Ahahahaaaaaaa! 3-1 to the Arsenal, I was delighted with the victory and how well we handled a rugged West Ham team. For this Post Match Analysis, we will take a different view and analyse the game from start to the end (rather than the individual performances – only because today was a team performance and because this was a derby match). I would say we have gelled as a team to about 85%, there is still some more intuitiveness needed in our game. But I was happy to see faster and fluent passing, more accurate team play. I think the last 15% would just be to have better communication ESPECIALLY when it comes to who is going to shoot a dropping ball or who is going to pick up the ball after defending a corner.
From the start of the game, Sam Allardyce’s men sent a message of intent as they kept playing long balls into the box and hustling our players each time with rough pressing. The only thing I like about Allardyce’s teams is that they fight tough but not dirty. Stoke on the other hand, go for the kill quite literally. So the game started off with an intensity well suited for a derby. Listening to the home fans singing ‘Forever blowing bubbles’ at Upton Park was a jolly reminder of the club, the fans and their passion. I’d recommend listening to their anthem; I would rate it as high as ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. Right so back to the game-
A few back and forth attacks by both teams told us that this match was going to be pacy and intense. Mohamed Diamé just kept us on our toes and he ended up scoring a brilliant goal. But I almost always prefer when we are 1-0 down because that brings more out of us soon after. As expected, it rightfully did with Giroud toe-poking the ball into the goal with a move which he initially started and linked to Podolski with. Just a few minutes earlier, Giroud had misplayed a headed ball forwarded by Per into the box, so that goal made up for that. Now, Andy Carroll seemed to be immense for Sam’s team but this is where his counterpart – Olivier Giroud was even better. He had lesser chances to win the ball, but he made it count each time- that made the key difference in the score line. So it ended 1-1 at the first half. Oh and a VERY cool fact, if you remember a few posts ago, I told you that Thierry Henry took 9 league games to score his first goal, well Giroud has taken the same 9 games to score his first league goal- Only in football ladies and gentleman, only in football.
The second half started with a more intense Arsenal, probably boosted by the equalizer and some strong but encouraging words from Le Boss Wenger. As time went by with the two teams still getting back to groove post half-time, they started to get tired and Diamé was taken off. Phew! For us, Gervinho who played well was taken off to be rested and Theo came on. Ramsey was not substituted because he was just being a brilliant central midfielder. His movements remind me of Tomas Rosicky, the way he turns, collects and moves about the pitch is so uncannily similar to the Lil Mozart. Theo scored a good goal (assisted by Giroud) and very passionately celebrated and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of his but after his recent performances, he has every right to demand to play in the central striker position.
Two things ended the match in a fitting manner; one was the Vaz Te-Mannone incident. Replays show that Ricardo Vaz Te had intentionally used his shin to kick into Mannone’s head and decided to dive after to make it look unintentional. What happened when he dived was his shoulder dislocated and he seemed to be in immense pain. Hopefully he gets well soon but that is karma getting right back at you. That is an important lesson for ANY footballer new or seasoned. FIFA’s fair play system may not be quite effective but the beautiful game was made so only because of playing good, clean and enjoyable football. I like tackles and such, but if you go about kicking people in the head for joy, you need to get your head checked first.
And the finally thing I wanted to cap this post off with was that beautiful goal by Cazorla. I have no words to describe this little masterclass. You have to go watch the goal again, simply amazing! So at the end of the match, we know we can wrap up games however tough they may get. We also know that Gibbs may be out for a while after he picked up a knock but Santos can deputize, that is what he was bought on for.
Oh and I cannot leave without mentioning the performance of Corporal Jenkinson (from a family of Arsenal fans), he kept flying down the right wing and kept at it all 90+5 minutes. I am so happy for him and I am sure his granddad is too …. Well we have a 2 week break (sigh) but I’ll see you on the other side, when we face Norwich away on the 20th of October. Cheerio!