November 27, 2014

An Arsenal Thanksgiving

By Michael Clements

A Happy Thanksgiving to all you yanks out there. Thanksgiving's always been a strange one for me - The Puritans come over, take over the Native American land, but then invite them for dinner? I suppose it's as good an excuse as any to eat bacon.

It's a day of thanks for everyone associated with Arsenal today too, as we cruised to a 2-0 win over Dortmund to get us through to that annual knock out stage thingy that we always make an appearance in. You could say that Dortmund were a little lackadaisical due to having already qualified. You could also say that since their win over us a few months back they've really dropped in form, currently sitting 16th in the Bundesliga. I prefer to look at it as a fantastic Arsenal performance in which our boys stepped up and really gelled. 

Some really solid team play was matched with some outstanding individual performances all over the pitch. Sanogo got his first competitive goal for the club, which will give him the confidence boost he needs to continue to perform. He's got some really promising ability, some nice touches throughout and he's not afraid to take defenders on one-on-one.

Martinez looked somewhat comfortable back there in goal, his job perhaps made easier by the fact our defense had a really solid game. We heard a lot about the young Argentinian keeper when he joined us back in 2012, and with Arsenal basically just paying Ospina to sit at home and watch the games on TV, we could see him pop up a bit more in cup games.

As usual, you've got to acknowledge Sanchez - a simply amazing player who, as one of the commentators pointed out, is a phenomenal example to all young kids out there playing football. If you can replicate a quarter of the drive, passion and relentlessness that this man possesses then you're in good shape. What a coupe by Arsenal picking him up. His goal was the sort of goal that makes me spill my beer when I score them in FIFA 15™. Stunning.

What I find interesting over the last few games is the formation we're beginning to use. I see a couple of teams in the Premiership using the 3-5-2 sort of thing, with the full backs being very attack minded. While the Arsenal full backs have always pushed forward, the fact that Arteta seems to be dropping back even further, almost acting like a third center back at times, allows Gibbs and Chambers to really kick on and get some support to the front men. Ramsey improved against Dortmund, but he's in another one of those Welsh funks - one I'm confident he'll get out of soon enough, but he is filling that midfield role well, allowing Cazorla, Chamberlain and Sanchez to pretty much flow however they want to. It looks fantastic when it's done right, and it was done very right on Wednesday night.

I'm off to eat as much food as I can, while watching the Detroit Lions crush our midwest neighbours, Da Bears. 

We travel to the middle of nowhere this weekend as West Brom play host to the boys in Red & White. 

Up The Arsenal!