2 quite awful performances but 6 invaluable points. I’ll take that for a few more games thank you very much. The free flowing football will eventually return, as we have too many good players for that not to happen, but winning is what is needed at the moment. Winning without playing well is even better as it breeds confidence within the team.
The game against Anderlecht was by far one of the worst performances I’ve seen from us in a long while, which makes the snatch and grab even more thirst quenching. The performance was pretty similar against Sunderland, a lot of the ball without too much penetration in the final third. It feels a lot like we are coasting through games in neutral and the players look like they are relying on ‘someone else’ to make the difference. It’s a time when we need some players to stand up and be counted which is missing a little bit.
The difference at the moment is Alexis Sanchez. What a player. What a man. What a hero. His energy levels put Aaron Ramsey to shame and that’s saying something. Not only does he never stop running, he does so at 100 miles an hour, every minute of every game. Even when he loses the ball he rampages back to get it. His most important attribute, however, is that he has an end product. In the final third he is a ‘killer’ of the highest order as Wenger would put it. It makes his work rate and tenacity a more noticeable strength than would otherwise be the case. Everyone loves a trier, but a trier with end product is the dream. It reminds me of the work rate Tevez has with the skill of someone like Suarez. He’s the perfect footballer in my eyes, perfect for Arsenal FC. When you consider Barcelona’s pressing game you begin to wonder why they let him go. Alas shirt sales of Suarez and Neymar must have been more popular than the Chilean. Suarez’s biting helped us out after all.
I still have no idea how he kept the ball alive to create Podolski’s goal vs Anderlecht and the sheer will to harass Wes Brown led to a calamitous error and a quite brilliant finish. It’s how a fan can relate to a footballer. When someone tries harder than a fan can comprehend, there’s nothing left to do but stand up and applaud. So I stand. I applaud you Alexis Sanchez. What a player. What a man. What a hero.
We’ve now got 2 home games where 6 points are well and truly up for grabs. The games begin to get a little more tricky after the next 2 so winning where we’re supposed to will make a big difference. We go to Swansea, play United at home and then West Brom away. 3 quite slippery fixtures but ones that become much more winnable off the back of 2 wins prior to them. Winning the home bankers will ease the tension in the pressure cooker and allow us to play more free flowing football, which will be what’s required against the likes of Swansea and United.
Lastly, we saw both United and the Chavs drop points yesterday which was great to see. Especially because Mourinho was disgusted with 90 seconds left in added time. He may say there were elements of injustice throughout the game but he knows they get their fair share. A draw was probably a fair result on the balance of play. It was quite refreshing to see an open game where Mourinho was involved as he looks to shake the ‘boring football’ brand name. Although it was quite hilarious to hear him whine “it was a difficult game with United playing counter attack football at home”. I do enjoy a riled Mourinho.
As I said a few weeks back, when beating Villa…it’s not often that we have a weekend where a lot of the big boys drop points where we take advantage so it’s refreshing that it’s happened again. Let’s hope it becomes more of a habit rather than a pleasant surprise over the next few weeks.
Have a great week.
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