Morning, shiny happy people.
Yesterday was exactly what we needed it to be; a victory to get us back on track. What’s important to consider as far as I’m concerned is we got the 3 points after two back-to-back defeats. It may not have been comprehensive, compelling, a spectacle or easy on the nerves, but we won.
These games occur when Arsenal have had a bad patch. You can sense the nerves from the players right the way to the fans. The longer the score stayed 0-0, the worse it got. Around the 70 minute mark (In some cases long before) swords were being sharpened across the internet as it looked very much like West Brom and an in-form, time-wasting Ben Foster would keep us at bay.
But thanks to a fine cross from Mesut Ozil and a header that deserves a great deal of praise from Olivier Giroud, we took the spoils of victory and postponed another epic meltdown amongst some of our more peculiar supporters. Both players had been relatively anonymous during the game – Ozil in particular appears to be having a dip in form – but showed exactly their worth in that moment. Ozil’s cross was accurate to a millimetre and Giroud’s finish was cushioned perfectly to arc over Foster’s reach and executed whilst under considerable pressure from the defender.
The performance as a whole was far from bad. We created chances, controlled the possession and, aside from a wobble from Cech that presented West Brom a chance from which they should have scored, we didn’t look under any threat from our opponents. Admittedly, we were some distance from the level of performance we’ll need to show consistently if we are to challenge, but it wasn’t quite the shower of sh*t you’ll read others tell you it was.
“We had to be patient against a very well organised West Brom side – nobody beats them easily in this league,
They are tenacious and disciplined. We needed to keep composure and our patience. We couldn’t afford to make a defensive mistake as they are dangerous on the counter attack.
We had a very high level of possession and domination but we needed something special from Olivier”
There were plenty of plus points. Lucas Perez looked sharp and eager to get involved when he came on. He’s also got a wonderful turn of pace. His goals record since he came to Arsenal is very good indeed. Players from abroad often need a period to acclimatise to the ferocious pace of the Premiership. Lucas has had a nice period of time to bed himself in and I think we’ll start to see more of him over the next 5 months.
However, I again noticed the phenomenon that is Francis Coquelin; trequartista. Maybe this complaint is something that only bothers me. The last time I put my thoughts down into words, there was a bit of a backlash as some of you felt I was being a touch unfair. I think Coquelin is a solid, dependable midfielder when it comes to the holding, defensive position. But he’s not Rivaldo in the attacking third, and at one point yesterday he was trying to do one-twos on the left corner of the opponents penalty area.
Against better opponents, we will get punished if he continues to do that. I noticed both he and Xhaka played in higher offensive positions. Taking into account the lack of an attacking threat from West Brom, I can understand if they’ve been given a freedom to join the attacks. But surely one should stay whilst the other goes? At times, I could see huge gaps in the midfield a good counter-attacking team would have used to rip us to shreds.
But that’s a slightly negative note and I’d far rather end things on a positive note today. We took 3 points after a very difficult week. Trailing Chelsea by 9 points at this stage doesn’t necessarily mean we have to concede the title and moan interminably for the the rest of the season. Of course, in all likelihood they will win the league as they look the most consistent and formidable at present.
But 3 months ago they looked anything but a title contender. Fortunes in this wonderful game can change quickly and until there’s a protuberant woman caterwauling at us all, nothing is decided and nothing is won.
That’s all for today, folks. Drop me some words in the handy comments section below with your thoughts on the result and the performance. I shall return soon with more so until that time, and as always: thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.