The opening game of the season is always a very important game. Three points is a must and it doesn’t matter how you get them, but you need to get them. The draw is definitely a blow so early on, considering today’s game was the “easy” one out of the coming series of games, but it is what it is and emotions aside, what can be said about today’s game?
The line up was:
Jenkinson – Mertersacker – Vermaelen (c) – Gibbs
Arteta – Diaby
Walcott – Cazorla – Gervinho
Two of our three new signings straight into the action – Podolski and Cazorla and a genuine buzz about the line up and new players in the team despite the exits happening in the background. Walking away from this game, you can only feel disappointed at the result… but the light at the end of the tunnel is the performance of Santi Cazorla: 4 shots, 77 Passes with 94% accuracy, 7 chances created, 3 tackles and 2 interceptions (via @Artekkers), and those are amazing stats!
Le Boss waxed lyrical about the player:
“He played very well and looks like he could be one of the buys of the season. He has everything you want in the game. He can play short, he can play long, on the right or left, he can play the final ball and works hard as well. He is a fighter so it is very positive for us. [He settled quickly and] that shows people who say you need to play a long time together. Great players do not need a long time [to settle].”
Despite the good performance from Cazorla, the reality of it is that we dropped points – a home game against a non top four team is a must win game. We’re already behind Chelsea and Man City – yes the fluency will come, but in all honesty, it should have already been here had we prepared properly…!
Le Boss summarised the game:
We played with a good spirit. We were serious, we put the effort in. Our basic fitness is alright but we lack sharpness and fluency at the moment to be dangerous in the final third. The few chances we had, we couldn’t convert them. Sunderland always play the same way against us, in the final third and defensively, and if you’re not sharp enough to make the difference early in the game it becomes difficult. They defended well, they defended the whole game very well, and we lacked something – sharpness and also quality and accuracy in the final pass.
We have quite a hard set of games, with Stoke away next… let’s see if we can gel in time for that game and get three points on the board…