Well that was quite a rollercoaster week! After being thoroughly outclassed by an extraordinary Liverpool attacking display and tentatively playing out a bore draw with Europa league hopefuls Manchester United, it was great to get back to winning ways against last week’s tormentors.
The thought of Monreal, Jenkinson and Sanogo starting may have sent tremors through the spine of a few before the game; but Wenger was somewhat vindicated by the overall team performance and the result. Sanogo has come in for a lot of scrutiny for simply being signed during the summer as opposed to a world class international striker. I don’t think he was ever brought in as an alternative to Giroud, rather as one for the future but given that we were unable to land one of our number one targets: Suarez or Higuain, he has found himself playing in quite a monumental game and given his performance he may find himself starting against Everton in the next round.
He is tall and strong and has a robustness that reminds me of Adebayor in his first season. He is of course hugely raw and I think it’s highly unrealistic to think we can see anything close to consistent quality forward play until next year but it’s great to see him take his chance so well. He may have been somewhat fortunate to come up against a rusty Agger, who is still some way off match fitness, but he tormented the centre backs by dragging them out of position which allowed for a more fluid attack.
Other positives include Podolski’s movement and goal, Ozil’s stealthy display and Fabianski’s string of excellent saves. It’s easy to feel discontented about results and performances recently but it’s important to remember that each result only equals 3 points and losing to Liverpool, whilst upsetting and distressing in the way that we played, is still the same as in terms of points as losing to any other team.
We now have Bayern on Wednesday followed by three very winnable games before a horror run of Spurs, Bayern, Chelsea and City. It’s now vital that we pick up maximum points in the next 3 league games in order to give ourselves a fighting chance against the teams at the top of the table.
The games against Sunderland, Stoke and Swansea offers a great opportunity for players such as Giroud, Arteta and Wilshere to play themselves back into form whilst allowing Chamberlain, Flamini and Podolski to stake a claim for a place in the team as rotation becomes more prominent. I really hope Chamberlain kicks on and becomes more and more influential in games. He has tons of ability and confidence and I think, much like Ramsey, can get himself on the score sheet on a regular basis.
On a final note, I do wonder why Sanogo was picked over Bendtner yesterday, I’ve heard reports that Sanogo has been very impressive in training but the same goes for Bendtner, who Wenger has said is sharp and fit. It’s possible that Sanogo has overtaken Bendtner in terms of backup to Giroud and that may partially explain why Wenger didn’t dip into the transfer market. It’s possible that Wenger genuinely believes, on the basis of his performances in training, that he is capable of stepping in until the end of the season. I won’t dwell on the January transfer business but it strikes me that Wenger very rarely plumps for a make-shift target if he has someone in mind – which I’m sure he does. It’s also evident that strikers are in high demand at the moment and with the super-duper spending power of City, PSG, Monaco etc it’s becoming more and more difficult to do deals with clubs.
Anyway, it remains to be seen whether this was a fleeting FA cup appearance or whether Sanogo will see more game time. We shall wait and see.
Til next time,