One life, one game, one team, one invincibles

One life, one game, one team, one Invincibles (So far)

Monday, 24 September 2012

Optimism is almost rife

Yep. Optimism is almost rife - who'd have thought it?

So are we in with a real shout at the title this season? Well I'd have to say its way too early to say but its quite obvious to all that we're playing well, playing as a team, looking good and generally looking more solid. Not entirely solid, but pretty solid. Our foward options are limited however and our goal-scoring, Southampton apart, has been fairly mediocre by past standards. Although I'd suspect that this will improve as our new players gain a further understanding of the pace of the Premiership together with a better understanding of each others play.

It's all fairly heartening. The biggest plus for me has been the solid look of a team who defend as a unit rather than as seperate sections of the same team. This has resulted in minimal panicking.

Arteta - our new Gilberto
As for the players:
The midfield looks seriously outstanding. Atreta has looked majestically controlled and is now playing like the new Gilberto. Santi Cazorla has looked to be possibly THE buy of the Premiership season thus far. For my money he's the most two-footed player we've had since Geordie Armstrong. Diaby looks like some of us always believed he could and is growing in confidence game by game, not to mention stature. Aaron once again showed at the Etihad the potential we knew he had prior to his horrific injury, he's really back now and beginning to fire on all cylinders again. With the Ox coming on stream as a force and Rosicky yet to return that would be good enough news. But factor in the pending return of young Jack and our midfield strength in depth bodes seriously well and looks hard to match. Add in the versatile Coquelin and I think we're sorted in midfield. Frimpong is down to 8th in the pecking order and he's also a reasonable prospect. We lack no depth here.

Up front Podolski clearly doesn't take prisoners, looks like he was made for the Premiership and is settling in nicely. Grevinho is making great runs, taking up great positions but unfortunately rushing his shots. Someone needs to tel Gervinho that Henry didn't get motoring on the goal stakes till he learned to calm down and pass it into the net. Giroud hasn't found his feet yet but I'm confident he will. Walcott for all the problems, mainly an arsehole agent, would most probably have flourished this season. And his pace is still a major asset for us no matter what some might think. Chamakh I've written off but we still have the options of the Ox or Ramsey who can slot into our front line. Should we want to slow our play down and not bother to track back there is of course always Arshavin.

We have three top quality centre backs vying for places, which allows each a break if they stay fit. They're now all past their Premiership learning curve and beginning to flourish under Uncle Bouldie. Jenkinson is my pick for most improved player, although Gibbs is running him fairly close in this respect. What an engine Carl has and how well he uses it. With Sagna and Santos also on tap the fullback position looks well covered this season for once.

Not so the keepers both of whom have been less than perfect, but at least we know they've got what it takes and Szczesny has all the potential we could wish for.

If it were my money I'd look for a forward in January and ditch Chamakh. But even without another forward we're definately getting there.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Job Done

Montpellier our opening Champions League fixture: Job done, in the classic one match at a time mode.

The way I see it that's 3 points acquired in the Champions League in a tricky but fairly straightforward away tie against the French Champions. It wasn't always pretty, it wasn't always emphatic but there was no panicky defending, just the odd piece of suicidal dribbling from Diaby in our box. Wenger will probably trust Abou to know he screwed up, whereas I'd hope that Bould will bollock him in no uncertain terms and we'll all move on.

3 wins 2 draws to date - fine. Only 2 goals conceded - fine. One was a keeper's cock up, one was a marginal penalty which we've all seen given or not - shit happens and is better happening in a 2-1 win than a 1-0 defeat. Vermaelen knows it was a poor piece of judgement on his part so move on.

Might Uncle Bouldie be the new Don Howe?

The good news to date: I make that 450 minutes now without any noticable twitchy defending, and had we eliminated the two errors a prospective clean sheet to date. We didn't do that though so we keep working on the elimination of errors. I'm content enough with what's gone down thus far. All achieved without both Sagna and Koscielny which I find rather impressive.

Any pressure put on Giroud is totally uncalled for, he's linking well, working hard, battling well and making decent runs. The rest will come if we give him time, which we will - its the media putting the pressure on him not the fans, that's quite evident. Feck the media.

Citeh. Bring it on. No one outside of North London (other than the world-wide Gooner fraternity) is expecting anything other than a hard fought Citeh win. A draw woud be fine, a win would set the benchmark for the rest of the season and make quite a few halfwits take serious notice. I think the odds are against us. But I'm getting the sense of good things coming. Pressure for team places. Players working for each other. The TEAM playing as a single unit. Players coming in and doing a job. All of which bodes well for a decent season ahead.

Can we do it? I've no idea but with the Arsenal you just never know. Wenger is under immense pressure this season but Bould has a certain calmness about him doesn't he? I'm sensing a velvet glove wrapped around an iron fist. Is Uncle Bouldie the new Don Howe perhaps, and if he did really get a headache it certainly didn't show did it? Are he and Banfield making life just a tad less stressful for AW now? I do hope so.

Brian @Gooner48

Sunday, 16 September 2012

16th September 1996

Arsene Wenger was formally announced as Arsenal's new manager on 16th September 1996.

Speaking in a press conference in Nagoya, Japan he said:

"It is my dream to manage a team in a top-level European league. And if I don't accept the offer right now I will miss the chance. I think Arsenal is a club with big potential. I think that English football is going up and that the Premiership is one of the most important leagues in the world now. So I think that it was also a challenge for me to maybe be the first foreign manager - and for sure the first Frenchman - to go there and try to be successful."

Mr. Wenger, a somewhat lean bespectacled Frenchman was working in one of the world's lesser leagues in the Far East and was due to start work on a three-year contract on 30th September of that year. To say that the majority of Arsenal fans were underwhelmed at the prospect was putting it fairly mildly.

Much has changed since his arrival

And so it was that Arsenal began an adventure which became a revolution. It's been a fun ride and one which at a future date we'll actually be able to assess in its full historical context for our Club. Many big things have happened in the time since his arrival and some may even recall just how average it all was when he took over at our beloved Highbury. Things have changed big time, the Club has changed big-time and the bar has been raised so high since then that we now have many 'fans' who feel our manager is himself unworthy of being the man in charge of an established European Super Club, renowned world-wide for playing the quality football he himself effectively created.

I for one am still very much enjoying the ride and am delighted for it to continue with Mr. Wenger in charge. Feel free to argue otherwise of course if you don't appreciate what we've got going here. It's not perfect but its pretty damned good from where I sit in the Stadium.