Arsenal show good and bad in victory

After the debacle last week against Bradford an immediate response was required. The wait until Monday has seemed a long one, the memory of Bradford has lingered and Arsenal fans have been in direct need of something else to talk about.

Last night Arsenal decided to remind the fans that they can play the beautiful stuff, in recent weeks the performances have been flat and uninspiring. They managed to put in a performance of quality passing and almost completely ruthless finishing. In the first half the chances came on a regular basis and if not for the keeper the score line at half time would have been greater than the three we managed.

I’m not going to get this twisted, this was a meeting of two teams in poor form and a win was far from guaranteed for us. It required the Arsenal players to show the gulf in quality available and they clearly showed that. This is only Reading though and there is still a long long way before Arsenal fans will be convinced that we have turned a corner. Inconsistency is rife for Arsenal this season and the important thing is that the same level of focus and performance are there against Wigan.

I still believe signings are required in the January window but for now players are playing for their places and taking the opportunity to give Arsene food for thought. Arsenal fans will not accept any more failings in this team and Arsene’s future is in the hands of his players. They need to play for him and put in more performances like last night.

It really has seemed a long time since we have played like that, even longer since we have played like that consistently in a run of games. I certainly hope this is the turning point, this Reading team at this current point in time were the best possible team to play to build confidence.

Even against a poor Reading team the defensive frailties were still evident, it would have been a good game to keep a clean sheet but that wasn’t to be. Mr individual error showed his ugly head again and it is still something we need to work on. Not trying to put a dampener on our performance but at 4-0 up complacency crept into our game and before you knew it two goals were conceded. It almost sparked memories of our Capital One Cup game against the royals. We wobbled for a while but thanks to a fifth goal from Theo who got his chance to play in his preferred central role; any chances of a complete meltdown were squashed.

santi celebrates

Special mention of course goes to Santi Cazorla who was behind everything good about Arsenal last night. It was great to see him put aside all the negative press he received recently and put on a masterclass. He walked away with the match ball last night after scoring a hat trick in the match and proved how vital he is in our quest to turning around our fortunes.

I’m much happier after yesterday’s game compared to last week and I hope we can carry this on now. It’s just Reading so no running to pop any Champagne but we can only play who is put in front of us. Next up in front of us is Wigan and hopefully we can continue the consistency; the remaining December games are winnable in theory and so ending the year on a high will put us in good stead for 2013. Plenty of focus still required from the players, more of the same please at the weekend.

Enjoy your day people.

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Time to move on from Santi scandal

We start the week in a slightly better mood compared to last; A win certainly can make things feel a lot better. Swansea last week is far from forgotten, we have merely put a band-aid over the wound but we need the bandages and that secret ointment Mr Miyagi uses to heal up the karate kid to overcome the pain.

I wouldn’t patronise any arsenal fans, I know we are all on the same page when it comes to Saturday’s game, it is only one game and there is a hell of a long way to go to get the confidence back and hit the form we know we are capable of. There seems to be a lot of daylight between Arsenal and the top of the league but that doesn’t mean we have any right to give up, anything is possible and we must fight until the very last game of the season. Finishing above Tottenham should be at the back of our list of priorities, we don’t need to be dragged down to their level of measuring success; the Manchester clubs and Chelsea should be our concern.

The remaining December fixtures (Reading a, Wigan a, West Ham h and Newcastle h) are ones the old Arsenal would expect to win; I understand we are not the Arsenal of old but we do have quality in this squad who can achieve so much more than we have so far. Optimism from the fans has weakened over the years but we still cheer on the boys and still believe in them despite the odd moan and grumble from the stands.

One of the main points from the game against West Brom was the dive from Santi Cazorla that led to the opening penalty. It was a dive, I don’t deny it and I certainly do not welcome diving in the game however this is not a common trait from the player in all the games we have witnessed from him this season. The overreaction to the incident has been quite hypocritical from some quarters of the press and I feel deep down they know he is not a serial diver.

santi

There are some players who are known for their diving so much that it becomes something that is laughed off and dismissed when they produce simulation in games. Whenever there is a new kid on the block who gets exposed by the cameras those same people want the book thrown at them. The level of disgust should apply to everyone who does it, to pick and choose relevance is not the way forward. The media favourites such as Suarez and Bale need to be pulled up for their misdemeanours and until such is done the problem will not be solved. I will not condone an arsenal player who seeks to cheat in every game and I’m sure many fans would agree with me, it is an embarrassment to be forced to defend cheating performed by your own players. But we don’t have players who seek to cheat in every game and so I do not believe there is any issue to deal with. It was a one-off incident and people (mainly rival fans) now need to get over it and move on.

Bradford game this week for a place in the semi finals of the Capital One Cup, really hope we don’t end up with egg on our faces. A nice mix of experience and youth is required, we are still away from home and need to stem the potential pressure caused from a crowd who will be bang up for it. I’m not saying it will be our only chance for silverware this season but it certainly is the chance for the first silverware of the season. If we go all the way the final will be nice and early in the season (24th Feb), we can get it out of the way and focus on all the other competitions we are in. It’s still a long way away but we need the job done this week, fingers crossed guys.

Enjoy your day people.

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A Welcomed International Break For Wenger

It has been a quiet week for Arsene Wenger as most of our players have hooked up with their national teams to go and pick up an injury or two and take the sting out of any momentum we had at this early stage of the season. In actual fact though, rather than in previous seasons where there are more footballers on twitter than on our training ground during the international break, there are a few players coming back from injury and with Arteta struggling to get a look into the Spain squad, there is a little bit more life on the training ground than usual.

Arsene Wenger will love this! He absolutely hates letting his players go away with their national sides as they are then out of his control and more than often come back with little niggles. A lot of football blogs might say that Wenger is a little bit unreasonable in his resistance but when you look at the damage that has been done to RVP over the years while away with Holland and more recently Jack Wilshere with England, you can see where the resentment stems from.

With the likes of Arteta, Wilshere, Frimpong and Sagna all still around, this time will give Wenger a chance to work on things on the training ground while allowing those on the injury comeback some more time to build their fitness. On the back of the farce of Internationals, Wilshere, Sagna, and Frimpong will be closer to a first team return, while Szczesny and Diaby will be making progress on their injuries.

It was good to see Sagna play an hour for the U21s in midweek in the 2-0 win over Reading at Barnet. Although Jenkinson has made great strides and really stepped up to the occasions in the Frenchman’s absence, it is always nice to get a senior player back in the side. Especially one as consistent and accomplished as Sagna.

Then of course we are all looking forward to Wilshere making his return to the first team. The thought of him linking up with Carzola and Arteta in midfield is mouth-watering, and one that every fan should be excited for.

Of course it is great that we have our players representing their countries but it is nice to be a little bit more relaxed throughout the World Cup qualifiers without fearing for any injuries to key players. I know we still have a number of players who could pick up knocks, but it is good to know that we have a lot of things to look forward to on the back of next week. This international break will actually be very much welcomed!

Today’s post was brought to you courtesy of Luke Malcher at ThePlayersNet.Com . A quality football blog worth checking out.

Enjoy your day people.

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