Wolves 0-3 Arsenal, or Spreading the Wealth
So we met Wolves at their place yesterday and it was a good result for us: a 3-0 away victory at any club is a great showing. The score sheet had three different players on it, something that’s become more common in the last couple of months than earlier in the season. What I take from this is an overall improvement in the team’s approach to each game we’ve played in recent weeks; I think there’s a growing confidence, which we’ve all discussed before, but also a greater understanding among the players when it comes to individual plays on the pitch. Back in November, I found myself shouting at the TV screen about the squads inability to hold on to the ball and do something useful with it, but now I watch with delight and hope for those quick one-touch passes and the eventual key pass to put someone in at goal.
That this change has occurred for the team is fantastic, but there are individuals who have made a difference as well. Walcott has been working harder in the last couple of months than he has for much of the season. We’re used to seeing him have a good game here and there, but his overall level of quality and the quantity of his contributions has increased. He’s starting to like being in front of goal a little more, and is more sure of himself when he cuts inside and makes a run. His goal last night, assisted by van Persie, showed a composure on his part, of which I’d seen little until February/March. Can this be a big step in his improvement at the club?
Benayoun, though underrated by quite a few gooners, put in a shift last night. In general, his work-rate is fantastic and even late into a game he’s one of the players who continues to rush around the pitch and add energy to our performance. I like how we play when Yossi gets a start, there’s a certain dynamic he brings to the left that has served us well. It’s great to see a player who, though he is only here on loan, puts everything into each game; something we saw little of from the squad as a whole last season, but is growing at present. A lovely goal from him to make it 3-0 last night.
I’ll end with a note on Robin. He’s been in a bit of a scoring drought lately and that’s something you’d expect from someone who’s been in fantastic form for over a year, but he showed signs last night of coming through it by finding net again with a sweet chipped penalty. There’s a confidence in him still that sees him taking those chances and, more often than not, making good on them. While he was rather quiet against Man City on Sunday, it’s worth noting that he’s still making important passes and, like last night, contributing to other goals with an assist here and there (he’s currently 5th in the League for assists with 10). Robin has commented lately that playing well isn’t just about scoring goals, and when the goals don’t come he is still happy if he passes well and provides assists. I for one hope he continues to perform well in all ways.
We have Wigan at home coming up on Monday, which wouldn’t normally be a terribly difficult game, but United found out last night that Wigan can be a handful. Here’s hoping we do better and batter them properly.