An arm around the shoulder or slap around the chops?

Arsene faced the media yesterday and, probably as you’d expect, he was reasonably defiant after an appalling game in midweek. He didn’t rule us out of a ‘miracle’ as Big Per has put it, but equally he didn’t retract some of the criticism for the team from Wednesday. It’s the right thing to do, because they all need to know and be reminded of how poor we were, if nothing else than to fuel the fire in their bellies to pick up more wins over the coming weeks and months.

I really hope we do get a response. I hope we get a response of anger, rage and destruction over an inconsistent Everton team, but one that will be riding high after going through in the Europa League. Is it still called that? Or have they reverted back to calling it what it should always have been called, the UEFA Cup? I don’t know. I don’t want to know. I just want Arsenal to pick up three points tomorrow.

Hopefully we can do that and with the news that we have no fresh injury concerns to speak of, it seems as though Arsene has a choice of players that he can pick for his starting eleven. In his presser yesterday he did say that we will have to rotate, certainly with a game against QPR to come in midweek, so I think there might be one or two players given some bench time. You’d like to think it was because of their poor performance, but he can’t drop the whole team, so who should he opt for?

This is a mini debate I had on Twitter and a couple of people made some really good points. You could take the hard line against the players and completely rotate. Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Cazorla, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud all had particularly poor games and could in theory be replaced by Szczesny, Chambers, Gabriel, Rosicky, Walcott and Akpom, but I doubt we’ll see that many changes. For one thing large-scale changes usually lead to a disjointed approach to a game. Players may train with each other a lot, but they haven’t all got the actual live game experience of playing together under their belts, so it’s usually too much to ask. This is especially the case against a decent Premier League Team like Everton. If we’re lining up in the cup against a team like Brighton, or Walsall for example, you can afford to rotate on a larger basis and expect the quality of the squad to shine through. But Everton are too good to take that chance.

So who gets dropped? This is where you have to put your trust in the manager, because I think it becomes about assessing who needs the motivation, and who needs the arm around the shoulder. For example, I would think a player like Alexis would just be more pumped to prove a manager wrong if he was dropped. But I suspect dropping Giroud could see a fragile confidence fall even lower if he isn’t asked to play himself in to form. So I think he’ll be given another chance for a reprieve. I know that sounds a little bit like we’d be mollycoddling a professional athlete who should be able to motivate himself rather than need a kiss and a cuddle every time he has a bad game, but football is as much about winning psychological battles as much as anything else sometimes, so the best managers in the world are the ones that know when an arm round the shoulder is better than a slap around the chops.

Incidentally, I’d be surprised if Alexis was dropped, because he’s been one of the stand-out performers this season. But I do wonder if Big Per could be given a temporary Spanish Archer from the starting eleven. Perhaps Ozil too will be given time on the naughty step to think about what he’s done, with the Ox in prime position to take up his spot in the middle of the park.

It’s tough making the right decisions in professional football, but that’s why you’re paid more than I will earn in my lifetime in just a year, so hopefully Le Boss makes the right ones and we win tomorrow. Motivation is  massive part of professional football and knowing when to ‘hairdryer’ it, or when to talk up your team, is what makes the best managers the most successful. It’s not just about picking the team and dropping or playing players, Arsene needs to get them fired up in the right way with his pre-match talk too. Does he leave them to say it and trust they are hurting enough, or does he give them a Churchillian war-cry and send them out to battle? We’ll never know. We’ll only know if what his choice was, actually worked, by the way they perform tomorrow.

The injury news seems quite good too, actually, as Rambo and Flamini start training again and I’d expect with a week under their belts they should be back again for the United game. The Wilshere ‘setback’ is only temporary – so says Arsene – so if it’s just a case of removing some pins from his ankle you’d expect him to be out for a week as the cut they use to get to the pins re-heels. Don’t hold me to that though, as my medical knowledge goes as far as watching Doogie Howser in the earlier nineties with my mum and dad. So probably as much as our medical team then! I kid, I kid…

That’s pretty much all there is for today. I don’t really want to go into an exact line up for tomorrow, as I’ll have nothing to talk about then, so I’ll take my leave and see thee in the ‘morrow.

Big Per’s belief, big ten days

i’m glad big Per hasnt given up the possibility of exit from the Champions League in the same way he gave up his composure on a lacklustre Wednesday evening against an extremely beatable Monaco side. 

