We’ve qualified. Wether we top the group, or finish as runners-up remains to be seen, but Arsenal are heading into the last 16 where we’ll most probably have to play Barcelona.
Last night was something of a rarity; a fairly bland and comfortable win, and one that came with no concession. We took the points with two superb goals from Wilshere and Podolksi – Olivier Giroud’s contribution to both shouldn’t go unnoticed – and we never looked in any danger of losing to Montpellier. With Schalke also winning, they go into the final round of games a point ahead of us – finishing 1st will depend on us taking 3 points in Olympiakos, and Montpellier taking points off Schalke.
Whilst it would be difficult to offer monumental praise to anyone after such a routine and formulaic display, I though Laurent Koscielny looked immense at the back. He’s struggled on occasion to find his best form, but he looks like the best centre-back at the club when he’s on his game. With Gibbs now fit to play, it leaves Arsene with a selection problem; does he drop Koscielny in favour of returning Vermaelen to the centre. or leave out Mertesacker and risk upsetting the balance of the central pairing? It’s a tough call to make, especially since the captaincy hasn’t brought out Vermaelen’s best form.
All in all, it was good to see victory achieved without too much exertion, and even better to see us progress where Chelsea (most probably) and Manchester City have failed Â – it goes to show that money cant always buy you everything.
Elsewhere, that oh-so alarming trend of Ramsey bashing has reared it’s ugly and unwelcome head – this time before a game even started. In yesterday’s comments section, a thread discussing team selection quickly descended in a stomping ground for the “if Ramsey plays we’ll lose” club.
Now, I’m all for criticism of players if it’s constructive and has merit. No player should be above that. However, It’s often seen about the Goonersphere that our Welsh midfielder gets his, and everyone else’s, share. His form has been patchy – yes. But there has to be a point where we realise that singling him out for blame at every opportunity is both counter-productive and foolish.
I like Aaron. I see bags of potential in him, and I think some fans conveniently forget that he’s been through a lot for someone so young when they’re on the hunt for a scapegoat. I wouldn’t dispute he should be playing better, but my reason for saying so is simply because I believe he is more than capable of it. He isn’t a “championship player”, or the one reason most likely to make us lose. He’s a young guy with talent that needs our support. We should give it to him.
That’s all for today folks. I’ve opened up a fresh avenue for more Ramsey bashing here, but I’d like to see the other side of that argument, too. Do you think Aaron is unfairly treated? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading today, you beautiful bastards. I shall return tomorrow.