The lineup changed a little, initially, my excitement was geared around Wenger rotating. He moved Aaron into the hole, brought Theo in through the middle and added Chambo out wide.
That excitement was tempered by a slight Ozil injury, that knowing Arsenal will be the worst injury that is possible to happen to a human without dying.
‘His knee is a little bit not there. We will see after the international break’
Anyway, it was quite noticeable without Ozil in that hole. The passing was off key and our play disjointed. It was weird to watch us dominate in such a clunky way. Theo had a couple of sitters, one from a volleyed one two with Bellerin that he couldn’t dink over the keeper. The second was a spilled long range effort he spooned over with his right from about a yard.
Newcastle and their ‘rough em’ up’ tactics were shot down straight away. Aitkens was pretty hot on bad behaviour. He let Thauvin off a reckless clash with Bellerin which was a nailed on penalty. He made amends when he rightfully sent off the slightly retarded Mitrovic for dragging his boot down the shin of Coquelin in a very dim challenge I’m sure he felt would earn him dickhead applause from the Geordie faithful.
That, incidentally, made life harder for us. As it always does. Newcastle, fans behind them for once (it’s early doors, give it three games), banked two rows of men in front of the boys.
Theo Walcott can’t play against a deep backline. We tried to thread our way through but didn’t have much to show for it at half time.
Wenger brought on Giroud in the second half. But it was Chamberlain who sparked the opener when he smashed a ball in off Coloccini. You can’t say it wasn’t deserved, but we did half make hard work of it.
I was hoping that Giroud might have a bit of menace about him trying to prove the boss wrong for dropping him. He missed two sitters as well. Not a good day for the strikers, but three points when those who will be around us at the end of the year fluffed their lines!
Ozil: We miss him when he’s not there. Ramsey plays his role like the Ljungberg of number 10s. His runs were hard to track and he was a nuisance all day. It took a while for him to settle, but it couldn’t be clearer that his future is not out on the right. We missed the deftness and vision of the German, he really is going to be key to our future this season. Let’s hope he’s ok when he comes back.
Strikers: I can’t stress enough how sorry it is that we’re going into another season without a decent striker. I don’t want to bitch, but let’s not pretend this is a new issue. We’ve not replaced Robin. Plenty have moved since then. How stupid does that £40m and £1 bid for Suarez look now? How stupid were we for not going back in for him at £50m? We could have had the Hig, but we baulked on £30m. There are plenty of names that have moved.
What’s frightening for me is that we didn’t have a back up. I can’t believe that the only route to market this summer was the fingers crossed hope that Benzema might move? He started for Madrid last night, incidentally. Where was the plan b? Where was the plan C? Why have we held out until the end of the summer in this?
Theo for me is being given that striking role because, you know, he’s moaned about wanting it for ten years. He’s not dynamic enough there. He’s 26 years old. Is it really just going to drop for him? Same with Giroud, at 29, why are we thinking it might come good for him? If you’re not world class by that age, you never will be.
Defensive Midfielder: Can’t keep saying it, but I will. If we lose Coquelin out the side, we’re in big trouble. He allows us to press, he covers huge amounts of ground at pace and he’s getting better and better. We need competition. Maybe a more cultured ball player, but we need someone who can help out when the legs tire. Again, this is an issue we’ve not addressed maturely since Alex Song left. Coquelin was a happy accident. Why Wenger doesn’t see his importance and the need for two of him is a mystery.
Players: I always bang on about the psychology of signing players. It’s something people forget. The players know they are short. They’ll talk about it and it won’t be positive. They all wanted a striker, we’ve not moved for one. They all know Arteta isn’t capable and that Flamini isn’t good enough. You can’t be putting those doubts in players heads, because it affects belief. I just don’t understand why Wenger doesn’t get this. I don’t get why no one tells him? It’s crazy.
Clunky: I think we’ve had a bad opening to the season, but not as bad as the Chelsea one. We need to come back, find our flow and start chalking off points under the radar. No dramas in September. We need to land into October at least in the chasing pack. This season needs to be different.
Onwards and upwards. Have a blinder!
P.S. If you’re American, and there’s anything seriously cool happening in your country (music, art, culture, food, some cool nature shit) in the next three months that I need to know about, let me know.
P.P.S If you’re into music and you love Everything Everything, good news is they’re gooners, so we might do something with them. THAT IS COOL.