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Written by Mean Lean on Thursday, 22 November 2012 12:16

Many eagle eyed Gooners know that you can get a taste of an Arsenal performance within a few minutes of a game. The crispness and speed of our passing in the early exchanges has been a good indicator of what is to follow for a number of years now so when we started the game continuously giving the ball away to the French champions, I was a little concerned. Jack Wilshere in particular got stuck in the habit. The last mistake seemed to be on his mind the next time he received the ball which lead to his next misplaced pass. I dread to think what the atmosphere would have been like if that was Ramsey making those errors.

However Jack wasn't the only culprit, it seemed as if the whole team had lost the ability to play simple passes at a normal tempo and we know that for us to carve teams open we need to play quick interchanging passes at speed. This has been our downfall for a number of years, a topic that I have spoken about too many times before.

It is this reason why I have fallen in love with Oliver Giroud. Wengerball is adapted, adjusted and no longer needs to be running perfectly to work. A disjoined passing performance was fixed when Thomas Vermaelen swung in a right footed cross from the left and Giroud beat his man at the far post to head the ball down into the path of Jack Wilshere who had tip toed his way into the penalty area. His left footed flick over the advancing keeper was clever and we had gained the lead. A goal that did not involve one touch football.

van Persie, Henry or even the classy Dennis Bergkamp wouldn't have made that assist. Giroud knew exactly what he was doing and he had given us a taster of that against FC Koln in pre season when he knocked down a cross to Santi Cazorla at the edge of the penalty area.

We hadn't created much before that goal. Laurent Koscielny had crashed a header against the crossbar and a few passing moves were cut out at the edge of the Montpellier penalty area.

Luckily Szczesny didn't have a great deal to do as our defence looked far better than it has in recent weeks. We had improved after the break, perhaps buoyed by the goal advantage and our passing looked better, not quick enough to break through Montpellier but certainly sharper and more accurate.

I was willing Oxlade-Chamberlain to have a strong game after his injury but it was difficult for him. It must be tough to not yet have the match sharpness then come into a side that isn't functioning very well. However he did play his part in our second goal. Driving inside from the flank he poked the ball to Podolski whilst taking a clattering for his troubles at the edge of the box, Podolski played the ball to Giroud and spun into space, Giroud clipped first time pass into Podolski's path was absolutely fantastic, Lukas Podolski who according to Arsene has the hardest shot at the club let fly on the volley with a cracking shot down the throat of the keeper and into the roof of the net. 2-0 and the game was all but over as a contest.

Lukas Podolski had hit the side netting in the first half and then made up for it with the exquisite volley. It is exactly where we want to see Podolski. The more times he gets to strike the ball at goal the better for Arsenal. 7 goals in 17 games from a wide position is very good going for a player adjusting to a new club, league and country.

I found interesting that both Wilshere and Podolski played their first 90 minute games of the season in the same game. Aaron Ramsey had replaced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and looked cool and composed as he has done all season from the bench. It seems to suit him at this point.

Gervinho replaced Giroud but I don't think he received a single touch of the ball, I could be mistaken but I didn't see it happen.

A special mention to Laurent Koscielny who looks back to his best one mistake aside where he dwelled on the ball and was disposed but he was as sharp and quick along the floor as ever. Striding out of defence with the ball fully under his spell and not allowing the opposition strikers a seconds rest. I really like his partnership with Mertesacker so it will be interesting to see what happens at Villa on the weekend.

Schalke beating Olympiacos 1-0 in Germany means that we have guaranteed progress to the knock out rounds once again.

Arsene has promised to take a strong squad to Greece for the final group game but personally I hope we rest some of our players who have played many games this season. Players like Cazorla, Arteta and Podolski. It is only an advantage to finish top if you know which second placed team you will be facing. Many second placed teams this year are very strong teams so finishing first isn't always best.

I would love for the likes of Eisfeld and Gnabry to be complimented with strong players around them to see what they can do.

We need to improve our game for the tougher tasks ahead, that will come with a run of good results and more work on the training pitch but what is fantastic is that we have won the non Arsenal way. That pleases me no end. We have seen the other English clubs (perhaps not this year mwhahahaha) do it so often when not playing at their best so it is great to continue to score from knock downs, corners and deflections. I look forward to the point where we can marry to the two together.

Onwards and most hopefully upwards.

Comments (15)

  • israel  - arsena
    giroud lacks speed!!!!!!!! but what a game from jack a text book goal from podiliski
  • Vishal  - Arsenal should not top the group!
    We should play for second place. The teams in Second place in all groups are very strong ones: AC Milan, Juventus, Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich.... The ones topping are Porto, Shaktar, Dortmund, malaga, Barcelona, Valencia.

    Its easy to tell which pot w'd prefer bein in!! A Match up with Barca would be the only tough one if we end up second in grup!
  • FunGunner
    Very astute observations, there, ML. Agree with every word of this post, especially what you say about Wengerball no longer having to be a finely tuned formula one engine to work. Do you think Giroud is the player AW hoped to develop Bendtner into?

