Firstly, a very happy new year to you all.
And a happy new year it has been so far for Arsenal, with two comfortable two-nil wins.
I did, somehow, make it the West Ham match, despite my exertions on New Years Eve, and was presented by a game that was over almost before it had begun. Eduardo continued to clinically finish almost every chance floated towards him by slotting home early in the game, and Adebayor wrapped things up with a finish from an extremely tight angle. After that, we played out the rest of the seventy minutes with an almost zen-like calm. West Ham looked like they'd been out the night before as well, given the soporific nature of their effort.
Today's game was a little closer, with Burnley certainly having their chances. Yet Eduardo took his first real chance wonderfully and we were, really, pretty comfortable after that. The sending off ending any form of contest, and Bendtner put the icing on the cake with a cool finish from a lovely Eduardo pass.
The way Eduardo has stood up and started hitting form in the last few weeks has been wonderful. It does take at least three months for foreign players to find their feet in the PL, but I think we're now starting to see the player that Arsene was excited about. With RvP seemingly out indefinitely, it's essential we have a clinical goalscorer to bolster the campaign we're making on four different fronts at the moment.
For a club that's top of the league, it's unsurprising that we haven't really been linked with anyone. It seems that we may have signed another child prodigy - Luke Freeman from Gillingham - and also that Bulgarian triallist Dimitriov may get a contract. If we are to make a signing, it probably will come from nowhere. Arsene and Arsenal operate way under the radar when it comes to the transfer market - remember the signing of Eduardo? - so I'm not holding my breath. The players we have are good enough to win any of the four competitions we're currently in; if they have the stamina. We have the ability; whether we have the legs to maintain a challenge on four fronts may be the issue.
In fact, somewhat surprisingly, the real speculation surrounding the club at the moment regards players who may be trying to leave.
Jens, who has reportedly turned down a contract offer from Dortmund, may or may not have played his last game for the club. It doesn't appear that Arsene will stand in the way if he wants to leave, and with the European Championships coming up, he needs first team matches. I would be surprised if he does stay past the end of January, even if it pains me to say it.
Lassana Diarra has also not quite cottoned onto the concept of having to earn a first team place before you are picked in said team. Arsene doesn't keep unhappy players, so if the right bid comes in he could well be off. As Arseblogger pointed out, if he's this quick to give up off the field, is he really going to have his back to the wall when the going gets tough on the field? He should stay and learn, but if he's hell bent on a move, let him go. Newcastle, Everton and, the Spuds have all signalled interest.
So a good start to the year, even if a difficult January without Kolo and Eboue awaits. The game on Wednesday will be the Spuds biggest of the season, and this could be the moment they upset us. I say may; if they can't beat our youth team with a 2-0 lead, or after we've gifted them a penalty, you have to wonder when the next time they'll beat us will be...