Five positives from the Sunderland game – Arsenal are making progress again!

Wojciech-Szczesny_1-e1323033968579-449x340

Having had time to reflect on the game against the Black Cats, I am feeling more and more positive about our performance on Saturday. As stated many times in previous blogs, Arsenal are going through a major transition this year, and our recent performances against Stoke and Sunderland are giving us a strong indication our boys have made further progress in the last few weeks.

Since Theo was reinstalled into the team, back in mid-December against Reading, Arsenal have made a huge step forward: played 13 (in all competitions), won 8, lost 2 and drew 3 – scored 30 and conceded 17. The two games we lost were against direct top-four opposition, but our second half performances against them should give us hope:  we are getting quite close to being an equal match to these teams.

But the recent performances against Stoke and Sunderland are showing us that Arsenal is making further progress once more.

Five positives to take from the Stoke and Sunderland games:

  1. Arsenal are starting to rediscover their fighting spirit and the oh so necessary resilience again. Yes, against both teams we lacked clinical finishing as many a chance went begging, but the above scoring record indicates that we have started to score plenty of goals now, and however good a team is up-front, there are always periods in which the ball just does not want to go into the net often enough. During these sort of times, we need solid defensive performances; not just by our defence but by the whole team. Against Stoke, our defence was not properly tested, but against Sunderland the whole team had to defend with everything they got during the last thirty minutes of the game. A performance like that against Sunderland, does wonders for the team’s confidence and spirit,  and helps it to gel as well. Let’s hope it is the start of a new phase in which Arsenal are resolute and resilient for the whole 90 minutes of the games we play.
  2. Szczesny needed a performance like that! With big home and away legs against Die Lederhosen coming up, we will need our defence to be at their very best. Our goalkeeper is an essential part of our defence and we need him to be ready and confident when we face Bayern. Although Szczesny did not have any bad games recently, he neither had any brilliant ones. That is until Saturday, when Wojcieh showed us all again what he is capable of – and boy did he perform well against the Black Cats. It was just the sort of performance needed by Szczesny and could not have come at a better time.
  3. Arsenal are creating chances again. Against Sunderland, Arsenal had 18 shots of which 9 were on target; and against Stoke we had 15 shots of which again 9 were on target. We only managed to score a single goal in each of the games and have simply been wasteful, but at least we are creating a great number of chances again: more goals per game are likely to follow soon once more.
  4. Arsenal are starting to show more healthy aggression now. Against Sunderland, Arsenal out-fouled Sunderland by 2:1 (13-6). Okay, Jenkinson went too far, but let’s just say it was rustiness and he did not expect to play on Saturday. In the games against Stoke and Sunderland, the players clearly anticipated physical battles and were mentally prepared for it. It was fantastic to see how our players did not accept to be bullied, and regularly were pro-active in bullying the opponents. Jack Wilshere’s role in all of this is invaluable, as he sets the example to the rest of the team in many a game.
  5. Only one more PL  game North of Birmingham this season. During the last third of PL games this season, Arsenal do not have to go to the North-West anymore, and only one game awaits us in the North-East: Newcastle away on the last day of the season. We have actually done reasonably well in the North this season, only losing to the horrible Mancs, and winning at Wigan, Liverpool, and Sunderland;  whilst drawing at MC, Everton, and Stoke. However, Arsenal will need a good run of games if we are to finish in the top-four, and not having to travel up North till the last game of the season should be a great help.

So, all in all some positive developments for our team; add on top of those our sick bay being relatively empty, and no current contracts issues to worry about – other than signing up Sagna of course, which is not extremely urgent right now – and there are plenty of reasons to be positive about with regards to the final third of the season for us Gooners.

Written by: Total Arsenal.

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76 Responses to Five positives from the Sunderland game – Arsenal are making progress again!

  1. marcus says:

    Morning TA,
    Excellent review. I’d like to add that finally Wilshere and Cazorla are beginning to combine seamlessly and I’m guessing that’s why we are creating so many chances. This is a partnership that once it hits top gear, is going to be damn near impossible to stop.

  2. Red Arse says:

    Morning, TA, 🙂

    A beautifully crafted, upbeat and very realistic appraisal of our current outlook!!

    Well done, sir, again!! 😀

  3. Gerry says:

    Yes, good morning TA – The positive vibes looked strong enough amongst the players at the end of Saturday’s match. I loved it!

    Your point on fouling was somewhat skewed in Sunderland’s favour though, as the ref let an awful lot go by?

