So another great game for the neutral but another nerve jangler for all of us. I had a thoroughly enjoyable day watching the live screening of the game at the home of football, but I have also decided that being an Arsenal fan likely takes some years off your life .
So what did we get from Arsenal in this game? Firstly the players seemed to be up for it from the start, and we didn’t have to suffer with waiting till the second half before we started playing. We started to create a number of clear cut chances, but as each one went begging you started to feel it was going to be one of those days. To be fair Mignolet was in superb form, and how often do we watch an opposition keeper put in an almost man of the match performance against us? What is it about us that seems to bring out the best in these keepers? Is it the way we attack? I am sure it doesn’t happen so often with the likes of Utd and the Chavs. That is a question maybe some of you out there can shed some light on.
We continued to press and were treated to some awfully inconsistent refereeing. There was a very strong shout for a straight red on Cattermole and I counted 2 maybe 3 Sunderland fouls in the passage of play that led up to Jenkinsons first yellow card. How we didn’t get a free kick before this I do not know. Anyway the faithful at the Ems were in no doubt how they felt about it. I think this was definitely a case of the ref being a homer.
Jack picked up where he left off for England and continued to pull the strings while Walcott continued to work the keeper without finding the break-through. Finally, on 36 minutes, the goal arrived that we had deserved. A now trademark surge of pace from Jack taking 3-4 Sunderland players out of the game resulted in a lay off to Walcott who declined the chance to shoot and cushioned it off for Santi whose powerfull low shot finally broke the deadlock. It is as well that he scored otherwise I would imagine there would have been many agitated fans questioning why Walcott didn’t shoot himself.
Refreshingly after the goal we continued to try and attack and kept a high tempo to our game, which I prefer as I don’t think we do killing a game off well. We continued in this way into the second half, but we weren’t having it all our own way and Sunderland threatened at times. Fortunately Szczesny started to replicate the form of Mignolet from the first half. Jack picked up an injury on 50 minutes and went off to be replaced by Diaby. It didn’t look too serious and we can only all hope that is the case.
Then came the pivotal moment when the tricky Sessegnon took on Jenks whose sliding tackle was a fraction from getting the ball and only suceeded in taking Sessegnon down. You knew what was coming immediately with the way the ref had been, and he showed the second yellow without even taking a moment to consider. In the cold light of day if you look at Jenkinson’s 2 yellows then independently they are both justifiable yellows. The problem again comes with the consistency and had we had a deserved free kick earlier in the game it maybe wouldn’t have led to the passage of play that saw Jenkinson get his first yellow.
Rasp and I had discussed a point after the first yellow earlier in the game, and had both agreed that there was a strong possibility that he would collect a second yellow and get sent off. I think MON exploited this and likely told Sessegnon at half time to get at Jenkinson. Should AW have forseen this and replaced him earlier? His options were limited as I believe Kos, who was on the subs bench, had a problem before the game when warming up. It would have left the only realistic option of Moving Sagna out to FB and bringing on Miquel at CB. Should AW have used this option?
We still had about half an hour to go and you knew it would be back to the walls stuff. Fortunately, for once, we did this well and ground out the result with the help of some world class saves from the big Pole. Even at this point we still showed some attacking intent and had some great opportunities on the counter-attack to get the respite of the second goal that my nerves and chewed to pieces nails deserved. Rasp had his head in his hands at times while Peaches was a picture of stoicism. I still think she was partially mesmerised from seeing Bobby Pires but at least by this time she had stopped being all giggly. It was great to see Goonermichael as well and he looked a picture of being cool calm and collected.
Rasp and I continued to fret like nervous wrecks and there was end to end chances in a frantic finale. Walcott hit the post after a great through ball from Cazorla while both Giroud and Cazorla had chances they put just over the bar.
We saw it out and as they say 3 points is 3 points and I was able to relax and reflect at an enjoyable day in the club class section of the Ems with some of the AA gang.
On to the ratings.
Szczesny 8.5 joint MOTM
Showed us the world class keeper we would all like him to consistently be. Solid throughout with some excellent reflex saves.
I don’t want to be too harsh as I like Jenks and he always gives his all but some inexperience showed through today. He hasn’t had much game time and you wonder if this is affecting him because when he was playing regularly earlier in the season you didn’t feel he would make the mistakes we saw today. He will still become a good player for us.
Deputised well at CB and the old Mr reliable was more on show today.
Didn’t do too much wrong all game and it was a solid performance.
Solid and unfussy game from our newest signing today
Nothing spectacular but kept us ticking and I can’t remember any mistakes from him.
Was having a solid game and could have had a couple of goals, but he seems to have an error in him, and we were lucky not to be punished when he needlessly surrendered possession in a dangerous area.
Those trademark runs driving at the opposition defence are a joy to see and get me on the edge of my seat. It was from one of these that the break-through came. Fingers crossed the injury is not so bad but Jack probably needs a game off anyway. I almost had him as joint MOTM again and some may feel that to be the case.
Cazorla 8.5 and joint MOTM
There wasn’t much to choose between him and Jack but the goal and that he continued to be the creative force once Wilshere was off just saw him pip it for me.
Could have had a couple. He wasn’t too bad but it didn’t really come off for him today.
Also could have had a couple and was unlucky when hitting the post. He always made the keeper work and his instinctive link up play with his team-mates is getting better and better.
Diaby (for Wilshere 50 mins) 6.5
Nothing great but nothing bad either.
Miquel (for Walcott 87 mins)
Not enough time to really form an opinion.
Written by GoonerB