sure it looked like a penalty to me.
Half time steamed in and the WBA fans seemed to boo their team and the goalless draw. Bit weird. The ungrateful bastards. Kevin Keegan is doing all he can to make things right.
The second half saw the breakthrough, a lovely burst of pace from Santi out wide saw him float a perfect ball into WELBZ who drive his header into the top corner. We were winning. What a lovely feeling.
I wouldn’t say we played the game out with any sort of calmness. WBA came to life and tested us. They were keen to get at us from wide positions, perhaps sensing the keeper would fold under the pressure of lots of crosses. Martinez was solid though, he was brave and he owned the box, which was refreshing.
The main concerns came from the injuries we started to pick up. Per Mertesackers was nursing a strained groin muscle. We couldn’t take him off because there weren’t any options. Gibbs was limping, he always is. Then The Ox looked to be in a lot of discomfort when he took a knock. He played on, so hopefully we don’t have Jack Wilshere repercussions there. Wenger said this…
“How bad they are, I don’t know.”
We held onto our lead, the closest they came was hitting the woodwork, and took the three points.
Some Arsenal fans rolled out a banner. Quite amusing. My issue with the banner is that the people who roll it out never time it very well. I don’t like the in game protest, it’s always a bit wasted. Especially if you win. You need to time something like that well otherwise it just discredits what you’re trying to do. Fans of other clubs won’t connect with that sort of behaviour either… not that the key audience is other fans, but it’s a good barometer.
But this is the thing, what else are people supposed to do to raise dissatisfaction concerns? Not everyone can blog. Not everyone can go to AGMs. So I totally get it. The problem we have at Arsenal is that we’re too nice. A couple of wins from Arsene and a top four and everyone will forget that we’ve not progressed as a team again. It’s standard Arsene. Too good to fail hard, too out of touch to bring the big trophies home.
I know I’ve got a bit of thing about our number one, you know, not being that good. I’m right on that, I’ve been right for a year on that. He’s complacent because he can be. He doesn’t dig you out of a hole, his distribution is weak and his positioning is poor. I think people are starting to see that. I was really hoping Martinez would do well yesterday. He has a great touch, his kicking is sport on and he’s very athletic… whilst boasting a huge frame. He hasn’t really had to do much so far, but what he has done is instill some confidence at the back and in the stands. I’m really liking him. Wenger should keep him in the team. I AM TEAM MARTINEZ… until he makes a mistake then I’ll slam that bastard into next week.
Everything that’s happening is a result of poor player management earlier on in the season. Sure, you can do nothing about the Chezzer and Jack injuries, but as the pundits pointed out on BT, you need to have a squad capable of coping with that. The soft tissue injuries are the worry, because they’re the ones you can pin on player management. We’re in a situation where we don’t have a very big squad, then we over play / over train those players, then when you hit December, the wheels come off… just like they did last year when we lost Aaron, Gibbs, Giroud and Theo in the space of about 3 weeks.
The only hope we have is that a lot of players are coming back around that time who are first teamers. Their injuries have protected them against later injuries. What a scenario eh? Major point here is that we need to go hard for a centre back and a defensive midfielder in January. Schneiderlin and Winston Reid would be perfect. Both are player we know the manager has an interest in. Both are getable (word?). We land those two, it could be an interesting push for the rest of the season. We’d also be able to register them for the Champions League… I think. Might have that wrong.
Onwards and upwards my pretties… have a fun weekend!