Tuesday, 10 December 2013

RVP can rot at United -Bergkamp statue -Madness of FA Cup kick-off time

Morning Gooners.

A lot has been said and written about our defensive record recently. In the early part of the season it wasn't as great as it is now. When you think about it, in the league we've conceded 11 goals from 15 matches and three of those where when we faced Anthony Taylor in the first game of the season. So a record of eight goals goals scored against us in 14 games is rather good.

I think a great deal of why our record is so good is that we've had a stable back five. The key partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny has played a huge part of ensuring our goal hasn't been breached and the emerging maturity of Wojciech Szczesny has certainly helped. The goalkeeper has been fantastic this season.

As have the full backs. In Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs we've got two of the best in their positions in the league. Their back-ups of Carl Jenkinson and Nacho Monreal aren't bad either. And while the Englishman has a lot still to learn about the game, the Spaniard can feel unlucky he's joined the Gunners with Gibbs in a great run of form which means he's been undropable.

With Alan Hansen finally waking up and realising the Mertesacker/Koscielny partnership is one which Arsenal can build their title bid around, we're finally seeing the defensive unit get some of the credit they deserve.

And Jenkinson has been speaking about how Arsene Wenger has found the right balance at the rear of his team.

Jenkinson told the official website Arsenal.com:
"I think there's good communication between the back five and I think there's a lot of trust in one another and also the midfield as well. 
"Everyone's been working very hard as a team defensively. I think that's shown. Offensively we've got the talent to go and open teams up, it's just important that we keep tight defensively. 
"We've had a lot of clean sheets lately so obviously conceding on Sunday was a bit disappointing but I suppose you're not going to keep a clean sheet every week."
What has been noticeable this season is that when we've had to change the back five for any reason, whoever has come in and played has stepped up their game. Gibbs knows that Monreal is ready to seize his chance every time he's brought on to the pitch. Sanga knows that Jenkinson is hungry for games and his level cannot drop at all and in Club Captain Thomas Vermaelen, we've got a hugely experienced player who wants to prove he's still got what it takes to perform at the highest level.

The concentration levels aren't being allowed to drop. The focus is a lot better and I think as a team we are more acutely aware that the fewer goals conceded, the better our chances of winning a  piece of silverware this season.

While we are coping well at the back, there is still a sense that we are light up front. Olivier Giroud has played a lot of games already this season and we've got no real alternative but Nicklas Bendtner.

I posed the question the other week on Twitter about making a bid to bring the Greedy Badger back to north London. The resounding response was that we should let him rot at Manchester United.

While the Dutchman is a fine player, I'd rather not have him back. I think he's burned too many bridges. He chose his bed. Let him sleep in it. And whatever he deserves will come his way.

An interesting piece of news to emerge from the Christmas Drinks held by Arsenal with supporter's groups last night, with members of the club's executive team in attendance was that the Dennis Bergkamp statue was ready to be unveiled but that we were waiting for the great man to have a window in his diary to do it.

Ivan Gazidis also revealed that there could be another statue unveiled at the same time.

Meanwhile ITV has announced our third round FA Cup tie with Spurs will take place on Saturday January 4th with a 5.15pm kick off. The Metropolitan Police have given the go-ahead for the late kick off, despite the fact up to 9,000 Spurs fans will be getting merry on the booze prior to the match.

Personally I think it is madness. Let's hope it doesn't cause huge problems around the ground and along the Holloway Road after the game.

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