Monday, 27 August 2012

Wenger to open cheque book on midfielder as Gunners shoot blanks again

Morning Gooners.

Another weekend, another draw for the Arsenal. That's just one win, five draws and one defeat in our last seven Premier League games. Hardly the form of a team who's going to win the league but there is a positive... we've not conceded a goal this season. There has been no calamity defending, which has to be considered a good thing.

Before the start of the game I think most fans would have taken a point from a match which has proved in the past to be a tricky affair. We've not won in the league in Stoke since the the 2009/10 season when Aaron Ramsey had his leg broken in two places by Ryan Shawcross. But in all honesty I think yesterday's game was there for the taking and we should have returned to north London will all three points.

This side is still not gelling as many, including myself, would have hoped. The manager had done his business early in bringing in Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud to the club before pre-season training began. Santi Cazorla arrived two weeks before the Sunderland game, but none are yet on each other's wave length.

In the grand scheme of things I hope we look back on yesterday as a point gained at a venue which we traditionally struggle at. And I'm glad we've got this fixture out of the way early. There will now no longer be a chance for us to trip over it later in the season.

Vito Mannone had a perfectly fine game
There were question marks over how the Italian would cope between the sticks with Stoke's direct game. But I think he answered everyone's questions with a near perfect performance. He had little to do and what he did have to do he did well. There was clean handling and decent distribution. Perhaps he could teach Wojciech Szczesny how to kick the ball into the other team's half of the pitch. The manager gave the Italian time in goal during pre-season because he knew this eventuality might happen and the 24-year-old proved he's capable of  being a good understudy.

The manager has nothing to worry about in defence (thus far)
One of the most pleasing aspects of the opening two games of the season has been our defensive play. We've not conceded a goal and we've looked strong as a defensive unit. The shape of the team, something that Steve Bould and Neil Banfield have been working on when we've not got the ball, has looked good and the willingness to work for one another evident. It's been particularly pleasing that the new players have signed up to work hard to win the ball back and our defence has started from attack.

If only Gervinho could find that final ball
He was arguably the player of pre-season and has taken his good form into the first two games of the season but I think I'm not the only one to plead... find that final ball Gervinho! He gets himself into excellent positions and then it seems on the majority of occasions to come to nothing. He has the beating of the vast majority of defenders but sometimes lacks the self belief to take them on. If he finds that final ball, we'll have found those assists we need.

The magic is about to happen with Cazorla
There is no doubt in my mind that Arsene Wenger has signed a gem in Santi Cazorla. He's still finding his feet in the Premier League and alongside his new team mates. But I don't think he's that far off producing the balls which will lead to our forward line scoring a lot of goals. I think at the moment there is a little bit too much expected of him, but he's a big enough player to cope with that. The magic will come and we'll be purring over what he'll provide us this season.

Podolski is a bull
I was really impressed with the German international's involvement yesterday on the left. I thought he was unlucky to have been substituted. But what his performance did show us is that he's most suited to this league and has all of the attributes to succeed.

Giroud is not far off marking a mark
The dreamy Frenchman started the game at the point of the attack and did many things right. He made the right runs, got into good positions and worked for the team. The only thing which didn't happen for him was putting the ball in the back of the net. I'm not worried about him though. I'd be more worried if he wasn't getting into those positions. He'll come good, I'm sure of it.

The manager needs to buy
Dare I say it, but Arsene Wenger needs to get the cheque book out, dust it off and start writing some cheques. He's missed out on Nuri Sahin so who is he going to go for now? He's got until 11pm on Friday to do the business he needs to do to get us on the right path for the league and europe. Do it Arsene. Don't worry about the extra millions. As long as they are who you want go out and buy them.

That's it for today. More tomorrow.

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