The third week of the Barclay’s Premier League knocks and the magic of drama has already stormed the hearts of many fans. Champion League regulars have had their squad revamped while fallen heroes have been freshened up with new managers. How will this season conclude? Chelsea suddenly look as tough as City and the title seems more open than ever.
Somewhere in North London, the only man whose stride and belief have failed to falter despite storms, blackouts and blizzards, turns out to be the Strasbourgeois, the only man at the Emirates who should have the word “hero” in a sentence with his name included, Arsène Wenger. Why? In the modern days of football, he is among the very few who signs contracts and respects them.
The words of a professional footballer seem to match the expectancy of those of Shakespeare’s Iago, and the mettle of many footballers has rarely managed to withstand the lure of money and glory to the demise of many heartbroken fans in the times we happen to be living in.
Van Persie, a name that now hurts many Arsenal fans in more than one way, has given the new boys at the Emirates something to prove. Not to themselves, but to the soul of Arsenal itself. Giroud, Podolski and Cazorla are the reinforcements with a task bigger than just scoring. They need to bring belief back to everyone connected to the club, from the shareholders to the children with an Arsenal jersey abroad.
It goes without saying that the Gunners have been left with a missing-edge upfront since the Dutchman started wearing the Northern Red outfit, and despite not conceding with clean sheets, points have already given Arsenal a tough job at hand.
A twist in the classic Arsenal start, the second week is over and goals have still not materialised. Vermaelen, now the skipper, has been rallying his troops while giving some fine defensive displays, and possession was never a huge problem, still, 2 points in 2 weeks. The fate ahead seem very dark given the boys at the Emirates don’t start to take matters seriously.
Arteta’s plea to fans, asking for patience comes as the dreaded excuse most fans cannot take anymore. The fear of reoccurrence seem to haunt them, and now sounding like an old record-player, trophies are still nowhere to be found, while the lack of attacking prowess let everyone down.
As the table stand, Chelsea sit in first position, Manchester City in fifth, Manchester United in seventh and Arsenal are twelfth. That’s 12th with 2 points. The near future holds a series of tough opponents for the Gunners…
September 2, 2012 – Liverpool (Anfield) A
September 15, 2012 – Southampton (Emirates Stadium) H
September 23, 2012 – Manchester City (Etihad Stadium) A
September 29, 2012 – Chelsea (Emirates Stadium) H
October 6, 2012 – West Ham (Upton Park) A
The next 5 fixtures hold 2 home games and 3 away games. The points ahead won’t be easily taken by any team and the stakes aren’t even worth mentioning as the clubs know the labyrinth England’s top division has turned into; no one will be willing to play catch up and missed points have proven to be hugely missed towards the last furlong.
What happened 2 matches “ago”:
Arsenal v Sunderland (August 18, 2012) 0 – 0
While Olivier Giroud has been showing signs of brilliance, he also showed signs of “Andy Colesque” shooting. The opening game vs Sunderland saw the North London outfit maintain 70.1% possession but managed only 3 shots on target, with the freshly acquired Frenchman missing the best chance of the game, while Podolski came out with a surge of power and presence, only to fade out and be replaced by the former Montpellier striker on the hour. That game also saw Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson shy going forward to support attacking moves.
Arsenal’s Conclusion: No goals & 2 points lost
Stoke City v Arsenal (August 26, 2012) 0 – 0
Another game where the Gunners dominated possession with 66.7% but a sickening 2 shots on target. 90 minutes for 2 shots on target is everything but acceptable for a team competing for the title and Europe’s premier competition. Santi Cazorla took the day to stamp his authority in the game, showing how naturally he fitted in the system, while Diaby made Alex Song’s departure sweeter with a strong performance. The clean sheet came as a courtesy of a commanding Vermaelen who was in synchronisation with his defence throughout while Gibbs ventured forward much more. Still, no goals, and 2 points missed. Words within the noise revolved around “end product”. A ‘product‘ a certain Dutchman made sure was rarely missed last season.