During the previous inter-lull, I wrote a post stating that the following seven games might determine whether Arsene would stay or not. We had relatively easy matches against Norwich and Palace and a Mickey Mouse game against the Chavs, but also four real tests of the steel, character and quality of Wenger’s current crop of players.
I reckon the boys did well in those four games. The win against Pool was perhaps the most important result this season and it was not just the three points that mattered here. It was also the style of football and dominance of our football that was really important. We bossed the Scousers in every area and played some fine football during that match.
Our two encounters with Dortmund were also great matches, at least from a tactical point of view. I reckon the Gelb-Schwarzen are a bit further ahead of us but we both got three points out of our two battles, which is better than two draws in the end. Wenger thought his team had been a bit naïve in our home game, conceding the cruel hammer blow of a Dortmund late winner just when we were playing our best football. Anybody who plays a bit of chess knows the danger of attacking aggressively and neglecting their defence, and playing a team like Dortmund is basically the same as playing a game of giant chess.
I reckon our two matches with Dortmund were timed perfectly and have been great learning experiences for our first team. We will reap the benefits for a long time to come. Arsene was complementary about the maturity of his team in our away game, and I reckon he will have seen enough to make him think this team can get somewhere this season.
Unfortunately, we lost against the Mancs as a win at Old Toilet would have been the icing on a very impressive week. It was not to be, and Arsene claimed his team had been a bit nervous against Manure. We did appear to miss a bit of courage and we were perhaps a bit too conservative in our line-up and approach to the game – maybe Arsene himself had been a petit peut nerveux…
Yet, for the first time in a long period we were able to control large parts of the game at OT in the second half, and with a bit more luck and strength on the bench, we could have taken home a deserved point, or even more.
I am not yet 100% convinced this team can win the PL this year, but I am feeling more confident every week. Even the ‘small loss’ against the Mancs actually left me feeling mildly positive. I guess I will start feeling 100% certain we will win the league when we no longer see a significant drop in the team’s performance after a player in the spine suddenly gets injured; when the likes of Mertesacker, Flamini and Giroud can be replaced with like for like quality and no adverse impact on our football and results.
Whether Wenger believes enough in this team to sign a new contract is anybody’s guess, but being ToTL and top of the CL ‘group of death’ must go a long way to convince him that he finally is putting something very special together again. And with Ozil, Jack, Santi, Theo, Rambo, Ox and Rosicky he now has the sort of players who can make Arsenal play the finest form of Wengerball once more.
Written by: TotalArsenal.