The beard is back
It's four weeks this time between posts. I've spoken before on here about how working in front of a computer all day puts me in less of a mind to sit in front of one when I get home, but there is another reason for a lack of output. I write a blog to get things off my chest. I also write it because, as a match-going fan I am giving the view from where I see it actually inside the stadium more often than not. However, this season I am not really a match-going fan. I've been to just two home games all season, Chelsea and Basel. As a result, if I was to write about any particular game I'd only be talking about what I've seen on TV. There's no point in that as 99% of the limited number of people reading it will have also seen the same pictures I've seen. Yes, I would often comment on stuff that goes on outside of actual games being played, but the work thing is what has sapped my motivation to type outside of football matches.
It is also work (and in the last week a family holiday) that has been in the way of me getting to games in the flesh. Given the results of the team maybe I ought to keep away. I won't be at the Tottenham game next week either thanks to my shifts, so if we win that you can thank my absence for it.
I mention the fact that I comment on here as a match-going fan. The reason I do that is that some of the more prominent sites are written by people who go to very few matches. As such, in my view, what I have to say is usually far more pertinent than anything those people write, however much they may have developed themselves some cosy contacts within Arsenal Football Club. Given that going to football is my (not so) unique selling point I would feel a total charlatan to start spouting off as I do without being at the game. Frankly I've got no interest in a blog written by someone who never goes - they have no insight they can give me, so I can't give an insight to anyone else if I'm not actually attending.
So what of the team itself? The results have been good. Last Saturday's game at home to Middlesbrough was a terrible disappointment as the players, for the most part, simply didn't turn up. It was a throwback to everything that was wrong in the second half of last season. I found it a relief, therefore, that yesterday saw a performance with more movement and pace. Yes the players took it too easy after half-time up until Sunderland equalised, but the way the front four moved about yesterday in the first-half was everything that was missing last week. Alexis Sanchez was simply too good for the Sunderland team (they look like a team resigned to their fate as Aston Villa were this time last year). I was really pleased to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looking confident. His play for the first goal was top quality, though a couple of moments from him in the second-half were a bit disappointing - though not as disappointing as seeing him get replaced by the Welsh show-pony.
The most pleasing thing for me about the game yesterday was the impact of Olivier Giroud. From memory he seems to have a great record as a substitute and I think he's going to find himself used that way a lot this season. I am sure he has been on the naughty step since getting sent-off in Paris so it was great to see him get in to the action and show Arsene Wenger he is hungry enough to fight for the team. With Lucas Perez now out injured, and Theo also nursing a predictable knock, we will need Giroud to back up Alexis a lot in the coming weeks. I think his beard could do with a trim but I'm willing to overlook that if he keeps banging in the goals like he did at Sunderland.
We've come through a period in which we ought to have been taking maximum points. Only the one result let us down in that regard. From now on things get harder. There is a European trip to Bulgaria where I'd be happy with a couple of changes to the starting XI just to keep everyone fresh, and then it's Tottenham next week. I see Harry Kane was back in training ahead of schedule last week. This, obviously, has nothing to do with the fact that their biggest game of the season is next Sunday. It has all the echoes of the miraculous recoveries that Darren Anderton always made for derby day. Hopefully he ends up being about as successful as Anderton was. A win against Tottenham next week, following the win against Chelsea a few weeks ago, would mark us out for having a real good go this season. It will still be too early to really tell if we can genuinely challenge, but it might just make one or two others sit up and take notice.
Until next time, whenever that might be...