What a lovely day it is. Yesterday we’ve: a) secured a 20th consecutive St. Totteringham’s Day (GT Special tribute here) b) secured Champions League football c) overcame one of the hardest hurdles during our run-in (beat away a team fighting to stay up) d) played some magnificent football e) finally, increased the gap on United to 5 points, while still having a game in hand
As usual, I’ll go over points of interest
It’s daunting how comfortable he looks right now. The Colombian doesn’t do anything special; he just doesn’t make mistakes or things that lead to mistakes. He can improve his kicking, sure, but everything else is at the level required. Really want him to start on the 30th of May.
It was all the more disappointing to see Ospina not get the clean sheet he deserved. David had little to do, the goal conceded is entirely down to a lapse of concentration among our defenders, so being robbed of the clean sheet that way…well, and at least we won.
We seem to have found the right balance, one Arsene Wenger seems reluctant to tamper with and here he has my backing completely. That this balance doesn’t include Debuchy (for now, because he’s injured), Gabriel (who we’ve bought for depth), Chambers (who has around 40 appearances this season) and Gibbs (our left-back of choice last season) tells you all you need to know about how well the current guys are playing.
Bellerin provides width to our attacks, while also possessing the pace to catch up when caught out of position. Mertesacker rediscovered his understanding with Kos (who made his 200th appearance yesterday) and Monreal is solid and has been throughout the season. He wins headers, helps out Sanchez, blocks everyone, almost a Coquelin Mark II.
The only real complaint I have from yesterday’s defensive performance is the goal conceded. When Kos went down in pain, everyone stopped playing and gave Quinn a free header. Lee Mason is a twat, a twat that should have stopped the game after that horrendous challenge on Kos, but we need to learn to play to the whistle. It’s not the first time we’ve done that, need to make sure it’s the last, however.
It was quite splendid, magnificent, brilliant, thrilling and scintillating. Probably the best I’ve seen us play this season.
Coquelin was his usual snappy self: 6/6 tackles, 8 ball recoveries and 3 intereceptions. Since Christmas he leads the league with 68 tackles and 70 interceptions. Monster!
Cazorla was excellent in his deeper position. 100 out of 106 passes completed and that assist for Ramsey…brilliant piece of skill. We are going to have our work cut out if we are planning on replacing Santi. It’s not about a two-footed technically gifted slick passer anymore. Santi, like Arteta before him, learnt his trade at CDM. On several occasions he was faster to track back than Coquelin.
Ozil excelled. His pass completion was over 90%, but, more importantly, he roamed all over the pitch, creating overloads, offering himself as an outlet, knitting our attacks together (remember that heel flick to Sanchez?). He robbed Huddlestone for the first and was a positive influence all around.
Rambo had his best game in a while. It was a nice touch-and-turn for the first, a sublime through ball for Sanchez for the third, the usual work rate. All in all it was a very good game from the Welshman.
When he was replaced with Wilshere, however, our style of play changed slightly and I cannot say it changed for the worse. It just became…different. Ramsey likes to play without the ball, Wilshere with it. Jack’s first action was running half the field to earn a dangerous free-kick. His second was being pushed over in the box after he fooled two defenders on the right.
I think Jack’s due a start. He was brimming with confidence yesterday, he contributed a lot in these 25 minutes and I genuinely think he’ll grab his chance to impress if given one. Who Jack should come in for is another story.
I’m starting to worry a little bit about Giroud. That was the third game he went without a goal. It’s not a problem in itself, the problem is that I don’t remember the Frenchman recording a shot on target yesterday. After his goal spree opponents began to double-mark the Frenchman, and as of yet he hasn’t found a way to deal with it. Ollie really needs to because we need him to be more involved than he has been lately.
While with Sanchez, well, what can you say? I consider the fact the Chilean didn’t get POTY either a robbery in broad daylight or politics, which, when you come to think of it, is pretty close.
24 goals and 11 assists in his debut season in n 46 appearances. If he manages to score 3 more in the remaining 5 games, he’ll set a new record, surpassing Ian Wright and Thierry Henry. All the while playing on the flanks, not centrally is simply a phenomenal achievement. It’s a real shame he’ll probably miss the start of the season because of his involvement in Copa America or however it’s called, but it is what it is.
“We set ourselves the target to continue our run but also to continue to make progress as a team, because we feel we have made progress during the season. Tonight was a demonstration that we can improve and that we can keep the quality very high. We played the kind of football we love to play and we played it for long periods of the game with the quality we desire.”
Boy did we make some progress during the second half of the campaign. We average 2.42 points per game for the said period, which is even slightly better than what the Invincibles achieved. However, the Invincibles maintained their 2.36 per game for the ENTIRE season.
Our progress certainly can be called just that. And it kind of helps having your best players around, doesn’t it?
Alright that’senough said. Go and celebrate St. Totteringham’s Day with gusto.