Hello hello – a late and short post from me today.
Well that felt routine didn’t it? Refreshingly bog standard, comfortably numb. I mentioned yesterday that Fulham were a team that arouse few emotions, and it certainly felt like that yesterday.
Not only the fans but the team seemed like they really couldn’t be arsed with the game. A better team would have punished our casualness but Fulham put in such a lacklustre, tepid performance that we were able to get away with some pretty poor play.
Conversation with the chaps around me was focused on potential signings. There was talk of Draxler, of someone called Ntep, of Cabaye and of poor Joel Campbell. What happened to him? Could he provide some offensive cover?
Someone also pointed out the curse of the Arsenal number 9 shirt. Everyone knows the duds who have occupied the shirt – Suker, Baptista, Park – but apparently the goal return for Arsenal number 9s in the last decade is something like 4 goals a season. An incredible stat.
In terms of line-up I was surprised to see Monreal keep his place ahead of Gibbs, especially as he had been an injury doubt. Less surprising was seeing Gnabry get the nod ahead of our current number 9.
To be fair the young German justified his selection, and looked like our liveliest player in the first half, finding space well and firing off a few shots without ever really threatening. A nice one-two with Wilshere saw Ozil find space, but his cut back across the 6 yard box was too weak to reach Giroud. Other than that nothing really happened in the first half. Sidwell threatened with a shot, Sagna and then Giroud had shots saved well by Steklenberg.
All in all it felt like Arsenal were saving their energy for the second half. They started much better after the break as we started to turn on the pressure. Our first good chance came from a Cazorla free kick which he floated into the back post. Sagan crept in and made a good connection. The save bounced back to Gnabry who was able to create some space but had his shot blocked by a defender.
The opening came a few minutes later. Brilliant link up play from Giroud saw him release Wilshere down the left, whose cut back rolled across the penalty area for Santi – who had been having a bit of a stinker until that point – to dispatch the goal.
The boys took time to acknowledge the huge contribution I’ve made to the season by coming over to our corner for their celebration. A classy touch, much appreciated boys.
Santi was able to double the lead a few minutes later after he latched on to a Fulham clearance and hit quite a weak shot from the edge of the area which seemed to take an age to reach the net. Should the keeper have done better? Probably. Do I care? Not really.
There was just time for an appearance from the Pod who seemed determined to prove a point and had a fierce shot hit the post and then for Darren Bent to not do what he usually does, which is score irritating goals against us.
Other than that, Fulham reverted to training mode and we were able to see out the game quite comfortably. 2-0; 3 points; 10th clean sheet; Top of the league; Wham bam thank you mam.
Is it possible to say Santi was poor despite scoring two goals? Well im going to try. The smiling Spaniard was poor in the first half giving the ball away a lot. There’s no need to worry, he is such a fantastic player that he will get back to the level he was last season but he just looks low on confidence at the moment, hopefully yesterday’s goals will help.
The Giroud hate started up again yesterday. He’s become the target for the boo boys. I’ll admit he can be frustrating, he needs to work on his shooting (hint: don’t lean back when you shoot Oli) but he quite frankly works his bollocks off for the team. If you want to know what contribution he makes, see Santi’s first goal.
Contrast this with Lukas who does not work hard but can do no wrong with fans. I said yesterday that I couldn’t understand the manager’s frustration with him but there was a 5 minute spell yesterday, after he hit the post where he ambled back from the by-line, failed to provide cover for Monreal, and then stood on the halfway line as Giroud struggled to hold up the ball on his own. I thought he was injured but it seems he was just being extremely lazy. Not good enough considering he had only been on the pitch for 10 minutes. Yesterday saw the best and worst of him. He made an immediate impact, nearly scoring and adding verve and energy to our attack but he didn’t seem that arsed about providing defensive cover which is increasingly important to how we play.
Remember when we used to play “The Wonder of You” before each game? It was kind of crap wasn’t it? Nonetheless I would love us to revive this tradition with a better song. I’ve been doing some brainstorming and come up with a few options each of which would make a statement about the kind of club we are. Here’s my initial list:
In Dreams – Roy Orbison (vintage class)
Ways to an End – Mirrors (hipster football)
Inhaler – Foals (super hipster football)
Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin (scary bastards)
What do you reckon? What song would you like to hear before kick off?
Right that’s me done. Apologies again for the late post. You can follow me @aldo_doel
Have a good Sunday x