Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal have never been short of ability on the football pitch. There have been a few who have failed to deliver when it came to the crunch but in the main they have all been and all still are, very skilful individuals. They have, however, struggled to compete at the very top level and have not won a trophy for 4 years which is a long time for a club like Arsenal.
I have often spoken on this website about the things which I think we have been lacking this last few years – generally they are what you might call the simpler aspects of the game. Working hard for each other, passing and moving, shooting when you get a chance etc. In these areas we have really under-performed recently and, particularly against the more physical sides at home, it has often cost us.
It is still very early in the season – we have only played 4 competitive matches – but so far the side have managed to improve their ability to perform the more basic elements of the game of football and its really reaping rewards, particularly up front. We have scored 15 goals in those 4 games and only conceded twice and, in my opinion, its down to a few straight forward changes.
The biggest difference I’ve seen so far this season (particularly at home on Saturday and tonight) has been the passing and moving. I have spent 3 years at the new stadium watching us struggle to find the key to unlock opposition defences sitting deep and getting stuck in, with virtually no movement to speak of as we pass the ball left and right along a line around 10 yards outside the penalty area. Watching the side this evening was a joy at times, just to see players playing a pass and then immediately sprinting forward to take the return ball. It is contributing to the opposition finding it difficult to track our forwards and midfielders as we come forward and goals is the inevitable result.
With the visible improvement of Song and Denilson in terms of strength and their ability to read the game as well as the addition of the so-far brilliant Vermaelen we are also finding the ball being quickly won back in midfield and at the back which helps with morale and our attacking options.
I realise that we have not really been tested yet and Saturday will be a big indicator as to how far we’ve come but at least until now, things are much improved throughout the side. Long may it continue!