Goooooooood morning kids! And adults. And the trolls.
Welcome to another match report from me.
So yesterday was the chance to pick ourselves up and jump back into the title race.
Pregame, we had strong results from Spurs, a point from United and Chelsea (mwhaha!) and some other teams continuing to progress on the sly (like Palace).
So it was all on us to take down a Bournemouth team that have pulled off shock results against United and Chelsea already. Eddie Howe is a very good young English coach and he’s doing wonders with a pretty limited budget and team.
It was banana skin on toast yesterday. I really thought we could drop our level, play the victims and lose some points.
I was wrong.
I didn’t count on Arsene having a reshuffle of the pack (finally). He brought in Chambers at DM (HOORAY), he slipped Chamberlain in for Campbell (oooohhhhh) and he swapped out Koscielny for Gabriel (HOOORAY).
What was the result?
A high energy performance!
Really, it was kind of the Mesut Ozil show. He ripped them to shreds creating 9 clearcut chances. He didn’t even look like breaking sweat (by the way, Arsenal fans online, give it a rest with the, ‘you should have listened to me when I said he’d be incredible’ malarkey… every, single, game. We get it. Mesut it grateful and your tweets from 1986 predicting this moment make you the sage of sages)
We took the lead when he flew a speculative ball into the box, Gabriel was the only man following in and his header into the top corner gave us the deserved lead.
We struggled to convert all the chances we were being given by Mesut which gave me the jitters.
In the second half we picked up our much needed second goal, Mesut started the move again finding Giroud by eluding 4 players, the Frenchman nonchalantly flicked the ball back to the German on the one two, he cooly slotted home sauntering off with that weird celebration he does with his fingers (thanking the 462,000 Arsenal tweeters who were RIGHT about his superpowers).
We shut down after that not seeking to risk out clean sheet (and Petr Cech’s Premier League record).
No injuries. No drama. Just points.
So what did we learn?
Lot of angst over the Frenchman’s performance and I feel some of it is a little unfair. This happens most years, he starts off really well, then he hits breaking point, his performances drop and he gets injured. He’s carried our frontline for a long time and he’s had very few breaks in-between. I think he’s a tireless workhorse and I think he needs a few games off to recharge.
Bigger issue is that even when he’s fit he’s not quite what we need, but we’ll have to worry about that next summer.
He has too much class for our frontline. He’s in dream like form at the moment, but we don’t have the players to finish off what he’s providing. This is up to Arsene to address in the summer because we’re currently wasting the talent we have. Imagine if there was a Robin on the end of those chances? It’d be crazy.
Imagine, if those fans that made Mesut the player he is today via Twitter, could conjure up a solution?
Whenever I talk about rotation, fans message back and say… ‘well, if we rotated and we lost, you’d be annoyed’… sure, great well thought out response. The plan would usually be to rotate and win. The issue then isn’t the rotation, it’s on the motivation of the second string. Yesterday showed that in the right games, rotation works. My argument is that Bournemouth were far more dangerous that Sunderland and Aston Villa before them. We need to take our moments when to rest players. We need to have more belief in the fringe players and we need to make sure we always have energy on the park. Southampton is what happens when you ignore players needs.
He had a pretty good game. He looks more at ease on the ball than Flamini and his range of passing looked good just in front of the back four. I also think his background as a defender will put him on a good footing to develop. Is he ready for Barca? Probably not, but he’s ready to play more games for us and he’s ready to transition Flamini into retirement? I’d say so.
You’re out of it. You’re in it. It’s so messed up this year, you might as well not talk about the impact one result will have.
It’s all about focus. The team that decides it wants to focus will be king.
It’s exciting though. Money isn’t the dark overlord anymore, great news. The top is closer to the bottom. Great coaching is the hero.
Let’s hope Wenger can prove that when the playing field is levelled, his ways are the best ways.