The Armchair Gooner

An Arsenal blog bringing you news, opinion and humour on a daily basis. Well, I'll try at the very least…

Giroud answers critics (kinda), SuperRosicky and another impressive away victory.

“1 goal gets you tickets to the gun show, ladies”

Morning, delicious and ebullient individuals.

Recently, I was discussing my beloved team’s fortunes with a friend of mine and I used the following point; Arsenal have not played exceptionally well for quite a while. Now, that might sound like a fairly strange thing to say, but it’s something I stand by absolutely, and a statement intended to highlight a very good thing.

Yesterday at St James’ Park we battled and dug our heels in to get a very, very good result. Resolute defending and togetherness against a side capable of giving anyone a game is what saw us past the finishing line. Yet, we didn’t play well. Our attacking players created little and there was a litany of unnecessary blunders and the cheap giving away of possession – Szczesny was almost left with egg splattered all across his face when he adopted a blasé approach to clearing the ball. Oh, silly Wojciech… Please stop doing that. Please. One of these days, you’re not going to get away with it. 

The point I’m making here is this; we can perform better, create more chances and take greater control of games. And we will. As the season progresses, the sign of any team with title aspirations is the ability to pick up results without performing to the high levels they are capable. Leaving our best form until the final few months of the season will certainly see us genuinely in contention if we continue to pick up results like yesterday’s.

That’s not to say I thought we were appalling at Newcastle. The combination of Mertesacker and Koscielny at the back was absolutely magnificent, and even with my unabashed bias, I still feel I can say they are comfortably the best central defensive partnership playing in England at present. The two compliment each other perfectly; one has the wise head and the other the verve and exuberance. Aside from the blot on the copybook at Manchester City, our succession of good results owes as much to the solid defensive performances of those two – and the rest of the back 5 –  as it does anyone else.

One person due a mention is Tomas Rosicky. He was astounding yesterday. His contribution might not have been up to his usual standards, but to see a player his age keep running and closing down until the 90th minute was a sight to behold. Where does he get the energy? I’m only a couple of years older, and I doubt I could run 300 yards to the shop without taking a couple of breaks, let alone do it for a full match in the Premiership. Perhaps he’s a touch Benjamin Button? Could be – we should definitely being offering him a contract if that’s the case.

Lastly, we come to that hulking brute of smouldering French discontent that is Olivier Giroud. Nobody quite does exasperated flaps and wails of sorrow like Olivier, do they.  Recently, he’s found himself on the business end of quite the amount of snarky vitriol and angry keyboard warriors irritated becuase he didn’t cost £50m and isn’t the second coming of Thierry Henry.

It’s often overlooked how much he does on the pitch. As someone whose name escapes me recently stated, “His contribution to the team will only truly be appreciated when he isn’t there”.  I concur. Olivier might lack the speed, grace and ostentatious technique of his predecessors, but he is a valuable member of the team, and I don’t give a f**k what any of you bitter souls have to say as an argument. I was genuinely delighted he bagged the winning goal, and, again, whilst I can’t put forward a case for it being a vintage Giroud performance, he never stopped trying.

With a bit of luck, the confidence that has deserted him in recent weeks is on some way to being replenished. Goals will have that effect on strikers. He still needs some help up there, and Arsenal certainly would benefit from being able to deploy someone with the ability to mix things up and offer an altogether different threat to opponents. However, Giroud being our first choice striker doesn’t fill me with the dread it does others. I’ve always liked him as a player.

That’s all for today, folks. We will see out 2013 as the top team in the Premiership, and whilst that counts for nothing, it’s still a good place to be. Reservations about a title challenge aren’t unfair or disparaging at this point, but why not dare to dream? There are plenty of elaborate twists and turns to be navigated between now and the final day in May. Regardless of what the so-called experts may tell you, we’re in with as good a chance as anyone else.

You know the drill, boys ‘n’ girls. Take a moment to pop down some of your thoughts in the comments below. Tell me what you thought of the performance and who stood out amongst the players. I shall look forward to flicking through your responces. I might even respond to a few if I’m feeling chatty.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

Category: Match reviews
  • Ibrahim Abdulrazak Mohammed Albutaihi says:

    We are doing fine. There is one problem and it is called Man City. They have the best team in PL during the last 3 years. It is a team which have Dzecko, Nasri and even Silva in the bench without losing quality. If they will play to their potential it will be very difficult to beat them in the second half of the season. We have a much better chance if we sign a world class striker or if city keep their poor away form. We can edge chelsea and United this season. Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton are not real contenders.

    December 30, 2013 at 9:34 am
  • lance says:

    a win at st james park is an excellent result these days but that performance would not have beaten city,chelsea,liverpool or everton. to win the league we need better than giroud. we need a striker who runs on to through balls and finishes. someone with a decent enough brain to read the passes thats gonna come in from ozil,ramsey,cazorla,wiltshire,walcott,rosicky. The truth is that Giroud is most definately not that man.

