Three games in the space of 8 days is just about as stuffy as it can get for football schedules in the Premier League and it will not get easier going into Christmas. With a thin squad like ours at the moment, Wenger would have his hands full getting the points needed to sustain our title challenge this season.
And the win over Southampton was very, VERY crucial. Not just because we could rely on Alexis to save us again, but that even in such tiring conditions, the players still managed to push on, taking advantage of the Saints depletion in both staff and confidence. There were more lessons to learn and we reel the five most important ones.
Martinez will challenge Szczesny
It’s official: Damian Martinez has been our best goal keeper of the season. The 22-year old was not fancied much to be the back-up to both Ospina and Szczesny due to his inexperience but in 5 Arsenal games this season, Martinez has won four games and lost one – and for the minutes he was on the pitch, he got a draw against United – with Southampton being his third consecutive clean sheet. It may not have been so if Graziano Pelle had not scoffed that clear cut opportunity but perhaps Martinez made himself big enough to confuse the Italian’s scope. His distribution still needs a lot of work but how about the confidence to make that 18 yard run from his position to pick the ball comfortably from the edge of the box. Szczesny is confident and will still wear the Number 1 till the end of the season, but comfort is not something we have always associated with him. Martinez should keep his place against Stoke, and with such performances as last night, he could be still in that position for a long time, in future.
Super Sub Jayrooood!
Of Giroud’s 5 Premier League appearances this season, only once has he been in the staring XI and for 75 minutes, Giroud looked not on par with the other members of the attack. Not just did he change the game with his physicality yesterday, but his deftness was almost enough to win it had Forster not been so insanely on form. Maybe Giroud’s second half cameos are better for us, after all.
What’s Wrong With Ramsey
Second season syndrome? Striving to impress his wife? Or is it just that he is being too hard on himself? Ramsey has cut the image of one who has regressed a bit this season. In the end, it was his usual hunger to be involved in the opposition box that got us the goal but it was a terribly disappointing game from one of Europe’s best players of the last season. Over hit passes and rash challenges are just a few of the misses that have littered his game this season and seeing how important he is to our midfield, it is necessary that Wenger keeps repeating to him that there is no pressure to do exactly what he did last season. Be yourself, Aaron.
Wenger signed the Right Saint
It’s been argued in some quarters that we should have gone for the more experienced of Southampton’s two right backs of last season and early events of the season seem to have given some flesh to that. but Calum Chambers was clearly the better right back on show yesterday, being also helpful in making interceptions in the center when Mertesacker stepped off position. So much has been made of other team members of this team but the fact that Chambers has played in all but 2 of our 22 games this season – being just 19, and completing 90 minutes in most – shows that we got the right man.
But we must get another left-back
Not because Gibbs is not the best in the League at the moment, but because in his absence, we really are not the same on the left. While Chambers secured the right of defence and helped the attack, Monreal was not quite on same footing. Welbeck’s mistimed pass was frustrating but you know Gibbs would surely have been there, don’t you? Andy Robertson, Tyrone Mings, there are a few out there who could be brought in to challenge Nacho.
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