    On the ‘goals missed’ issue, and here I am slightly mis-quoting somebody else(can’t remember who?), but he said ‘ … If you have that many clear chances in front of goal, then in other matches you are more likely to score 3 out of 4 than have 4 saved’. It’s another day syndrome, but a good point nevertheless?

    On Szcz – you can see here I am scrolling up for reminders – I think in games where he has little to do he gets bored. So to create a little excitement/danger he will try a bit of fancy footwork, or charge into a ruck of players, even if his goalkeeping brain tells him it would be better if he didn’t? I remember his saying that all GK’s are a little bit mad, and went on to retell hilarious stories of Arthur(?) Boric(ex-Celtic) which made him seem like Giggs on medication. I guess signing Boric up as back-up when he was on a ‘free’ might have been a step to far for AW nervous system?

    Nothing more to say on the ‘fighting spirit’ bit – We have, Let’s keep it!

    Cheers all.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus

    That is a good addition: both Wilshere and Cazorla give us that extra dimension, and the longer the two play together the better they will become.

    Thanks for the post btw, it will be issued tomorrow. 🙂

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and thanks RA 🙂

    Hope you are keeping well!

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry, agreed on the home side getting away with far too much, but at least our boys challenged back. I love to see that.

    Re ‘goals missed’ – fully agreed. We could do with scoring a few against Bayern! 🙂

  7. VCC says:

    Fine post Total. Your inspirational writing seems endless. Shame you cannot predict results 😉

    1). 1-0 to the Arsenal has a familiar ring to it. We are grinding out results like we used to. Long may it continue.

    2). Szeczesny is coming of age. For a keeper so young to be performing for The Arsenal (don’t you just love that bit “The”) is no easy task. This lad has confidence in abundance and an attitude that bodes well for the future. Especially as its a position that many think is crazy.

    3). We are creating chances, but I am greedy, and want to see much more clinicalism in front of goal. We have been far too wasteful with our opportunities of late.

    4). Our aggressive performances have left me warm inside lately. Far too often in the recent past we have appeared too timid, fragile and frightened to get stuck in. But the past several games we are showing a feisty and steely side to our play which is needed in todays EPL. Just look at Jack’s confrontation with Michael Owen against Stoke City, and Theo’s aggression and anger towards defenders and linesmen. This shows “You don’t mess with us anymore”. Just like the Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Steve Bould days. I’m sure Bouldy has had a big influence on this approach.

    5). This is a much more contentious subject. My concerns are not playing the Norvaan Monkey teams, but rather the somewhat biased, predominantly Norvaan based referees in the EPL.
    M.Dean………………………..The Wirral
    P.Dowd………………………..Stoke-On-Trent
    H.Webb………………………..Rotherham
    M.Atkinson……………………Bradford
    M.Clattenburg……………….County Durham
    L.Mason……………………….Bolton
    C.Fry……………………………St.Helens
    A.Mariner………………………Sheldn
    M.Oliver………………………..Northumberland

    COYG

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha VCC – my strategy will come good. One weekend, I will catch you up in one go… you watch it! 🙂

  9. VCC says:

    Only kidding Total. I love the UMF and fingers crossed it will have a long and healthy future……… 😉

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent additional points Vickers.

    Re 4: fully agreed. I would like to add Ramsey and Sagna who both battle hard physically now, and early signs are good re Nacho. I am hoping that Bould can get some healthy aggression into our CBs as well. Tommy has it, but Koz and BFG could do with a bit more physical authority.

    Yes, I am well aware about the potential Northern refs bias. 😕

  11. VCC says:

    Regarding Sagna…..I think it was you that mentioned his contract recently, and said it wasn’t that important at the moment.

    I strongly disagree. Looking at his performance last Saturday shows he still has Arsenal in his blood and can play any where along the back line. His aerial play is superb.

    Sign da ting. 😉

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    I like him to sign a new contract, but first Arsenal have to offer him one. I am a big fan of his, but it is not something to worry about now. His contract lasts till summer 2014, so there is no real hurry.

  13. VCC says:

    Yes there is. In case someone poaches him.

  14. Wolfgang says:

    So Arsenal are making progress. I will believe it if the gunners don’t regularly throw away a two gaoal lead and paly on to win.

  15. glic says:

    Morninig Vaggypang`s 😆

    Fine post Total van Edamcloggenhelmet. 😆

    They may have only been one nillers, but the last two league games have shown much more character than the 7-3 Newchateau game or any of the other big wins and hopefully we are on the road to some bigger wins where we look sound all around, not just in attack !.