    Also very firmly in your camp regarding the last CL game. Given that we could face Barcelona or Bayern if we come second in the group - and Real Madrid or AC Milan if we come first, I don't see any advantage in sending our first team out there to fight a war of attrition against Olympiacos for the privilege of finishing top. I'd much rather AW send out the COC side and tell them to enjoy themselves.
  • MeanLean
    Great point FG re Bendtner. Seems as if Arsene has always wanted that type of player Bendtner/Chamakh/Giroud. Finally we seem to have found one that has all the attributes.
  • Luder  - Giroud is the biy
    Gotta give it to giroud- he is a work horse.
    Wins balls- scores goals (many more to follow I'm sure) and he even defends well ...

    Think how many goals Chelsea avoided having drogba defending set peices .

    He's gonna be a big player for us- just needed a little time to settle!
  • mekete
    giroud become famous in AFc with in ashort period of time.
  • Passenal
    Don't mean to be picky ML, but both goals were scored in the second half.

    To answer your question, Gervinho got at least one touch of the ball! He got a big cheer from the crowd when he finally got a touch some time after coming on!

    I agree that Ramsey looked very tidy when he came on and it was also a very timely substitution because Chambo was not really helping Sagna out defensively. At one point he seemed to be playing in the middle and no-one had taken up his place on the right. He looks like he needs some more playing time to get sharp again after his injury, but it was a great interception and dribble by him before the second goal.

    Good observation about Bendtner FunGunner. The difference is that OG is humble and will play wherever the team needs him. Bendtner was too impatient for his own good. Looks like it turned out for the best for Arsenal though :wink:
  • MeanLean
    Passenal, pick away. You are indeed correct, not quite sure why I had Jack's goal in the first half when it clearly wasn't. It wasn't until you mentioned it that it made sense.

    As for Gerv getting a touch, I was watching on a stream so perhaps I missed it, I might Arsenal player the last part of the game just for that very reason.

    Agree totally about Giroud being humble. It looks like not only have we found a very good striker but a very good person as well. More of those will do nicely from now on.
  • Mr Arsenal Fan  - Ohhh Yeahhhhhhhh!!!!!
    Yeahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thats it my Arsenal.......we win it my word true........we are still too far from the best of Arsenal like sczesney said.........but we are here to get back our the beautiful memory of beating all big team in some time and other team in some time.......

    Allright!!!!!!!! the interesting now is how we make giroud as a little playmaker that make us being out of bax than other thinking about my Arsenal team......they will get the taste of must thank me Giroud.......allright now, Mr Wenger....this is my specialty......for now, we just saw now is giroud turn for being TIRED already......i catch my eyes on we will need to rest giroud for a while, means whether to play him at second half this saturday or keep him rest for other next game......i think to play walcott at the center forward,but because of recent news, we will play podolski at center and took gervinho at left back....and of course the newborn winger chamberlain will play.........

    Then, this is also other thing that me realise......speciallty for our mertersacker......after me watching last game against spurts.....if mertersacker too far at the right side, dont push too hard but just make it CLEAR OUT of field, to give mertersacker enough space and other player come for defend........

    So,for sagna, the most wonder player in arsenal senior player...because he is what he is even with two broken leg...its miracle......but,for me just want to rest him for a while but in recent morale we need him, after next games we will rest him enough.....

    then, for our great sub.....ramsey.....the only one thing that we want him to improve and the one that always worried me about is.....he must to improve him play with ball RATHER THAN LOST it to opponent....if he can make it, forsure the other great thing from him will come up with impress........improve on it guys......

    and of course, our wilshere and the both spanish midfield cazorla and arteta........trio lineup.........great for wilshere goal....and this will increase much more better for wilshere confidence.......the one i ever like to see from wilshere is his PASSION....great!!!!!!! we will sure after several games wilshere gaining more experience and get back his most lethal weapon.....and he also named by our ex-captain fabregas as the spanish we will have three spanish midfield, means our domination in midfield is unbeatable......forsure we have more add on thing from wilshere for mid field.......yeahhhh!!!!!!!!

    And the last thing is.......our PASSING in wengerball.......we must keep work more and more on our passing......short and long passing.......because we need it for it evolution in next keep it more accurate and precise for our passing.......

    So, let us keep our winning and confidence on next games....
    "one second is my precious thing in my Arsenal beautiful thing"
  • FunGunner
    Hi, Passenal!
  • redboy
    jack sat on the bench all game wenger aint got a clue
  • roberto baggio
    I go to about 7 games a season, going to games doesn't make you a better fan. What makes you a good fan is loyalty. When we win every week it's down to this man. I bet you don't praise him. But when we lose you insult him. That is the definition of a fake fan. Which is clearly you. If we do win a trophy, don't celebrate please. It would be down to wenger, and you being a fake fan, probably will celebrate...
  • paspartu
    hey ml , i need that link you posted in aclf or somewhere else showing the grpah/chart with arsenal positions before and after wenger. can you help ? please..
  • MeanLean
    I shall try and find that for you when I get to your computer
  • paspartu
    thank you... got some vile creatures acting as arsenal fans in some other blog and need to shut them up... :wink:
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