Olivier

We’ve had a quite brilliant weekend. With Utd, Sp*rs and Liverpool all dropping points, it made our win all that much sweeter than usual. The only blemish was a last minute Yaya Toure winner vs Swansea. That aside we’ve had a great weekend.

Our performance was brilliant vs Villa. Not because we played scintillating football throughout but because it was a complete performance with energy rationed where it should have been. It felt like we were cruising along in 5th or 6th gear only to drop down a couple and turn up the revs when required. Villa created a couple of half chances but largely we kept them at bay and it turned out to be a comfortable 3 points. For the first goal, huge credit needs to be given to Theo Walcott. He was played in by Flamini no less and the great thing about his play here was that he was shoulder to shoulder with Alan Hutton and wasn’t shrugged off. This almost dented the ego of Hutton so severely that he felt the need to bring Walcott down as a show of his dominance. Emasculated is the word that comes to mind here, followed swiftly by stupidity. He sure enough brought down Walcott and even though the ref took a while to get to the right decision he did get there. It did look for a while that the decision wasn’t going to be given however he blew up after a few seconds. I watched the game live and wondered why he took so long but the replays showed he made the right call. Sky Sports didn’t make too much of it but the MOTD pundits as well as the Villa players seemed to be incredulous to the fact that he took some time to make the decision. It happened a couple of times over the weekend and people seem to be losing their minds over these decisions. They were the right calls so just let it go. The referees of the league have been largely poor this year so when they get things right they should be left to themselves, they’ll sure enough make a fair amount of incorrect decisions to which we can all debate to our hearts content.

Olivier Giroud promptly tucked away the spot kick and became the 3rd fastest Gooner to get to 50 goals, behind Thierry Henry and Ian Wright. Quicker in fact than my personal hero Dennis Bergkamp. It’s an incredible record for a player that is so widely lambasted both in and out of our fan base. He divides opinion across the football world in that he is good but ‘not quite good enough’ to win is a big trophy. I truly think that the fans who abuse him aren’t helping in any way. The man clearly has an ego that needs to be massaged and by massaging it we get the best out of him. But that’s a discussion that’s for another day. Today it’s purely about how good he has actually been for us. He’s scored all types of goals for us, in all types of games. He’s faced adversity in certain games but always responded in the perfect way. He’s a great option for us and has enabled us to mix it with the more robust teams. Goals against City, Man Utd, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Dortmund & Sp*rs show that he can be the man for the big occasion. The variety of the goals are also massively surprising. They aren’t all headers or tap ins. He’s scored son spectacular goals that include overhead’s, volleys and long rangers into the top corner. His biggest asset to us however has been his link play. The way that he brings others into the game is brilliant. He knows when to hold and when to release the ball, his timing is brilliant. He has adapted his game to the Wengerball philosophy and really knows what it means to be the spearhead of The Arsenal. He may not get too many assists but he will have a hell of a lot of key passes under his name as many times he will have taken 2/3 players out of the game with a slide rule pass or a flick. He may not be an all action hero in the way Suarez was for Liverpool but he’s still a damn good player. One that I now fully trust as opposed to a couple of years ago. Yes he may miss a few chances but every striker has been (even Vardy was feeling the pressure last week). That’s the key point here. Giroud doesn’t seem to feel the pressure as much in his play (sometimes to his detriment) but it’s because of that fact that he is always a threat for us. Be it off the bench or from minute one he can be trusted. If you compare him to someone like Theo it becomes clearer. Theo needs to start a game to be effective and is less impactful from the bench. Giroud however can adapt from either position and it’s a testament to his character and ability. He’s been great for us so let’s hope it continues. Olivier, here’s to you sir.

Our second goal was all about Aaron Ramsey. Winning the ball back deep in our half and 4 passes later he’s on the end of a Mesut Ozil pass to slam home into an empty net. A brilliant team goal and a great counter attacking move. It capped off a great first half for us and enabled us to keep Villa at arms length for the remainder. Great game management.

Now we can sit back and enjoy being top of the league and watch Leicester v Chelsea with our feet well and truly up. We’ll either be top of the league or be able to laugh a little more at Chelsea. Win win.

Enjoy your week folks.

Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1

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