Morning, 2017 friends.
You might have noticed that yesterday’s preview did not materialise. Primarily, this was due to a preposterously busy NYE at work followed by an equally busy breakfast the day after. Add those two things to visits from friends and relatives to see the bunnies. By the time I’d sat down and prepared to watch the game, it was 3;45 and there isn’t much point writing then.
But I sat down at that time with a bottle of beer and a belly full of meat and vegetable pie. Beer, pie and The Arsenal; I can’t think of a better means of seeing in the new year. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of events and how they unfolded yesterday, I’d like to wish each and every one of you delicious individuals that come here to have a read all the best for 2017. If you follow this blog and support any of what I try to do, then I sincerely thank you for doing so.
So, onto the game.
For the time being, I shall ignore that moment that has everybody talking and reflect on what was comfortable, focused performance from Arsenal. When it was announced that Mesut Ozil was going to miss the game with a bad cold (He always seems to get colds over Christmas/NYE… I’m thinking he hit the Advocaat a little too hard on Saturday night and ended up naked in a hotel room in Peterborough with 5 circus midgets and an angry chicken) I did fear, coupled with Palace’s ‘new manager syndrome’, that we might be in for one of those days at the office where it all goes tits up. Ever the optimist, aren’t I…
How wrong I was. Other than a brief period in the 2nd half in which Petr Cech was called upon to repel a flurry of shots on goal, we always looked in total control. By the time that happened, we’d taken things a little easy having just gone 2-0 up thanks to Alex Iwobi’s looping header at the back post. Palace offered very little until the shackles came off when they accepted defeat. Had they been a little less cautions in their approach, they may have caused us more problems.
The midfield impressed me. Elneny I’m a big fan of already. He’s got such an engine on him; he seems capable of running and running and running. Once he’s stopped running, I imagine he gets home and goes out running just to recover from all the running he did earlier in the day. And then he runs up to bed where he can dream about running. I’ve encountered some remarks about his technique but find that rather stupid in all honesty. Technique is purely visual and those who don’t have the silky skills and effortless grace don’t often get equal praise. Elneny holds the highest percentage of passing accuracy – 93% – at the Club and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play badly.
Xhaka alongside him is pure class. Combative, strong, good on the ball and he has the cunning and guile to pick out a pass. Eventually I think Arsene’s first choice pairing in central midfield will be Xhaka and Ramsey. But for the time being, I think ‘Xhakneny’ is the way to go. With our Egyptian friend of the the ACON for month or so, that’ll have to be put on hold. Whatever pairing you prefer, we have strength and quality in depth in the positions.
We took 3 points yesterday in a strong, measured display. After the disappointment of 2 away defeats, 2 home victories have gone some way to restoring confidence. Offesnively, without Mesut Ozil, we still looked threatening and the fullbacks, Bellerin in particular, ripped Palace apart in certain moments. All in all, a good day at the office.Only good can be taken from the performance.
So, onto that moment; Giroud’s jaw-dropping scorpion kick
If you’ve not seen it, here it is:
This Ladies and Gentlemen is The Perfect Arsenal Goal… Wengerball at its finest
— Hassan (@ClassofBergkamp) January 1, 2017
I think you’ll all agree it was a “F*CKING HELL!!!!’ moment. In fact, If you were to ask my girlfriend, she’d tell you that my first expression was exactly that, followed by “What a goal!” – she then proceeded to relentless mock me for the quickness I went for my phone to tweet about what ethereal occurrences my mere mortal eyes have witnessed.
Surely it’s the early winner of any goal of the season contest. There have been many comparisons made with Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s goal for United on Boxing Day and whether it served as Giroud’s inspiration. Both are great goals (only one was onside) and I feel comparison is a touch futile, but I’m totally bias so Giroud’s is the better goal. Not just on account of execution, but for the impressive build-up. It was a team goal and a wonderful counter-attack as well as such an audacious finish.
Regarding the inspiration coming from United’s man? Only one person will truly know that, but to me it seems unlikely. Performing something like that scorpion kick isn’t something you head out onto the pitch intending to attempt, it just occurs in the spur of the moment. Irrespective of all that, it has a truly wonderful moment and something Olivier Giroud will always be associated with at Arsenal. The fact that he failed to make contact with a cross 4 yards from goal mere moments before is just so typically Giroud… At the point of being totally frustrating, he reminds you of just how brilliant he can be and does something incredible.
That’s all from me today, folks. I’ve a busy day of enjoy a day off to contend with. I shall endeavour to return to your PC terminals, laptops and smartphone screens very soon. In the meantime, why not drop me a comment and share this post across social media? You can do both things below here.
As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.