WEST BROM 1 ARSENAL 1 (AET – ARSENAL WIN 4-3 ON PENALTIES)
Our League Cup campaign is up and running, with a hard-fought away win at West Brom. The League Cup isn’t televised in Australia and I wasn’t going to wake up in the early hours of the morning to locate a stream. So I can’t overly comment on the performance, but from what I’ve heard and read it seems staying in bed was a wise move on my part.
That said, a win is a win, whether it be within 90 minutes, 120 minutes, or via a penalty shoot-out. Arsene had little choice but to make 9 changes from the starting line-up versus Stoke, in addition to throwing in a few youngsters. It’s great experience for them and into the next round we go, where we’ll be at home to Chelsea.
SWANSEA 1 ARSENAL 2
Going into the game I was a little undecided as to how tricky it might be. On paper Swansea away is one of the tougher fixtures, but in reality Swansea’s home form has been very poor (I think I heard the commentator say it’s now 4 defeats in the last 5 at home in the league).
However, regardless of their form you know they’ll play a possession game, with lots of pressing off the ball. It meant the first half proved difficult, with both teams nullifying each other, bar an excellent piece of play from Gnabry at the end of the first half, from which Giroud really should have scored.
But into the second half and the young German wasn’t to be discouraged. Good build up play (over 20 passes), saw Ramsey slide a delightful reverse ball to Gnabry, who finished with aplomb. His first ever senior goal and fully deserved. He was my man of the match and Theo could certainly learn a thing or two from him about the art of tracking back. With a treatment room full of wide players, now is a great opportunity for Serge to get some first team minutes under his belt.
Ramsey (who else?) added the second, following another lovely team build up, which included a beautiful crunching 50/50 tackle from Wilshere. The Welshman really is on fire this season, which is great to see.
Swansea got a goal back, but it was too little, too late. 2-1 to The Arsenal, keeping us top of the league, but this time on points, after an excellent weekend that saw all our rivals (bar Liverpool) dropping points.
ARSENAL 2 NAPOLI 0
It was back into Champions League action last night and the winning ways continued, with a 2-0 victory over Napoli that leaves us sitting top of Group F, and what a performance it was. The first 15 minutes was a good as you’ll see; 70% possession, two goals, and looking absolutely majestic.
The first goal was yet another excellent team move, which finished with a brilliant pull back from Ramsey and a sublime side-foot volley from Özil, to open his Arsenal account. The German then turned provider, making a good burst down the right, providing a lovely cross for Giroud with the outside of his left foot, which the Frenchman gladly stuck away.
Giroud’s all-round centre forward play has been of the highest quality and after three games without a goal he thoroughly deserved to get back on the score sheet.
If you wanted to read too much in to very little then you could argue this weekend is a very important fixture. It’s always good to head into an international break following a positive result; that victory would send us into this one top of the league, continuing our excellent run of form, and full of confidence could be critical. When you then consider Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla could return after the break, with Chamberlain and Podolski to follow over the coming weeks and months, these could be just the little lifts we need to see us through the busy end of year period.
But I’ll try not to get too far ahead of myself. One game at a time and the next one is West Brom on Sunday, so let’s just focus on that for now. Come on The Arsenal.