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Sam and I talk October!

by on November 13, 2011
Hello again Samuel and happy November!
Guten tag! And to you my friend.

Not a bad month, was it? Since we last spoke, we’ve scored 13 and conceded 5 in four league matches [all of which were wins]. Add to that 4 points against Marseille and a win in the League Cup then things haven’t gone too badly have they?

Pretty excellent month you’ve got to say, especially considering our start to the season. I think that kind of month wouldn’t usually be so great, but after such a poor start to the campaign the results of October have been amplified a fair bit. Still, there weren’t any particular negatives for once, at least none that are especially worrying. The team really looks to be gelling which is of course very encouraging. Let’s hope we can continue in the same vein.

I know I usually ask for your highlights and lowlights. I think I’m right in assuming that the win at Stamford Bridge was your highlight? Just how large was that victory for the team?

I’d have to say so, any doubts that we were back from our slump were well and truly blown out of the water. Comments had been made that we had only faced mediocre opponents had been made, and in fairness they had a point, so it was nice to see that those criticisms didn’t hold any particular weight. After all, you can only beat what’s put in front of you and we certainly did that. It went a long way to proving our various critics wrong, and showed that the team is, as Arsene has insisted, in fact united.

The summer signings have had a while to settle in then, who has impressed you the most? Mertesacker, Gervinho, and Arteta have all played regularly. Yossi Benayoun seems to be taking a squad role while Park and Oxlade-Chamberlain both seem to be easing into the side. Is that how you would be doing things?

I’ve been delighted with Mikel Arteta especially, although none have particularly disappointed me. He’s done really well in his first few games here, and as well as very good overall performances has already got two goals and an assist. Mertesacker’s done alright, against Chelsea he was pretty average, especially in the first half but I suppose he is still settling in so he deserves time. We probably won’t be seeing much of him now that Vermaelen’s back anyway – after recent performances Koscielny must be first choice alongside the Belgian. Gervinho has obviously done pretty well too, he’s brought something extra to the team which is excellent to see, and as for Park and Oxlade-Chamberlain patience is key.

The Marouane Chamakh conundrum. How do you solve it? With rumours of a loan back to Bordeaux in January [and maybe even another striker coming in], where does he go from here? Can he stay at the club?

It’s a pretty weird problem, it seems to be in his head as much as anything. If he has been out partying before games he really needs to sort that out. I do feel sorry for him though because with van Persie’s apparent infallibility right now, even if Chamakh gets his head down and works harder than ever he still won’t be able to force his way into the team. Sadly there doesn’t seem to be a particular solution, so we just go with what’s working in terms of results at the moment and hope Chamakh comes good when we need him. On the plus side Jenkinson’s crossing should be very good for him when they’re both on the pitch together, if he can get in the box in the first place.

I ask you this everytime, but are there January signings on the cards? Goetze and Hazard are names that have cropped up, as is Stefan Jovetic. Obviously they would be good signings, but could you see them happening?

You’re probably aiming a bit too high there in all honesty. Rather than Goetze and Hazard, the standard of the players we’re more likely to see are the likes of Marco Reus and Andre Ayew – obviously not bad players, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about both, but not on the level of Goetze and Hazard. Still, we’ve had to adjust our on-field expectations recently and it would be good if we could adjust our off-field expectations to go with that.

November. Usually a month dreaded by Arsenal fans. The interlull is an obstacle we can’t do much about but after a good start, surely we can get 6 points against Norwich and Fulham as well as secure qualification for the Champions League at home to Dortmund and what could be our biggest test so far this season at home to City. How do you see this month going?
Yeah we’re usually pretty loathsome of November, because after a great start to the season we’re brought back down to Earth. This time it’s a bit different – after a dodgy start we seem to be on the up so maybe it’s going to be a different November to what we’re used to. Hopefully the interlull won’t disrupt our new-found momentum *too* much and we can pick up around about where we left off. You have to say there are some very winnable games, with respect to our opponents, so I’m hopeful that we’ll do well. I think we should be alright in the Champions League, and as for City I’m still not sure what to make of them. My verdict is that they’ll come unstuck due to Champions League hangovers – their dropped points vs Fulham this season came after a European night and their wobble against QPR was also a few days after a Champions League match-up. The next few months will really test them though – after tough Champions League matches they’ll play the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool instead of QPR and Fulham so we’ll see what they’re made of. Hopefully they’ll have been damaged a bit by the time we come to face them.

As always Sam, thanks for your time.

You’re welcome.


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