Nga-to delek Positivistas,
Football on a Thursday night eh ? I admit I have had a little chortle about the neighbours seasonal outings to Kazakhstan on a Thursday as they negotiate the rounds of the Europa League. How could I resist ? However I would happily pay the price of a game on the oddest day of the week if it meant a few more fluid and dominant performances as we were treated to last night.
We “dominated” – simple as that. My concerns about Hector being tired were shown within a few minutes to be nonsense as he set about the Baggies’ defence with the relish of a young samurai trying out his new 21st birthday sword. I had also raised a question as to whether Alex Iwobi might have sat out last night’s game as he too has played a lot of football in consecutive games for a 19 year old. Wrong again on my part. The young player showed last night that he is not some experiment that Arsene is dabbling in but Iwobi is a genuine “permanent” member of the first team whose creative spark is relied on. He gives us a slightly different spark. The question for Arsene is how, with Iwobi blooming, Ozil undroppable, Santi due back, Aaron to fit in, Elneny much more than a defensive shield, and young Jack nearly fit how the midfield jigsaw will be put together ?
Having savoured the golden treacle of our performance against Albion we also had the slightly rarer pleasure of enjoying the correct result, the important three points safely bagged and a steady pace back into third place in the PL completed. I do not want to play in the Champions League qualifiers. Let Citeh and their new manager have a little sweat on that one in a busy August (or Manyoo and their new manager). After recent home games when Arsenal have played all the football, made the ball our own and peppered the opposition goal with shot after header after shot, only to end up with a draw or worse, it was welcome.
Of the opposition they were woeful, probably the worst side to come to the Ems this season. They set up for a 0-0 draw with effectively seven defenders/defensive midfield players, then could do nothing when they found themselves opened up by Alexis before seven minutes had passed. Foster’s keeping was on the edge of calamity on night, the second goal was a defensive shambles, his ‘face’ saved him further embarrassment. I heard a statistic on the TV last night something along the lines of “WBA have only managed seven shots on goal in their past eight away games in the PL”. With that on-the-road horror to endure is it any wonder that they managed to shift only 900 of their 3,000 ticket allocation ? 38 games of Pulisball is a steep price to pay for Premier League survival. As with the Stoke fans eventually the Hawthorns faithful will begin to yearn for something creative and entertaining rather than the robotic dross on display from the visitors.
From last night’s firm foundation we set off for the Stadium of Light on Sunday lunchtime in good heart. No doubt Fat Sam will be roaring at his boys to get stuck in. They have nothing else to give so it will have to be a maximum infusion of blood and bone from a Sunlun side wriggling with the noose of relegation, yet again. Deano with the whistle so I am sure we can expect fireworks from Tranmere’s finest.
Enjoy your Friday, but don’t go mad !
- picture from the Irish Times today