Good morning you happy lot.
Arsenal progressed to the semi final of the FA Cup via Sheffield, where we have the dubious pleasure of being passed to death by Pep’s City. More on that nearer the time, let’s enjoy getting there first.
A late late winner is always a thing of joy, somehow it just lifts the spirits more. It also makes you forget the game, which quality wise, is a good thing. It wasn’t that we played badly, it was just a poor game , neither side providing much in terms of fluency or skill, but the effort was there from both teams. It’s changed days I suppose, where we now celebrate effort and endeavour because there is little else on show. But at least it is now on show.
So lets, in he spirit of the blog, look at the positives.
Only one minor injury to Luiz.
Xhaka yet again demonstrated that he is, by a distance, our most important player, goodness knows what we would look like without him, although when he doesn’t play trough injury, we do know. We can’t buy a result without him.
Tierney demonstrated how well he plays when fit, some people had him as MOTM, he was good, but I can’t remember one of his crosses finding an Arsenal player, so MOTM might be a stretch.
Young Saka again showed his class and versatility, what a player he wil be, let’s just hope it’s for us?
Pepe also did well, he took a fine penalty and was heavily involved in the winning goal having the good sense to leave the ball for Ceballos to take it off his toe and score. That was a nice finish too. In my opinion having the composure to take good penalties gives an indication of how composed a player is likely to be given a decent chance, and I think Pepe will have no problem turning chances into goals.
I was also impressed by AMN, I hope he sees sense and declares a willingness to play as wing back, if he gets more game time it might see him given a shot in his favoured CM position, you never know.
There was another good performance for Mustafi, another player that has turned his fortunes around under Mikel. On that, there is a decision to be made about Shkodran, it’s reached the point on his contract, where we either stick or twist. We have to really sell him or extend him (if he is willing to stay), his performances deserve a new deal, but the memory of his horrible gaffs in the past, loom large in the fanbase. That’s a tricky one, but given his resale value will be modest, I’d tend to favour an extension, it’s unlikely he will be first choice, but with no fee involved, he could be useful going forward.
Finally, I though Martinez was excellent, he has waited a long time for this chance and he appears to be making the most of it. I just hope that if he proves to be as good as he has looked, we might struggle to keep him as a 2nd choice. If Bayern want Leno then perhaps…………………………………..no lets not go there today.
So there we are, quite a few positives today. However, I have to say that we were outplayed in the entirety of the second half by a very average team. In the dying minutes Billy Sharp could well have scored and we would likely have been dumped out, but we would have played exactly the same game, we would then have been really unhappy with the performance we are today, happy with. Many fans are fooled by a result, but then again, many fans are just fools.
Thanks for coming and reading, see you soon