    I did mention quite a while back in a comment how Sagna always wins his aerial duels from RB. He also ( and I know some dont like this or agree with it ) comes in from RB to cover in the middle when we are being attacked on the opposite flank. Some say this is being drawn in and leaves us exposed, but if the right winger or right side midfield is doing their job and covering then this isn`t a problem, Dixon used to do it all the time and was expected to by Adams and Co. So it is no surprise to me that he was more than capable of filling in at CB.

    Thats my serious comment of the day, I`m now going outside in the lovely sunshine to do further tests on my Bubble Wrap Y-fronts. I`ve an idea that the bubble wrap will act like a small version of the Eden Project Domes and I will get some strong growth and invigorated foliage in the sun, some paying tourists will be appreciated in the worlds smallest bio-domes.

    Here is a blown up picture of part of me lying in the sun !

  16. TERRY MANCINI'S SOLICITOR says:

    Nice TA, very nice.

    Yes we are going in the right direction and will only get better. There is only one way to go from here on in and its upwards and forwards. Ok, just before Redders gets me, thats actuly two ways to go but i think you know what i mean. hahaha

    Cornwall, hahaha that Bubble wrap is a great idea. send me your proto type and then i could be the bubble in the bubble. I have joined interwebnet online dating in search of women. The Bubble in the Bubble with a lovely picture of my Bubble should pull the birds in.

    just a word of warning for any other sad Bastards out there. This online dating game is not all it seems. Abbout 3 weeks ago i joined this site and put my own picture on there. Spoke to several women and they all gave it yeah you seem like a nice guy and all that but ime not looking for a man right now just putting out feelers and all that.

    I then asked them what if i was some muscle bound hunk, would they then go out with me? They all said nah, not into that, they just want to find a compatable guy etc and all that crap.

    Anyway, about a week ago i changed my user name to Troy Johnson and posted a fake photo of some body building male stripper twat. i kid you not, within days these same women that were giving me spill turned from demure sensisble types to ravenous vamps. They all wanted a piece of Troys hampton and went into graphic details of hampton usage.

    Ive arranged to meet one of them on Wednesday. i hope they dont get too upset when instead of Troy i steam into the restaurant and announce myself “The Bubble in the Bubble” hahahaha

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Afternoon King Vaggypang – Vagina party-popper 🙂

    Great observations re Sagna, and yes, he was brilliant in the air: great strength and timing.

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha Terry-Troy, you are a fake! 😛

  19. glic says:

    Hahaha Stretch, maybe you should meet four of them at the Tavern for the Reading game !.
    Where they will be met by Troy Johnson, Dr Van Rampantcloggwinkel, Achilles Rippengash and Heinz Zimmercockenstein !. hahaha

    Remember, to avoid popping, the bubble wrap Y-fronts are not suitable for watching porno`s, meeting exotic looking clunge or watching Arsenal score a goal !.

    Hahaha Totes, I see you`ve had a butchers at the urban dictionary !.

  20. I’m really looking forward to the Reading game, and meeting Rag, Tag and Bobtail.

  21. glic says:

    Do any of you get them dating adverts coming up on the side of the screen saying thing`s like ….” meet bored house wive`s in your area ” etc ?. I had one come up earlier today saying……” There`s a lady 3 miles away from your location wishing to have no string`s attached sex ! “……….unbelievable !….How the f**k did that site know my wife was in Tesco`s at 10:30am ?. hahaha

  22. TERRY MANCINI'S SOLICITOR says:

    hahaha, them dating adverts drive me nuts. My brain says no but my todger keeps saying click into them, so i click into them. hahaha

    A cople of weeks ago my todger clicked into one and i ended with a screen saying the FBI were after me and that unless i paid $500 i would be nicked. I had to get a computer guy over to clear it away. Cost me a load of embaressment, and $500.

  23. glic says:

    Was that you stretch ?….so sorry I`ll send the money back !. I dont like people trying to nick my ideas, thats why I set up……The Federal Bubblewrap Investigation…..I`ll send some free…Anti-Pre-Ejaculation Bubblewrap Johnnies !. hahaha

  24. glic says:

    Whats your Pirate name landlubbers ?

    http://gangstaname.com/names/pirate

  25. I kind of like mine !. hahaha

  26. “Doormat” John Hacke = Victoria Concordia Crescit. hahaha

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Cap’n John Rotmeat 😕

    Not sad about seeing Snot As going on loan: a very disappointing buy by Arsene.

