I couldn’t get to watch my team Arsenal play @ Anfield due to the fact that I had to be in church and was extremely busy with the work of the Lord so all I had closest to watching the match was refreshing BBC Sport. I had to wait till late in the night to watch the whole match and I did with so much ease and was I impressed by the different departments of the team.
I wouldn’t call the performance perfect because there are still one or two rough edges that would smoothen up with time. We definitely were lucky that Manchester United 12th player (Howard Webb) was on our side, I guess Sir Alex gave him a call before the match to make sure the reds walked alone. Another ref could have given a penalty when Mertesacker seemed to have pulled down the rabbit tooth Suarez but that’s all gone and forgotten. The only other slight worry about the game was Olivier Giroud but like I said am sure all would soon smoothen out.
The post – rvp erahas finally begun as goals from new boys, Podolski and Cazorla gave Arsenal their first victory of the season. Skill, Class, Vision and a solid defensive shape brought Arsenal their first victory, first goals and third clean sheets in as many games. Never would I have thought I would say this but suddenly the Arsenal team is boasting of a remodelled defence where Carl Jenkinson’s performance is encouraging and even Vito seems to be flourishing in goal for the Arsenal team.
One major signing of the season for the gunners is a certain Steve Bould, a former gunner, a member of the famous Arsenal back four comprising of Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, and Lee Dixon. Bould was named as Wenger’s number two in May 2012 after the retirement of the long serving Pat Rice. Bould was rewarded for his successes with the youth team with a promotion to become Wenger’s No. 2.
It is just three games into the season but there has been a significant improvement in the defensive shape of the team and would we say it’s the BOULD EFFECT (the dude with the IPAD). Jenkinson suddenly looks like a good deputy for Sagna, the Vermaelen – Mertesacker combo looking good while Gibbs showing improvement. The defence is not perfect but there is a reason to be optimistic for the future. Suddenly, the team looks more difficult to beat and to come out of Anfield with a win and clean sheet is commendable considering the fact the champions were held a week earlier at Anfield.
Next is the strongest aspect of the team, the midfield trio of Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta and
Santi Cazorla. I am both shocked and surprised that Abou Diaby played his third game in a row for the Arsenal considering the fact that he didn’t complete a game in the 2010 / 2011 season. It does seem that Abou has finally moved on from his spell on the sidelines and growing to a player we know he can be. Against Liverpool he was awesome with many believing he was the man of the match.
Abou is finally paying back the faith Arsene has in him. He bossed the midfield, winning tackles and stroding forward with so much elegance and poise. In one of his runs and exquisite pass, Olivier Giroud should have scored his first goal. Finally, the emirates faithful would see the best of the leggy midfielder.
Mikel Arteta, a supposedly panic buy by Wenger is showing the class and calmness needed in the Arsenal team. Playing in a more withdrawn role as a result of the exit of song, he protected the back four, won tackles and launching the attack with a wide range of passes. Arteta might not be in the mold of a certain Gattuso, Song but his understanding of the game, his technical abilities surely compensate for the lack of physical presence. If this is what we would get from a panic buy, then I seriously don’t mind another panic buy in the shape of Arteta.
Cazorla, hmmmmmmm, a player described as a mixture of two arsenal legends Liam Brady and Cesc Fabregas. He has the qualities of a world class player – skill, class, vision, a champion and most of all a humble personality. I was shocked and surprised when I heard that he goes to watch the Arsenal Nextgen matches, it shows his exemplary attitude and personality. Getting him for a price of 15 million pounds is a steal and what a steal by Arsene Wenger, considering how crazy the market was in the last transfer window (Hazard to Chelsea, Thiago Silva to PSG, Lucas Moura to PSG and Oscar to Chelsea).
He seems to be having an understanding with Lukas Podolski and that showed as the duo linked up for the goals as shown with Santi providing Lukas for the first goal and Lukas returning the favour for the second goal. Hopefully, there is more to come from both players.
The attack really needs a lot of work in training and hopefully with more training sessions and games the forward trio would start performing as a unit. It seems Lukas has made the left side of the attack his own and he seems to be enjoying playing from the wide. More significantly is the fact that he helps a lot in defence by supporting Gibbs when the team is being attacked. He surely is a more improved version of Andre Arshavin. He is more of a team player and always willing to help.
Olivier Giroud’s Arsenal career seems to be attracting mixed reviews from several fans, while some are calling for his head others are patient with him, but surely Arsenal fans might not be too patient if he keeps on missing glaring chances as he did against Sunderland and Liverpool. There are positives in his game as he surely does have a big presence in both half of the pitch. He is a handful for defenders as we saw in the Liverpool and Stoke matches and he also helps out the defence during set pieces. Hopefully, he would find the back of the net against Southampton at the Emirates.
The right side of the attack is a major concern. In the last three matches, Gervinho, Theo and Chambo have played there but none seems to have made a strong case for the position. Hopefully now that the transfer window is shut, Theo Walcott would return to playing football and help the team in achieving its goals for the season.
Mannone – Surprisingly, he was hardly tested by the Liverpool team. Still flappy on crosses but did well considering we were away from home.(6/10)
Jenkinson – Despite early sloppy play, he did cope with the pace of Sterling and Enrique. Quite a comfortable day for the young player.(6/10)
Mertesacker – Despite the early booking and a close shave at the giving away a penalty, the German was good with his day where he won all aerial contest he went for. (7/10)
Vermaelen – Captain Vanstastic was awesome, strong, decisive and a leader, helped in building attacks, marshaling his defence and helping his goalkeeper clearing his lines.(7/10)
Gibbs – Kept Borini in his pocket, had little to do defensively and helped in launching attacks. He needs to work on his crossing.(6/10)
Arteta – Composed in the tackles and in providing cover for the defence especially Gibbs when he goes forward. It was a neat, professional, technical performance by the Spaniard. (8/10)
ABOU DIABY – His best performance in an Arsenal Shirt, bullied the Liverpool midfielders, bossed the field, moved with so much poise and elegance. He showed what Arsenal fans have been missing, hopefully would say injury fit.(9/10)
SANTI CAZORLA – A real gem, a real star, a champion, a class, what a player. A goal and assist for the new Arsenal maestro. Quick feet and not easily bullied by the Liverpool player, showed his class and a top notch performance. (9/10)
PODOLSKI – A goal and assist by the German forward. He helped his defence especially Gibbs and launched attacks from the left. Took his goal well and a nice one – two with Cazorla. Seems to be hitting his strides, more to come.(8/10)
GIROUD – Good display, troubled the Liverpool defence and helped in defending set pieces. Should have scored when played through by Abou Diaby.(6.5/10)
Chamberlain – Had a subdued day, helped Jenkinson and tried to launch some attacks of his own. Not one of his best games.(6/10)
A quick note on Liverpool, why in the world would you loan out your best striker to another club without getting a replacement. I am so sure that if a certain Andy Carroll was in the Liverpool team today, we would have been more troubled and with the unpredictability of Mannone in goal, they surely could have gotten a result. Like the saying, one’s man loss is another man’s gain.
Congratulations to Sir Alex on his 1000th game in charge of Manchester United. A great achievement in modern football where managers come and go.
Congrats to RVP on his 100th goal in the premiership and Ronaldo on his 150th goal in la liga.
The Nigerian Paralympics team is sure making us proud. What able bodied men and women couldn’t do, the paralympians are sure doing. Hopefully, the Nigerian Government would appreciate them on their return to the country.
Have a great week,