*blows dust off of keyboard* *cracks knuckles*
It's been a while since I posted for one reason or another. Mainly due to a lack of inspiration and the feeling that if I had to write anything about Arsenal recently, it would culminate in my admission to a psychiatric unit. The past few weeks haven't been particularly pleasant, to say the least.
However, the bad times are behind us for now after Arsenal rather unconvincingly limped across the finish line to beat Villa 2-1 at home today. It was anything but pretty. in fact at times it was disgustingly ugly, but the main thing is we picked up the 3 points and as far as I'm concerned most importantly, stopped people talking about the Munich massacre on Twitter for a little while. I was bored of that.
I will attempt to analyse the game to a degree but to be honest with you, you could read more or less any match review from the past 2 or 3 years and it wouldn't be too dissimilar to the way the game panned out today. Arsenal were profligate with their chances and gave away a stupid goal. Perhaps the only difference today to past seasons was that we managed to pick ourselves up after conceding the equalizer and found a late winner through the best of the three little guys in midfield today, Cazorla. He didn't do much for large passages of the game but he popped up when needed with two very nicely taken goals, meaning the gap on them lot is closed to 1 point for now.
The game started in an odd way considering the pattern this season, with an early Arsenal goal. Cazorla cut in from the left wing and struck it far post putting Arsenal in to the lead. With Arsenal playing a lower table side and taking the lead so early, you'd have thought it would've been plain sailing from there right? Well no, don't be stupid, this is Arsenal. We decided to sit back after taking the lead and Villa could've leveled it up a lot earlier with Szczesny making a couple of fine saves. Giroud and Wilshere also had chances to further Arsenal's lead but in truth, that was about as exciting as the first half got. It was visible that both sides were devoid of confidence and even though Arsenal led, you knew it was going to be a long game.
We actually played a lot better in the second half compared to the first. There seemed to be a little bit more urgency and flow with the way we travelled forward, but even then we looked about as dangerous as a plastic spoon. Giroud blazed another chance wide and Arsenal must have set a record for the amount of crap corners produced in one game. I saw someone on Twitter mention briefly before the Villa goal that we looked more likely to concede from our set pieces than score. They were right. A poor corner resulted in a swift counter attack and Weimann was given the freedom of Islington to dribble towards our goal and beat Szczesny from 20 yards. The 'keeper should've done much better though. He has been susceptible on long range efforts in the past and the mistake today wasn't too dissimilar to the goal he conceded to Kyle Walker last season. I don't agree with people saying he should no longer be our first choice goalie, mainly because the rest of our 'keepers can only perform along to Benny Hill music, but he does need to improve. It can't be easy trying to keep goal behind our defence but he has made a fair few mistakes recently and if rumours about the boss wanting more competition are true, he has to pick it up.
The goal could be considered a blessing in disguise though because it gave Arsenal the kick up the arse they needed. Attacks had much more purpose and conviction about them and Giroud should've put us back in front after his free header hit the bar. Eventually, it was Cazorla again who got us the win when he guided home a great ball from Monreal. The celebrations that followed reflected the mood of most fans at that time I imagine. Yes there was delight, but it was mainly just relief. Dropping points today would've been disastrous for our CL chances and more than anything, would just have put the club in the media spotlight even more. That wouldn't have helped us heading in to the derby next weekend. With Everton also losing today, the result is a massive boost and if we can pick up three points against Spurs, we'll have a great chance of finishing in the top four. It might even help us do the impossible in Munich. Okay
I'm kidding but still.
Match ratings? Here
Szczesny 6, Jenkinson 7, Mertesacker 6, Vermaelen 6, Monreal 6, Arteta 6, Wilshere 6, Diaby 5, Cazorla 8, Giroud 5, Walcott 6
I think they show most players were no where near their best today, but were just about good enough. Giroud was sadly, particularly disappointing. Anyone who follows me will know I love the big man but today he was way too wasteful for a lone striker. It's not his fault he is the only natural striker at the club but he has to play better more consistently if he wants a place up front next season. He Chamakhed chances way too much today
A word for Aaron Ramsey. He hasn't had an easy Arsenal career with the broken leg and many fans slagging him off way too much, if you ask me. Recently though, he has been great. He never hides in a game and his versatility is immensely useful. He can play deep, advanced and even had a go at RB today. Give him time, and I reckon he'll become a proper good player for us.
That's about it for today. I'm not going to say much on the whole Wenger in or out issue mainly because it has been done to death. I'm definitely not going to write an open letter to Kroenke saying how he should speak up either. All I'll say is, judge the club at the end of the season. Drastic change now will benefit no one but our competitors
(I love Arsene though, he's the man)