  28. Yet again another urban dictionary refusal, I`ve seen a lot worse !.

    Is this that bad ?

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/confirm.php?code=97813669a362c5eb7e015543f3861434

  29. Whats your real name one Vic`s ?

  30. GLiC = Rancid Hank Teach.

  31. Cap`n John Rotmeat !, have you been bashing your hampton with a clogg ?. hahaha

  32. GLiC, its = Cap’n Dan Cutthroat…..so watch out me hearties. argghhhhhh

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Overusage, Firecrotch – If only I had known about your soothing, popping bubble-wrap hahaha 🙂

  34. I have arrived, by popular request, to capture the Glic Monster, as he is turning you all crazzzeee!!

    I will return him to the care of the Nutty Monkee Sisters who will restrain him by using the hampton clamp. It holds him immobile, but he is calm because it reminds him of me “Ugly Brenda”, and he is frightened I will crack him like a nut — that is to say, I will crack his nuts in my vice.

    Jawohl, mein hairies!

  35. Hahaha yes Rotmeat, if only I had invented them earlier I could have prevented my Firecrotch aswell !. 🙂

  36. Cutthroat, you must have used a middle name or lengthened your first name as I had you down as ……Dispetic Enrico Cooke !. hahaha

  37. WiganGooner says:

    Great article TA, its great to be positive again isn’t it 🙂

    WG

  38. Seriously that’s what came out. Cap’n Dan Cutthroat.

  39. Shivver me timbers it`s Redders !. 🙂

    I know why it`s different Vic`s, it`s different when using capital letters !.

    Example :
    1) Red Arse = Fineglin` Willie Cooke
    2) red arse = Leprous Burt Dawkins
    3) RED ARSE = Cap`n Hubert Golddigger
    4) Redders = Sagin` Jowls Watt

    Now we know all the fictional accounts for his clients money !. hahaha

    Stretch is the same, he has consolidated all his clients money into one manageable Nigerian Account….The Kanu Account….like Kanu, no one knows how long it`s been going for or how old this account is !. hahaha

  40. Highbury Harmony is a funny one……no not him personally, but he`s Pirate name, I`ll leave him to introduce himself as it !.. hahaha

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    We’re getting there, WG! 🙂

  42. Hi WiganGooner alias Huge Javier Cutler !. 🙂

  43. Black ass-whippa is my Gansters name.

  44. Red Arse says:

    Cap’n Elmer Firecrotch = Tiny twinkling hampster?

  45. VCC says:

    I’ve had to take this up as a living.

  46. WiganGooner says:

    @TA

    We certainly are and keeping a few “cleanies” on the way is good for confidence at the back. Especially with the outstanding Sagna and Mertesacker forming a formidable, last-minute partnership. It bodes very well indeed.

    My concern is Bayern, I think we could get a spanking and that could really knock the good work we are doing.

    I’m not afraid to admit it, Bayern scare the be-jeezus out of me right now.

    WG

  47. Red Arse says:

    WG,

    I saw the Bayern game on ESPN and they were fantastic. I share your concerns!! 😦

  48. WiganGooner says:

    @RA

    By all accounts they’ve only conceded 7 goals so far in the Bundesliga. 7 Goals! are you freaking kidding me?!!

    OK…I’m freaking out a bit now lol.

    WG

  49. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic,

    What’s this nonsense about pirate names? I looked up your name in urban dictionary and it came up as “to ejaculate”. If used in a sentence, it would appear as “Did you see that creepy homeless dude whip out his schlong and glick into the public urinal?”

    It sounds like the definition closely correlates to the individual ;).

    Or if you prefer a more tame definition, a glick is “A person who passes gas in the bathtub and has the dexterity and yearning to snort the rising bubbles with a straw.”

    An example in a sentence, “Megnao Flimpis is reputed to be a glick…I’m not saying he is or he isn’t….I just heard it from 6 people, read it on the stalls of 12 public restrooms and and found a cash register receipt for a jumbo box of straws from Sam’s Club in his trash can.”

  50. Highbury Harmony says:

    WG,

    JM presented a stat last night that said Bayern haven’t lost in all competitions since Oct 28th, 2012…

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi WG, I am confident we beat Bayern at home. Call it a hunch, gut-feeling, whatever, but our team will come good. Btw did you see my comment on your site?

