I have been reading a lot of reviews and criticisms of last night`s match and also the review by Sky Sports. The spot that amuses me is where Dermot Gallagher ( the ex referee ) provides his opinion.
Does anyone share my view that Dermot looks as if he is only missing a dog collar when he speaks to the camera or the commentator? His hands are permanently shaped as if he was praying and that his verdict is the result of a divine connection with the great arbitrator in the sky? Just an observation.
I am watching Tony Pulis as I write this and he is bleating that Sanchez cheated by diving when he got the free kick which we scored from when the replay clearly showed that he was unceremoniously tripped. He also says that not only should they have got a penalty but Mustafi should have been sent off! There is no argument about the penalty but we should have had a penalty when Monreal made a fantastic run into the box, beating three players and when he busted a gut to get there, he drew his right foot back to shoot when Nyom pulled him back by his jersey causing him to fall only two yards from the goal.
Sanchez made a run into the box in the first half and he was pulled onto his back, Finally he objected to the penalty we got when Nyom ( again ) barged into Ramsey`s back and knocked him over the line. On top of all that, Dawson kicked Sanchez all over the park. He got a yellow for the first foul, but he committed two more, even worse ones, and got away with them. He should have been sent off.
My own review of the match is that Arsene has finally realised that there were too many gaps between our defensive players which needed to be tightened up. That was vividly illustrated against Liverpool but last night Jamie Carragher actually remarked that whether it was what Wenger had worked on and instructed them to do, it was noticeable that there were none of the usual gaps in our midfield and defence.
Whether this signals a turnaround in our season, and enhances our chances of climbing back to our customary position near the top of the table remains to be seen. Keeping an eye on Arsenal’s odds at football betting sites such as NetBet Sport is one way of measuring our improvement, I suppose.
I thought that W.Brom played well in the absence of some of their important players and that as usual they were well set up to make things difficult. Don`t forget they made City sweat for a 1-0 win. Unusually for them they counterattacked well especially Jay Rodriguez, and while I am on him; what a joy to see a guy who says he will always get up and try to play the ball, he won`t try “to buy a foul”! I wish they all were as honest.
For us, Cech was at his best. He made some few but vital saves despite being unemployed for much of the time. Bellerin was more disciplined than usual and made up any ground he lost while attacking. Mustafi, was the weakest on the team and he is still too impetuous with sliding tackles and poor positioning. Koscelny was his usual self but he was more focused on his positioning especially trying to stay close to Mustafi.
Monreal was tremendous. He managed to do his role as a partner to Kos whilst still causing havoc in their box! Xhaka is gradually settling into his role as the playmaker, although he did make a few wayward passes. Kolasinac had a running battle all night with Hegazi and it was possibly his hardest game so far. He had to be Jekyll or Hyde when required. Elneny was at his best. He ran all night and was still charging forward at the whistle. His passing was accurate and quick and he varied short with long cross-field passes with equal success. His best game so far.
Ramsey looked as if he was playing for Wales. He was comfortable plugging gaps between the forward line and midfield and his industry in getting forward to supplement Sanchez and Lacazette was first class. Apparently he ran 2 kilometres more than anyone else on the pitch. He forced a penalty from Nyom with his determination to get into a scoring position. Sanchez put all selfish thoughts behind him and put in a shift. He was kicked from pillar to post all night and still managed to torment their defence and it was a rebound of the bar from one of his free kicks that produced the open goal for Lacazette to score. Lacazette was really comfortable as our “Fox in the Box” and he is really looking like a bargain. He gives us so many options to juggle the forward line which will be very useful with our extra commitments in the Euro Championship.
All in all it was better than some of the critics would have you believe. Mark Irwin`s contribution in the Sun is one of the worst critiques I have ever seen. It was more about W. Brom and the penalty they should have had. Nothing about the periods of possession we had and the lovely one touch spells of the classic Arsenal play we produced.
A sophisticated, articulate Arsenal Man of Mystery. Aged 70 and a bit.