Monday, 7 November 2011

Jack's pledge -Arteta's only going to improve -Szczesny's bet -RVP on darts

Morning Gooners.

We'll it's always good to start the day with something positive and I think watching Jack Wilshere's interview from the boxing on Saturday night is a good place to start as any.

Wilshere said he would be back in training in December and then it was up to Arsene Wenger pick him once he is up to full fitness.

Our 19-year-old midfielder was then asked if he would stay at Arsenal for life... of course Jack said he would.

It's great to hear him speak with such passion about the club. It really feels to me that he desperately wants to succeed with Arsenal and I think Wilshere along with Wojciech Szczesny and Carl Jenkinson to name a few off the top of my head, care deeply about the Arsenal as much as we do as fans.

I can't wait to see Jack back in an Arsenal shirt. I really think with him back fit again it's going to give the manager another selection headache, like we've seen this past weekend with Wenger having to decide over which of the two out of the three of Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelen or Per Mertesacker to play.

We've got a good balance to our midfield with Aaron Ramsey playing closely to Robin van Persie with Alex Song and Mikel Arteta patrolling the space in front of the back forward but also pressing forward to supplement our attack.

And it's Arteta who's goal and performance at the weekend has earned him plaudits.

Since joining the club the Spaniard has steadily improved and if you're a fan of statistics, you'll see Arteta has been one of the best passers in the team in recent weeks. He's also had a high number of key passes - passes which create goal scoring opportunities.

Arteta said:
"I’ve not had a lot of time to settle. We’ve been under a lot of pressure to win games, we’ve needed results. 
"There’s still a lot to do. We can still improve as a team in many areas. We’ve just tried to get by but now we’re improving a lot." 
And whilst the vast majority of his team mates will head off to play for their countries, Arteta will remain in north London to continue training as he's not been called up for Spain.

It's been good to see him slowly come alive in an Arsenal shirt. His early performances showed promise and he's come on a lot in the last month, capped with his goal on Saturday. There is of course lots to improve on and for him to get even more involved in the game, but it's good to watch his progress.

With big shoes to fill in Fabregas and Nasri, I don't think Arteta has been phased. He's just gone out and done his thing and the one thing he certainly has done is been able to put his foot on the ball and slow things down when we've been in a comfortable position in games.

All too often we'd be the makers of our own downfall and I think with the Spaniard in the team, he's got a bit more know how and experience which we've been lacking.

It's something which hasn't gone unnoticed by Arsene Wenger. In fact, Arteta has played in eight Premier League games since his arrival and we've lost twice, which is an improvement from our opening three games.

The Frenchman said:

"I’m always a little concerned that the ghosts we had to fight one month ago will come back.  
"We are not yet on a completely different planet. Until then we have still to fight against it. In the past, when we had a very young side and it was going well, sometimes we continued to play like the result was not important, and suddenly it was 2-1.  
"Now we have more experience, more maturity in the side. When we needed to slow the pace down we did."

And the spine of the team is probably as strong as we've seen it in a long time. Szczesny - Vermaelen - Song - van Persie. It has bags of experience, apart from in goal, but what our Polish goalkeeper doesn't have in know how, he certainly makes up for in confidence - even suggesting we're in with a chance of winning the title!

It's obviously far too early to be suggesting that we've got a chance of getting back into the title race, but we've certainly come along way since playing at Old Trafford.

The form of Robin van Persie has helped, scoring 29 goals in his last 28 league games. The Dutchman's killer instinct in front of goal has helped us push on and he's certainly been a breath of fresh air as captain.

If van Persie can get everyone of his team mates interested in darts and watching Phil Taylor power himself to victory, then we might be in a good place come the end of the season.

If you missed our Inside the Formation posting last night, take time to read Joss Bennett's look at Laurent Koscielny's performance against West Brom.

It already feels the next two weeks without any Arsenal games are going to be a slog, but hopefully one we'll come through the other side without any injuries and power through until Christmas unbeaten.

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