By Bulldog Drummond
Here are ten things that could be taken from last night’s performance.
1: Jeff Reine-Adelaide is ready and could be the player we truly promote this season.
Mr Wenger said in the programme, and has been hinting as much by not letting him go on loan and by giving in a lot of bench time.
He was superb on the left, and could be the player who breaks through this season to keep up the one a season record. All that needs to happen now is for radio and TV journalists (who inevitably are way behind in such matters) learn how to pronounce his name.
But still, they have a lot to think about – like where the next drink is coming from.
2: Maitland-Niles is a super holding midfielder.
Mr Wenger’s comment was aimed to keep the lid on everything and everyone’s expectation, including Maitland-Niles’ mum, when he said
‘I felt Rob did well, Ainsley played some nice passes and Jeff had a good game too.’ So maybe this year we will have two breakthrough players! Or three.
This is not to say Maitland-Niles is fully grown and ready to step up – different players manage it at different times, but he sure does have the skill. And he turned out 30 times for Ipswich last year, which shows that he is not the skin and bones some papers are suggesting. And he has 22 England caps at different age levels.
3: Giroud is back.
Olivier Giroud played for 25 minutes and nearly scored. One more appearance as a sub and he will be there. He nearly got a goal as well, as Habsi saved his headed ball and Moore cleared off the line. Which means we now have a centre forward to come on and change a game when we are faced with an eleven man defence and it is 0-0.
4: The Ox must not be allowed to go.
Injuries will come and even if he is not first choice at the moment he must continue at the club past this January. He has scored five goals this season which is not to be sneezed at, and we do need this quality of back up to win the league.
Speaking of the Ox Mr Wenger said, “Before, you felt he acted in front of goal like he didn’t deserve to score. Now, he has added some belief to his finishing and we have hope that every time he has the ball, something can happen. He has worked a lot mentally to be really focused. He is not a young player any more. At 23, you become a player who is a finished article.”
So we have both Theo and the Ox playing well. But there are plenty of games to come and there will be times when one fades or gets a knock or simply needs a rest from the relentless pressure. We really do need both of them.
Speaking of the two players together Mr Wenger said, “They are lifting each other.” An interesting concept.
5: Mr Wenger has an alternative look.
There is the smart suit, the big keep-you-warm duvet thing, and now the casual look: trainers, tracksuit trousers and jacket. Always good to have a different outfit for each competition I think.
6: Martínez may be unlikely to get a game behind our two regulars but he is ready if needed.
He particularly made a double-save from Kelly and Samuel that earned his wages. Let’s hope we can keep him.
7: Bitching about the opposition is never a very clever idea
While everything went smoothly for Arsenal, it was the usual bump with reality for Tottenham as Pochettino said that the Liverpool beach had double standards.
Liverpool started the moaning and whinging by complaining about various fouls carried out by the Tinies in the traditional Tottenham style. Poch then said Alexander-Arnold should have been sent off for a foul on Davies which happened much earlier.
“I think it was a bit strange that their whole bench started to complain about our actions when their full back, Arnold, should be sent off with the big tackle on Ben Davies,” he pronounced. “It was strange when their bench started to complain with another bench. It is the referee’s authority to say if it was a penalty or not or a foul of not. Maybe they were lucky to finish with 10 men.”
What Poch needs to realise is that this is Liverpool! They do things different up there.
And that moaning never does anything to help.
8: The Press will always find the negative angle.
“21 shots for Arsenal, although they only hit the target with seven”. Oh for goodness sake.
And no one wanted to admit just how many games that makes it unbeaten. It is 13 now, in case you were wondering.
9: Jenkinson is back and fit and a very solid addition to the squad.
Mr Wenger said, “It’s fantastic to see Carl back. He did well and had no fitness problems at all, which shows that he prepared well.” He is now 24 and has played 37 times for Arsenal and 52 times for State Aid United. Let’s hope we can keep him and he gets games.
10: Holding must not be forgotten.
“I felt Rob did well,” said Mr Wenger, but it was more than that. This young man is really, really good, and £2m transfer fee once again looks ludicrously small.
All in all not a bad night’s collection of observations.
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