That’s Giroud; of course, that I am talking about for those who may have been wondering over recent weeks what FFP stands for. On he bounded looking determined, rested and raring to get goals and that is exactly what he did. With his first touch of the game he put us back ahead and then shortly after with just his second touch he scored again this time from a corner, powerfully guiding the ball over the keeper’s out stretched hand. Smiling from ear to ear he knew that he had saved the day and the thought crossed my mind as he reeled away in celebration knowing he put the game completely out of Sunderland’s reach that the only thing missing from this picture was a Superman cape with the letters FFP on the back. Welcome back Ollie you have been missed.
Arsenal’s training session in the North East in preparation for next week’s North London Derby went exactly to plan. Arsene Wenger was able to completely rest Özil who surprisingly didn’t even travel and bring Oxlaide-Chamberlain in for Walcott and Gibbs for Monreal giving the two regulars an extra week to recover, again in preparation for next week, although, it took very little time to see that there really isn’t a lot of difference between all four of them. Oxlaide-Chamberlain and Gibbs are able deputies and both highlight the depth and strength of the squad.
The Ox started confidently, buoyed by his two goals in mid week against Reading; it was his excellent cross that Sanchez headed home to get us off the mark.
This goal was on the back of a twenty-one pass move but although Sanchez still had a lot to do when the ball came in the star of this show was the quality of the cross. It is made all the better when compared with some of the crosses Alex has sent over this season which can only be described as somewhere between bad and woeful and so when he shaped to send in what turned out to be a thing of beauty I feared the worse but fear I needn’t have because boy did he deliver. Well done young man.
Shortly after Gibbs and he dispossessed a Sunderland player by their corner flag, Ox ran in and shot from the most impossible angle when Iwobi and Sanchez were waiting on the 18 yard line. Iwobi put his hands in front of him to indicate where he had wanted the ball played and Sanchez threw his hands in the air in frustration. Alex glanced guiltily at the bench, aware of his school boy error and from then on his confidence slowly waned and he gradually drifted out of the game until he was subbed in the second half.
As we all know we should have put this one to bed a lot earlier but we were clearly lacking a killer instinct. Özil as I said didn’t travel, Iwobi is just too nice; he is the kind of boy you would be happy to meet your mum; he needs Ian Wright to take him under his wing to teach him just how to be more of a selfish, fatherless person. Apparently Wenger commented in the week that he thought that Iwobi is trying too hard in front of goal, suggesting he needs to relax more, gotta agree with that. It wouldn’t surprise me if he gets a bit of a rest now, starting on the bench mid-week as well as the coming weekend as more of the Cav return namely Giroud. Sanchez will probably move out to the left to replace our up and coming Nigerian star.
And on that subject, Sanchez was a bit like a one of those super dooper Swiss Army Knives which is able to do anything and so is he. The problem is that there is such a great deal of choice you have to take time to consider which tool would be the most appropriate for the job in hand and so with Alexis; he is so multi talented that the possibilities available to him are so much greater than other players and because of that he often takes more time than necessary which usually involves trying to beat one more player than is needed when more often than not a simple pass would be more effective.
Sunderland were poor but even so they still managed to give us a scare when the referee’s selected decision making ignored the fact that Sanchez was being pulled back in the Sunderland box which should have been a penalty to us but five minutes later he had no problem awarding one at the other end which Defoe put away to level the score.
It was all set up for Giroud and he wasn’t going to waste this chance to show everyone what they had been missing. Ramsey reappeared amidst the celebrations of Giroud’s first and it immediately became apparent that he is so much more than a box to box player. Elneny is a box to box player and while I am on that subject he deserves special mention for the calm, controlled performance that he put in today. The Egyptian will run from the edge of our box to the edge of the opponent’s box but will rarely go in. Watch Ramsey, by contrast, he can run from box to box with the best of them but notice in the short period that he was on yesterday how many times he glided into Sunderland’s box adding to the attacking threat. In fact he played a part in the fourth goal when Gibbs hit the post and Ramsey played it onto Sanchez whose nimble feet seemed to dance on a sixpence before he poked it past their helpless goalkeeper.
Job done, game over, banana skin avoided, Sanchez was my man of the match, sometimes he can be frustrating but that is only because he offers so many possibilities. Moving on, oh how I am looking forward to next weekend, it would have been a bit of a shame if spuds had lost to Leicester, shame in the way, that is, that it would have taken some of the shine off next week when we inflict their first loss.
Written by LB