1) We had problems scoring goals in our recent home games, what was different this time round?
@Alexrdownes - For me, the difference this time has to be the introduction if Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshire. Usually our game becomes slowed down in order to accommodate Giroud and we end up not playing to our strengths (crossing). Today Theo made runs in behind the defence, something Giroud hardly ever does. He scored 3 and could have had many more as Ozil began to flourish by finding him in the spaces he like.
Jack, although deployed on the right, did what he does best and drove at the defence . He may not have the defensive qualities of Ramsey, but his attacking impetus greatly enhances our attack.
@ArsenalTube71 - Playing Theo from the start gave us pace and more movement than we've had of late. Theo showed that against Sunderland but often doesn't get involved enough, today he was fill of energy and drive and that fed everyone else too.
@MJ_Boh_ - I think our opponents were a bit more loose than the previous ones. Less to play for, already thinking about summer vacation, or whatever it is, West Brom wasn't as a functioning defensive unit as a Pulis side tend to be. But that aside, I must say that Walcott's around and behind his markers were intelligent and I think even against a more focused side, he would've caused problems playing like that.
@samridhz - Goals have never been an issue with us. Chelsea parked the bus thereby, refused to play, & against Sunderland we created chances, just couldn't finish them off. The Swansea game was simiar to Sunderland. Couldn't take our chances. I felt today, we started brightly and West Brom didn't expect it. The early goal made it difficult for them, and we piled on the pressure.
2) What did you make of the line up today and does it tell you anything about next weeks cup final?
@Alexrdownes - The cup final line up will be very hard to call, but based on today, Theo and Jack cannot be left out. What that means for Giroud, Ramsey or possibly Coquelin is a place on the bench.
@ArsenalTube71 - I think Theo has given us a choice for next week and given Girouds current form it's useful to start with Theo perhaps. The Villa defence has struggled with pace recently so Theo should be in the reckoning. As for the right hand side, Jack had a good half and Ramsey was better in the middle recently so I've no idea how we'll line up there next week!
@MJ_Boh_ - Arsene always says he likes to have this kind of team selection headaches, the good kind. Certainly there was a bit of rotation - Gibbs, Gabriel - but also I think he was auditioning Theo and Jack and they performed very well. I wouldn't know what to make of it really - do you go with an instant fantastic performance or with the guy who made the difference week in, week out for most of the season? Tough job.
@samridhz - I was glad to see Wilshere back! He gives us those marauding runs from midfield, which no one else really does. That coupled with his technical ability made life miserable for West Brom. I think Santi, Coquelin & Ramsey will come back into the side, along with Szczesny. I'd be tempted to start Theo after today though!
3) Has Theo Walcott proved it is time to move into the centre forward position or were the opposition just poor on the day?
@Alexrdownes - Today I saw Theo act on all the talk he had in the past about being a CF. His runs, positioning and hold up play was top notch. West Brom's defence could have been better, but I don't think they expected nor knew how to handle Theo in a relatively unknown role for him at Arsenal.
@ArsenalTube71 - Theo needs to do this week in week out against all teams and in meaningful games to win me over. He disappears to often when we are having to defend.
@MJ_Boh_ - Saying WBA were just poor takes a lot of credit away from Theo's work today. His runs were brilliant, not only for the three goals he scored. A few others left him in good positions to score more, and he forced Myhill to work quite a lot. Regarding a CF role, I'll never be convinced about that, but if we had more games left in the season, I'd say it's an option we might want to explore.
@samridhz - It's a strange one with Theo. If he has too much time on the ball, he invariably doesn't score. When he doesn't, and is instinctive (Like the first goal), he is right up there with the best finishers in the modern game. I still think Giroud is our go to striker though. Until Theo develops the ability to play with his back to goal, and bring others in, he won't get to play through the middle.
4) Can Jack Wilshere carve out a position in this team as a wide midfielder?
@Alexrdownes - Jack's position for me is still CM. Nothing changes that. He performed well today but asking him to perform on the wing for a while may spell disaster.
@ArsenalTube71 - Jack played well today and did so in that role before, but when we need width and someone to go beyond with pace he can't always do that and will favour his left foot so will cut back. It will work against some teams.
@MJ_Boh_ - He's certainly more adapted to the RW role than Ramsey was, cutting inside on his left is always going to be hard to defend against and there are many examples out there of similar players doing similar things. Will this be his long-term role in the club? I don't think so, but it's a nice option to have.
@samridhz - Jack needs a run of games at first! Out wide i think he'll suffer because of his lack of pace. I'd prefer seeing him play from deep & make those charging runs through the midfield. Assuming we stick with out current formation & we bring in a wide-forward, I don't see him in that role.
5) What did you make of the season as a whole? Have we made progress as a team?
@Alexrdownes - We've definitely progressed as a team. More importantly, I think Shad may have finally solved what has been our downfall for years now, our injury record. Hopefully with this now in place, we can make more progress and push for the league next year.
