Has Lukaku found a way out of Koscielny’s pocket yet?Well that was one of the most exciting games I have watched all season. Credit to Roberto Martinez for building such a potent side. It was end to end stuff practically the whole game. In the end we shared the spoils which was maybe the fairest result anyone has had all campaign. Being an avid Gooner, my focus of course is on the Arsenal side. As such, there are a few observations I would like to make.
First of all, how good are Per, Kos and Szczesny this season? It is because of them that we have the best defense in the league. I mean can someone tell me if Lukaku has found a way out of Koscielny’s pocket? The two have formed a defensive partnership that no one in the EPL can match. At least not at the moment. And what of Szczesny? He makes saves that Oliver Khan would be proud of. The three (along with Sagna) have been nothing short of world class. Which brings me to the left back position. I feel (and have always felt) that Monreal is a better defender than Gibbs.
The few games he has played continue to reinforce my stance. Yesterday, Gibbs had an below average game defensively and he may have cost us 2 points. He did not close down Deulofeu for the goal and considering he was in our penalty box, I find it a bit hard to forgive. Gibbs is good at making interceptions but his positioning at times and his one on one defending leaves something to be desired. Maybe he is jaded from all the games he’s been playing, but either way I feel it’s time Monreal got his chance.
Secondly, there is the midfield conundrum. In a previous post I mentioned that having so many options to choose from can sometimes be negative. In this case it is. I feel that Wenger should find space for Walcott in that side one way or another. Wilshere has been outstanding the last 3 games and Ramsey is one of the best players in the league this season. That said, playing them all takes away not just our width but also our killer instinct. We play so well but once we get to the opposition box there is no one willing to enter the box. Ironically, playing so many creative midfielders has restricted the number of clear cut chances we create because we pass and tease at the edge of the box but it so often ends up breaking down as there is no one willing to makes runs into the box, or shoot.
The omission of Theo has also made our counter attacks toothless. When we win back the ball and we have a chance to counter, the ball lands to Ozil or Santi and you feel like crying because everyone else either isn’t willing to make runs or just isn’t quick enough to make it count. Many people call Theo a one trick pony but when that one trick is being supported by Ozil and Cazorla, it is a devastating trick. Even on Ozil’s debut, that potential partnership showed from the go. The fact is, Walcott will greatly increase our goals. Since his return, we have scored every time he is brought on.
Thirdly, if the Everton game showed us one thing it is that we need a killer striker to really take us to that elite level. I have always said Giroud is a fantastic player but he doesn’t have that ruthlessness that Suarez, Cavani, Falcao, Lewandowski, Aguero and RVP have. There are games (like yesterday’s) where having a striker who takes his chances makes the difference. Yesterday towards the end of the first half we came alive and with a more clinical striker, could have gone into the half 2 nil up effectively ending the contest. Wenger must really make this a priority when entering the market in January.
In conclusion, I feel that the game against Everton was the hardest we’ve played all season. The draw was a very fair result but because I know we can do better, it came as a disappointment to me. More so, because we really needed that 7 point cushion going into the double header against City and Chelsea. Now we have to make sure that we win at least one of those two games which will be no easy feat. That said, we are THE Arsenal and we are more than capable of doing so.
In other news, I am glad Podolski is back and we are almost at full strength and now we can begin to see how good we really are.