The tall German was the voice of the team yesterday in the aftermath of the debacle less than 24 hours earlier and said that we have to believe we can re-address the balance when we visit the principality in a few weeks time. I’m glad he still has belief, because I’ve been knocked back too many times this season to think that the impossible can happen. Still, let’s cast the Champions League to the deepest, darkest, recesses of our minds, shall we? 

After all, we’ve got two league games and an FA Cup quarter final to concern ourselves with before we need to start any rain dances or stroking any four leaf clover covered rabbits feet.

Arsène will meet the press today and after a gritty win at Palace I bet he wasn’t expecting to face the media with the mood suddenly plummeting. None of us were if we’re all honest. I thought this was the beginning of a run to the end of the season that could see dreams escalating to possible glories, yet when Le Boss faces the hacks today, it will be as if our good run of form never existed. The tired clichè that “you’re only as good as your last game” will never have felt more damaging to morale.

Yet Arsène needs to put on a brave face. This next week and a bit is where he earns his quite sizeable crust. Three wins in the next tens days and the garden is full of bloom again. Victory against Everton, QPR and United away (or at least a draw in that last one so we’re still in the FA Cup) and we repair the already fragile confidence, going in to the return leg with a least a smidge of form.

I do wonder if Arsène will play the ‘little bit injury’ card on some players today. He’s said himself in the past that he has spared players’ blushes by saying they’re injured when they’ve actually been dropped, so I do wonder after the midweek performance, if there will be cause for rotation against the Toffees. All will be revealed in the next few hours I suspect. Personally I’d like to see Ospina, Mertesacker, Özil and Giroud all being given time on the sides to prove their place isn’t secure, but with the latter you do wonder if that would just smash his almost certain drop in confidence further. Perhaps the manager will decide that these players will need to play themselves out of their midweek dip?

Do you know what’s equally as annoying as the defeat? We can’t even really laugh at Liverpool or the Spuds getting knocked out, because our result will just leave us open to counter-ribbing. Annoying, that.

I’m just coming in to Wembley Park tube station. It’s a bright sunny morning, there’s not a cloud in the sky and the national stadium is glistening. What a way to make it up to us fans it would be if Arsène could steer us to that place in May for the FA Cup final. 

Let’s leave today’s blog on that positive note, shall we? 

Catch Ya later.

abject defensively, profligate offensively, inept tactically. Arsenal.

I’d like to tell you that nothing could have prepared us for yesterday’s abomination of a performance from Arsenal at home to Monaco yesterday evening, but sadly we have a history littered with similar mistakes that have been perpetually repeated by Arsène Wenger’s team at this stage of the competition, for now the fourth year running.

The story is so similar it’s boring, but at least we’re all so not shocked that we’re stunned into silent disbelief, because we’ve been down this road before: first leg disaster, usually followed by glorious defeat in the second leg. 

We are halfway through our round of 16 competition and, much like Bayern for the previous two years and AC Milan for the year before that, we have conspired to shoot ourselves in the foot and effectively give up our chances of going through to the next round. Am I being defeatist? You’re damn right I am, because when you get to the knockout stages of the competition you play teams that just don’t tend to concede three goals at home. Well, all except Arsenal, that is.

I can’t think of one player who came out of yesterday’s game with the merest of smidgens-worth of credit if I’m honest. Well, not one Arsenal player that is, because Monaco had some like Kondogbia who were brilliant. We were atrocious. But it wasn’t just the players who failed miserably to perform to any kind of standard that is warranted given their hefty wages and clear abilities, because the manager must also take a serious slice of the blame in the cold light of this Thursday morning post-mortem.

Arsène rarely sets his team’s up to negate the opposition and yesterday evening it showed. Monaco knew what Arsenal would do and set themselves up accordingly; they sat two midfielders deeper and mopped up the loose second ball (almost every time I can remember) every time Ospina kicked long, they played in a tight and compact unit when they didn’t have the ball, showing no intention to press our back four which resulted in an evening of sideways passing amongst defenders and whoever dropped deep to collect. Alexis was receiving the ball in his own half for most of that first half. That says it all really. 

