By Walter Broeckx
Sometimes I cannot see the game live. When we play on Saturday there is almost never a problem, but when we play on Sunday I can get mixed up with my own games as a referee. Yesterday was one of those games. Of course one simple request to Tony and he keeps me informed about the score.
It’s a bit funny; when it was half time of my game the first thing I do is get out my phone (in fact the 3 of us do this – modern times I guess) and to my relief I saw that Podolski had scored and Tony let me know that Per was in defence. Then we went out for our second half and as we had a game of a home team playing in red and an away team playing in blue and also a 0-1 score at half time some similarities entered my mind. And when after some 15 minutes the visiting team scored the 0-2 I just felt and knew we would score a second goal.
And after I blew the final whistle and went to the dressing room I checked my phone and Tony has confirmed what I just felt would happen: we kept the clean sheet and won 0-2 at Anfield. A great game myself, some promotion chances for myself, Arsenal winning at Liverpool, my local team beating the team who was standing first in their league and getting to within 2 points of the top spot. What a great day.
But you are not here to read about my personal life but to read my personal view on Arsenal. Of course the first thing I did when I came home was watch the game. And I think I did see some interesting things and some confirmation about some things I had noticed in the first two games of the season.
Let me start with the first player that has been catching my eye and that got named man of the match: Diaby. This was the performance that he can deliver when completely fit. And I know some will say: but he never is fit for a long time. Well that is true but please remember that most of his injury troubles have been the result of really bad tackles on him. He has been kicked and kicked without protection from the referees so far. I hope and pray that the referees do their job now and make sure that when they try to kick him to pieces they will at least give the fouls and if possible give the yellow cards.
One of our members has met him in person on the shuttle to the continent when he was parked with his car in the same wagon and that friend told us that Diaby really is a very nice and friendly person when you meet him. So let us hope he does a Van Persie now and stays fit and carry us this season from midfield. But Arsène, please don’t over play him will you. Thanks.
And obviously Cazorla surely is a player that can change a game. He is the one that is always capable of producing something from nothing. People will point at Reina for our second goal but I think it was a great effort from Reina to even get a touch on that low hard ball from Cazorla that was going in anyway. Good vision, good legs, good running, good shooting, I think we got a bargain for that price.
Our first goal scorer of the season had to be Prince Poldi, also know as Lukas Podolski. I just had a feeling he would score his first goal at Anfield before the game. Because that is what he is capable of. He just is that player we know that can always score a goal anytime. Now was the right time and he likes the big occasions. And a great ball for the second goal also gets him on the assist list.
But what stood out most in this game was his will to work hard. He doesn’t seem to feel he is the main star, waiting for the ball to come to him and then produce something. No the first goal was all about him helping out the defence when it was needed a bit, collecting the ball in the own half, playing it up field and then start a run to support the attack and then finish it off.
And he kept on running on the flank. Helping out Gibbs when Gibbs needed help. Closing down Liverpool defenders when they got the ball. He worked his socks off. I know it sounds a generalisation but he showed the real German football spirit: work hard to win the game. A never give up attitude that is typical for German football teams. Having some of that injected into Arsenal is great.
I could highlight other players but then it would get too long a piece. I just want to praise the whole team for doing a great job. An almost complete new team with only 2 regular starters in the team from last year for the moment (Vermaelen – Arteta) and 4 others who weren’t really automatic starters last season (Per – Gibbs – Oxlade-Chamberlain – Jenkinson) this team needed a bit of time to start going.
But what is visible is that they all fight for each other and the team. It is as if there are no more prima donna’s on board no matter how good they might be. But when our players pressure defenders they really pressure this season. When our midfielders sit back they really cover the defenders this season. And our defender play with a ‘you shall not pass-attitude’ for the whole game.
If there is one thing I really have liked about this season it is the fact that we see a team on the pitch. 11 players determined to not let in a goal. 11 players determined to not lose the game. 11 players who want to give it all. No goals conceded in 3 games. Long may it continue. Is it just me or do we have a squad out there that is playing according to the Victoria Concordia Crescit?
Last season we had 1 point after 3 games. And the later champions were already 8 points clear. Now we are 1 and 2 points behind the teams that would play for the title according to the pundits. True, Chelsea had no real difficult games and lots of penalties going their way this season and are 4 points in front of us. But after getting beaten by Athletico Madrid their confidence might have had a big hit. If we keep on playing with the determination I have seen in the first three games we can win any game if we take our chances.
International break now….oh please let them all come back in a good condition. Why don’t we leave the getting injured part to the ones that had it in the past. If you know what I mean.
Oh, and finally …Giroud opening his account against Southampton…stepping the footsteps of a few great names from the past… Wouldn’t that be nice?
- Ref Review: Stoke v Arsenal (Lee Mason)
- What is the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal?
- The GIGANTIC ANNIVERSARY that is 2nd September 1893
- Liverpool v Arsenal -ref watch. It is H. Webb.
- Liverpool’s finances not in the best of shapes
- Uefa squares up to the Billionaire clubs
- Remember transfer deadline day in 2011. 5 signings in one day
- Who said project youth is dead?