Arsenal returned to winning ways at the weekend with a 2-0 win over Stoke although I did my best Arsene Wenger impression by not seeing the game.
A late Friday night live-blogging the World Cup draw was followed by a fairly hectic house party at a friend’s on Saturday and meant that I was too full of Scotch to stay awake for the match. Argh.
I did happen to catch the Chelsea v Manchester City game in full the next morning though so instead of the usual match report I’ve done up some interesting conclusions from an intriguing Premier League weekend:
1. Arshavin is a decent striker
He scored the first, won the penalty that Cesc Fabregas missed and could have got a hat-trick on another day – not a bad return for a 5’4 creative midfielder who was asked to lead the line in Eduardo and Carlos Vela’s absence. He is not the long-term answer to Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner’s unavailability yet Arshavin showed that his intelligence and understanding of the attacking side of the game has few limits.
2. Cesc should not take penalties
By my recollection I’ve seen Fabregas take three two penalties in his career: one yesterday one in the shootout against Roma in the Champions League last season and one to win Spain’s quarter-final shootout against Italy at Euro 2008. While he may have scored against Italy his miss tally is sure to rise if he continues to place them so close to the middle of the goal with so little power.
3. Arsenal players are made of glass
With a pre-game injury list as long as Pele’s real name, it was hard to imagine it could grow longer. Yet the news is that Tomas Rosicky will be out for at least a month after tweaking his groin while Eduardo, Eboue, Gallas and Traore may well face short layoffs. The manager may blame the fixture list and the cold November rain for the problems but surely something must be down to the physical capacity (or lack thereof) of the players on our books?
4. Some Arsenal fans are never happy
After a tough week a 2-0 win at Stoke should have brought joy and relief to the readers of this blog. Instead it enticed panic and worry about the players we don’t have and the fact that we did not score more. With the risk of sounding ungrateful to my readers I want to encourage people to ignore what we don’t have and focus on what we do have at least until the transfer window opens. And when the boys win, for the love of all that is good and right in this world, be happy about it!
5. We can beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
I’m happy to say that I correctly predicted Manchester City to beat Chelsea last weekend. I felt that their team was suited to breaking down the league leaders in a way that ours – devoid of van Persie and Bendtner – was not. City’s victory provided yet another reminder of how open this season’s Premiership is while indicating to the rest of the competition of how to beat Chelsea this season: take the initiative and make the most of your set-pieces. If we do the same at Stamford Bridge later in the season and have a taller striker to lead the line we have every chance of taking the points.
6. Petr Cech is no better than Manuel Almunia
A lot of people won’t like that statement but at the moment it’s true. Almunia has been getting slammed for his recent efforts – most notably the concession of Didier Drogba’s cleverly disguised free-kick last weekend – yet Cech’s effort on Saturday was even poorer. I have to say it makes me surprised to hear Arsenal supporters crying out for a keeper like Cech, once a world-beater but in the past season and half one of the Premiership’s least consistent goalkeepers.
7. Tottenham are still good for a laugh
2-0 up over Everton with 20 minutes to go, Spurs conceded two late goals while Jermain Defoe conspired to miss an even later penalty kick. Somehow despite all their improvement and Arsenal’s “crisis” they will be four points behind us if we win our game in hand. Hilarious.
8. I am a lucky boy
When I bought tickets to two group matches at the 2010 World Cup involving D1 v D4 and G1 v G4, little did I know they would turn out to be Germany v Ghana and Brazil v Portugal. I have to consider myself quite lucky – even if Australia did get shafted by a draw that includes the aforementioned Germany and Ghana and the dangerous Serbians. A second-round match-up against England seems a long way away.
Have your say on the weekend’s conclusions by leaving a comment.