Pretty sharpish post today because I’m about to go trick or treating.
So the trick was turning in a great result after a terrible one in midweek, the treat was we did exactly that.
The Swansea encounter was pretty major. Chelsea had lost in quite spectacular fashion before us. So there was an opportunity to push 14 points clear of them after 12 games. A quite unbelievable gap.
It was also one of those games that we’ve grown accustomed to losing. Gary Monk and his boys stole the whole 6 points last season. So it was a chance to show we’ve grown as a team and it was a chance to rack up points with a squad that people had questions around.
So, things we learned.
1. Petr Cech is very much key to us winning the league
He came in with some blinding saves once again. He’s making it all look so damn easy. I thought the way he stood his ground for the Gomis chance early on was so baked in experience. He just does everything so well with so much thought. He was a star again.
2. Bellerin is monster
He put in another towering performance. The amount of ground he covered to block Gomis in the first half was unbelievable, the pace that he did that at was incredible. He never gives up. There was a similar moment in the second half where he raced across goal to deny a chance (that was offside). His resolve is unquestionable and I honestly don’t think there’s a right back I’d prefer right now. However, it does have to be said, Montero was getting a bit too much freedom in the first half.
3. Ozil peppers class
He’s probably the most important player in our team. He wasn’t really there in the first half, but even when he’s not at his best, he drops in with decisive moments that change a game. He’ll never be a bombastic player, but I think if you bake the right players around him, others can take care of that for him. He was crucial to the win today and he’s so important to our title challenge.
4. Lots of goals
Well, for me, a 1-0 win would have kept me happy. To go to Swansea and score three is pretty spectacular. The first was a simple header from Giroud, who seems to be feeling his way back into the game. The second was a bit controversial. Flappyianski came for a looping ball, he kind of missed in a clunky way and Laurent Kos slipped the ball into the empty net. On replay, it was just a massive hash from the keeper. The third goal came from Joel Campbell. I was glad he dropped in with that goal because outside running around a lot, he didn’t look great.
Point here is we’re picking up lots of goals. The even bigger point, we’re not conceding. Another clean sheet. You gotta love that.
5. Is this for real?
It’s starting to feel like we’re onto something special. The team is gelling, we’re dealing with the problems we’re facing and we’re racking up a steady flow of points.
Could this be a title challenge?
Well, it has to be. My concerns are where they always are under Wenger. The squad isn’t very deep. We’re not really rotating that much and the manager seems allergic to resting players when a game is done. Why didn’t he take off Sanchez who was having a shocker?
I also think another big test we’ll face is what happens when it goes wrong? How are we going to deal with a freak loss in the league? How are we going to deal with a Bayern who can now press us safe in the knowledge there’s not a lot of pace in the forward line?
Fitness, for me, is the key to this all. If we keep out players healthy, we’ll be up there come the end of the season. This is the first full season with a Shad Forsythe. If he’s allowed to do his job properly and we get the right sort of luck, maybe we’ll be rewarded with something special at the end of the year.
Anyway, lots of questions, but for now, you can only beat what’s in front of you… and we’re doing that with relative ease.
We have a big game coming up next week. Arsenal vs Spurs. How excited are we for that?
Anyway, enjoy your weekend and I’ll see you in the comments.
P.S. Big congratulations to the Kiwis on their world cup win.