So tactically Monaco got it right, but the three goals they enjoyed were all with a little help from The Arsenal, as once again we proved that we are to defending what Madonna is to vertical balancing. Per Mertesacker – his worst game of the season so far I think – may have turned away from Kondogbia’s shot from 25 yards, but the fact that the Monaco player was given time to control, take a touch, set himself and strike is criminal at this level of the competition. The deflection meant that Ospina was wrong-footed and so perhaps he cannot be blamed, but the type of deflection it was looked to me like the kind of one that you see Cortouis or De Gea quickly shuffle their feet and save. That feels like why Ospina is not in that top bracket. It’s still early in his Arsenal career but I’m not sure he’s capable of making the type of save that makes you say “wow, how did he save that?”. He saves what you expect him to save.

Except for the second goal he didn’t. But again, he cannot shoulder 100% of the blame, because Monaco caught us on the counter and picked us off brilliantly thanks to the suicidal defending of Mertesacker. Watch the moment where the ball is squared to Berbatov. He’s only just made it in to his own half!! Shameful, shambolic and if Gabriel was not so raw in the league, you’d have to say a droppable offence from Big Per.

But it wasn’t just defensively that we were not at the races, because going forward was a nightmare of a performance too. Alexis lost the ball time and time again, Welbeck was a willing but ineffective runner, but Olivier Giroud was positively painful to watch. He had an absolute shocker, missing chance after chance and through his own profligacy, he has conspired with his defensive colleagues to cost us a place in the next round of the competition. 

But even then, at 0-2 down and into injury time, we Arsenaled it up like only we can when the Ox’s fine strike gave us a glimmer of hope. See out the game at 1-2 and see what you can do in Monaco. That should have been the mantra. But mentally this team is like a side of under-11s sometimes and we were caught out trying to push too many people forward.

I haven’t mentioned the midfield yet, largely because it was non-existent. Özil was poor, Santi fared only slightly better and positional Coquelin was not great at times. Given the supposed strength of our squad I am hoping for some punishments to be dished out in the form of dropping some of the players for the game against Everton on Sunday. Some of those players who have won their place in the team need to be shown that it can be easily taken away from them. That is what started us on such a good run in all competitions since just before Christmas and now there needs to be some rotation to show the players out of the team that they have just as much chance to play. Rosicky, Walcott, The Ox, Gabriel, Szczesny, all need to be given a chance now. 

The manager needs to have a look at himself this morning too. He needs to realise that he needs to prepare his players better and he needs to pay attention to the oppositions strengths and nullify them. But he won’t. We’ll repeat the same mistakes and we’ll find ourselves out of all competitions and pushing for a fourth place finish like we do every season. And who will be happy with that? The finance team, Stan and Arsène. 

Then we go again next season with the same objectives. Qualify for the Champions League, get out of the group stages and then anything else is a bonus.

That’s not what the fans want Arsenal. We want those memories. We want you to make memories for us. That’s not going to happen with more displays like yesterday.

Monaco game feels similar to Middlesbrough

Yesterday evening I watched Le Boss’ press conference and I couldn’t help but think:

Why is Danny Welbeck there? 

It also got me asking myself the question on a more broader scale, because modern day footballers are so media trained to the ‘nth’ degree these days, that to avoid having their words twisted by the media, they regurgitate the same responses regardless of the question. Playing press conference bingo with footballers is easier than playing Arsène presser bingo! Just replace Arsènisms with phrases like “give 100%”, “looking forward to the game” and “yeah-no, I think it will be a tough game”. 

Anyway, enough minor digs at one of our heroes, who also happens to be many years younger than me and so makes me feel a little weird if I’m honest. It’s time to prepare thee and me for tonight’s game.

This won’t be easy. At the risk of extreme hypocrisy and trotting out the tired clichés I’ve just scoffed at, now that we’re into the knockout stages of the competition is when the teams and the results are more closely matched, so I don’t expect a simple hammering of Villa proportions if I’m honest. Arsène said as much himself, whilst also noting that whilst Monaco don’t score many goals, they haven’t been conceding many either. 

Their success was built on a foundation of clean sheets and their record in their domestic competition would suggest that they will also be arriving at The Emirates tonight with a good degree of confidence. I know they’ve got fitness concerns over a few players like Carvalho, for example, but they’ll still be able to field a strong team and I’d expect them to come for a clean sheet tonight. I don’t want to do Monaco a disservice, but I see them as very similar to the situation Middlesbrough were at when they visited us a few weeks ago. Towards the top of their respective league, success built on stability from the back and confidence high because of their form in their own division. Middlesbrough came to our gaff in the same mind set.

