Goals galore yesterday, this was the swashbuckling Arsenal that Arsene promised us to be patient about after our first two games of the season yielded no goals. Yesterday we came out with verve and swagger of a team who expected to win and put in the effort to ensure we won.
Some of the football at times had the fans drooling in the stands; at the centre of everything was mercurial Santi Cazorla. Everything good was flowing through his magical small feet. So comfortable on the ball, so direct and so unpredictable he is a joy to watch.
Southampton clearly were swept away in the first half and but for a fumble late in the half by Sczcesny which led to us conceding our first goal of the season there was only positives to report from our game.
I commented yesterday how Olivier Giroud could possibly break his duck for the season against the Saints and join that exclusive club with Bergkamp, Henry, Wright et al. that possibility shortened once Wenger decided to start the guy on the bench. Unfortunate in the greatest sense of the word as Kelvin Davis seemed to try his best to give us goals yesterday. Taking nothing away from our boys at least three goals could raise questions over the quality of the goalkeeping. Giroud did get on the pitch in the last 10 minutes or so however it was probably not enough time for him stamp his mark on the game and get amongst the goals. He will no doubt be up for playing against his former club on Tuesday.
Although Giroud did not start the game you cannot question Arsene’s decision making as his choice of Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervihno were constant threats all game. Gervihno receives special praise for his contribution to the game, he is often maligned for his questionable decision making and finishing that accompanies his quality dribbling and close control. Yesterday he had one of his best games in an arsenal shirt as Wenger gave him a chance to shine in a central role. Though as is the Arsenal way the front three were inter-changing positions all game making it a nightmare to mark. Gervihno relished this opportunity and came away from the game with two goals. His contribution was such that when he was substituted his received a standing ovation from the whole stadium and the whole crowd chanted his name as he walked off. He was clearly lapping up the adoration as he took his time walking off and acknowledged the appreciation by waving back to all. Podolski played his part, he is a very direct player and loves to receive the ball, turn and run at the defence. He can definitely be an option in the central striking role and doesn’t need to be pigeon holed on the left hand side; he was rewarded for his efforts with a nicely taken free kick. It’s nice that we have so many options for free kick takers, it leaves food for thought for the goal keepers as they have to consider all options. In the past Robin Van Persie would take all free kicks and at times it would be quite predictable.
The defence was good again and were only let down by an error by the keeper. Carl Jenkinson was impressive yesterday and seems to be really growing into the right back role. The run of games is clearly doing him a world of good and his confidence on the ball and battling is evidence of this. The real test of his development will be against better quality teams but so far this season he has definitely stepped up a level compared to last.
Our keeper Sczcesny seemed a bit rusty and was clearly ruffled by his mistake which allowed Southampton to score. Maybe nerves from the mistake crept in as his kicking was really off in the second half and played the defence into trouble quite a few times. We all know he is a quality keeper and he will move on from this but with Vito Mannone doing nothing wrong in his two game cameos there may be more pressure on our Pole to keep up the standard to ward of any competition.
Overall yesterday was a fantastic performance from the whole team, an absolute treat to all the fans in the ground, we now kick off our champions league campaign this week on a high, lets keep the momentum up boys.
Enjoy your day people
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