Alo alo Gunners! This is for your eyes only- the post-match analysis for the Arsenal vs Stoke away game. Before we get to the nitty gritty, I must admit I was initially scared about how the lads would look in the purple kit in the Premier League but them Gunners made it look goooooooood! Right, with that out of the way- I predicted a 1-1 draw at the Britannia and I wasn’t far off. It would be far-fetched to say we are on a goal drought after just two tough games. But come the end of September when we have finished playing Liverpool (Away), Southampton (Home), Man City (Away) and Chelsea (Home), expect the media to pounce on our “deficiencies” irrespective of good or bad results.
A few years ago, we were all scared of our vulnerability of the man between the posts (Almunia). He was a good goalkeeper for us but just had some inconsistent matches. Now we have Chesney owning the #1 position like a boss. Mannone impressed (although he looked a bit nervous) and Fabianski is a good #2. We are quite content if not happy about our Goalkeeping solutions.
Now if we take a look at our defensive situation in a similar light, we’ve always had an unsettled defence pair at the back for half a decade, let me take you down memory lane- Djourou, Senderos, Campbell, Gallas, Silvestre, Squillaci, Miquel with Song and Gilberto making cameo appearances. Over the past season, we have established a hardcore pair of centre backs- Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen (Cue epic music!). And, as backup we have the highly technical and gentle German Giant- Per Mertesacker. If that isn’t good enough, Steve Bould has come in and brought an overall defensive shape to our team. I know I keep going on about this, but I cannot emphasise how important this is to our club being taken seriously by the other elites in the league and in Europe. No more 8-2 or 4-0 losses. No more curling under my Arsenal posters and crying like a baby. HELL NO!
On the attacking front, Santi Cazorla is pure magic. He has a Messi-esque movement about him. An interesting stat– Only 3 players in last Liga’s season had over a 1000 passes- Messi: 1303, Xavi: 1101 and Cazorla: 1037. Enough said. Podolski showed promising signs of adapting to the league. Giroud reminds me of Bendtner and Djokovic. Let’s hope he reminds us of goals because I am one of those Gunners who jumps up from a chair in joy after a goal is scored. By the way, did anyone else cringe when Robin Van Nistelrooy (You should get the reference by now) scored? (He’s put a dagger in Arsenal’s heart). A quick point- I am really happy at how Podolski and Co. are showing team spirit on the pitch- Tres important!
Summary: As things stand, Arsenal are headed towards 38 cleansheets and 38 points in the bag. Surely the trend will change to more positive results, yes? Maybe? … 90 more minutes at Merseyside against the always valiant Liverpool will tell.
Villain of the week: Robin Van Nistelrooy (and already nominated for Villain of the season)
Thank you note: We’ve had a tremendous response from Gunners worldwide (from 27 countries across all continents except the Antarctic). These are humble beginnings and we are ever grateful to our fellow Gunners. The best fans for the best team in the world!