Good morning Positives,
A respectable performance last night from Arsenal against limited opponents. A win and three points would have tied the qualification package perfectly but taking into account events in the 25th minute it was not ever likely to be a night I remembered for football reasons.
Danny’s injury was, let me not beat about the bush, a bloody catastrophe for the player. It came out of nothing. The fracture resulted, I think, from his landing from an attempted header on goal. It was exactly the same ‘footballing’ movement that had given him goals against Brentford recently. He probably practises jumping and heading a hundred times a week in training and has every week since he was eight years old. Yet this time he came down and he suffered a serious injury. Inexplicable.
As for the implications it looked the sort of horrible injury from which a player wipes away any plans to kick a ball for the remainder of their season. With Danny’s 28th birthday in a fortnight and with him already in the final year of his contract I hope his recovery is as swift and as complete as possible.
Back to the football, Arsenal step on from the group stage to the knock-our round never having had to extend ourselves in any match. Guendouzi and Ramsey controlled midfield throughout last night. Rob Holding and Sokratis were thorough in what they did and made no errors. Jenks and Stephan ditto. Tidy all round. Our only weakness was in translating a lot of possession into clear, scoring chances which did not happen. As I said in opening perhaps our usual ‘appetite’, that extra =/-2% that makes the difference, had been taken away, on a stretcher.
Nevertheless, I shall take the easy Europa qualification in four games. In part that has been the result of Emery putting out strong sides in each game, albeit with a sprinkling of youth to be blooded. The second factor is, regrettably, because the opposition put in front of us has been mediocre quality at best. I had expectations that Sporting Club of Portugal might provide little more sparkle last night but they produced the same display that they had put on a fortnight ago. I was wrong. So limited were they this the first time ever we have ever played a team over two legs in Europe and the opposition have failed to register a single shot on target.
There will be harder battles down the road.
On with Friday everybody, and work hard.