FULHAM 1 ARSENAL 3
Our first three points of the season were secured last weekend, in torrential rain at Craven Cottage. It was a very positive performance and one that was largely comfortable, especially when you consider some of our recent struggles at this venue.
In terms of performances Podolski was the stand out man with two goals on his first start of the season. However, honourable mentions should go to Szczesny for some very good saves (the double save at 1-0 in particular), Ramsey for his continued good form, Cazorla for being quite magic, and Giroud who got another goal and played a key role in our third goal with some exquisite control and hold up play in the build-up.
ARSENAL 2 FENERBACHE 0
Another positive performance provide us with our third win in a week, putting the opening day defeat to Aston Villa a little further towards the back of our minds. Given our 3-0 aggregate lead from the first leg, it was a little pedestrian at times, but there was a job to be done and we did it.
Aaron Ramsey was once again the man of the match, with some excellent all round play and grabbing both of the goals, the second of which was a quite exceptional controlled volley on the run. He’s been our stand out performer so far this season, long may it continue.
Whilst on the subject of Aaron Ramsey, I’ve never understood the criticism Aaron faced. At the age of just 22 he’s had to deal with having his leg savagely broken and the trauma of his national team manager (who had made him captain) committing suicide. Moving from Cardiff City to Arsenal at the age of 17 and developing your career to become a regular starter for one of Europe’s biggest clubs is challenging enough. That Aaron has achieved that despite all the other hurdles he has faced is testament to not only how talented he is, but the attitude and application of the man himself. I’m proud to have Aaron represent our great club and long may his excellent form continue.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE DRAW
So, for the 16th season in a row, The Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League group stages. The draw was made yesterday and it’s a very tricky one with Marseille, Dortmund, and Napoli our opponents. It’s an exciting draw and hopefully one that will bring out the best in us and see some higher attendances during the group stages. As I said on twitter yesterday only Arsenal fans could spend the whole year demanding Champions League football and then wish for Europa League quality opponents when the draws are made. Embrace it, enjoy it, it’s what top-level European football is all about.
It’s creeping ever closer and we’ve still made no significant signings. Mathieu Flamini has re-joined the club after 5 years in Milan. Given how thin our squad currently is and the versatility Flamini offers on the field positionally, it can only be seen as a positive. But overall it’s a very underwhelming signing and we can only continue to hope that bigger and better players will follow in the coming days.
Our substitutes bench this weekend is likely to be Fabianksi, Jenkinson, Monreal, Flamini, Ryo, Gnabry, and Sanogo. That is a very weak bench for only three games into the season and days away from the end of the transfer window. And let’s not kid ourselves, we only have Vermaelen, Arteta, Chamberlain, Podolski, and Diaby injured; four and a half players. It’s by no means an injury crisis and yet our strength in-depth is already a real cause for concern.
If we can get those five players fit again, combine them with this weekend’s eighteen man squad, and add at least two or three players of real quality then we’re in with a really good chance of causing some surprises. The core of our squad is talented, so come on Arsene, sign the quality players we need to boost our chances and (possibly more importantly) the belief and morale of the team and fans.
NORTH LONDON DERBY
The summer has provided many causes for concern, but this weekend sees the scum of all scum entering into our home, so all negativity must be put to one side for 90 minutes on Sunday. I hate them, more than I hate anyone or anything else. Despite our lack of signings there is enough quality in our starting eleven to get a result. So for those privileged enough to have a ticket, please get behind the team and sing your heart out for them. They’re doing everything in their powers to keep us going whilst they, just like us, wait for reinforcements. Give them the extra support and help they need to get a positive result. North London is red; always has been, always will be. Let’s hope for three points on Sunday to emphasize this fact. Come on The Arsenal!!!