Hello fellow Gooners. The weekend was very interesting and the season is almost upon us.
I won’t dwell too much on the Emirates Cup because it’s already been covered so well, so just a few quick thoughts on the two games from me.
The first half of the game was a demonstration of immediate punishment of errors, ruthless efficiency in front of goal and superb counter attacking football.
Giroud’s goal was a super header from a fair distance.
The Ox’s goal was a brilliantly executed counter from the edge of our box.
Iwobi’s goal came about after a careless pass was intercepted by the Ox and punished with a super finish. (Top teams do that to you).
Rambo’s goal was a clinical finish after good work from Özil.
The second half was about keeping Lyon at arms length and out of the game. We did that superbly.
Overall I don’t understand why they opted to play such a high line against us after Giroud scored when they had the pace of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Iwobi to worry about, but I’m pleased we punished them so severely for their tactical mistake. I’m also very encouraged with how well we punished their defensive errors, because in tight games in the league with teams sitting back against us we’re going to have to seize on errors to win games. We didn’t do enough of that last season.
Let’s be honest, this game was all about one man. Lord Bendtner. There was also the small matter of dispatching a very good and very well organised German side, but seeing Big Nick was the main focus of the day.
Jeff Reine Adelaide caught my eye for his excellent performance and he looks like he might be the latest French diamond unearthed by Arsene. Also Theo put in another good performance playing as a central striker, which may incline Wenger to buy a forward who can play across the front line in the Reus mould rather than an out and out striker like Benzema, (if he chooses to buy at all).
I’m not alone in finding it strange that Chelsea played in a tournament thousands of miles away and in a totally different time zone less than a week before the Community Shield.
The game kicked off at 1am UK time and they’ll now fly home to rest and recover ahead of the match on Sunday. I know that as professional footballers they’re able to handle two games in a week, and no doubt jet lag won’t be too much of an issue with effectively four days to recover, however the conspiracy theorist in me thinks that there is more to this than meets the eye.
This is the first time in ten years that Mourinho has had to face an Arsenal side capable of challenging for the league title. The match on Sunday is more than just a season opening friendly. If we win (and Wenger’s Mourinho hoodoo ends) it will be definitive proof that we’re capable of beating the best. It will also prove that Chelsea are vulnerable. Lose and the opposite will have been demonstrated.
So here’s the conspiracy theory. Mourinho thinks there’s a very good chance we’re going to win and already has his excuses ready.
“They’ve had a week off and we’ve only had 4 days.”
“My players played in the US and they’re jet lagged and Arsenal aren’t.”
“Diego Costa is injured/not 100% fit.”
Another interesting point is that if Chelsea put out a full strength team and we beat them, we’ll have done it without arguably our best player. (Alexis will be missed, but the Ox and Theo have been deputising admirably so far).
What team will Jose put out?
Putting out a full strength team is a gamble for Jose. Like I said, if he loses it’s an early indication to him, his team and the league of the strength of Arsenal and weakness at Chelsea. It’s less of a gamble for Arsene because we’re not favourites to win the title and we’re not defending champions.
Mourinho can turn the tables however by putting out a weakened team. If we win, then we only beat a reserve Chelsea team with our best XI. If we lose then Mourinho outthought Arsene again and we’ll remain frail in the eyes of other teams in the league, (and Jose will be seen as even more of a tactical genius). It will also hurt our confidence ahead of the new season.
Ultimately I want us to win on Sunday because it’ll be a great way to start the season, it’ll put the fear of god into the rest of the league and it’ll be another piece of silverware in the team photo.
Also, watching Jose lose is always a pleasure.
Follow me on twitter (@CaptainDeeg) if you dare.