Evening fellow Gooners!
I’ve braved the terrors of Christmas shopping today, and I feel all the stronger having done so. Navigating swarms of busy shoppers is ordinarily the kind of pursuit to fill me with apoplexy. Today, I put my head down and went for it; buzzing blindly from shop to shop like a bargain hungry Gervinho. Now I can sit down, enjoy a cuppa, and write something for you lovely people – safe in the knowledge I’ve completed my purchases for another year.
Yesterday was a result for Arsenal. Not a performance or a spectacle, but a result. Against a battling Wigan side intent on closing down at every opportunity, Arsenal held firm and came away with the spoils in distinctly workmanlike fashion. It wasn’t flashy, or particularly impressive, but I don’t care. It’s all about the 3 points.
Throughout a calendar as busy as English football’s, there will be days when you don’t perform well and have to grind out a result. To me, being able to do so is as important as the days when the team is playing at its peak. Arsenal can play immeasurably better than they did at the JJB Stadium. The fact that we came away with victory on the back of such an unremarkable display is a good sign – an abilty all good teams need.
It’s difficult to single any one player out for praise. The defence showed its customary lapses and propensity for alarming slips, but on the whole dealt with most things confidently. Szczsney made a few telling stops here and there, but remained untroubled for the majority of the game.
One area in which I think we faltered was up front, and mainly Theo. I think Theo has some attributes to make a good striker, but against a side that defends deep, as Wigan did, he loses the ability to unleash his greatest weapon – pace. Yesterday’s match was far more suited to Olivier Giroud – a player able to hold up the ball better than Walcott.
Theo was ineffective, and although he did win the penalty in dubious fashion, that was about his only real contribution. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying he can’t play up front, because I think he can. However, there are certain instances where he isn’t the right choice – he lacks the artistry and nous of a Henry or van Persie, both of whom could create their own space .
If the play is open, and there is space to exploit – he’s lethal, and he’s got a good eye for goal. As an impact sub when our opponents are pressing us he’d be a wonderful outlet. I just can’t see him truly being a success in a position that requires more than just speed. On his own, he will struggle, but he could be excellent with someone like Giroud to play alongside.
Our contract-stalling little Theo has played as a only striker twice, and he did well against Reading. I wouldn’t think for a second to write him off, and I hope he proves me wrong. That said, I would still prefer to see Arsene invest in another forward during the January window, and Walcott to be used on the right side of the attack.
That’s all for today folks. We head into Christmas sitting proudly 3rd place in the Premiership – albeit on goal difference. Bradfor City marked a new low in the fortunes of Arsene Wenger’s tenure as Arsenal manager, and hopefully the lowest ebb of this season. Things appear to be improving, and long may it continue. We might all be able to crack a smile before long…
The comments await your views below. Do you think Theo has what it takes to be a lone striker? Did you think he looked ineffective? Who would you like to see signed in January to play that role? Let me know some of your thoughts.
I shall return tomorrow.
Lastly, yesterday was a milestone. It represented a year since the day I first began doing this blog properly. A lot has happened in that year, and things have been relatively successful. I’d like to extend huge thanks to all of you for reading and commenting, and great appreciation to the following people for their time, assistance, contributions, and general awesomeness:
Tim Stillman, Andrew @Arseblog, Pedro @Le Grove, Daniel Cowan, Dave Seager, Jules Wheeler, Mean Lean @Arsenal Vision, and any of my Twitter friends I’ve forgotten to mention.