Good night for the Gunners this as goals from RvP from the spot and Walcott soon after put us on our way to a 3-0 win at bottom club Wolves, Yossi Benayoun wrapping up the night for us at Molineux.
That puts us five ahead of the Sillywhites and Newcastle as third place looks assured with five matches left to play and nine wins in 10 matches is a good run to carry into the run-in.
Straight to the ratings then:
Szczesny – 7
Another relatively quiet match for the Pole but showed great awareness with two top draw saves early and late in the second half. The former to deny Doyle’s header was classic.
Sagna – 6
Good game and good work rate from him. Got replaced late on by Jenkinsom.
Djourou – 7
Solid performance from him. Hope he keeps it up when Wigan visit. Wigan by the way beat Man. United and added a good twist to the title race.
Vermaelen – 7
An assured perfomance, as almost always from him.
Santos – 5
I’m not sure why he bothered. Attacked much but his defending was suspect a lot of times.
Arteta – 7
Quietly anchored the midfield superbly.
Song – 7.5
Complemented Arteta well, and bagged an assist yet again… this time for Benayoun rather than you know who.
Ramsey – 4
Oh dear. Hesitated when he should’ve taken a first time shot at goal. Had a clear penalty shout waved away but generally lived down to expectations.
Walcott – 7
Gets a 7 only because he got a goal and won us the penalty that saw Sebastien Bassong get sent off, otherwise wasn’t exceptional.
Benayoun – 8
Good work rate yet again and got himself a well taken goal from the edge of the box.
RvP – 8
You’d think some confidence would’ve drained from him after going four matches without scoring… then he does that from the penalty spot. He scores when he wants and apparently, how he wants. Vintage stuff.
Ox – N/A
Jenkinson – N/A
So next up for us is the red devils’ unlikely conquerors Wigan Athletic on Monday and from what we’ve seen the Latics play in their last two matches, it’s safe to say we have a cracking encounter coming up.
Do tell a gooner to follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs, see you Monday night.
It has been quite a summer for Arsenal with the Gunners without doubt being the champions of transfer speculations all through. Can Arsène Wenger and his charges end a run of seasons without a competitive trophy at the seventh attempt?
An answer to that largely depends on the club’s mental approach going into matches and this is in two aspects. Firstly, we must kill games when leading and in the inability to do so, be able to hold onto such advantage till after the final whistle as evident from both legs of last season’s north London derby and home matches against Liverpool, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and West Bromwich-Albion as well as the infamous implosion at Newcastle where we ironically open this season’s campaign.
The other aspect of our mental approach to games is how we fare in the months of February and March, months that have proved the Achilles Heel in the leap towards a trophy in the last four seasons.
Last season’s episode proved the most painful, we suffered defeat to Birmingham City (now of the Championship) in the League Cup final on the last day of February, before enduring a mediocre run of form in March that pretty much ended all other title ambitions on other fronts.
And there’s the additional mental jabs dealt the team now no thanks to speculations surrounding the future of Samir Nasri & Fabregas who has reportedly agreed to a deal to return to his boyhood club. Which means a new era is about to start, one without the club’s best player. But no one man or player is greater than the club.
Meanwhile the latter is once more reportedly close to completing a £22m move to oil rich Manchester City, some reports even suggesting he may do so before the protracted tug for Fàbregas finally ends.
Arsenal’s hopes of ending the trophy drought will now rest on 20 year old Jack Wilshere(albeit not solely) as it was the English international who flourished – when Fàbregas was mostly half fit or out injured last season – with consistent and assured performances. While possessing admirable mental and physical strength, the rest of the team will determine just how much impact Wilshere will have this season.
With Laurent Koscielny apparently being the notable addition to the team last season, the Gunners actually did well until those dreaded months. This term, Ivorian forward Gervinho has joined and impressed so far with his quick feet and good composure.
Other than him, Wenger has (annoyingly) kept to his policy with a roll call of highly rated youngsters such as Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Ryo Miyaichi. The transfer window however is still over a fortnight from closing so some much needed experienced players may yet arrive at the Emirates.
While awaiting those, Gooners will be banking on Robin van Persie to pick up from the fiery form of the second half of last season that saw the Dutchman finally show us his potential with a high return on goals per game. Having him fit for a whole season on such form leaves the heights attainable by the team optimistically imagined.
In the event of him being out injured as he is sadly prone to, Theo Walcott gets my nod to spearhead the front ahead of the overly disappointing Marouane Chamakh and the England international has publicly stated his desire to play upfront rather than on the wings.
Last season, he posed a real threat to defences with his raw speed that was, unlike previous seasons, complemented with much technique. This sort of form gives promise of this season being perhaps a breakthrough season for the 21 year old.
Those other than the above players that could contribute to a successful league campaign, and perhaps success in any of the other competitions, are Thomas Vermaelen, Andrei Arshavin, Koscielny and goalkeepers Lukasz Fabianski and Woijcech Sczeszny just as I’m personally looking forward to how Aaron Ramsey fares with Abou Diaby’s injury presenting the Welsh midfielder a chance to impress.
Vermaelen on his part was out virtually all of last season injured and Squillaci failed woefully as partner to Koscielny. Consequently, the efficiency of our physios this season actually comes in just behind the team’s mental maturity as deciding factors on how this season will pan out.
Arsenal’s campaign begins at St. James’ Park in Saturday’s evening kick-off having survived getting postponed due to the violent scenes that besieged streets in London and Birmingham.
That match is then followed in quick sequence by games against title rivals Liverpool and Manchester United, with the Champions League qualifier against Italian side Udinese buttered between those red encounters.
In all honesty, Arsenal are strong contenders for the title and hopefully we avoid burning out at those times aforementioned!
That said, enjoy the season ahead, it’s great to finally be getting underway!
C’mon You Smokin’ Gunners!!!