Transfer revisionism doesn’t help until the transfers are done
Good morning my lovelies, and welcome back. What a difference the space of a week can make. We’ve gone from “The team is horrible”, “The play is labored”, “How can Arsene Wenger not see what’s so patently obvious” and “I’m a grumpy lout” to “Ah, THAT’s what we’re trying to work toward”, “Thank god for Olivier Giroud and what he brings to the team” and “Whoda thunk it, Jack Wilshere isn’t useless, I’m just an idiot.”
This time of year is a frustrating one, mainly because of our patent incapacity for patience, exacerbated by an unconscious revisionism in everything going on in the window. That revisionism allows us to feel a sense of vindication in decisions made that go right, because of course they did, we agreed with them at the time of the making *cough*, to being quite happy to take whatever decision that goes the other way and wave it around like a flag as proof of the belief that “everything’s shit”.
So, Arsenal fans, I beg of thee. Let’s wait until Tuesday morning to lose our heads, throw our weight around and freak out about what has or hasn’t been done this window. There’s no point in doing it now, as you’ll either be proven right or wrong in the season to come, but nothing will stop you looking a self-entitled idiot.
Right, let’s move from the enema of public opinion, to the shining bastion of continuity and prescience that is my opinion, served of course with a healthy serving of hypocrisy.
We’ll start of course with that Giroud fellow. He went from being the cause of all our team’s strife, to the one piece of our play that we couldn’t afford to lose in the space of the time it took for us to realise we’d lost him.
In all seriousness though, he made a very big impact in his second half appearance versus Everton. His first contribution to the half was admittedly a shot off target, but the movement and awareness to be in the position for the shot was precisely what we were missing from Alexis Sanchez in the first half. He not only tries to knit our midfield together, he does it without becoming a part of that midfield, which is something Sanchez will need to work on in the weeks to come.
Giroud aside, there’s a lot to be taken from the second half of that game. Everton had a plan for us and it worked very well in that first half, but we responded incredibly well in the second. The touches are starting to come off for us, and we’re starting to pick our way through a crowded back line and fashion the shooting opportunities we need to fashion. The awareness of Santi Cazorla for Aaron Ramsey’s run for our first goal, the awareness of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for that first Giroud effort and Giroud’s awareness of the space around him for the cross he knew that Nacho Monreal would be sending in were impressive.
There’s a sense of our engine warming up ladies and gentlemen. If only Giroud hadn’t Abou Diaby’d his ankle when blocking a pass.
Onto the Besiktas game, and we had another somewhat cagey match. We seem to be enjoying giving ourselves little heart-attacks at present. With the news that Giroud would be out until end December/beginning January, there was a bit of a debate as to whether Sanchez or Yaya Sanogo would start up front, and Sanchez got the nod. We seemed to have learnt that the way that we need to play with him upfront is different to the way that we need to play with Sanchez there. He’s attracted to the wide areas and looks to get involved in a way very similar to Theo Walcott. Having him upfront is not only going to make our lives a lot easier when Walcott comes back in terms of getting used to having him there, it’s also going to make playing with Walcott upfront a fair amount more viable.
What will be interesting is seeing how we do against a team that doesn’t try to come out and fight us in midfield. I’m very interested in seeing how we do against Leicester City this weekend with a back six. Will Sanchez be able to bring everyone into play against that kind of backline, or are we going to struggle to connect him with our midfield?
Honourary mention to Mathieu Debuchy for some gritty defensive performances and some wonderful sweeping up at the back. He’s been mightily impressive, I just wonder if by the end of the season his temper is going to have cost us points.
All in all a couple of good results for us. Champions League group stages for 17 years is nothing to sniff at, and another tasty encounter with Borussia Dortmund awaits. Here’s to a recruitment or two before the end of the window to help us when we go there.
See you all in the comments below.
As always, keep it classy Arsenal fans.
I’m a passionate Arsenal fan in South Africa with a penchant for the expletive and a driving need to vilify stupidity, incompetence and reactionary fact-calling at every opportunity.
I’ve been supporting Arsenal for nigh on 10 years now from my far-removed vantage at the tip of Southern Africa, and my life is all the better for it.
My heroes include Abou Diaby (for kicking John Terry square in the face, accomplishing something we’ve all dreamed of doing), Arsene Wenger (for the gift of the amazing football he’s given us over the last 20 years consistently enough for us to feel entitled to it), and every one of the Gooners singing their hearts out on match-day, no matter the performance (I’ll join them some day).