Ladies and gentlemen of the Positively Arsenal persuasion I bid you good morn,
Distinctly grey and damp up in Norfolk. There will be calls for “heating” later I suspect.
What of yesterday’s game ? I admit I settled into the game confident of the three points and a decent ++score although, given that Hull’s previous home games this season had been a win against the Champions on the opening day and a last, last minute one goal defeat to the team currently managed by a Portuguese from Salford, quite why I was so entirely nerveless I am unsure.
Irrational though my certainty may have been as the afternoon developed my position was justified by our dominance of the ball, our slicing the home side apart at will and, but for some tidy keeping and less than clinical finishing on our part, we would/should/could have been 4-5 ahead by half time, and into double figures by the time Mr East halted the event. I saw the possession statistics were just 60/40 in our favour. If that is accurate then all I can say is all our possession must have all been in their half and around their penalty area. The home side barely crossed the half way line with serious intent.
With a final score of 4-1, reliant on two late strikes ironically, the gulf between the sides was not demonstrated. Nevertheless it would have been unnecessarily cruel for Hull to have been entirely thrashed and for the 7-8 goals our performance probably should have racked up. The home side did their best, did not resort violence and when they went down to ten men their dogged refusal to give up is to their credit.Would it have made a jot of difference if Livermore had stayed in ? No.
Analysis ? Wenger has decided that Sanchez is a striker and is persevering in that project. I am delighted. The Chilean certainly has the raw talent to play in any position on the field, and to play well. I thought he was excellent yesterday. I see it was Alexis’ 99th game for us yesterday, hence the photograph above.
Iwobi was in for the Ox I think and he too had a fine afternoon. For such a young player to exert a decisive influence, to change the course of a game for the second time in four days, is the mark of real talent. The stats record six shots from him in his 77 minutes, and that strike rate is what we need from our midfield. I expect I shall soon forget his age.
A third laurel wreath for Mustafi who, as I said after his first game, looks like he has been playing for us for ages. Defensively he did not have much to do yesterday but after a hard game on Tuesday he was probably due an afternoon with his feet up. What struck me yesterday about our new German centre back is that, unlike Per, when the ball is passed to him at the back he is a) almost always further forward on the pitch rather than lurking in 10 metre square empty quadrant, and b) he distributes it forwards quickly. There is a little bit more speed/urgency in which we start attacking moves because that first pass gets off quicker. To be fair to the player also he is a confident passer, a typical Wenger footballer who looks up and sees the whole pitch.
Forward guidance ? Third in the League and not, despite our total dominance at the KCOM, quite hitting top gear yet, though each game has seen the fitness and meshing of our players improving. A sideshow on Tuesday, though one I am looking forward to as Forest are an old opponent whose virtue has been besmirched by poor owners and bad personnel decisions. And then, next Saturday, Conte, Costa and their Satanic Majesties roll into the Ems. I can feel my pulse beat just a little faster at that thought, and that is the exquisite pleasure of being a football fan.
Have a restful and contemplative Sunday, I shall.