Top of the morning to yall
It was a jolly good weekend in all of Arsenaldom wasn’t it? Not just because the Sp*ds crashed and burned at the hands of Fulham courtesy of their former player and #chokingcockrels was trending in London, it was because we did our job against Swansea. A difficult opponent that has caused us lots of trouble in the recent past. A trip to South Wales to play the free passing Swansea is not the most anticipated fixture to look up to after an away game at the Allianz Arena in mid-week, but the team came out in flying colours.
One thing that is common in both victories though is the defensive performance from the team. Two away games, two victories and two clean sheets and keep in mind, we used our second choice goalkeeper who hasn’t played in almost a year until the Bayern game.
After the game on Wednesday, I opined that the team had put their 10 day rest to good use to reorganise and hone the defensive aspect of their game. The game on Wednesday and Saturday saw a different approach to defending that we last saw in the opening games of the season against Stoke, Sunderland and Liverpool, where the whole team defends and not just the back four. A performance where runners were being tracked, midfielders were pressing the ball high up the pitch and someone was covering for someone else when out of position. Per Mertesacker perfectly explains this here
The most important thing we learned was to cover each other more. There were a lot of situations where there was no pressure on the ball and the back four was not prepared for any balls between us.
We are always watching videos. That is not the point. Sometimes it is good to see situations and I think the very important scenes against Tottenham made it more clear for everyone.
Defending is the responsibility of the whole team and that includes the midfielders, wingers and strikers, and when we defend as a unit, it makes the job of the goalkeeper considerably easier, which I sort of have pity for Wojciech Szczesny. Being dropped when the defence was in tatters and did not give him adequate cover is a shame when one considers that Fabianski has enjoyed considerably better protection over the last 2 games than he has enjoyed in a long time.
I have to admit though, it does sacrifice the attacking aspect of our game that we and especially Arsene Wenger have become to be known for in his years at Arsenal but any Arsenal fan will take a solid defence that ships in little and scores little over a defence that ships in goals in the bucket load. So big ups to the team and long may such performances continue.
And how quickly do the tides change, we were biting our fingers 2 weeks ago about how far away we are from Sp*ds after the defeat and now with a game in hand, we are four points away and winning our outstanding game will put us just one point behind them and with 9 games to go, the heat is definitely on and the choking cockerels seem to be ones feeling the heat now.
No games next week, the interlull resumes and it comes when the team seems to be putting a little run together. 2 wins from 2 is not what can be categorised as a great run but with this Arsenal team, it looks like it. Sort of.
That's that for this morning, be right back on Wednesday for another piece, sorry for the erratic posts lately, I have had precious little time on my hands and I just try to write whenever I have the chance. Let’s all bask in the glow of a good weekend and y’all should have yourselves a great week ahead.
God bless the Arsenal.