Sunday 28 October 2012

Go fourth & multiply Arsenal's funds

Fourth is the new first (when it comes to signing players and the bank balance) and conveniently that's where we sit right now (albeit temporarily) after a tough 1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers. It was made extra tough by the referee's performance. Although he did send off a player near the end, he allowed Rangers to get away with only standing 8 to 9 yards away when Arsenal were taking freekicks. The referee, Anthony Taylor, even paced out 10 yards, yet still allowed the wall to stand one or 2 yards in front of where they were supposed to be. He completely lost control of the players. Despite Rangers' league position, no one should think they are definite relegation fodder. There's a lot of talent in that expensively assembled side, so despite their poor start I don't expect them to go down. Arsenal, meanwhile, huffed and puffed, which was to be expected given recent form. Arsene Wenger made a couple of changes to the team that lost to Schalke. Sagna and Wilshere were welcome returnees, with Coquelin and Jenkinson making way. Many thought Jenkinson should have kept his place in the side, and I would considered playing Sagna at left back instead of Santos. However, I remain convinced that Santos will return to his best after a few more games. Going forward, there are few better left backs than Santos. From a defensive point of view, some would argue there are few worse. Personally, I think Santos's problem is fitness. He's a clever player, who knows where he should be positionally, but he can't always make up the ground because of his lack of match fitness. Only games will improve him in this area. Mannone had a good game in goal, and provided a last-ditch save to keep the goal intact when it looks like we would give up two points. Sagna played remarkably well for someone who has been out so long, and the same goes for Wilshere. The two centre backs, Mertesacker and Vermaelen, were mostly solid, while Santos had a lot to do, but did most of it reasonably well. However, it can't be forgotten that most of QPR's attacks came down his side. That can't be a coincidence. Ramsey on the right had his moments, both positive and negative. A couple of stray passes and everyone on his back. Somebody shouted out: 'Taxi for Ramsey'. But he stayed on for the full duration of the match, and showed impressive energy levels and will be credited with an assist for Arteta's goal. Apart from scoring, Arteta was underpar. Not bad, but not at his best. The same goes for Cazorla, who didn't play like a player of the month. Still above-average compared to other Premier league players though. Podolski started brightly, but faded as the match went on. As we all know, he's been playing with an injury, so that's no surprise really. Giroud improved as the game went on, and was instrumental in the goal. He's also not too shy to shoot, and given our poor record upfront the season, he has to play. The substitutes, Walcott and Arshavin, certainly made a difference, with the little meerkat crossing for Giroud's header, which led to the goal. Gervinho's injury, while regrettable, may lead to Theo Walcott getting more opportunities to play, so that could be a blessing in disguise, especially as the England winger is yet to sign a new deal. It was great to get some good news, after two back-to-back defeats. Any win is a good win when it's a local 'derby', so I was delighted with three points. I was less than delighted in midweek, when chairman Peter Hill-Wood said at the AGM: 'Thank you for your interest in our affairs'. It was yet another PR gaffe that we've learnt to expect from Arsenal's equivalent of Prince Phillip. Still, it was a pleasing end to the week, so well done to the team for bouncing back! Let's have more of the same against Reading.

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