Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Podolski's on a roll! -Who's this Gervinho? -Diaby got lucky -Giroud's pain

Morning Gooners.

Arsene Wenger's good record in France goes on after our 2-1 win over Montpellier. But of course the Frenchman wasn't on the touchline for this one, serving the first of a three game ban. Instead Steve Bould shouted the orders from the sidelines as the Gunners came from behind to win.

Despite having a poor start to the domestic season, the French champions put that to one side to concentrate on their first game in the Champions League and they certainly gave us a torrid time - especially in the second half.

But we held firm to take all three points back to north London and start our European campaign by finishing  Matchday One top of the group.

Here are a few thoughts on the game:

A disappointing start
Tony Adams on Sky Sports said Thomas Vermaelen had wanted to make a first tackle to put his mark on the game when he conceded the penalty. And you could see the Montpellier player wasn't threatening the goal, so I'd tend to agree with the former Arsenal captain. We can't be making rash challenges inside the box - or anywhere else on the field. I was annoyed by that.

However, a great comeback
The moment to make our comeback was straight after they'd scored and within minutes we were back on level terms. Lukas Podolski scoring to level the scores and then two minutes later Gervinho putting us ahead. I wondered how we would react to going behind - it was the first time that had happened this season - but the team proved itself to have the character not to become concerned with going a goal down and just playing our game.

Lukas Podolski... "He scores when he wants!"
The German is certainly picking up where he left off for Cologne. He had a good scoring record for the German club last season and now has three in the last three for Arsenal. Although the chant in unoriginal and Podoli needs his own, the sentiments are the correct. He's adapted to life at Arsenal so well. I'm really impressed and along with Santi Cazorla shows that Arsene Wenger is now signing the type of players we need to compete.

He looks like a different player this season. He's scoring goals for fun and his movement is so much better than last season.. Long may this form continue.

The defence
I thought the back four again had a decent game last night - apart from the aforementioned blip from Vermaelen. The two full backs are stepping up and making us solid down the flanks and through the middle, the Mertesacker and Vermaelen partnership is doing very well. I'm a fan of the big German. I think he's unfairly criticised by people. He brings an air of calmness to proceedings and his reading of the game is superb. And to think our best defender last season Laurent Koscielny can't get a look in at the moment. It shows how far we've come in the last two seasons.

Arteta, Diaby and Cazorla axis didn't gel
I can't put my finger on why, but I didn't think our midfield axis didn't work as well last night. I didn't think that Abou Diaby had a particularly good game. Sometimes he was bang on form, other times he looked poor. Perhaps it was because he'd been out of the team for the Southampton game but he didn't seem always up to the speed of the game. He certainly got lucky at the end of the game. Montpellier should have had a second penalty and Diaby a second yellow. I hope that can readjust his settings so that the Diaby we saw at Anfield is the one who turns up at Eastlands on Sunday.

Olivier Giroud - will someone take that weight from his shoulders?
It appears the handsome Frenchman has the weight of the world on his shoulders at the moment. If only he could find the back of the net, I'm sure he'd be a different player. I think he's trying too hard, trying to force a goal and isn't sometimes making the best decisions because of the pressure he's putting himself under. He's making some good runs and is certainly an Arsenal player. He just needs to be on the scoresheet, then I'm sure we'll see a much better player.

Good test ahead of the weekend
We didn't see much attacking in the second half and it was all out defence for large periods but I don't think that's a bad thing. I had wondered if we'd cope under intense pressure and we seemed to come through the test well. Hopefully that will prove to be a positive ahead of Sunday's game.

That's it for today. More tomorrow.

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