What a great game of football
By Sam Oliver
Reflections on the weekend fare at Eastlands
Well that was a great game of Football - a joy to watch, fast-paced and some great attacking football on show. In the end, a draw was a fair result, but either team probably could have nicked it, especially in the last few minutes. In the Arsenal camp before the game, the main two worries were that of Mannone, and Mertesacker against the pace of AgŁero; thankfully, we were proved wrong. Although you could hold Mannone accountable for the first goal, it was a difficult cross to deal with and he made a few good saves later on. Mertesacker, on the other hand, was brilliant - some crucial interceptions and he controlled our back four well.
The game started evenly, with Gervinho having the best chance, but an awful touch allowed Joe Hart to come out and claim the ball. Then, Kieran Gibbs needlessly gave away a corner, and Joleon Lescott rose above Podolski at the far post to head it into the top corner. Vito came and didn't get, but harsh to blame him; a lot of bodies in the way and it was a great header. The first half ended, and Arsenal could have considered themselves unlucky to be going in behind.
The second half was quite similar, but Arsenal began to threaten more and more. Cazorla yet again looked good, Ramsey was working hard and playing well and, bizarrely, from right-back, Carl Jenkinson looked dangerous; he was fantastic, going forward and defensively, and he also put one hell of a shift in. But it was the pint-sized Spanish midfielder who fired in a testing shot at Joe Hart which led to the corner, which the teeny Spaniard took. City couldn't clear their lines, and our fantastic Frenchman, Laurent Koscielny, banged it home; no less than the Arsenal deserved. There were still ten minutes left, and Vincent Kompany nearly got the winner for City with a brilliant bicycle-kick, but a determined Vito Mannone kept it out with a smart save, with Sergio AgŁero firing the rebound wide. Gervinho could have won it for the Gunners at the death, but it wasn't his day; he worked very hard but his touch let him down when he got into the right positions. A draw was probably a fair reflection of the game.
Can I just say, I enjoy watching Arsenal a lot more without Robin? He's a great player, but so much went through him, and it was all about him. There was a severe lack of team harmony, and, looking back, Robin seemed to get progressively more self-centred and arrogant as the season went on. That can't be good for the spirit in the dressing-room. With him and that ridiculously cocky Cameroonian gone, the team seems much more together, and I for one enjoy watching the Gunners a lot more.
And finally, how good was Per Mertesacker on Sunday? Countless interceptions, kept AgŁero and Dzeko quiet, an all-round top pro and looks so calm and composed on the ball in his own half when under pressure, you have to wonder if he's taken something he shouldn't have before the game. Cries of 'we've got a big f***ing German, big f***ing German' were very audible on the television, and for good reason - a brilliant performance from him, my Man of the Match, closely followed by Carl Jenkinson. The German Giant rightly received Man of the Match from Sky. In short, good result, great performance, many positives to take from it. Forward Arsenal.
26th September 2012
User Comment and Reaction
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Mike 8:51am 26th Sep 2012
Last year Mertesacker was continually slated on this site - he has had a brilliant start to this season - you don't play that many times for Germany if you are not capable - you would be found out and dropped after 5 games the back four are settled at long last, with more than able back up in Kos and Sagna - - Post No. 29119
billthered 9:52am 26th Sep 2012
Just how many gooners are quick to criticise new signings like the BFG without realising this man has played about 75 times for Germany and is now in his second season here clearly learning from his debut season when our defence was all over the shop.He is clearly not the quickest defender around but his reading of the game is it seems this season spot on.How would any defender like to come into our team and play with some of the players he had to endure last season,think about it also some of the midfield who would not track back.You see the German team has always relied on basic teamwork something that seems to have been reintroduced this season with our team and long may it continue.On sundays game I also thought that Carl Jenkinson played very well and if he could cut out the passing across the back four we could have a player as he looks like he would run through a brick wall for us,I'm sure his dad who is a season ticket holder would have been proud of him.All of a sudden we look like we could enjoy this season as the players look like they are working their socks off and that is all we ask not those who will not put in the proverbiable shift that way we can forgive the odd mistake.Bring on the chavs. - Post No. 29120
JER 12:08pm 26th Sep 2012
At last the BFG is being judged fairly. The obsession that a defender must have pace in this league is absurd, defending is also about timing, positional sense, technique and calmness. I can remember Bobby Moore and he wasn't the quickest. - Post No. 29123
Gee 13:21pm 26th Sep 2012
Our system suits Per alot better this season than it did last season. We are a few yards deeper without the ball and everyone is funnelling back to form 2 banks of 4. Last year the midfielders were wondering around without the ball and the back line were on the half way line as a start point. At times is was suicidal and Per will always get stripped for pace when he is 40 yards away from his goal. This year however he is not left isolated, and doesn't have to worry about a load of green space behind him. Bouldy and Banfield have been given licence to work on the team shape and it has worked wonders so far. These simple things are what has caused our team to be so weak in the past. At least we now look like a cohesive unit without the ball, and that can only help long term. - Post No. 29125
Tom 14:36pm 26th Sep 2012
Manonne WAS to blame for their goal.And the Kompany save was pushed back into the danger area - Post No. 29126
maguiresbridge gooner 14:42pm 26th Sep 2012
Yes it was a good game and a draw probably fair although a win and three points were there for the taking but i'm sure the blue mancs are thinking the same.Mertesacker had a blinder and the way he reacted to the foreheads miss showed his passion and commitment.Positives can be taken and the goalkeeper isn't one of them it's a pity bouldy isn't a keeper coach as well. - Post No. 29127
Steve 14:51pm 26th Sep 2012
Yes i love watching us without RVP too.I love watching the first touch of Gervinho bringing back memories of Baptista and Bendtner. And Giroud giving his best impression of Chamakh so much better than watching Europe's best striker isnt it? You couldnt make it up.Without RVP last seaon we would be playing Europa league football - Post No. 29128
Smoliver 15:20pm 26th Sep 2012
Steve, Gervinho played poorly against City, been good most the season. Comparing Giroud to Chamakh so early on is idiotic, his movement is class. And without Koscielny, Arteta, or indeed Marton Fulop, we would be playing Europa League as well. Europe's best striker? one goal in the Euro's tells a different story. Class, but not the best. - Post No. 29130
Spam polisher 21:08pm 26th Sep 2012
Lets be honest the fore-head hasn't been great he scored against a crud French team and a newly promoted team who's keeper was worse than ours. At the end of the day he's toot will never be a good player but will be a starter week in week out - Post No. 29134
John Gooner 11:18am 28th Sep 2012
I love Carl Jenkinson, just putting it out there; Sagna is a brilliant player, but Carl is starting to make him look average. All this from an Arsenal fan as well!!! - Post No. 29151
Moscow Gooner 14:38pm 28th Sep 2012
How long before we supply the two England full backs again - shades of Dixon and Winterburn...? - Post No. 29159
9th December 2013
Online Ed: Spoils shared at home to Everton