Arsenal 3-0 Watford
A fairly straightforward three points in the end, and a long winter beckons for Watford I fear.
It’s not that they weren’t spirited, or even that they didn’t have a few shots on goal, you just never felt that they were at the races, and the result was a comfortable return to league form for us on what could have been a tricky day.
Good performance too. Perhaps in deference to my regular whinges (though perhaps not), Wenger started with two Englishmen, Theo Walcott and Justin Hoyte, and both competed well. Naturally, Walcott gets all the press; it being his first start, and he being who he is, but I thought Hoyte was more comfortable at right-back than he has been on the left, and if he could just be a bit more adventurous going forward, like Eboue is, then he can be more effective too.
Walcott â€“ good full debut all round. Some nice passes, a couple of searing runs, and more evidence, as if it were needed, that he’s going to feature a lot this year. Furthermore, Henry and he seem to revel in one another’s pace â€“ that’s a working relationship that will be interesting to watch develop.
Another interesting thing is how much strength in depth we suddenly appear to have too. Part of this is down to injured players returning, and part down to young players who have stepped up a grade, but there seem to be more options now. Hleb rested â€“ in comes Walcott. Eboue injured â€“ in comes Hoyte. Clichy/Senderos injured â€“ there’s Djourou and Gallas. Ljungberg crocked â€“ Rosisky is there.
The only places we are looking a little unedermanned are left-back (Clichy is the only natural one) and in the defensive midfield position, where Gilberto has a free reign. Diaby will presumably offer him cover there when he is back.
Elsewhere â€“ anyone else notice the distinct lack of Clock End yesterday? It’s completely gone now, which is an odd sight indeed. The roof’s off the old North Bank too, so things are moving, and moving fast. It’s strange – despite Highbury being just 200 yards the other way, I’ve not been past it since May. Perhaps a pilgrimage and a few photos are on the cards.
Onto Tuesday, and a tougher test against CSKA Moscow at 5.30pm
5.30pm? Is it really that cold in Moscow at this time of year? What about all us poor sods working, eh?
Rubbish that is.