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Bayern don’t play against us in Bundesliga but in the CL; and they were beaten 3-1 away a few months ago, by…. I won’t give you a Cluj! 😛

  53. Red Arse says:

    HH @ 17:34 😀

  54. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi TA,

    Great article as per usual and there is certainly a lot to be positive about after recording three consecutive victories in all competitions. Getting a fourth victory this weekend in the FA Cup should serve us well for squad morale and some momentum at home going forward. Agreed with all your points, especially #1 and 2 as they will prove invaluable if we have any hopes of progressing to the CL quarter finals or finishing top 4.

    However, in respect to #1, the concern isn’t that we aren’t a squad capable of scoring goals; it’s that we’re not capable of producing goals in important games or distributing them consistently from game to game. For example, we can score 7 against Newcastle in one night and 5 against Reading and West Ham, but then rely on an own goal to draw with Southampton, draw with Bradford City in the 87th minute, blanked by Swansea, needed a deflection off a free kick on Stoke etc. The distribution of goals needs to be more consistent now that our defence has seemingly tightened up.

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers HH 🙂

    Agreed, it would be great to spread our goals more evenly, but in reality this just seldom or never happens. When we had our unbeaten in the last third of last season, we did not score that many goals either, but it was a combination of mean defending and scoring just enough goals that saw us collect a great many points.

    Also agreed on scoring more in the big games; we need to improve in this department.

  56. Incase you thought Highbury Harmony aka Fartin` Skyler Hornigold was making it up, well it`s true…..well if you add a “k” on the end !.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=glick

  57. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, my pirate generator name was “pants down milt” hahaha.

    So I assume then, you are confirming that you are a person who passes gas in the bathtub and has the dexterity and yearning to snort the rising bubbles with a straw!

  58. Dont knock it untill you`ve tried it ! hahaha

    I`ll give you that it`s a bit different to fragrent candles and floating roses !.

  59. Gerry says:

    Amongst all the frivolities, me hearties, there is an Under 21’s match underway, against Man U. Several hopefuls for the vacant positions in the first team playing, including, Miguel(CB), Yennaris(MF), along with possible benchers, Eisfeld, Gnabry, and Akpom?

  60. Gerry says:

    Akpom just put us ahead with what sounds like a ‘clinical finish’?
    They levelled soon after … Fab in goal … say no more.

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for keeping us up to date, Gerry 🙂

  62. Gerry says:

    Akpom levelled after they went ahead … another clinical finish, or right place, right time tap in off a rebound. He’s looking good for a Giroud replacement?
    2-2 ht.
    Yennaris got a knock just before the break …

    I guess you lot are monitoring the ‘pool game?

  63. Gerry says:

    Thanks for that link. I watched it around the download bit. I see down the left wing attacking quite well. The sound commentary saved waiting for tweets, but I was able to do other things doing that. I’ll check the app for with my av later.
    Cheers.

  64. VCC says:

    Updated UMF 1 …after tonights game.

    Overall standings
    VCC………62
    Herb………57
    Henry…….53
    Total………50
    PPP……….50
    Ox…………48
    Red Arse..46
    HH…………46
    Rocky…….39
    Alex ………34
    TMHT…….33
    GLiC………28

    Weekly standings
    VCC……….6
    Herb……….5
    Rocky……..5
    Oz………….5
    Alex……….4
    TMHT…….3
    Total………3
    GLiC………3 ( yes three points for Glictorious)
    HH…………2
    PPP……….2
    Henry…….2
    Red Arse..1

    A big up for GLiC ..he came level 6th in the weekly stakes. hip hip horah

  65. Highbury Harmony says:

    Could not have asked for better results this past GW! Arsenal won, $hitty, Everton and Liverpool all lost :). The only thing that would have been better is if the Chavs and Spuds had drawn.

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for the update Vickers 🙂

    Widget updated.

    HH, all agreed. Lukaku’s goal was quite sublime!

  67. VCC says:

    Missed the game tonight. Did Suarez dive again?

  68. VCC says:

    Nice one Total. Cheers.

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    It looked like a dive to me, Vickers. Suarez looked for the contact and seemed to bounce of the defender, rather than being pushed over. But Foster had a fantastic game and saved the penalty as well as a couple of other attempts on goal.

  70. VCC says:

    That’s a good result for us, another side out of the pack chasing us.

    It’s a clear chase between Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs and The Arsenal for third and fourth. Going to go down to the wire this one.

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    I’d still include Everton, Vickers. But yes. today Liverpool dropped very valuable points. Gerrard’s missed penalty will have been a painful experience for the Dippers.

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post 🙂

    Marcus believes the missing link is a Montenegrin… Enjoy 🙂

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