Of course we know that Ligue 1 is a technically better league than the Championship, as well as the fact that Monaco are technically a better team than Middlesbrough, so I expect them to adopt a similar game plan with probably better results than Middlesbrough did in the FA Cup.

That game relied on Middlesbrough frustrating us for at least the first half I suspect, so when we scored two goals in that first half, it effectively threw out any game plan Karanka had on the day, so I think a quick start determines how the game pans out tonight. If we score within the first 20 minutes it wil breed more confidence in the team. Hopefully it will foster a belief that we can score more. But the only thing we need to be mindful of is the fact that unlike Middlesbrough’s need to take chances because of the fact it was a single game knockout, Monaco don’t need to take as many chances, because of the return leg. So a 1-0 defeat is by no means insurmountable and as a result I don’t see Monaco looking to catch us out. 

We need to be smart. Good game management tonight is more important than anything else. If we get an early goal, then great, but the team need to be mature enough to know that this needs to be a probing type of game, not one in which caution is thrown to the wind.

The managers choices are tough. Defensively I’d expect him to stick with Ospina, Koscienly, Mertesacker, Monreal and Bellerin. In midfield you have to assume that Coquelin will sit at the base of the three, with Santi alongside him. With no Wilshere on the bench or in the squad tonight, picking the first seven players from the back going forward is easy. But the creative players will be hard. Özil is looking sharper with every game and is the sort of player you want if a team sits deeper and needs to be unpicked like a door by a cat burglar with his clever and close passing. You’d expect Giroud to start in the form that he’s currently in, along with one of the players of the season in Alexis, but who occupies the final position in the three? Walcott for end-product and pace? Welbeck for his engine and build up play (he hasn’t been in the goals but he always contributes)? Or maybe Arsène throws a curveball and gives Rosicky the nod for his quick transition from front to back that he gives the team?

I suspect it will be Welbeck that is preferred, as he’s got the best engine, but if Monaco are sitting deep and not giving space, I’d love to see what Rosicky can offer. To me, Walcott is the perfect player for the away leg, catching Monaco on the break with his pace, but I just don’t see there being that much space for him this evening. So I wouldn’t be starting him.

We’ll know soon enough. This is the type of match we want to be part of in the Champions  League, so we need to enjoy it, but right now I’d take 90 minutes of turgid football for a 2-0 victory.

Come on The Arsenal!

‘Obvious’ klaxons, Giroud’s award and Welbeck’s form an issue for Theo

It’s all rather quiet on this Tuesday morn, which is lovely given that there’s a big game tomorrow and no doubt Arsène’s presser at some stage today, so we’ll get an update on who’s available.

We’ve already had Arsène’s thoughts ahead of the visit of Monaco, in which he really goes out on a limb, describing the game as ’50:50′ in terms of our likelihood of success. Wow Arsène, mind those splinters buddy!

Champions League games are always cagey affairs when you get to the knockout stages of the competition though, so I can see why he’s trying hard not to give the Monaco team any motivation ahead of the tie, but it should be one we should be looking to win over two legs. I was at The Emirates Cup in August and we looked leggy and lethargic and the difference even then was a Falcao header. With him now firmly established in the Manchester United dugout as one of the coaching staff, Monaco have lost a massive asset, but will still be a threat so Arsène is right to be cautious. More to come on Monaco tomorrow though.

The other news is that Olivier Giroud is up for a fans player award by the PFA. Ok, so it’s only for February, but with goals and solid displays under his belt for the whole month, it will be a good confidence booster if he wins it. And let’s face it, we have the largest football fan community online at Arsenal, so I’d expect us to vote in our handsome Frenchman with consummate ease.

The hope is that he wins it and the subsequent confidence boost will propel him to being even better than he has been of late. His form is sparkling and with each game that he scores, I remain convinced that he will hit the 20 goal mark for the season, which would be quite some feat indeed given his lengthy absence last year.

That man Welbeck has also had his say on the Champions League, talking up our desire to go far in the competition which aside from the fact that ‘state the obvious’ klaxons appear to be sounding all over the place at the moment, is the sentiment and the attitude we need. No talk of advancing and who we might face in the next round, just respect for our opposition we’ve currently got and the professionalism to do the job, home and away.

