In looking for a narrative for this piece, I failed to find one. That may because I’ve been in bed the last three days with what I think is a cross between swine flu and anthrax poisoning but I’ll spare the details. So I’ve decided to just give some general reflections on the games we’ve had in the last eight days.
I touched on Brighton a bit in the last post, but after watching it again (at least most of it when my body wasn’t trying to forcibly expel a lung) I have some additional thoughts there, as well as on the Liverpool game and the cloggers from Stoke. I don’t call Stoke a game per se, as I don’t know what to call the bastard child of football and rugby that they play. So, on to the matter at hand.
The supposed lack in strength of depth of the squad was put to bed somewhat, in my mind at least anyway. I have always been a huge fan of Tomas Rosicky and when he’s healthy, he shows he can do the business. I’m glad he’s getting back to fitness and as most should recall, his coming back into the team in the second half of last season corresponded with a major upturn in form. Now, I’m not saying he keeps Jack out of the team when healthy, but he certainly adds something to the squad.
I also want to mention that Andre Santos, despite his portly demeanor put in a good shift and isn’t as crap as everyone seems to think. He may not be a left-back mind you, but he isn’t a horrible footballer either. Something needs to be done to rectify the defensive frailties, especially against lower league opposition, but fair play to Brighton and Gus Poyet (even if he was a spud) for trying to take the game to us.
Now on to Blackburn in the next round in the FA Cup. This is a club in such disarray it’s either going to be a walk in the park or a brawl. Fingers crossed for a walk in the park.
Where to begin?
Shambolic defending? The most horrid away shirts since ours last year? Martin Skrtel being one of the most frightening-looking individuals this side of an alien movie? No, I’ll prefer to focus on the positives.
After we switched on, we scored two great goals and should have won the game based on the run of play in the last 15 minuets. I’ve always had somewhat of an affinity for Liverpool. Maybe it’s because I asked my dad for an Arsenal shirt (I told him they wore red) before his trip to England when I was 18, but he brought back a Liverpool shirt and a ManUre shirt. I knew I couldn’t wear the United shirt for some reason. I have respect for Steven Gerrard (and to a lesser extent, Jamie Carragher) for being one-club players.
That said, a point is two dropped and that is what it is. Final thought: this sucks for Kieran Gibbs. He was finally healthy for a prolonged spell and had been playing some good ball, the highlight being the cracker against Swansea. I would also spare a thought for Santos. He may be a bit out of shape, but he hardly deserves the stick he gets and wasn’t (though almost) at fault for any of the goals conceded.
At their kick-ball best (quite literally in Ryan Shawcross’ challenge on Laurent Koscielney for which he should have seen red) Stoke provided their usual challenge. I loved seeing Jack going after Michael Owen for the swing on Mikel Arteta; we need more of that type of fire in the team. A friend said that not since Viera have we had someone with that type of fire, and I tend to agree. We just don’t need the associated red cards.
I thought Nacho Monreal looked good in his debut in what could be trying circumstances, but he seemed to give as good as he got. Lukas Podolski made a huge difference, as did Santi Cazorla to a degree, and this highlights why squad depth is needed in a 38-game plus cups season. Good to see Arteta back, he is definitely the metronome of this current squad. All in all, maybe a little lucky and we left it late but got the points we deserved.
I’ll have some additional thoughts on the closing of the transfer window and other miscellaneous things my fevered brain has been pondering for your consumption shortly. (Maybe that’s what I have, the consumption…)