By Walter Broeckx
One of the things that entered my mind when seeing us win at Turf Moor last Saturday is that this team has something special. Something that if given time might grow in to something really special. If we take the time to have a look back at those last 8 wins in the PL we get to see many faces of Arsenal. And that is what I find so promising.
It started with a 2-1 win at home against Leicester.
Coming back from defeat against Tottenham it was vital to get some confidence back. A 2-0 lead at half time and all looked done but Leicester fought back and we had to be careful. Of course if the ref had given the penalty for handball that he should have given we would have had an easier job. But this was the face of a team that showed that they can grind out a win when needed.
Next was a 1-0 win against Crystal Palace. We again scored two goals in the first half and held them off for 93 minutes. And then they suddenly scored and got even close to an equaliser. This time we missed the chances to put us 0-3 in front ourselves. But again it was a team that showed it could defend a lead at a ground where other top teams have dropped points.
Next came Everton to the Emirates. A rather comfortable 2-0 win. We scored a goal and then showed we can defend that lead till we scored a second goal late on. Didn’t give much away in chances and again a penalty for a handball from Jagielka could have given us a more comfortable lead earlier on. But again we showed that we can attack but also defend in a good way.
Then we went to Queens Park Rangers. Not the best first half from Arsenal. But what a second half. Going in front 0-2 and it should have been more. Another not given penalty and a red card against Henry for a blatant foul on Özil who was going to score from 3 meters out should have made it easier. But again we kept our opponents away from our goal apart from one moment of hesitation between Gibbs and Koscielny that gaven QPR a late goal. But again we showed that we can defend.
Then we went to win in the FA cup at Manchester United. Another great performance when the whole team was performing excellently. For those that are saying that MU is not that great team anymore I would suggest to take a look at the league table this morning.
Next was a very comfortable 3-0 win against West Ham. It took us too long to score the first goal and we should again have had an early penalty and red card against an opponent to make things easier. But it was a great team performance once again.
At Newcastle we had a good lead once again going in at half time. 0-2 in front at a difficult ground. We then weren’t sharp enough in the first minutes of the second half and conceded a goal. But then we showed that when the going get tough our players are willing to be tough. Hard work and some strong defending resulted in another important win based on character. We just refused to give up our lead.
Then we had Liverpool at our ground. I still don’t know how we missed the early chances (Mignolet saving them in fact) but our first half performance apart from one moment of not being sharp enough was amazing to see how we destroyed Liverpool in eight minutes. From then on it was just cruising to a very deserved win. This was all about our attacking force who destroyed Liverpool and our defence holding them away from our goal.
And finally our game against Burnley. In a way I feared this more than some other matches. A team fighting to stay in the PL. A team that has a kick and rush style and a kick your opponent when needed approach. A ground where Man City lost so not really a nice place to go to.
But once again we showed that we have some metal in this team. When you look at the highlights there is only one time that Burnley really had a great scoring chance in the whole 90 minutes. Yes they had a few crosses that could have been dangerous but that is always going to be the case when you play a kick and rush team.
The team showed that we can fight when we need to fight. The team showed that we can be brilliant in attack when we can be. The team showed that all the players are willing to work hard when the need is there.
And we have in our team a few players that can be amazing. My moment of the match against Burnley was after some 70 minutes. Burnley had used the long ball and that made it sometimes difficult for our players to get going. A high kick from a Burnley defender came to Cazorla. And with a majestical movement it made the high ball drop dead on his foot. As if it was glued to his foot. It came out of the air an Cazorla mastered it with a perfect touch.
And that was the moment we took the match back in complete control. It was as if Santi said; “Okay, you had your fun with the high kicking and running but from now on we play our game: football on the floor and passing the ball from foot to foot.” And that is exactly what we did from then on.
In fact I felt very comfortable with our players from that moment on. We showed that we could play our way around the kicking and rushing from Burnley.
This team can manage different styles that are thrown at them. Of course there might be slip ups in the final run of the season. But this team is showing what it can produce when it has most of their players at their disposal. When the main players are injury free we can go on a long run as we have already shown this season.
This team has grown in the last months. One can only dream of what might have been if we would have had Koscielny, Özil, Giroud, Ramsey, Walcott fit for the whole season.
And I know you are not used to it but I want to be critical for Wenger for once: why on earth didn’t you use Coquelin earlier on this season?????? Because it might be his introduction to the team that has brought that much needed steal to this team. And boy am I loving it.
Anniversary of the day:- First Reports
The first report of the aaa
13 April 1895: Harry Storer played on this day for Football League XI and became the first Arsenal player to get representative honours but was booed at home, He was suspended following an “altercation” with supporters and then sold to Liverpool.
The first report of the manipulation of football on TV
13 April 1974: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 3. Arsenal crept up to 12th in the league and the press reported that through skillful editing of such matches the games looked attractive on TV while in fact they were mind-numbingly dull in reality.
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