For one reason or another it’s been some time since I was last able to have a rant and ramble. As such, there’s a lot to be covering off, so here goes…
Before the game I was quietly confident of getting a point. I really don’t feel they’re any better than us and I was convinced the players would be looking for retribution, following our defeat to them at home earlier in the season. Add to that their poor home form under the fat Spanish waiter and there seemed no reason we couldn’t get at least a point. But sadly there were two reasons; another poor first half performance and an awful referee. A much improved second half saw us pull one goal back, but we’d left too much to do (especially when our only attacking option on the bench was Arshavin!).
Verdict: Missed opportunity, disappointed, frustrated.
Another slow start, but this time less disastrous. Collison gave West Ham the lead with a fine finish (although he should have already been sent off for an awful challenge on Wilshere…and it came from a corner that should have been a goal kick), but we went in level at half time as Podolski said “anything you can do, I can do better”. The opening fifteen minutes of the second half saw arguably our best football of the season so far, with the German adding three assists to his first half goal. My favourite of the five goals was, without doubt, the fifth. From the hands of Szczesny to the back of West Ham’s net in nine touches…NINE! It was like the Arsenal of old; fast, fluid, ruthless, orgasmic.
Verdict: A great victory…it always is when you stick five past an Allardyce managed team.
I was unsure what to make of this fixture before the game. On paper, you can’t complain with lower league opposition in the cup. However, Brighton are doing well in the Championship and play in a positive style and I wasn’t sure how much rotation there would be from Arsene given the build-up of fixtures. Thankfully, in a round of upsets (Brentford drew with Chelsea, then Leeds and Oldham beat 5pur2 and Liverpool respectively), we weren’t one of the giant killing victims. Giroud bagged himself a beautiful brace, but twice we were pegged back, before Walcott scored the decisive third. Some excellent goals and spirit shown, if not an excellent performance. But we’re into the next round (without the need for a replay) so no complaints here. Next up, in the sixth round, is Blackburn at home.
Verdict: Progression, without a replay, into the next round, where we’ll meet another lower league opponent. What more do you want from an FA Cup weekend?
The best and worst of this current Arsenal team all rolled into one game. The defending (and goalkeeping) in the first half was a disgrace; if Per Mertesacker is collecting fines for anything it should be that! Whilst it was better in general, in the second half, we did have our usual momentary switching off, allowing Jordan fucking Henderson of all people to make it 0-2. Thankfully our efforts in the final third were much better than the defensive third, and two in two minutes got us level. Once again our defensive failings left us too much to do, although how we still didn’t manage to go on and win the game I’ll never know. With Chelsea and 5pur2 both drawing their midweek fixtures, it was [another] missed opportunity.
Verdict: Disappointing result against a team we should be beating, compounded by not making the most of our rivals dropping points.
Transfer Deadline Day
To the surprise of many we actual bought someone! Welcome to The Arsenal Ignacio Monreal Eraso, or ‘Nacho’ as he’s known. I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I’ve never heard of him and I’ve never seen him play, but if he’s half as good as the last Spanish international we signed from Malaga he’ll be ok. The rumours are that he was lined up for the summer, but an injury to Gibbs versus Liverpool meant we decided to get him ahead of schedule, which leaves you wondering what if Gibbs had got injured this weekend, as opposed to Wednesday? Anyway, he’s here now and that’s all that matters. Aged 26 and capped nine times by Spain he appears, on paper, to be another shrewd signing by Wenger, following the summer arrivals of Podolski, Giroud, and Cazorla. Combined with the recently signed new contracts of Wilshere, Walcott, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, and Jenkinson, we have a very good nucleus. Let’s hope for a top four finish, an FA Cup in the trophy cabinet, and some more additions in the coming summer. Then maybe, just maybe, we can become title challengers again next season.
Verdict: Seems like a very good acquisition and keeps Santos away from our starting line-up. I’d have liked a striker too (as support to Giroud), but I wasn’t expecting any signings…so clouds, silver linings.
Before we can even begin to worry about next season, however, we need to finish the one we’re currently in! We’re still four points from fourth and the remainder of this season is going to be a real scrap. Talking of scraps, this weekend we entertain Stoke. If you exclude geographical reasons for hatred (i.e. 5pur2 and Chelsea) and title rival reasons for hatred (in past years Liverpool, more recently United), then Stoke really must be my most hated team. A ghastly bunch of leg breaking, shit football playing wankers, managed by one of the biggest cunts in football. I know many don’t like that word, but it’s the only one to describe him.
Verdict: Here’s hoping for three much-needed points, and if we can stick five past them, like we did to Allardyce’s mob, then all the better. Up The Arsenal.