Hello again Gooners!
I must admit I was very worried that after the international break, we wouldn't be able to manage the same kind of form that saw us beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield. I'm so pleased that I was so wrong!
I still maintain that Gervinho is no striker, but it's hard to drop him from the team when he's working so hard while Giroud is still waiting for his first goal. Hold up, let me qualify that. Without checking the stats, I can tell you that the Frenchman has only played six games for the club. How many of those games did he played the full 90 min? My guess is zero. Hence, the number of goals he's scored so far. Another big fat zero. If I'm wrong about that please let me know.
That's all that's missing, at the moment: a Giroud goal. Once he gets at first goal, I feel sure that there will be no stopping him.
We've got more than we could possibly ask for, in terms of points and performances from a squad which, on paper, doesn't look that impressive.
Mannone has been criticised for not claiming the ball from the corner that led to Manchester City's goal. But the blame is not solely his. Many pundits have blamed it on our zonal marking. Yet zonal marking has led to a number of clean sheets season, so we should beware of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I have full confidence that Steve Bould will address the issues that resulted in City's goal. Perhaps we didn't attack the ball enough and, if so, that's more about attitude than tactics.
Generally, we can't criticise the attitude of the team. In fact, the teamwork this season has been something to behold and be proud of. We might not have the best players in the world, but they are putting the team first. Mikel Arteta, captain in Vermaelen's absence, has exemplified this by playing in a withdrawn midfield role. This has allowed Diaby and Cazorla to thrive. Even Rambo has come back with a vengeance and played impressively against City.
Corporal Jenkinson deserves a promotion and deserves another stripe on his arm. So Carl, I've given you a lot of stick this season and last, but I'm now officially promoting new to the rank of sergeant. That doesn't mean I don't want to recruit a captain to play in your position, but what it does mean is I commend you for what you've done so far this season, especially against City.
Sky Sports nominated Per Mertesacker as man-of-the-match, and it's hard to argue with that assessment, although I believe Jenkinson was just as good. Gibbs on the left flank was excellent and, of course, Koscielny scored an unbelievable goal that any striker would be proud of.
All in all, it was the kind of performance that should fill us with confidence. However, I wonder if we can keep up this level of performance. Without wishing the wheels to fall off this well oiled new vehicle, I've got the feeling this Gunners team is like a suped-up G-Wiz travelling at a 100mph in the fast lane. It's shown it can reach a great speed, but can it keep it up with the Jaguars, Ferraris and Porsches throughout the course of a whole season? Time will tell.