Monday, September 03, 2012

Six Quick Thoughts on Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2

Most of the main points from yesterday's game have already been covered, so here are five quick thoughts to chew on:

* The defence remains brilliant, and it's a team effort. Mertesacker made several impeccable interceptions, and continued to disprove the notion that you need huge amounts of pace to be a top defender in the Premier League. Jenkinson put in another good shift, even if his lack of attacking prowess means that Sagna will get his place back when he recovers from injury. Gibbs occasionally pushed a bit too far forward leaving our left-side exposed, but Podolski filled-in admirably. Indeed, the most important thing to take from our three consecutive clean-sheets, is that we're defending as a unit. The idea that we simply needed new players to become better in defence is simply not true - the ability to prevent goals is as much about the willingess of a team to act like a unit, and have a commitment to defending as a whole, as it is about individual moments of brilliance. Steve Bould has obviously had a role in this, and one might ask why members of the famous back four were not brought into leading coaching positions earlier. But I also think that Arsene may have been stung by the record number of goals we conceded last season, and he appears to have acted decisively.

* Arteta was absolutely pivotal to our performance. I am frankly terrified of the prospect of him picking up an injury, because we just do not have anyone else in the squad that can do that job as well, except, perhaps Jack Wilshere. Diaby rightly won a lot of plaudits for his peformance, and it's incredibly heartening to see him finish 90 minutes again. But, for me, Arteta' selflessness and discipline is a site to behold. Quite possibly my favourite player in the current squad - a real team player.

* If one thing has not been noted recently, it's that the performances of Oxlade-Chamberlain have become much quieter. He also put in an decent shift defensively, but it's now been a while since he really provided a moment of brilliance, or a spark within a game. He's young, and we should not expect too much of him. He's also a considerably better option than either Theo or Gervinho at the moment. Hopefully he can score a couple against his alma mater in two weeks time.

* Cazorla was fantastic again, and fully deserved a goal, even if he was assisted by Reina. His interplay with Podolski was brilliant at times, and I think we'll see those two link up for a lot more goals this season. Cazorla has been given a really interesting role in the team - almost a free role behind the forward. It's a huge responsibility to take on, and he has risen to the occasion. What we must not do is make our attacking play overly reliant on him, and turn him into a Fabregas mark II. At the moment, defenses are struggling to deal with him, but I don't want to get to a situation where if teams stop Cazorla, they stop Arsenal.

* As I've already said, I though Podolski was fantastic - a brilliant goal, coupled with a willingness to defend. Giroud, well, he's getting into good positions, but he now badly needs a goal. It's all very well saying he needs time to adapt, but if we're serious about the league, we can't afford that time. Just like the Ox, a goal against Southampton would be nice.

* I hate to rag on other teams, but Liverpool were very, very poor in my opinion. Rodgers may well get their midfield functioning more fluently in a few more games, but they seem all over the place at the moment. If we think we did badly in the transfer market, Liverpool had an absolute nightmare, and as it stands I can't see them troubling the Champions League spots come the end of the season.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say we did badly in the transfer market, 2 first team out, 3 in.

I would say that the 2 out were the least 2 team players we had, with attitudes to match, so the defensive side can also be attributed to them, Can you see Song covering like Podolski? he couldn't take his own man let alone someone elses.

If Wenger can sort Theo out, I can see him as a forward, which would give us a completely new dimension.