Getting better… and luckier
I often post about the problems Arsenal have or about their dismal performances but tonight I will restrict my complaints about Arsenal to a quick rampage about Arsenals terrible set piece defending and a few constructive criticisms.
Arsenal, far from their clinical best or even comfort tonight, put in a good performance tonight and importantly made it three wins on the trot which the Arsenal faithful will tell you hasn’t happened for a while. Arsenal weren’t assured in possession and gave the ball away too easily. Arsenal aren’t releasing the ball quick enough on most occasions and when the do it’s to the wrong person. We need to work on out passing triangles, passing at speed and slowing a game down to build a meaningful attack. Getting up the pitch quickly means sod all if nothing comes of it or we don’t even work the keeper. That said I think these are little issues that we can improve on and will fix themselves through hard training or naturally through this new look team gelling completely.
Song was absolutely immense tonight. He was calm and assured in possession. His heading was spot on and he held a line well with the rest if the back four. The fact that he was many people’s MOTM says more about Arsenal’s shakiness at times than his performance but nonetheless his contribution was fantastic. Hopefully we don’t see him at CB for long. He is a class act as a DMF and I’m sure he can teach Frimpong a thing or two. Well done Alex, you played well tonight.
Santos was very impressive tonight, he drifts in field a little bit too much but his defending was sound, his attacking commendable, his goal well taken and his wing play close to excellent.
Mertesacker for me grew with the game and looked commanding and solid for the last 35 minutes. I think he will continue to improve and will be a real presence. I’m looking forward to seeing him play with Vermaelen. It was also great to see an Arsenal player put his foot through the ball and launch it up the field when it playing out of defence looks dangerous which Arsenal have been poor at in recent years. My only criticism of Mertesacker is that he doesn’t attack the ball enough in set pieces at either end. I hope that comes.
Arteta as we know is a good player. His all round play has impressed me and I think he will flourish more and more with Arsenal’s brand of football but what has impressed me most isn’t his passing or his attacking runs but his tenacious tackling and fierce defending. He puts himself about and chases down his loose passes which I think was Cesc’s greatest weakness and something he’ll never improve as Barca’s pressing game will disguise such mistakes.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was very impressive tonight. He will be a great player. You can see that his batteries aren’t top level just yet and I think it will take a season for his stamina to get to the level it needs to be. He came out after the game and spoke to the press and he was eloquent and level-headed. I think I was only marginally more impressed by his performance than I was by what a nice young man he is.
Frimpong was also quite good defensively, but he needs to look to Song for lessons on staying calm in possession as his passing isn’t great and certainly wasn’t good enough tonight. He seemed in too much of a hurry to release the ball and start an attack which is the opposite of what I was praising him for in my last post. That’s not his job and against a better side could have been heavily punished.
Overall I think things are looking more positive for Arsenal. Chamakh had some good moments but also needs to improve his engine. We are certainly getting a better rub of luck, the crossbar keeping us 2-1 up, the corner flag changing a potentially dangerous corner into a harmless throw in and Arteta making save of the match. Little bits of luck like this make big differences over the season and I’d say that Arsenal have missed that bit of luck for a long time.
Arsenal need to improve set piece defending and attacking but if we makes those few tweaks then I think we’ll get stronger as players come back and get enough form to maybe push on for a cup and decent league finish.
So it’s three wins on the trot and here’s to four at WHL and then maybe a bit of a run. Bring on the Spuds!
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