And it’s still a good morning as many of us are still smiling from our first win of the season at Anfield.
Unfortunately I was unable not only to go to Anfield but actually watch the game at all due to a family birthday event. It’s the first time I haven’t watched a game in person or when televised for a very long time. Never the less, thanks to the world of twitter and push messaging services (thanks to @d_u_b_z) I was able to keep abreast of our performance.
Catching up on the highlights there were a number of notable positives;
It’s only 3 games in but Mr Wenger’s done it again hasn’t he? Santi really is a talent. A playmaker who always wants the ball, ability to play with either foot; pace of mind & foot and a keen eye for goal or an assist. Reading quotes from Spanish football expert, Graham Hunter yesterday, he described Cazorla as “… a guy with the qualities that Nasri and Arshavin have, but this guy has bottle… He always turns up, home or away. He’ll be ferocious; fans will adore his attitude. He’s hungry all the time”. Exciting.
Ok again, it’s only 3 games and a lot can change but it looks like we’ve bought a player who can change a game in an instant with a single piece of vision.
The defensive unit
I touch on this last week but the defence is growing in stature and resilience in every minute played, say it quietly but it’s not even our first choice defence with Sagna, Koscielny and Szcz to return to full fitness. I was, and still am a big fan of Steve Bould, his influence is apparent. The team are defending as a ‘unit’ rather than individuals as in previous blundering years. For example when Gibbs was caught up field, Arteta moved toward the left to protect from a break, the team continued to close Liverpool down to turnover possession and create devastating counter attacks. Defending is a collective process and it can only be successfully achieved if every player is aware of their job to one another for the good of the team… See the George Graham years for evidence.
I write this knowing that within the next week Diaby’s luck may change and we’ll be talking about the player he could have been rather than the talent we all saw at Anfield. On Sunday, he was the Diaby we all want to see week in week out for The Arsenal. Strong on the ball rarely relinquishing possession, mobile, creative, simply a player you’d like to have playing for you than against you. Wenger has stuck by Diaby, almost as if he felt he owed it to him after that horrific tackle from the call operator who used to play for Sunderland. The Boss needs to rotate and look after Diaby for the next months but IF we can get 30 games this season from him, I’m confident we’ll all laud his influence.
We now enter an interlull break which is quite frustrating but with Wilshere and Sagna 2 weeks away from full training, it could also be seen as a timely break.
Away from the pitch, transfer deadline day turned into what I imagine Christmas is like for a Jehovah witness. I’m quite happy with the squad but I really do think a defensive midfielder would have given us a more solid option during games where the midfield is likely to be overloaded by the opposition. In the current set up Arteta is currently our deepest midfielder; while he’s not your typical DM he has the ability to play the role of the ‘water carrier’ very effectively. Gilberto was never the most combative in midfield but he had the ability to read the game so he was in the right place at the right time for the team. For what Arteta lacks in natural defensive expertise he make up in his abilities as an amazingly effective passer of the ball and a fighter. The steal in midfield will now need to come from Diaby, Frimpong and Le Coq, I’m sure I don’t have point out the obvious concern with those three players during the course of the season.
But this is now our team first team squad until January at least like it or not. We could all talk about missed opportunities in the transfer window, talk about players who would have made us better, argue over players who should never have been sold but what has been done has been done and now it’s time to support the players that want to wear the shirt for The Arsenal.
The only team of the 92 league clubs in land not to have conceded a goal in their opening 3 games and players such as Sagna and Wilshere to return within the month how could you not be optimistic??!
Have a great Wednesday all.