October 23, 2014

Take The Points And Run!

Three minutes of good, if not great football to get us 3 points in our Champions League group against good competition. On paper that sounds fantastic, but you really had see it didn't you?

Anderlecht are a good team that's just come off winning their domestic league for the 33rd time, and currently sit atop their table in Belgium. It was never going to be a walk in the park, and I think we knew that when we saw all the teams picked in our group back in August. It was a tough away game.

You won't be faulted for sitting there after 87 minutes thinking that a point would be a good result, but who knew what would come next? Chambers - love this kid - put in a lovely cross for Gibbs to get us level, and then Podo Baggins popped up to rocket us ahead from about 3 inches out. I can't say I thought it was the result we deserved, but again, it's 3 points. We didn't kill the game early, we didn't put the game to bed, but we fought hard and got the job done. There will be complaints, oh yes there always are, but let's just take the result and move on.

It was unfortunate we didn't get to see Ospina, but Martinez did well and seemed to really appreciate his chance to play on the big stage. Of course, it's great to see the Welsh Jesus back on the pitch, although he hasn't quite been the messiah he was last season. Let's hope he hits a run of form here soon, because I can't think of a better time to do it. 

My opinion of Nacho Monreal is that he's a solid left back and, while he challenged Gibbs a season or two ago for starting left back, I think now he's a great back up to the Englishman. Having him as our only back up option for Center Back, however is something that makes me extremely nervous. I can't even be too harsh on the lad himself, as I don't think he knocked on the managers' door and asked to be given a chance to strut his stuff in the middle of defense. He's out of his depth, and the poor guy just looks like a liability out there most of the time. He's a great footballer, and that's the only think saving him form complete failure. It doesn't prove the manager wrong, but it definitely isn't his greatest position change. 

That leads to the subject of the transfer window. I thought it was a little early to hear people talking about signing new players and spending money, but in reality the talk began on September 2nd. We've got 9 or 10 weeks and 11 Premier League games before the January window even opens, so my only opinion at the moment is that we get our heads down and kick on. 

There's the obvious concern that players are going to be over played over the Christmas period, something we worry about even if we have decent squad depth, but there's one player I worry about in particular - Alexis Sanchez. He needs to play every minute of every game because he is currently by far and away our best player at the moment. As The Galavanting Gooner rightly pointed out in his review of the Hull game, Alexis' work rate is something the rest of the team needs to step up and replicate. It's a worry he might run himself into the ground eventually, but for now it's a pleasure to watch.

It's both fantastic, and yet a worry that our three newest players are clearly our hardest workers right now, and seem to have more passion that players that have been at the club for a while now. Sanchez, Welbeck and Chambers have been machines so far in their young Arsenal careers. I'm hoping that when the likes of Walcott and Giroud come back into the team (....Diaby?) they will have that same spark to their game. 

A trip to the Stadium of Light this Saturday to play Sunderland was another game I had down as a win, and it really should be, but we're not making anything easy for ourselves at the moment. Here's to a 5-4 win for the Gunners, with the BFG being deployed as striker and getting the winner in the 96th minute.... I kid, I kid.

Come On You Gunners!