Arsenal: Lucky number 3? Or is it 1?

1 and 3 seem to be the preferred Arsenal numbers at the moment. Though I’d personally favour 3 over 1 any day! Today, however was not one of those days. Yay to Robin Van Persie for his brilliant hattrick which had trademark RVP goals – superb finishes, delightful on the eyes, and oh so simple 🙂 Equal boos for his missed penalty. Now, I’m not one to moan about a 3-0 victory, but you don’t expect Van Persie to take such a ghastly penalty now, do you? It was hopefully just a two second phase that has already passed. What’s that you say? Agreed? Good.

“Persie_Official Robin van Persie
1st off all thank you all for your nice messages. I’m very pleased with my hattrick today. Sorry for the penalty, promise next one will go in”

What hasn’t been said about this season so far? If I can hazard a guess, not much at all. It’s a difficult road indeed if I decide I will not write until I can find something that hasn’t been written about. And I’m not just talking about football here. I’m a writer, duh!

Okay, so the Gunners. I wasn’t too pleased with the performances against Leeds (The 1-1 draw) or Ipswich Town (I mean honestly, a championship side that has been beaten 7-0 by Chelsea who have been in such a rough patch, and we lose 1-0?) Okay the difference of one goal won’t be a problem for Arsenal to overturn on Tuesday, especially at the Emirates, but it was the attitude of the players that worried me that night more than anything. Call it lack of motivation, complacency, just a bad day at the office – what may have you … it’s understandable. I mean, it’s a lot to ask of anyone to perform at the top level week in and week out, a lot of the times (like now) more than once in a week – but these players have reached that level because they’re better than the others, and because they do have the ability to do it. Belief and motivation (especially when there’s a trophy, if not more, to be won!) are going to be the two most important things for the Gunners during the second half of the season.

Notable mentions?

Szczesny has been brilliant in the injury absence of Fabianski (that looks like it’ll continue for a while) – assured, sharp reflexes, not too many glaring errors, calm head etc. Definitely someone I’m looking forward to seeing more!

Nasri has been consistently scintillating this season and I’m happy to see that it continues in the new year – Na Na Na Na Nasri!!!

The return from injury and great form of the duo – Fabregas and Van Persie has been key to the team’s performances, and more importantly their mentality. Definitely a major boost 🙂

Walcott and Wilshere are improving with every single game, and that can only be good news for Wenger and Arsenal.

Alex Song has been consistently reassuring and amazingly solid as ever. I am however, worried about his HORRIBLE new look – taking a leaf out of Abel Xavier, are we? The rest of the team need to help him out! I propose a “How I Met Your Mother” style intervention 😀

Johan Djourou has been immense this season. Yes, he has made mistakes. But for the most part, he’s been solid in defence.

The increased vigour and physicality with which we are playing these days. It’s nice to see the Gunners get in some nice tackles and hold their own physically against teams who try to bully them and get the ball off them. Definitely an improvement. Also the desire to get the ball back when not in possession. I have not seen the whole team work together like this in that area, in a long time!

Dishonourable mentions?

Defence. It’s been the Arsenal code-word this season for “disaster.” We seem better recently, but you can’t run the squad of a world class team (which is the only one in the EPL still in the running for all 4 trophies) with just three fit centre-backs. Vermaelen is supposed to be back in 6 weeks but the way his injury has gone, there is no guarantee (which is SUCH a shame because we’ve missed our favourite Belgian holding the fort) so I certainly hope that Wenger is not all talk – we need another centre-back, I will definitely bolster our defence, etc etc.

Arshavin and Bendtner. Okay I am used to Bendtner’s flashes of good football mixed in amongst all the c**p, but the Arshavin we have been seeing this season is a stranger. Where is the cheeky brilliant Russian we were used to seeing in the Number 23? Something’s definitely not right, and I’m hoping with all my heart that there is a quick solution to that problem. I cannot bear to see him like this any longer 😦

General profligacy in front of goal. Today was a prime example. Yes we won 3-0 and yes Al-Habsi (as well as the Wigan defence) was immense in the first half but c’mon people! This is ARSENAL we are talking about. They need to be getting the goals equal to their domination of the opposition (which in today’s game was pretty much ALL the time. HOW we ended up being just 1-0 up at half-time is beyond me) Every game, especially ones against better opposition, are not going to be so gracious with chances. We need to be better at finishing. And killing games.

Well. That’s all this Gooner Girl can muster at the moment. Nothing new. Nothing extraordinary. Nothing that hasn’t been said before. But come on you Gunners! Wembley awaits 🙂

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