We are starting to gel.
After overcoming the doom and gloom of a terrible start to the season we’ve produced three good results in a row — starting with the thrilling 5-3 victory over Chelsea that ranks up there as one of the most entertaining games of Arsene Wenger’s fifteen years in charge.
As plaudits were thrown the captain’s way for our defence received rather less adulation. Yet, arguably with more luck than skill, they responded with a clean sheet in a goalless stalemate against Marseille to inch a step closer to Champions League qualification.
A fine week was capped off on Saturday with our most comprehensive performance and result of the season: a 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
This was the first time this season, indeed, for as long as I can remember, that we have avoided breaking a sweat to knock off an opponent. It was also the first time that our team has looked like a real team.
If the Chelsea result showed that our pacey attacking unit, featuring the incomparable Robin van Persie supported by speedsters Gervinho and Theo Walcott, is undoubtedly working, the comprehensive dismantling of West Brom suggests the rest of the team are not far behind.
It was always going to take some time for our new boys to settle into the Arsenal way but the signs are there that they have.
Per Mertesacker has installed more calm in the side than many recognise, whilst Mikel Arteta’s assured control and passing has allowed Aaron Ramsey to regain form as our most attacking midfield player.
Then there is Andre Santos.
The common assertion regarding the Brazilian is that he can’t really defend. While that might technically correct his languid and unpredictable style, of which his purposeful forays forward are a major feature, are giving opposition wide-players a hell of a lot more to think about than in the days of Gael Clichy.
The irony with Santos’ style of play is that it fools the opposition into thinking he can be attacked, in turn opening up space for Gervinho and Co to exploit further up the pitch. Chelsea fell into that trap, getting change out of Santos on occasion, but they sacrificed their defensive stability as a result and conceded five.
On the other side of the back four Carl Jenkinson is making strides forward as well. He is growing in confidence, chooses his moments to attack intelligently and is an exceptionally hard-worker, particularly endearing qualities in a team that has in the past been susceptible to having too many lax moments.
While the defence is not yet perfect the gelling of our new players has put control back in our hands and that of the manager. Early in the season we were a team with no plan, no players and no confidence. Now we have a system again and it shows.
We will not win every game this season and we will not win the league. But little-by-little we are restoring our reputation as a heavyweight in the English game.
Given our position earlier on in the season that is something to be admired.
Spread the Arsenal love by leaving a comment.