You’ll all be acutely aware of the shattering feeling that Alex gave us when knocking us out of the competition after we conceded a late goal against PSV a few years back I’m sure. We need no repeat of that upset and if it means the players and coaching staff have to make obvious statements about the game then so be it.

Welbeck himself has also looked good since returning, actually, so much so that there aren’t many people calling for an instant return for Walcott. Given that we’d have chewed each other’s arms off to have him available this time last year, that’s quite a turnaround and it’s the high intensity pressing that Welbeck and Alexis give us – as well as their end product (which in Danny’s case has been assisting in build ups rather than actual goals) – that has meant Theo is an increasingly bit-part player at the moment. The long-term future for him is something that can be debated for another day, but I don’t see him being wheeled out in the immediate future and that’s a positive testament to how well Welbeck is playing, especially when you consider that Theo is scoring plenty of goals when he’s given the chance.

So we’re in a good place right now. There are plenty of form players, we’re winning games and we currently sit third in the league, which is ideally where we want to finish. We have a big European night tomorrow, with which victory be a healthy margin would help to foster yet more belief and confidence in the team, as well as the possibility of That Dutch Bloke being a longer term injury to United. He’ll develop some sort of miracle recovery time so that he can play us in about 13 days time, but for now let’s all just keep ourselves content in the knowledge that all is looking roadt in the Arsenal garden.

See you tomorrow.

Mourinho’s propaganda, Arsenal’s form & a happy week

I usually avoid any kind of football topics that aren’t Arsenal related, but after seeing Jose Mourinho’s less than subtle attempt to have more air time to push through his own personal agenda through the medium of Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday, I feel compelled to say something through my own soapbox platform, which is this here blog.

I’m presuming of course that the whole world recognised his whole purpose of going on that show was to perpetuate his own lines of malcontent, but the brazen way in which he tried to use Sky whilst also denouncing the treatment of his own team by the media, was rather rich I have to say. For somebody who uses all forms of media to try and carry his own propaganda so vehemently, you’d think he would be a little bit more accepting of how the British media companies work? Actually, scratch that, because he clearly does. After all, that’s why he probably patched a call directly to Sky Sports bigwigs on Saturday evening, to which both parties would have been more than happy. Jose gets to spout his rubbish on a well known show, Sky Sports get the big names on their sofa.

It all feels very dirty. Mourinho is essentially a slightly tanned ‘Arry Redknapp. Only he’s probably the next rung up the ladder because he’s done it abroad and won a few more trophies. He’s got as much class as a fake tanned, Essex based hairdresser with a brilliant white Bentley.

Anyway, I should probably stop there, because not only does that do a disservice to fake tanned, Essex-based hairdressers, but also the fact I’m even talking about the most horrendous football club in the history of the world in Chelski – and yes, I include even the Spuds in that – means that I’m giving up time away from the greatest club in the world.

All-in-all, for what we’re looking at for the remainder of our season, this weekend didn’t really go too badly, did it? We rode our luck but ultimately had the points secured on Saturday, whilst Tiny Totts, Southampton and Man United all dropped points. With Liverpool at home to Man City next weekend, if we can pick up another win against Everton on Sunday at lunchtime, I fancy we’ll be in poll position for third and certainly a heavy favourite for Champions League qualification in one form or another.

We’re hitting form at exactly the right time. People can say that so are Liverpool and Totteringham are too, but with my admittedly completely biased specs on, we’re the better of all of the teams in that Champions League race and I think we’re playing the better football too. Perhaps this last weekend wasn’t a perfect example of us at our sparkling best, but that being the case, we went 89 minutes without being massively troubled against a Crystal Palace side that Alan Pardew had said had played their best football since he arrived. Let’s not forget that Pardew has managed his team against both the Spuds and Liverpool at home.

So we have reasons to be cheerful today. We have a big game against Monaco on Wednesday, followed by big matches against Everton, QPR and Man United in the next two weeks. Four wins out of four and we’ll find ourselves looking up rather than down in all competitions.