    December 30, 2013 at 9:34 am
    • gunner4life says:

      lance… giroud does read passes, and he either finishes himself or lays it off with a deft flick for podolski to put der hammer down on it, Walcott to run on to it or one of our other extremely talented midfielders to finish (have u forgotten the Norwich goal?). giroud is central to our attack, and as far as beating those other teams u mentioned, we beat Liverpool, convincingly, and were it not for poor officiating we would have beaten city, with giroud having a good goal called offside, we drew against Chelsea in horrible conditions and mate come on really, u say that the performance against newcastle wouldn’t produce a win against those other teams, do we really need to approach newcastle as if they are man city? a win is what’s important and that’s what we got

      December 30, 2013 at 9:50 am
  • manyando says:

    You basterd frog you must no how talk to people, what kind of a suport are you in arsenal we resperct people, What kid of a creature are you.Maybe you are Chelsea suport
    not Arsenal.

    December 30, 2013 at 9:42 am
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      @manyando: I assume that’s aimed at me…

      December 30, 2013 at 10:58 am
      • goonerdyllan says:

        What kid of a creature are you, Stokes!? What kid of a creature?

        December 30, 2013 at 3:27 pm
  • sans says:

    James,one issue you felt to address was the officiating.how Tiote escaped being sent off baffles especially considering how mr Probert delightfully booked Rosicky n Flamini.

    December 30, 2013 at 9:48 am
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      @sans: I agree. Tiote did seem able to do pretty much whatever he liked.

      December 30, 2013 at 10:57 am
  • nijwm says:

    1. top of the table in 2014. long may it continue;
    2. highest points total away from home in the league;
    3. best defensive record in the league ( 8 clean sheets, haven’t conceded more than once in a league match except the 3-1 against villa and the 6-3 against city);
    COYG

    December 30, 2013 at 10:04 am
  • Gooner4life says:

    Great post. I agree that was an amazing performance, the performance dare I say it of champions. We played at a fraction (certainly in attack) of what we’re capable, but despite this came away with all three points. How many times in past seasons have we seen united not showing up but walking away with all the points…if we continue grinding out these results, may be the best May in a while….

    December 30, 2013 at 11:02 am
  • john says:

    Considering the amount of injuries we have had to contend with and the fact we are still not firing on all cylinders amidst all the negativity from the media we are top and you know what we will get even stronger.A message to all Giroud knockers he has gone through a rough patch but he Will score at least 20 goals wait and see furthermore we will win the title with all our players back can’t wait

    December 30, 2013 at 11:31 am
  • Philbet says:

    Thats it then, Giroud’s not good enough and we cant win with him at CF, we might as well just concede now and not bother playing the next 19 games,
    Do some posters specialize in futility ??
    We could go out and spend £50Million on Torres or £35Million on Carroll,we wouldn’t win the PL but according to some it would give us hope……..

    December 30, 2013 at 11:46 am
  • seppy says:

    fans are hard to impress…i still remember when we used to play the so called beautifull soccer but still lose points and cry out to the side to fight and win ugly which they did against newcastle….why are people complaining about that display?

    December 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm
  • Veer says:

    Giroud said arsenal dont need another striker, a him, Theo, and Poldi can lead out title chase. He does have a point I guess… What do you think?

    December 30, 2013 at 12:22 pm
    • James 'Raul' Stokes says:

      @Veer:

      I’m not sure about Theo. I love him, but playing upfront alone doesn’t suit him. He could play as a striker, but he’d need a partner to be really effective. Podolski could do a job. He’s a lethal finisher. Personally, I still think we could use someone else – even if it’s just a loan signing to see us through until the summer.

      December 30, 2013 at 12:24 pm
  • Mohamed Taj says:

    in still have to point a finger at wilshere dragging the ball for too long not knowing that by so doing his team mates gate marked by the opposing team he should look up to release it faster

    December 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm
  • Andrew says:

    Oh, please god, please let there be a Christmas miracle and gift us with a striker in January. Someone that can kick the ball would be nice. If he’s faster then Grandma then it would be the best gift ever.

    The bouffant-headed, giraffe-footed Giroud waved his hair at the ball (did he touch the bloody thing?) and it goes in! Miracle!! All are in love with the sulky malcontent again. Nobody dare mention the staggeringly clumsy and hopelessly inept miss in front of goal in the same match, because then you’re not a true Gooner. And bitter, don’t forget bitter.

    Mr. Giroud: “Je ne veux pas un autre attaquant”. That settles it then – god forbid Giroud is given some competition because he “doesn’t wan’t another striker”. Right, right, say no more – f**k it then, don’t bother improving the team, there’s always Theo and Podolski to save the day – we must not upset Monsieur Fantastique.

    Aaaarghhhh!!

    December 31, 2013 at 3:12 am

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