23 October 2017

Wengerball, revived—this time, with actual purpose!

Finally. For the first time in this tumultuous, topsy-turvy campaign, we finally went out and absolutely battered an opponent. Yes, yes, there are the small matters of allowing Rooney to score—although, let's face facts: that has more to do with being polite to our hosts than anything else. It would be rude of us to say the least to arrive at Goodison Park so soon after Rooney deigned to return there himself without letting him score. There are social niceties to uphold, after all. Good on him for reminding Evertonians of what might have been had he not bolted at the first chance. I will say though that we were more than a bit generous in gifting a second late one. That almost takes a bit too far, akin to being invited to dinner only to stay long enough to do the dishes and walk the dog. So be it. Arsenal finally found a way to thrash someone.

22 October 2017

Everton 2-5 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings/MOTM!

Arch-nemesis Wayne Rooney scored just 12 minutes in—his 15th against Arsenal, most against any club—and it was starting to feel like we'd again dominate possession and pass it about without ever really finishing a sequence. All of our shots, it seemed, were straight at Pickford, until, finally, Nacho Monreal lashed in a rebound from close range. This seemed to take the air out of Koeman's side, and shortly after halftime, Alexis found Özil gliding into the box. After having created a half-dozen chances for others, Özil glanced his header past Pickford to make it 1-2. Referee Craig Pawson finally saw fit to send Gana off after a series of late tackles, and that's where the wheels came off. Lacazette and Ramsey scored nifty goals to just about kill it off. A sloppy late goal for Everton offered small consolation for the hosts, but Alexis sliced one more in to leave no doubt. Let's get down to the poll!

19 October 2017

Red Star 0-1 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings/MOTM!

Olivier Giroud rescued a misfit, mismatched squad full of youngsters and could've-beens by scoring late on in Belgrade, a beautiful overhead bicycle, and Arsenal remain atop Group H and look to be ready to advance past the group-stage and on towards what is sure to be the pinnacle of the season: a Europa League title! More seriously, for as dour and as uneventful as the match was, it was somewhat gratifying to see the squad bounce back from the debacle at Vicarage Road to brave the seething cauldron and find a way to win. There were times when it seemed like some squad members had to introduce themselves to each other. Name-tags might have been useful. Be that as it may, we won, and that's all that matters at the moment. Let's get down to the poll, shall we?

14 October 2017

Watford 2-1 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings and MOTM. It'll be cathartic!

Captain Per Mertesacker scored in his first Arsenal start since April to disrupt what had been a stultifying first half, and it looked like this would be enough to earn our first away-win of the season. Alas, Héctor Bellerín was caught off-balance and tripped in the box, and Swarbrick pointed to the spot. It was a bit harsh, as there was contact. Truth be told, though, Pereira sold the contact well, and we exposed ourselves to the dangers by failing to kill off the match. An old friend in Troy Deeney coolly scored it. From there, it looked like Watford would be more likely to find a winner, and indeed they were lively enough to hit an upright late on. Disaster struck in stoppage time when Tom Cleverley smashed it in during a scramble in front of our goal. Well, not much else left to say other than to rue the dropped points. Let's give the lads what they deserve...

13 October 2017

Kos and Özil? Out. Kolašinac and Alexis? Out. Who's available for Watford?

Well, we return from the international break predictably worse for wear, with Koscielny and Mustafi injured and various others, such as Alexis and Kolašinac road-weary as well. On top of that, the break came at an inopportune time, interrupting a tidy little run of form that had seen us go undefeated, winning six of seven, and flirting with the idea of starting to dominate opponents. Yes, we did benefit from a softer stretch of the schedule, but we made the most of it and will need to refind some of that form as we travel to face Watford. Do not underestimate them. If nothing else, they've got Troy Deeney. And Capoue. Oh, and Cleverley.

01 October 2017

Why the hell can't Lacazette play a full 90'?

After all of the breathless hype and exhilaration that accompanied Alexandre Lacazette's arrival at Arsenal, there has arisen a few mutterings and murmurs around the fact that the man has not played a full 90' since doing so against Leicester on opening day. Seeing him subbed off late on has become a regular feature of recent fixtures, so much so that Lacazette himself is probably peeking over after an hour to make sure that someone is warming up. That can't be good for his confidence or his fitness over the long term. Having spent £48m to bring him in, shouldn't we expect Arsène to be getting more for his fee?