1-0 Arsenal as the Saturday Emirates FT scoreline read. The orcs of Stoke City were downed by a deflected free-kick taken by Lukas Podolski. Finally some luck. Deserved in that showing too, even if it wasn’t our best performance. Sometimes, winning ugly is what it takes and that’s something this collective bunch need to learn. Have they finally found an edge?
IN recent weeks, Wenger has come out publicly criticising his team on a few points. Defensive frailties, lack of aggression, defensive frailties, too much respect for the big teams, defensive frailties. These are points most, if not all Arsenal fans are aware of and Wenger seems to finally have let it dawn upon him. What has he done to rectify these holes? Well, for one, he picked up Monreal but that seemed more out of necessity then actual requirement.
Sources say that Monreal’s deal was planned for Summer but boosted in transit by Gibbs’ injury and Wenger’s (and everyone else’s) lack of faith in Santos’ ability. It doesn’t seem however, Wenger has done anything to change those major gaps in the team’s structure. Defending is still poor (I mean come on, 4 vs 1 against Henderson in the Scousers match and the 1 still scored!) and aggression still isn’t at a premium.
There was one little ray of light in that respect and that came from our young English midfielder, Jack Wilshere. In a little kerfuffle between Owen and Arteta where Arteta legally tackled Owen by contacting the ball first, Owen decided to swing at Arteta who had his back turned. Not something Owen is known for is it? But hanging around Pulis and his orcs will do that to you. Brave Jack seeing this came to Arteta’s rescue standing up to Owen much like he did with giants from WBA. There’s always that little extra pizzazz in the team when Wilshere’s around and the way you stick up for your team-mates in these little skirmishes will be reflected in how much effort you put in while fighting for them while playing football.
Against Stoke, we were not bullied, we were not kicked off the pitch, even though they tried with Shawcross going studs up into Koscielny’s crotch, escaping with a measly yellow. Wenger came out saying that
“We were a bit younger and inexperienced [in the past] but defensively today you could see that in Sagna, Nacho, Koscielny and Mertesacker we have some experience and stature there. We are not small at the back.”
I found something to laugh about after the match though. Pulis always had a dim light-bulb and post-match interviews again showed his worth. He came out with this
“The disappointing thing for me was the number of Arsenal players that surrounded the linesman. I thought that was something you couldn’t do.
“If he has given the right decision, he has given the right decision. You take it on the chin and get on with it.
“I haven’t got a clue what offside is now. When the linesman gives it offside, the way that Arsenal players surround the linesman, and the referee then goes over, I thought if there were more than five players, you’re not supposed to do that. The referee has reacted after that.”
Now correct me if I’m wrong but any team would be furious with a decision so abhorrently incorrect as that offside decision so Arsenal players did nothing wrong. Funny thing is the ref made the decision on his own since he had a clear cut view of the whole scenario. Pulis has brain-washed his team to be as astonishingly boorish as he is and he thinks the world is as ignorant as he is. Gosh. Walk on by Pulis, that’s the last we’ll see of you this season, thank goodness.
With the back of Stoke, we roll onto International duties with Gervinho returning from AFCON duties where Côte d’Ivoire was knocked out by Nigeria. Here’s hoping everyone comes through on the weekend unscathed. I’ll be crossing everything I can.
Hope you enjoyed my little piece.
‘Til next time Gooners and Goonerettes.