The atrocious quality of the stream that I used to watched today’s game against Fulham has left me feeling completely unqualified to make any poignant observations about our performance as a team.
But even through the stuttery, blurry mess of a stream I feel confident enough to sing the praises of two players that I believe were most responsible for a vital 2-1 victory that has pushed us to the top of the table.
The first, Samir Nasri, will come as no surprise. The Frenchman ran the show today, capping off a terrific performances with two truly magical goals. The opening goal was good, the winner even better.
Few players in the Premier League are as dangerous as Nasri in around the penalty area: his pace, control and unpredictability making him almost unstoppable.
Now he has added finishing to his repertoire Nasri has developed into arguably the best attacking midfielder in England. It’s a big call to make but this season the numbers speak for themselves.
The second player, Johan Djourou, may come as more of a surprise. But after replacing Laurent Koscielny, whose friendly-fire injury provided a microcosmic representation of how poorly he and Sebastien Squillaci have been working as a unit, the Swiss defender produced an immense performance.
Unlike Koscielny, playing with Squillaci seems to bring out the best in Djourou, and he did not put a foot wrong at the back today. He was calm, committed and after Nasri’s second goal, when Fulham began to attack with more gusto, his absolute domination in the air brought great relief and confidence to the team.
Just look at his statistics below: 4 interceptions attempted, 4 interceptions completed. 6 aerial challenges contested, 6 aerial challenges won. 1 tackle attempted, 1 tackle completed. Terrific stuff.
Wenger continues to look past Djourou for the more wily, more wiry Koscielny but surely this latest performance will make the manager reconsider. Based on this and his previous performances against Everton and Wolves, and in the absence of Thomas Vermaelen the Swiss man quite simply deserves a starting position in this team.
Despite the scrappy nature of today’s victory and the tough time that Fulham gave us, all that matters is that we have finished the day on top of the table. It’s been a rocky ride so far but with Manchester United traveling to The Emirates hosting us at Old Trafford in a week’s time, this exciting team have an outstanding chance to establish themselves as genuine title contenders.
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