Three of your finest points

Marseilles 1-2 Arsenal

Well that went well. we rode the storm a bit but hit the sweet spot with Walcott’s strike and never looked back from there. This is a devil of a group – the best one we’ve had in a while (I mean that – it’s much more interesting this way) so to hit the ground running with an away win is just what the doctor ordered. Keep the prescriptions coming, Dr Win.

It has to be said, the hand-wringing and wailing over our summer of glacial transfer action and the opening day defeat to Villa have obscured – at least they have to me, for I do like to wail and wring my hands – what a good run of form we have hit since winning in Munich back in March. Ten away wins in a row is phenomenal, to be honest, as is one defeat in 18.

Sorry to put a dampener on things, but there will be setbacks. However, the trick when that happens is to get back in the saddle like we did after losing at home on the opening day (I never was good at metaphors). It sounds easy but as we know, it is never quite that simple. There have definitely been times over the last few years that playing at home has hindered us, little bit handbraked us, left us wallowing too much in the wanting zone, but I do think that sloshing £42.5m on a proven, top class player has Ozilified the home crowd somewhat. Let’s hope so because the players can feed off us, we can feed off the players: job’s a goodun.

One more thing: In an era of angst about the dearth of talent of the home nations, it was heartening once again to see Gibbs and Ramsey having such good games, for Walcott to score the crucial opening goal and to see Wilshere edge back to fitness. If England do drag themselves over the line to Brazil, it’d be a shame if all three of those Englishmen didn’t make it on the plane, but for Gibbs to get there it might take an injury to Cole or Baines. It is his misfortune to play in one of the positions where England are genuinely strong. Still, he’s improving fast and it’s lovely to see.

Now, if you don’t mind I’ve got to make some finishing touches to my Giroud Knee Shrine. There will be humming and probably beads.


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

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Jeff

    It’s the injuries that will kill us. Losing Cazorla and Podolski at the same time, two attacking players I rate among our best, is disappointing. If those two and Oxlade-Chamberlain, who I really liked in pre-season, come back, then we should be able to score more goals and win more comfortably.

    Having Giroud and Ramsey in good form, and adding Flamini and Ozil, makes the team look so much better, and now in midfield there’s serious competition.

    I think Wilshere might have trouble getting a game at the moment if everyone were fit.

    The 4-1-4-1 is built around Flamini, and that works to let Wilshere and Ramsey play together in the attacking midfield with Walcott and Ozil. As long as Wenger likes using Flamini, that should be good for Wilshere.

    With Arteta, we play more of a 4-2-3-1 with Ramsey slightly deeper, in my conceptual model if not in reality, with those three attacking midfield spots going to 1. Ozil, 2. Cazorla, 3. Walcott, or 4. Podolski; or 5. Oxlade-Chamberlain – If Arteta plays, I think it might tend to be at the expense of Wilshere unless he can oust Ramsey, Ozil, or Cazorla, which could take a while.

    In the strongest 11, though, for big matches (think cup finals), I’m not sure that having either Flamini or Arteta in the first 11 is the best option, at least not for connoisseurs of attacking football. Wilshere and Ramsey should learn to patrol midfield themselves. That’s how to get our best players on the pitch.

  2. East Lower

    But encouraging too that even in the absence of so many players we have depth in the middle. I think we’re alright at the back too. I think the point about Wilshere is not that he won’t get in, more that we no longer are obliged to play him 50-odd times, which is what did him in during his breakthrough season. Same applies to Cazorla.

  3. Jeff

    I half wondered if Cazorla was even injured at first, until I saw the bench against Sunderland. It crossed my mind that having never missed a game, he might be due for a rest.

  4. PDDD

    Flamini starts if fit. Plain & simple. We’re simply much better with him in the side.
    I wonder if we all go for a Giroud Knee Shrine would we get a good discount ???

  5. Mark White

    I’m slightly disappointed you went with “Ozilified” when you could have gone with “Ozilarated” but otherwise a great headline and another strong performance. A bit like the Arsenal themselves really, I could get used to this.

  6. East Lower

    Oh dearie me, how did I miss that? Might appropriate that at a later date…

  7. East Lower

    There’d be a lot of interest… bulk purchasing… I agree Flamini has been excellent but his injury record over the last 4 years is not encouraging so we might need to use him sparingly.

  8. Jeff

    Someone put this exact question to Arsene today: will Arteta be able to get a game with Flamini in form? He seemed to be leaning towards “probably,” but there seemed to be some doubt. Arsene said Arteta is a technical leader – I took that to mean that Flamini would likely be dropped for big games, based on his current thinking.

    My idea of having Jack and Aaron in central midfield behind four attacking players hasn’t gained any traction yet.

    There’s basically going to be an all out battle for the three central midfield spots, and even Ozil could lose out, and be pushed wide left.

  9. PDDD

    It’s the big games in particular Flamini has to play. We can cope with Arteta there against poor sides. Against good teams, (when a – we have to actually win the ball back instead of dominating possession & b – teams are confident enough to play through us instead of hoofing the ball over our midfield) he’s an absolute liability. One win in 10 (& that a game where we were 1-0 down v the Totts until Adebayor got sent off) against the 5 teams around us in the league proves that conculsively.
    I can’t believe that anyone who saw us against Chelsea/Man City/Man Utd last season could possibly believe otherwise..
    If Arteta gets fit & we need to use the Flam sparingly, then keep him for those games. And the Champions League.

  10. PDDD

    Oh, and this quote from Thoe is telling too…..’The likes of Mathieu coming in, he’s a leader and you saw him bossing people around, that’s what we need.’
    This team was way too quiet. I love the fact he bullies his own players as well as the opposition’s.

  11. Jeff

    Big away games, maybe?

  12. Jeff

    I kid. If he’s in form, then fine. Play him. I thought today against Stoke was his best game (from what I can see on television). I’d love to watch Flamini from the stands. He started the one match I did make it to.

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