Arsenal claw back some pride

Arsenal 1-1 Manchester City

It’s a mystery to me how the same team that keeled over and sank beneath the waves so spectacularly last weekend could, just a week later, give a passable impression of a side once again dining at the top table. I mix my metaphors like Arsenal mix their performances.

A far better display all round, with a rediscovery of better defensive resilience at its heart. If I try to work out what makes Arsenal tick I give myself a splitting headache, so I’ve given up trying. Much of our malaise has been in the mind, which is what makes it so hard to pinpoint. ‘Psychology – bloody hell’, to paraphrase a well-worn football saying.

In the circumstances, a draw was an excellent result. But frustrating too, if you look at the table, with us five points off the top, and wonder how things might have been different had we not gone full Light Brigade at Stamford Bridge.

We defended well, even with Sagna motoring forward to cross. It’s a shame the arm-waggling, shrugging Giroud could not be more effective, but he’s running on empty. There is no lead in the Giroud pencil (footballistically). Of course, Sagna chugging up the wing is a risky strategy, but there’s a very large Walcott-shaped hole on our right flank, so needs must.

In the midfield, Rosicky and Cazorla did well ahead of Arteta and Flamini. We worked harder off the ball, basically, and it showed.

The atmosphere was superb. It was really noisy and if you want to attribute that to the indomitable spirit of Arsenal fans, you’re very welcome to. Personally, I suspect an extra two and a half hours of beer had an effect…

We’re often accused of lacking tough, spiky players, which is odd given we have Flamini and Podolski. The former’s like a coiled spring, like a little yapping dog, and Podolski’s not scared to get in people’s faces either.

He’s an interesting conundrum is Podolski. His mistake led to City’s goal, and he often leaves enormous gaps on the left, making the full-back’s job harder, but there’s something about him I really like. He’s pretty quick, his crossing is excellent and he can score (should have scored yesterday, maybe, but Hart saved well). It’s been a very fitful season but he’s scored eight goals in twelve starts – good stats. So when the summer reckoning comes to pass, I hope he stays.

I leave you with this thought:

Diaby’s back in training this week.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. PDDD

    From the Guardian’s match report about Flamini. When I hear Arsene say things like that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry ! (note : the ‘Perhaps he ought to…’ bit wasn’t added by me……
    “He gives us a balance that we need,” Wenger said afterwards of his “Little Corporal”. Perhaps he ought to pick him a little more often in these big games.
    Diaby ? Look, on a personal level, I’d be delighted for the guy if he got back playing. As a Gooner, it’s largely irrelevant news. The only gain from an Arsenal perspective would be hopefully get him out on loan for the last season of his contract & get the wage bill down a bit….

  2. East Lower

    I jest about Diaby to be honest. But to have at least one player back from injury is a start…

  3. NextStars

    Consistancy is missing in Arsenal

  4. PDDD

    I’m afraid you’re in the minority…the mindlessly endless optimism of some bloggers genuinely talking up having him back is just depressing.
    Is it really 13 years since Rocky died ? Wow. Still think of him as one of the greatest. Legend.

  5. East Lower

    Ha – well I was being sarcastic about Diaby…

  6. PDDD

    Arsene after Man City…….’so I think we have turned the corner and we have an opportunity to show that against Everton.’It’d be hilarious if we hadn’t heard it so often before….yet another variation of the ‘great mental strength’ nonsense…can there really be anyone who still believes that Arsene is the man to make us great again ? Not want, we all want it…but truly believe it.
    Is there anyone ?
    Thank God Everton were so injury-hit or could have been a lot worse…. (just wanted to get that in before the old bullshit injury excuses are trotted out again – other teams are affected just as badly as us but saying we’re worse off allows people to excuse Arsene for bad management)

    If Arsene truly loves the club, he will walk away at the end of the season regardless of what happens between now & then.

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