Monday, 24 September 2012

Koscielny and Mertesacker outstanding -Ramsey my MOTM -Where are Gervinho's shooting boots?

Morning Gooners.

And on we roll. We didn't find out too much we didn't already know from our draw at Eastlands. We do know we're in better shape than we were last season and to take a point away from Manchester is fantastic. It's just a shame we didn't bring all three home when in my opinion we were the far better team.

Team selection...
The manager wasn't given much choice regarding whether he was able to start Thomas Vermaelen or not.  The captain had come down with flu and was unable to travel to Manchester so Laurent Koscielny was handed his first start of the season. Meanwhile in attack Aaron Ramsey was handed his first start of the season on the right handside.

Carl Jenkinson showed us why you don't always need to splash the cash...
The right back was outstanding yesterday. He's been good all season and his performance yesterday showed he's come on leaps and bounds from those first games he played for the club at the start of last season. He had Sinclair in his pocket for the first half so much that City's new signing had to switch wings. And the lung busting chase against Lescott he won set up a fantastic opportunity for Podolski. Jenkinson's rise has shown why Wenger was right not to bring in another defender at the end of the transfer window.

Will Per Mertesacker now be given the credit he deserves?
I thought the big German had a fantastic game in the heart of our defence. He may not have the pace or speed of recovery but he can read the game so well. I lost count the number of times he made an interception by just standing in the right place. He's proved to be a fantastic addition to the team in my opinion and will only get better as he continues his run of games.

Mikel Arteta showed his leadership attributes
He led from the front foot and showed why it wasn't necessary to replace Alex Song. The Spaniard oozes confidence and has the will to win I want to see from an Arsenal captain. In his performance at Eastlands we saw him quietly go about his business and stamp his authority on the game, giving the ball simply to our team's most creative players. However it would have been better if he hadn't drifted off his post at the corner they scored from.

Aaron Ramsey was my man of the match
The Welshman vindicated the manager's decision not to start either Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Theo Walcott with an all action display. I was very impressed with how Ramsey stamped his authority on the game, pushed the play forward with his direct running and generally got stuck in when it was needed. Instead of sticking to the right hand side he moved all over the pitch, always offering an outlet for the ball.   His performance has just stuck with me. More of the same please Aaron.

If only Gervinho had a first touch and could shoot on target...
Oh Gervinho. Why couldn't you have put the slightest of touches on that ball in the first half instead of a heavy one which passed the ball back to Joe Hart? And instead of finding row 34 in the second half, put the shot on target. While disappointed by his shooting, I have been impressed that he's got himself in the right positions. If only he didn't conspire to mess up at the vital moment.

Santi Cazorla is finding his groove...
What's not to enjoy from watching him? From the right, from the left, down the middle... he just stamps his authority on the game. We've finally found a way of replacing Cesc Fabregas and that has made this team tick once more.

The equaliser
Cazorla's corner was headed away but it found it's way to Koscielny who brought the ball down and fired it passed Joe Hart. The goal had been coming but who would have thought we'd have scored from a set piece. Every outfield player was involved in the pile up in front of the away fans. You could see how much it meant to them all. A fantastic team effort.

I'm disappointed we didn't win...
I thought we had the best of the chances and with more clinical finishing would have taken all three points with us back to north London. In many ways I'm really disappointed that we didn't win. We should have won. But looking more objectively at it you can say we at least took a point at a ground where we didn't come away with any from last season.

This team is on an upward curve...
The manager said his team isn't the finished article yet. But for me we're moving in the right direction. We've still got players finding their feet in the league - Lukas Podolski looked knackered when he came off and Olivier Giroud has yet to find his rhythm - and our squad isn't fully fit yet. So there is room for improvement. What I'm glad to see if that we're making those improvements on a good run and still matching up to tough opposition.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.

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