Arsenal Getting Back on Track
Arsenal have been a little up and down in the last couple of weeks. After a decent start to the season, going undefeated in the first seven games in all competitions, we fell 2-1 to Chelsea at home on September 29. I have to say, this was disappointing. The quality of our play was poor compared to how it had been and our defense looked shaky, which is something that I fear has continued somewhat in subsequent games. We’re steadily beginning to let in soft goals here and there, nothing serious enough to have us lose any other games, but enough to cause some level of worry. I think this is due to Mertesacker being out a few games and Vermaelen playing with less focus than he has been known for (he likes to run ahead and attack a little too much for a centre half, leaving the defense open). Mertesacker is back now, however, and had a great game against West Ham. If I remember correctly, he’s completed the most last man defensive tackles in the league thus far with three, and that shows some skill and commitment on his part.
Speaking of West Ham, Giroud managed his first league goal with a fine stretched finish from a Podolski cross. It’s good to see him finally getting on the score sheet after taking flak from fans about his inability to hit the target. His positioning has been fantastic and he knows how to work himself and defenders around the box, but has had nothing but poor luck since pulling on an Arsenal shirt. He broke this streak with a fine goal against Olympiacos in the Champions League last week, and quickly followed it up with the West Ham goal in his next start. Hopefully this will be the beginning of many for the Frenchman. His intelligence and positioning are obvious and given a bit more time I think he’ll begin to contribute nicely to the team’s goal tally.
And what about Santi Cazorla? Has there been a more exciting signing in recent seasons? His flash and creativity are incredible to watch, only to be outdone by his skill on the ball. He hardly ever loses possession and regularly takes on multiple opposition when he’s making forward runs. His two-footed playing style is something fresh in the team as well. It’s nothing to see him make a successful long ball pass across the entire pitch with his left foot and then turn around and do the same with his right. He’s certainly becoming the heartbeat of the team, dictating play and pushing the team into threatening positions. He’s scored two goals in Premier League play this far, making him crucial to the attacking drive of the team. He’s not afraid to shoot from distance either, and I’m sure we’ll see more goals from him like the screamer he scored late in the game on the weekend.
And so we’re now into an international break with no games coming up until the 20th of October. As hard as it will be to bear such a thought, the bright side is that it seems the returns of Sagna and Wilshere are just around the corner, making for some exciting times ahead for gooners. It looks like after a poor performances against Chelsea, the team is getting back on track. In the meantime, here’s to hoping no one gets injured on international duty. Fingers crossed.