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Arsenal continue the turn-around with strong performances

by on November 24, 2011

Well, it’s been a somewhat successful week for The Arsenal this week. After seeing off Norwich to continue a decent run of form in the Premier League on Saturday we switched our attention to Champions League mid-week and qualified top of the group with a win and a game to spare, something certain other English clubs *cough* United, City and Chelsea *cough* didn’t manage to do.

I’ll start with last weekend and our game against Norwich, the results from which left us level on points with Liverpool and Chelsea. While we are still playing catch up domestically, we’ve been strong in Europe. The goals of course came from Robin van Persie, are there any other players in our team? Well, the answer to that would be yes. Many of our players have impressed this season, and just because they don’t score goals, partly because that’s not their job, they deserve recognition too and not be patronized with the stupid one man team theory. The defence looked stronger on the weekend with Koscielny at RB and Wenger obviously thought so too, as he left the team unchanged for the Dortmund game.

Finishing in the top four is still very possible for us this season. We’ve climbed back up to 7th and there is no reason for us not to climb further. No team has been overwhelmingly outstanding or consistent, with maybe the exception of City, domestically. With every weekend that passes I get the feeling more and more that City have run away with the title already. And it’s November. Whatever the case at the top of the table, we can’t concern ourselves over it right now as we need to concentrate on the teams around us and that the battle for 3rd/4th is going to be far more intense than usual. The teams we will probably find ourselves fighting for the Champions League places for will be Chelsea and Liverpool. Spurs could well be there too, however I think us and Chelsea have too much quality for them to finish third or fourth. I personally think that Chelsea’s bad run of form will soon be sorted out and that Newcastle won’t be able to keep up their top-of-the-table form either. There’s time left for things to change, however Man City and Man United are in the strongest positions this season, City being the more impressive so far.

While the struggle heats up in the Premier League, the situation in Europe has cooled down – for now anyway! We did a great job to see off Dortmund in an overall solid, yet at times lacking in creativity, performance at the Emirates. We took our time to settle and here credit to Dortmund is due as they made it very hard for us to get our rhythm and passing going with their pressing in midfield. It was a shame for Gotze to go off injured so early. I was looking forward to seeing him in action a bit more as he is a big future talent, regardless of what club he chooses to play for.

I was impressed with RVP, obviously, Theo Walcott, Laurent Koscielny and Alex Song. I thought our only real spark in the first half came from Walcott’s movement off the ball. Other than that, Koscielny seemed to pop up everywhere and he had another great game at right back and kept the back four in solid shape. Alex Song protected the four at the back brilliantly and his cross for Robin van Persie’s headed goal was sublime.  Our in-form striker is currently having an absolute blinder of a season, and I do not see it ending any time soon. God knows what will stop this man…

However the biggest credit I think should go to Wenger and the team working together, who have all done an exceptional job of turning this half of the season around. I spoke last week of needing to get the results necessary and we have done just that and against an impressive and quality Dortmund team (who despite popular belief, are not an average side) especially. We have shown signs that we have progressed from last season, and also of composure and maturity. The right balance I think has been struck and Wenger has masterminded a way in which the team can reap the full benefits of having a striker like Robin van Persie up front and I feel the connection between him and Walcott and Ramsey, Walcott especially, is a significant part of him finding such good form.

While I feel Theo has only been improving as the games go on, Gervinho has been showing signs of lacking some confidence in front of goal particularly. His final touch is often poor and he got, I think, a number of chances against Dortmund but couldn’t finish them off, and the chances he missed would have been buried by Robin van Persie. And here we have the problem that has been identified by the lovely British media; our one man team. We don’t have a one man team. What we do have, is one natural finisher in our first team. You can argue Walcott falls into this category, however because he has been spending most of his time on the wing, the opportunities that have come his way are few and far between. His solo effort against Chelsea was however spectacular.

The game against Dortmund proved that we have grown and can be successful, despite what people thought at the beginning of the season, in maybe more than the Premier League. I’m not saying we’ll win either but a decent run in the Champions League would shut some people up, provided we don’t draw Barcelona…

The team are more composed in our games now. We look stronger and we are clinical in scoring goals. Probably most importantly, we can get the results we need, on good days and bad days. Our games against Norwich and Dortmund didn’t start off to plan and didn’t seem to be going our way, but we turned them around and won them. This is something we have not been able to do for a while, last season we may have lost games like that but it’s a sign of how far the team have come that we can do this. In addition, we have been showing consistency in the League and in Europe as well, despite being written off as a ‘crisis’ club not so long ago, something our English counterparts haven’t been able to do. It’s vital for us to keep the consistency up but the defence looks much more reliable now and with Diaby returning to the team as well, everything’s finally looking up. Hopefully it will only continue to improve. That’s me for this week, guys, hope you enjoyed! If you don’t already give me a follow on Twitter at @AMMueller

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One Comment
  1. Cels permalink

    Boy! Its been a long time since i read headlines like “crisis club ‘arsenal’ suffers defeat” or “crisis club ‘arsenal’ makes opponent look good” or “arsenal survives defeat”. The media, fans(gooners and opposing fans), myself being guilty because of our poor start to the season wrote the team off with fear of us being the under-dogs in every match that we would play(that was then). I sure am proud to tell you that i feel a great deal of pride week in, week out watching my team register wins both at home and away. Watching this arsenal team play makes me feel confident that we will keep up our ‘royal look form’ provided our stars keep fit and remain not injured God’s willing. I know we will break records people thought were impossible for us to meet. I must add that the team seems to be gelling better since our former stars that lacked loyalty for the club have since been disposed off but i beg the greatest coach in the world in the person of arsene wenger to hold unto the present team both the first team members as well as the reserves together to avoid losing any of our valuable plays to clubs dat dont deserve them. Arsenal my team, Wenger my coach! Cheers, im cels.

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