I’m liking the form of Özil and Giroud in particular at the moment. It was yet another goal for Ollie on Saturday and as I said in a previous blog last week, I think he can hit 20 goals come the season end, a phenomenal achievement by the end of the season given his broken leg. Has the arrival of Welbeck and Alexis to challenge his role as a central striker worked magic in making him ultra competitive to keep his place? I think undoubtedly that must be the case. He’s a classic confidence player. He’s said so himself in not-so-many words, so it’s natural that when you give him your belief as Arsène has, as well as allow him to do what he does best as a target man, the result is goals. Goals then beget goals and you have yourself a self-fulfilling prophecy, because he’ll have more confidence, score more goals, get more confident, etc, etc. the trick will be for him to keep on playing and playing well.

As for Özil, he’s clearly used his time away from the pitch to great effect. I saw one moment on Saturday in which Mesut was up against a Palace player (Puncheon I think), inside our own box, where he used his strength to shepherd the ball out of play for a goal kick. A year ago he’d have been bundled over by the physicality of the opponent he was up against. Not so in Mesut Özil Arsenal version 2.0. He is stronger and a year wiser to this league. He still has superb vision and is showing signs of the form when he first signed for the club, but he’s also regaining his confidence, a prime example of that being the superb flick over the defenders head and perfectly weighted pass to set Alexis away for what should have been goal number three.

Arsène may still be tinkering and rotating his team to find the best blend at the moment, but he’s got a number of players who are making very public ‘well, you can’t drop me’ statements to him based on performances at the moment. Long may that continue.

It’s a happy Monday for us Gooners. Let’s embrace it.

Gritty three points

I don’t know why, but yesterday’s game with Crystal Palace felt like a really big result, in the context of our Premier League season.

There were many people I spoke to during the week who were pretty convinced that we were going to go to Selhurst Park and sweep aside a Palace side who have had a wee bit of resurgence under Alan Pardew, but who have stuttered ever-so-slightly in the immediate past, but I never really believed that the game would be anything other than a challenging 95 minutes (although where the referee worked out those five minutes of injury time was a bit of a mystery to me).

Last season when we played Palace it was anything but plain sailing, but so it was that the home team with their partisan home support, were able to influence the game much more than many would have predicted. Under Pardew you can see that they try to press hard and fast and at times we made it difficult for ourselves with some slack passing of our own, but you can always tell the difference between the top sides and those that languish further down towards the foot of the table. Crystal Palace may not be relegation fodder at this moment in time – nor it must be said do I think they will be come May – but you could tell there was a distinct lack of cutting edge in their forward line.

Pardew is no mug and knew exactly how he could potentially get some joy against our team, targeting Monreal with Zaha’s pace in the first half and looking to get Gayle isolated against Chambers too. In the second half Chambers was run ragged by Bolasie on our right hand side and it was on that side that Palace were able to get the goal they scored in injury time, plus the Murray header off the ball with seconds to go. But again, the fact we were able to take our chances and Palace weren’t able to make the most of the 22 attempts they have, perhaps shows why we are fighting at the top of the league. We have the players to make the difference.

That’s what Welbeck did in forcing the Palace full back to make a challenge on six minutes that led to the penalty we scored. And no Ray Houghton, no Robbie Savage, despite your clear desperation to find fault in decisions given to Arsenal, it was on the line and so is a penalty. Calm down and perhaps stick to playing golf in your retirement from the game.

That cutting edge in the final third means everything, and it was that with which we capitalised through the second goal, a fine through ball from Özil (I think) finding Welbeck and his shot fell kindly to Giroud to tap home. The Frenchman is developing a lovely habit of being in the right place at the right time and is doing it on a fabulously consistent basis at the moment. Long may his form continue.

Long may our overall form continue too, actually, because we’re stringing together a number of wins that are building some real momentum. With United losing, plus Southampton and Liverpool playing each other today, we find ourselves in third and with a run of matches in the league in which you would expect us to pick plenty of points up from. Victory against Everton next Sunday, followed by an away success to QPR during the midweek after that game, will see us firmly secure a good footing on which to build success in our season. Success for Arsenal would be a trophy and securing Champions League football. We still have a lot to do to get that trophy (I don’t fancy United away I have to say. They will be pants, but they’ve made it an art how they can perpetually skank us in every competition), but if we pick up 12 points from the next four games, I’d wager we’d be halfway there to achieving the Champions League objective.

We’re looking good at the moment. We’re grinding out games when we need to, like today, but we’re also adding the occasional bit of swagger to some of our performances. That’s the Arsenal that we want to see.

Now, bring on Monaco…