So my first armchair season ticket game got off to a flyer. TV here is bananas. I started watching at 10am and as the goals go in, you get to see them in real time. It’s totally great. It’s like Geoff Stelling and the gang, but none of the faux excitement… just a pure stream of goals as they happen. What a day.
Anyway, one of the questions posed by Wenger pregame was around urgency. Could the team show that they could get up for the event and deliver a blistering performance?
Well, the answer was no. We didn’t come with much urgency. We were flat and mostly uninspired for the first 45minutes. We looked uninterested whilst being totally in control. It really felt like there was a danger we’d not bring home the points. Outside a few decent runs from Theo and an absolute sitter that was volleyed over from 4 yards, we were quite bland.
Now, the big question I had after the first half was… is this down to the fatigue of the international break? Or is it just the style of the team. Sometimes we’re at the races. Sometimes we’re not. We’re a mood team. We don’t quite have the ability to bring a consistent attitude to the game.
The second half started better, then tailed off… and then the break through came, Ozil played to Santi, the Spaniard dummied a shot that aimed a pass into Ozil, the keeper crashed into the ball and the player, the spillage rifled in from a Sanchez close range finish.
At this point, Theo was brought off after a largely ineffective game. It didn’t take long for him to score. Ozil cutting a superb ball back to Giroud who slotted home with his right. A great goal with some very Arsenal build up play.
The 3rd and final came from the up and coming Bellerin. His mazy run and cross found Rambo who duffed the ball in off all the Watford players. He made amends for his earlier first half miss and celebrated with a ball unders his shirt and thumb suck. I’m assuming this is some sort of debauched fetish he’s into.
We eased the game out and took 3 points and our position at 2nd in the table.
One of the my new sofa season ticket pals I was watching the game with asked if there was a cliche for how the end of a story changes how you report the reality of what you’ve just seen. I don’t know what that reads like. But look, the first 60minutes, if you’re critical, were really poor. Perhaps made worse because Wenger had asked for urgency and he didn’t get it. If we’d drawn that, we’d all be honing in on that negative start.
As it happens, we won the game. We won it comfortably. We came alive for a 10minute spell and that’s all we needed. Some of the football when we did come to party was beyond excellent. We were clinical, flamboyant and extremely technical.
So whilst you can’t ignore the bad start, it’s difficult to do anything but salute the team. They delivered a big result when you consider the battering City gave out and how well results went for everyone else in the league.
I’m sure I’m not alone here, but the Chile manager said Sanchez was injured and played him twice. He’s come back and the manager has just dropped him in for another 90. Firstly, is the injury real? Apparently not, according to Wenger post game.
Secondly, even if it isn’t, I do worry that we take for granted his resilience. He should have been dropped off before Theo because he’s way more important than Theo. It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t like it. He’s the precious one and he is totally integral to any title aspirations we have this season. Wenger likes to watch him play and as far as he was concerned, the player was sharp and ready. So he played him. I just hope this doesn’t end badly.
I love this guy. He doesn’t feel like a liability in defence, which isn’t the deal when you’re an up and coming full back. He’s also a delight going forward. He’s an absolute dream to watch and I feel he’s really settling into the full back role… and he needs to be with Jenks banging in another goal (and giving away a dim peno) for West Ham.
Giroud vs Walcott
Harsh here, but even against Watford, you can see that we’re really missing a smattering of incredible up front. Theo was pretty quiet. Olivier game on, with his ‘writers struggle’ beard and scored a goal. But he doesn’t look happy, which, I’m glad about. He’s struggling being second choice. Against Bayern, how is Wenger going to play it? Guardiola has tall centre backs that will eat up Theo. But the answer to that isn’t taking away your pace. I still really think Sanchez through the middle is a natural move at some point… he’s aggressive, good in the air and he has that magic we lack.
Major thing with Bayern is how we approach it. Do we accept we’re out? Or do we go for the double against them?
‘There is no reason to change the team. I might rest Ozil or Sanchez. We are in a bad place. But we want to stay in the race.’
I know what’s going to happen. We’re going for the double. It’ll be like a Cup final. At least if we win, we’ll have the second tie at home.
Have a great day!