11 in a row. Not since time began has such a feat been mastered. Well, since 2007 when we clocked up 12 wins on the bounce. Regardless, it’s fucking impressive. If you can grind out a win away from home with Xhaka at left back, you’re doing something right.
Emery chopped up the team, giving the folk looking at ways into the first team a run out on the pitch. Guendouzi, Elneney and Ramsey all given a chance to shine.
The 1-0 win felt about right on an afternoon that wasn’t a walk in the park. Danny Welbeck scored the goal after Torreira fluked a ball right through the Sporting backline, the man mountain capitalised with his pace, burying his shot between Ribiero’s legs. A great finish that could have been 2 if his earlier disallowed goal had stood.
There were notable performances elsewhere on the pitch. Matteo continues to impress. The Frenchman is utterly relentless in midfield, he demands possession, he sprays the ball all over the park, and he’s aggressively fit, hustling and harrying anyone that gets within range. What a find from Sven, ol’ diamond eyes making his money with that 5-carat steal.
I also thought Rob Holding had a strong game. He’s dominant in the air, great on the ground and his confidence seems to have soared now he’s actually being coached properly. It can’t be long before he’s lining up as a first choice in our backline. Sokratis also had a solid return to the starting 11. I’m so glad our compliment of defenders is slowly returning to the fold.
There were some shaky performances, I think it’s clear Xhaka has no future at left back. His now famous lunge reared its head early on. He clearly lacks the pace and mobility to play in a position that demands it, but hey, we kept a clean sheet. I also thought Lichtsteiner looked off the pace. Too many games in short succession? Or just the ravages of age catching up with a legend of the game?
Aaron Ramsey was ok. You kind of feel he’s a lost lamb at the moment. His manager won’t play him in the box to box role he wants and he’s never going to excel as a 10. He’ll be a bit part player unless there’s an injury, I’m guessing the hope is someone will come singing for his name in January and we can ship him off. We’re in desperate need of a winger and we’re crying out for left backs.
Another major difference between this season and last… the second string give a fuck. They’re playing because there’s competition for places, not because they’re second string and that’s when you play. Emery is giving everyone the hope they can make the starting 11 at any time. I don’t think the hope was there. You were a fave or you were Europa. I also LOVE the rotation, it helps that it’s paying off with wins, but I can’t tell you how stupid our lack of rotation was back in the day. Providing Emery isn’t slamming the boys in training, we’re going to hopefully have fresher players come crunch time.
Overall, everyone is feeling good about the run. Emery has absolutely owned the opening 3 months of his career at Arsenal. The fans love him (bar the salty one’s who’ve interestingly found their critical eye now you know who is gone), the players are adapting to his ideas and he has a whole bunch of wins to show for his progress.
Palace away at the weekend will be a tough game, especially after an away game. Hopefully we can grind out two more wins against them and Blackpool, then chase the record against Liverpool. Wouldn’t that be a fantastic way for Emery to start his career, with a new record!
Dreams people, premature dreams.
One thing I’m wary of is the Black November of yesteryear, so what I’m saying is this… put those chickens away and stop counting them.
Right, see you in the comments! (which should have a new look!) x