King Olivier Giroud heals Arsenal’s striker worries by beating Spurs to bragging rights

Arsenal 1 Sp*rs 0 – Giroud The Difference as North London Remains Red

Arsenal
carried on their impressive form following the opening day defeat to Aston
Villa by beating Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby, thanks to a first
half goal by Olivier Giroud at the Emirates Stadium.

We started the better of the two sides as Santi Cazorla
had two free kicks in good positions in the opening minutes. The first was well
kept out by Hugo Lloris and the second just rolled wide after a sneaky low shot
underneath the wall.

Spurs then settled into the game and began to enjoy some
success down both flanks. Nacer Chadli was causing Carl Jenkinson, starting
ahead of the ill Bacary Sagna at right back, some problems and forced Wojciech
Szczesny into a near post save. Per Mertesacker then crucially blocked a shot
from Roberto Soldado from close range following a Spurs break down the right.

The breakthrough came slightly against the run of play in
the 23rd minute. Mertesacker made a fine interception as Spurs broke
and following some quick play from Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky
found some space down our right.  Spurs’
defence was all over the place, some stepping up, others holding back, giving
Theo Walcott plenty of time to pick a perfect cross for Giroud, whose
exceptional movement left Michael Dawson and he poked home from close range in
a similar fashion to Robin van Persie’s opener in the 2009 fixture.

The goal lifted the home side; Ramsey surged forward and
fed Walcott whose shot was kept out by the excellent Lloris from a tight angle.
The Welshman himself then fired over after some good work by Cazorla, and
Lloris again was called to action as he disposed Walcott outside of the area
after more great play from Cazorla.

Andros Townsend was the visitor’s most effective threat in
the first half, and he twice worked Szczesny from long range as Kieran Gibbs
too easily allowed him to cut in onto his stronger left foot from the right
wing.

Jack Wilshere was withdrawn before half time due to a
virus, allowing a second debut for Mathieu Flamini and we went into the break
1-0 up although it could easily have been more if not for Lloris who was on
fine form.

The second half was an incredibly nervy affair; Flamini
was booked for a tackle where he both won the ball and flew in off his feet,
and Kyle Walker won a free kick in a dangerous position after a bit of breeze
picked up and knocked him to the floor but it came to no avail.

Arsenal had chances to kill the game but failed to make
them count. Cazorla continued to drive us forward and a ball to Giroud was
poorly controlled by the Frenchman but he still forced a smart stop from Lloris
in the Spurs goal. The French ‘keeper was then again quick off his line to deny
Walcott after Giroud caught one of the eleven Spurs bottle jobs dicking around
with the ball inside his own half.

Spurs threw the kitchen sink at us in the final 15
minutes. A free kick into the box caused chaos; a Walker shot deflected off
Laurent Koscielny and was brilliantly kept out by Szczesny before some more
carnage in the penalty area, including an ambitious penalty appeal after the
ball came off Giroud’s shoulder, was concluded when Walker shot wide.

While Middlesex kept pushing, space opened up for Arsenal
going forward. Giroud worked neatly on the right, beating his man and pulling
the ball back for Walcott who again forced a good save from Lloris before Nacho
Monreal, on for Rosicky, couldn’t finish it off.

Sagna came on for Walcott in the five minutes of stoppage
time, and Spurs kept on knocking on the door but we were equal to everything
they asked of us. Walker, notorious for his over rated footballing ability and
shite haircuts, wasted yet another glorious opportunity as he scuffed it deep
inside our area, and a nervy finale was brought to an end shortly afterwards.

Phew. We battled right to the finish and huge credit must
go to the players for their fantastic commitment to the cause right to the
bitter end. While Spurs had the majority of the possession, it was Arsenal that
showed greater creativity and invention when we were on the ball. Cazorla was
again excellent and at the heart of everything, but it was Giroud who put in
the performance of the afternoon.

Ramsey has rightly gained most of the individual praise so
far this season, but for me Giroud hasn’t been too far behind him in terms of
performance level. He was exceptional yesterday, his hold up play and aerial
ability was superb and he ran himself into the ground working both on and off
the ball.

After a slow and difficult start to life at the Club, he
is now one of the first names on the team sheet, giving us an option up top
we’ve often been crying out for in recent years. He thoroughly deserves this
good form and long may it continue.

Koscielny was equally as impressive and assured at the
back and Szczesny continued his personal improvement with another controlled
display. Another mention needs to go to Flamini, thrown into the deep end
probably a lot sooner than Arsene Wenger would’ve liked, but his presence was
hugely influential; his enthusiasm around the pitch and constant talking and
organisation were a big asset to us, even if he was a little off the pace at
the start.

What yesterday again showed is the enormous quality this
set of players has. But this result shouldn’t take away from the fact that the
squad is still thin and desperately needs adding to. The bench was
embarrassingly slender and if we were chasing the game I don’t think there were
any real options from the substitutes that could’ve come on and changed the
game.

We won’t be able to grind out results like that with these
numbers for the rest of the season, so whilst we should applaud the effort and
achievement of the squad we have, now is the time for Wenger to go out and add
to it.

We’ve left it to the last minute again, but the squad we
have allowed us to get away with that, Villa aside, and if we can bring in the
three or four players we need to beef up this squad, I still think we genuinely
have a shot at some success this season. They can’t just be players to make up
the numbers, they need to be proven quality that is going to compete for and
improve our starting eleven.

There are players out there who can do that and with the
resources we have we should be going out for them all guns blazing and show the
intent that we’ve so far failed to show this summer.

Let’s hope for some exciting new
faces and I’ll see you in two weeks for Sunderland.

Matt
Littlechild


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