Hull away was the first game I have missed this season due to buying tickets for Frankie Boyle at the Pleasance Theatre on The Cally. Frankie Boyle was average. Arsenal were excellent.
4-1 away from home in the Premier League is a great result in anyone’s book. At the time, it took us to second place in the league. After Everton’s result, we currently sit 3rd. Not bad for a side who have seemingly had a very average start to the Premier League season. Written off by the media after just a few games.
In comparison, Liverpool have had an excellent start to the season. Talk of a title challenge. They sit below Arsenal.
After a tough mid-week away tie in Paris, a trip to Hull was a potential banana skin. Mike Phelan was named Premier League Manager of the Month for August. It could have been one of them tough games up north after a mid week jaunt to Europe.
Arsenal were helped by Jake Livermore thinking he was playing beach volleyball on the Copacabana Beach, but you feel Arsenal would have run out winners no matter his decision to handle in the area.
An Arsenal game would not be an Arsenal game without us on the verge of drawing a game we were dominating, and the penalty for Hull is worrying. It was the umpteenth time this season we have let players in behind our defence. It happened against Southampton, numerous times against PSG, and now against Hull. We are holding a high line, but the high press then gives plenty of space in behind. Luckily against Hull, whilst we were punished with a goal, we still came out with 3 points.
It is still mystifying why Granit Xhaka is not starting. And with no place for Olivier Giroud (a hurt “toe” – is he David Haye?) or Lucas Perez, the starting 11 put out by Arsene Wenger was baffling once more. Maybe we will see these guys come into the team against Nottingham Forest (more later).
4-1, away from home, after a European away game, up north, taking us into the top 3. Yesterday was a good day.
Why did Santi Cazorla not take that penalty? I was confused, you were all confused, even Arsene Wenger was confused. We won, so it is not a big issue in the short term. But in the long term, it needs to be sorted out.
Arsenal have now had 4 penalties in their first 5 games of the season. After last season having just 2. Incidentally, Leicester won 13 penalties last season. It was a big part of them becoming champions.
Of the 4 penalties, the record is now scored 2, missed 2. Both were scored by Santi Cazorla, the misses were by Theo Walcott and Sanchez.
We need to take advantage of penalties.
Penalties apart, Santi Cazorla needs to be sat down and made to watch the video of yesterday’s game. He should be feeling very lucky to have remained on the pitch yesterday.
After being booked, he committed a further 2 challenges which could have resulted in yellow cards. It was one of those scenarios where had he not been booked already, he would have got a yellow for both.
It is not the first time Cazorla has walked the tight rope after being booked.
Playing deep, in the middle of the park, he needs discipline. But as a naturally attacking player, he does not have this natural discipline. He has a tendency to lunge into his tackles and, once already been booked, he needs to learn that he can not do this.
We saw him sent off against Chelsea last season for this exact reason. Already booked. He lunged at the ball, was beaten to it by Cesc Fabregas, and got a second yellow.
The commentary on that is completely accurate.
“After already being booked, you’ve gotta take responsibility…you don’t go in for that challenge…you have to stay on your feet”.
And yesterday was a similar scenario. After already being booked, Cazorla committed fouls in the 2nd minute of injury time of the first half, and after 2 minutes of the 2nd half starting. Both fouls were needless, and given away in Hull’s half. He could have seen red, 10v10, for pointless challenges.
He needs discipline.
England must be kicking themselves for letting Alex Iwobi pick Nigeria over England.
After playing youth football for England up till U18s, Iwobi elected to play for Nigeria and made his senior debut on 8 October 2015, replacing Ahmed Musa in the 57th minute of a 2–0 friendly defeat to DR Congo in Visé, Belgium.
At just 20, we have a star on our hands. Gifted on the ball, ability to spot a pass, strong and quick, he is becoming a player who has it all. For England you could easily see him on one wing with Raheem Sterling on the other. England’s loss is certainly Nigeria’s gain.
Above his national team, he is ultimately an Arsenal player. You can now make an argument that he should be one of the first players on the team sheet.
Once Giroud returns, we should be lining up with Iwobi and Sanchez each side of Mesut Ozil.
Over the summer Wenger made the decision to let Serge Gnabry and Joel Campbell go. Iwobi’s form in the opening few games of this season justifies this decision.
Some will say that Arsene Wenger has lost his touch with young players. The development of Iwobi and Hector Bellerin shows that he can still develop a young player.
Something else labelled against him is that he often drops a young player on form when an established star returns from injury or is available. Yesterday on our bench where senior pro’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohamad Elneny, Granit Xhaka & Lucas Perez. Iwobi started. And repaid the faith Wenger had in him.
Alex Iwobi is a player.
On to the League Cup.
Would I be right in saying many fans are now more interested in the League Cup than the Champions League?
They are certainly getting bored of the Champions League. The away section at PSG looked like a college day out. Mainly filled by students who had not gone back to university yet. Whilst going to Nottingham Forest, it seems it is more of a normal away support, and many who have not gone away for a few years who have done their time following the club.
Nottingham Forest away has more of a draw than PSG away.
It was the same with Sheffield Wednesday last season. Plenty of older faces who you have not seen away for a few years, dusted down their gear and went to Hillsborough.
Maybe it is the chance to visit an old school ground at a legendary club is what interests. But there is certain more excitement over going to the City Ground over the Parc de Princes.
And hopefully, unlike Sheffield Wednesday away, we return with a victory.
The side, as always in the League Cup, will be a B / Youth Team. With one eye on Chelsea at the weekend and games coming thick and fast, it will be a chance to rest and rotate.
Bielek Gabriel Holding Gibbs
Perez Ox Akpom