Good morning to you all. We return from Stoke completely intact, and that has to be considered a miracle in itself, looking at the amount of questionable challenges in that match. You all know how I stand on Sunday’s match, so let’s not dwell on the past too much, it seems Olivier Giroud has similar ideas.
“[It means] we have to wait for our [first] victory. But it is coming soon. We played well and had some good situations in front of goal. We just have to score now – me too.
“But I gave it all today. It was a hard game against a big team. But I felt good in the game and we missed one little thing – a goal.
Astute observation, Olivier. Giroud is the latest player to really grow on me. His confidence is there for everyone to see, but at the same time, he doesn’t like to boast and works hard. He tracks back to help defend a free kick, when he loses the ball he goes straight after it. He’s a handful for even the biggest defenders. He’s a humble hard worker, and I think a lot of fans will begin to appreciate that.
Sunday’s performance reinforces what we already know: our attacking players haven’t gelled yet. Not to worry though, as we can put our players up against a currently struggling Liverpool to find their feet. There isn’t much point in passing judgement on our new boys until at least the end of September, so let’s not rip our hair out wondering why Podolski isn’t top scorer yet.
Tell you one thing we should be excited about: transfers. I’m of the opinion that the window shouldn’t be so prominent. 2 months of lies and sensationalism isn’t my cup of tea. We all hope and dream of our teams buying the very best there is to offer, and news sites feed off of our lusts. I don’t understand why people like to have their emotions toyed with, but to each their own. The only time I find myself enjoying the window is deadline, and I’m sure everyone knows why: last year we all woke up to Christmas in August, with the club signing Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos and Mikel Arteta. Hopefully we’ll be treated to more of the same this year, with plenty of names floating around on social media and news sites. In the past 24 hours, we’ve been linked with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Andre Schürrle, Thomas Muller, Yohan Cabaye, Yann M’Vila, Angel Rangel, Cheick Tiote and more. I wouldn’t rule out players like Mario Götze or Isco of Malaga either, as Wenger seems keen on someone he’s missed out on before. Some names in this list seem ridiculous, but even Bastian Schweinsteiger isn’t out of the realm of possibility in my eyes, judging by some quotes made recently by the boss. What this shows is that we really have no idea what goes on in his head beyond what he chooses to reveal.
“We will only take players who have something special. We believe we have a very strong team and if we find the special player, we will do it.
Sounds good to me, but statements like these can be used at scapegoats should we fail to sign someone on the basis that there was no one “special enough” available. There’s always two sides to what Arsène has to say.
Enough of transfers though, let’s move on to something we haven’t been famous for in a long time: our defence. Say what you like, but we have two clean sheets. Yes, we dominate possession up the park, but have been tested defensively on the counter several times between two stalemates at Sunderland and Stoke respectively. It seems Steve Bould has the back four on a tight leash, especially Thomas Vermaelen. Have you seen him venture forward once yet? Exactly. For once, every defender knows their role, and doesn’t stray from their original position. We’re hardly caught out, and it reaps rewards. The main reason we’re so successful at the back is because of Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker. Think of Vermaelen as the bricks in a wall, and Mertesacker as the mortar. Per has turned into the sweeper we’ve lacked. He doesn’t need to make tackles, instead he reads the play and intercepts the ball. He doesn’t need pace, he’s making sure Jenkinson is in the right position should he get caught out. He breaks up possession, and gets it up field as quickly as possible. Vermaelen is the hard tackler, the header winning beast we need to balance out Mertesacker. He’s there to get stuck in and harry the offense, using his pace and power to good effect. This is the first time in a while where I can say that I’m 100% confident in our defense, and it’s something on which we can lay our foundation.
Not much to talk about today, but hopefully big name transfers can sustain us until this Sunday. Until then, we can only hope that training brings cohesion to our scattered front line.