Like most Arsenal fans I have delighted in watching our team improve from last season. We are a tighter defensive unit, only conceding three goals this season so far and through no fault of our backline.
Two were goalkeeping errors, a problem I genmuinely don’t expect us to struggle too much with this season, and an accidental goall by Kanu. Going forward, our midfielders have stepped up in exactly the fashion we asked them to, by not being so shot-shy and contributing goals to their game. Cesc, Hleb and Rosicky have eight goals between them now and watchig them play it is strange to think they used to have so much difficulty.
Accross the team, we have seen more fight, a willingness to ‘get stuck in’ that critics often described as our biggest weakness. This is all very encouraging and i sincerely hope it contiunes. But in praising this new campaign and remembering all the faults of the last we must remember the positives that came from last season, and those positives were embodied best by our performances against the top teams.
In the league no top 5 team came out on top of us; we beat the champions twice, denied Chelsea the Crown, spanked that lot accross the road, and traded victories with Liverpool. In the cups we throughly humiliated the Scousers, twice, on their patch, and our youngsters made a very good accounting of themselves against Chelsea. It was after that game that Andy Gray an (endangered species: a pundit with a brain) said he had never seen anything like this Arsenal side, making Chelsea “chase shadows”.
This embodied what made us better against the big teams last year, the fact that the onus was still on them to win but that technically, particurarly when it came to the passing game, they were very much beneath us. In exalting our new goalscorers, admiring our recent grit and marvelling at our more organised defending-attributes that all the other big teams already had-we must remember what we have that they don’t, namely a passing game the likes of which England has never seen. We must marry these new attributes to our old ones, if we can do that successfully we can achieve great things.
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