@ArsenalTube71 - Less points but a safe 3rd which should have been a 2nd is progress. The biggest progress for us may be the Shad affect; are our injuries improving. There are rumours that the pitches will be changed and that is linked to reducing certain injuries...
@MJ_Boh_ - The one million tweets question isn't it? On paper we didn't, based on total points alone. But our performances, especially in the second half of the season were vastly improved and it is due to major players coming back from injury and team adapting to the new formation and changes in style. If we can carry these understandings on and build up on them in a good pre-season, then I feel we can say that it contributed to our progress as a team, yes.
@samridhz - I definitely feel progress has been made. Both on the pitch & off of it. We're getting players back quicker & they look fitter. All thanks there to Shad Forsythe! On the pitch, beating the likes of Manchester City & United, was brilliant! Highlight of the season has to be the 2-0 win at the Etihad. We finally have a squad, that can challenge for the title. Sure, there is some deadwood, but this has to be our strongest squad in years! Add the FA cup next week, and we've definitely headed in the right direction.
6) Who was your man of the match today and who could have played better?
@Alexrdownes - Theo man of the match with the hattrick.
Ospina could have been better, but I don't want to be premature and cry out that he needs to be replaced. I think sometimes players have bad games or patches. His came at the end of the season.
@ArsenalTube71 - Theo stood out for the first time since the Newcastle 7-3 game. Most of the rest of the team played well, but I find Gibbs frustrating. He's lost his place and on each occasion he's got back in he hasn't stood out and often slows down the attack.
@MJ_Boh_ - Theo is the obvious candidate for MOTM. I didn't see any particularly bad performances today, but one thing needs to be said about our number 1(3). One of the main complaints about Szczesny was often that he is prone to zone-out during matches we have total control of, and lose his focus for the one or two chances he needs to do well in - which might result in conceding a counterattack goal or being sent off. Ospina had nothing to do most afternoon but push out some goal kicks and take a back pass from Gabriel every ten minutes or so. But for the two real chances WBA produced, he did comically bad - one corner he went out of his line to collect to but clearly could never reach, and another long shot he nearly Fabianski-d. If we are going to have these moments every other game from our keeper, might as well let it be the more talented one that does them?
@samridhz - Ospina was poor & should have saved the goal & was lucky not to concede a second. He looks unconvincing. A definite upgrade is required in this department, depending on what we do with Szczesny in the summer. For man of the match, I'll have to pick Theo. Outstanding first half, and was electric in the box. Should have scored more, but still brilliant on the day.
7) What would your team be for the final after today's showing?
Ramsey and Giroud can come on and change the game completely if needed.
@ArsenalTube71 - Ospina, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ozil, Alexis, Theo & The Ox (if fit enough). With Ramsey, Jack, Giroud, Rosicky, Gabriel on the bench
@MJ_Boh_ - Szczesny, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Ozil, Walcott, Alexis, Giroud. Having a really hard time leaving Santi on the bench, but Aaron at CM is clear-cut the best CM we have, and sending him to the right flank or leaving him on the bench seems even wronger.
@samridhz - For the final, i'll have to go with the following
- Szczesny, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Santi, Coquelin, Ozil, Ramsey, Alexis, Theo.
8) How funny was it to see Liverpool get spanked into next week by Stoke City?
@Alexrdownes - Liverpool is the gift that keeps on giving. It will never not be funny watching them stumble emphatically.
@ArsenalTube71 - Liverpool are a joke, long live Rodgers as he's taking them backwards
@MJ_Boh_ - Too good to believe. After all the abuse we had from losing at Anfield last year, this is the best gift Santa gave me this and it's not even halfway to Christmas. Humiliating defeat, after the season they've had, on their captain's last game.. Can't ask for more, really.
@samridhz - Liverpool are a shambles. Brendan Rogers had said about Spurs, that if a team spends 100 million pounds, they should be challenging for the league! Egg. Meet face!! Steven Gerrard must be wondering what on earth has happened to his club.
9) Any Other Thoughts
@Alexrdownes - Sanchez: player of the season. Coquelin: MVP
If that makes any sense, but Coquelin saved our season.
@ArsenalTube71 - A bit disappointed so many left before the team did their lap. Loyal supporters? Also did you see Santi's child on the pitch, such skill. A chip off the old block
@MJ_Boh_ - "2-0 down, 3-2 up, that's the way to win the cup..." As much as I enjoyed (read: nearly died) last year, would be really nice it if Arsenal can not do an Arsenal and just win the final within 90 minutes with a solid 3-0 performance and no shenanigans. Thanks, MJ's liver and heart.
@samridhz - Can't wait for the cup final! What a fabulous day to look forward to! The next 6 days are gonna be incredibly exciting!!
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SHE SAID IT'S FOR THE ARSENAL, AND WE'RE GOING TO WEMBLEY!!
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