Unfortunately, the draw against United wasn’t enough to send us to the top of table but it still keeps us well in the mix up. As a fan, that’s all I wanted from this team this season, glimpses of brilliance. We are on the cusp of something magical.
I have to say I was very disappointed with the result – In truth it wasn’t up to scratch but a draw against Man Utd isn’t a bad thing at all. The issue is how poor we were and how weak United were Wednesday night and it just feels like a massive opportunity missed.
With other teams around us picking up points, could our race for the title suddenly turn into a race for fourth? I don’t really want to start thinking like that, my darker thoughts are always peering over my shoulder, but I won’t jump on the knee-jerk bus just yet (Ed: it’s a rickety old thing that makes you think you’re on a washing machine anyway). The league title is all about how it’s perceived – Opinions are fluid, it’s ok to change your mind.
Our next few fixtures will really map out our season so I wouldn’t worry just yet. I’ll keep my ticket for the ‘Negative Helter Skelter of Doom’ (Ed: Nowhere near as fun as it sounds I can assure you. Ben’s shown me pictures) just in case things actually bomb.
After being blitzed by Liverpool – who started like a chip pan fire with Arsenal only equipped with a bucket of water to put it out – Arsene’s main objective and concern was to not lose the game. I’m sure Dortmund still haunts him and rightly so.
It was clear from Wednesday night that our confidence was shaken. Apart from the tentative passing, the lack of runners was very telling. I can’t really remember anyone getting ahead of Giroud – even when Chamberlain came on, he sat very deep.
Thinking long term and considering our centre forward is still being used as a pivot – Would you have both Cazorla and Özil in your starting XI? Would you sacrifice one? Or maybe not?
Arsene really resisted the chance to go for the jugular. Begrudgingly so, I have to say, very sensibly. I felt like we knew we wouldn’t lose but did we have the courage to go and win the thing?
There came a point were we just went into Denilson mode. Arsenal/Arsene decided to accept the point, shut up shop, and go for a sing and a dance in the Armoury. Very, very frustrating to watch but sometimes you need to have a walk around the horse before you jump back on it, you don’t want to fall off the other side.
Is Jack ‘Roy of the Rovers’ Wilshere starting to become an issue in midfield? I wonder how Arsene sees this?
*Disclaimer* He is hugely talented. I never (ever) doubt his commitment to the cause. The End.
Jack wants to impact the game and he’s always looking forward. He’s young, and he needs to focus on his progression, his development. I think that’s what his goal should be rather than the teams success.
The two sides of developing a player – Jack is currently playing the transitional role in the team. He doesn’t fully understand his role or the impact he should be having on the game (yet). Saying that though, he does seem to perform better with responsibility on his shoulders – A predicament.
With and without the ball – The choices he is currently making are impacting the team and the players around him – The balance of the whole side is currently off.
He’s being targeted by the opposition. One, just because he is a level above everyone else and two, because he is an easy target. He encourages attention by not releasing the ball quickly enough. Which can be seen as very careless or utterly sublime. What’s scary is, he has the ability to draw in defenders and release the ball at the last second creating space for others. The issue with it currently is
he’s simply opted away from using the easier option when passing the ball which slows down our flow and, obviously, kills our momentum. Because of the lack of runners the space isn’t being created for him to operate correctly.
Jack isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a finished article. The way he often gets spoken about in the media etc, is as if he is. I personally don’t see him (currently) as a great option deeper in midfield especially in tougher fixtures although, he still has a lot of learning to do.
I think his decision making is careless at times. A prime example against United, Arteta lost the ball a few minutes in to the match, which granted RVP a guilt edge chance (Chesney shouldn’t have played it to him in the first place to be honest). Jack was in United’s half closer to Giroud, than Arteta. Just irresponsible in the early stages of such a big game. Yes, Arteta dilly dallied but if he had an option then we wouldn’t be talking about this.
If you compare him to our current injured Welshman, Aaron Ramsey who’s development has been simply remarkable. From scapegoat to hero within (what seems like) a matter of moments. His goals are an easy go to point but it’s intelligence all over the pitch stands out more for me.
His early season form was compared to Frank Lampard (of old) and rightly so. His success has been down to intelligence on the pitch and the timing of his runs – usually ending in a goal or a very good chance.
What’s key, and very reactionary of me to say, is he doesn’t let us get over run and get caught on the break.
To finish, we have two very special midfielders in our ranks, I can’t wait to see how they both develop and the headache Arsène is going to get trying to fit both in the starting XI.
I have to start by saying this – I think he’s confidence has gone. The first sign of it is when a players first touch goes. As well as that his link up play just seems to be a thing of the past. Giroud’s finishing has always left much to be desired but several opportunities he had against United didn’t even make the goal, let alone hit the target. I don’t think it’s too harsh to say it’s not good enough. He’s also a player who works best when others are making runs off him. We are really, really missing that from Theo and Ramsey.
Our overall cautiousness last night meant that players were very unsure how far to push on, so no little wonder that we were ineffective in attack.
Currently everything seems to be conspiring against him and us. Hope the tide will turn and pronto.
Up The Arsenal!!
Cheers for reading,