Goodmorning. Have a backlog of work waiting for my attention, so this post would be somewhat short.
The 2012/2013 Uefa Champions League kicked off yesterday with the Arsenal been away to Montpellier and no upset recorded. This post is not a review of the match but rather an opinion/take on the team, her performance till date, and what we can hope for.
The season is now five matches old (4 in the EPL and 1 in the UCL) with the Arsenal having won three and drawn two, a good form if I may be so bold to say so. The team is slowly getting into her stride with each match and exhibiting character foreign to the Arsenal of the last seven trophyless years (except probably the 2007/2008 team); the attack is not mono-directional, goals are not the sole responsiblity of one player thanks to the exit of Robin van Persie (note the fact I didn’t insult him; I think its getting old, Gooners need to move on) as the team now bares the burden of scoring, and the defense is selfish (are we seeing a return to the solidity that defined the Tony Adams-led backline).
The exit of Alex and Robin, at the moment, are in my opinion blessings. Before the knives are brought out,herein are my reasons.
The exit of Song was supposed to create an unfillable hole in the midfield as we had supposedly lost our most defensive DM and the team’s assist leader. Truth be told, I also shared this fear but this fear was tempered with my belief that AW would not sell a player with 3years left on his contract except he has able back-up; faith not misplaced. The disciplined play of Arteta, the box-to-box display by Diaby are perfect foils to the roamy play that allows Santi to dictate how the team plays. The beauty of the systen is the effortless way Le Coq fitted in when Diaby was rested against Soton with the concurrent pushing up of Arteta.
Going on, the goals. Arsenal has the best goal difference as at now with 8 goals scored and just one conceded. But that is not the issue here; I said to point out the fact that the goals have been scored by 4 different players. This team can’t in any way be accused of being a one-man team.
Yesterday, the team went a goal down. The goal and its how is not a thing to be discussed; it is the response. Before yesterday, the Arsenal had not being a goal down and this set of players mettle had not really being tested. Rose they did to the occassion with the first goal something for the classics; a move so Arsenal in its build-up, it was familiar. The second half was of course all Montpellier but the team kept its shape, defended as a unit and left France with the full points. That, in my book, is worth applauding.
Many would say the team should not be pressured by a club like Montpellier, forgetting they are the Ligue 1 champions, Arsenal is away and this is the UCL. Funny thing is, if it were Man Utd who kept this lead under such intense pressure, they would be appluded for having shown the “stuff of champions” or some other gobbledygook.
I know this is very early days and things should be taken slowly and expectations should be moderate. However, this team has shown grit (Montpellier), efficiency (Liverpool) and attacking prowess(Soton); all characteristic ingredients necessary for a title contender. I, like everyone else, look forward to the Etihad on sunday afternoon. As is my won’t, I would make a prediction; predict an Arsenal win.
That would be all for now, forgive the rambly nature of the article. Till I come your way again, namaste and Arsene knows.