Night shift work has really obstructed my Arsenal supporting life so much so that I only managed to complete the entire 90 minutes last night. I had only watched the first 35 minutes of a rather insane back and forth battle at a pub as close to my workplace as I could find. When walking out through the crowded boozer, I felt like explaining to all the Gooners I had celebrated the two goals with that I was leaving against my will and not a need to find the nearest prawn sandwich shop before it had closed.
At work I had stuck on my radio and went about my job, punching the air at Giroud putting Arsenal ahead. I even managed a quick 'Giroud goal vine' search on Twitter. What a goal that was too. It made me think that the big man should believe in his ability a little more inside the box and not always look to play the way he is facing.
I am usually a calm and mild mannered man during my work hours, you know you have to act professional when you are earning a crust. Well that all went out the window as Joe Allen found a last minute equaliser.
"F**K!!!!!!" I screamed involuntarily. It was a little louder than I would have liked but there you have it.
I am still feeling the pinch of that goal, even if it was more than a fair result on the night. Winning that would have given us a great shot of confidence which would have been very useful for our trip to Stoke and then at home to Chelsea but it's gone now, I have to look for silver linings to make me feel better and there are many if you are willing to look for them. Manchester City dropping 2 points at home to Everton is far worse than drawing at Anfield, that should be obvious. Oliver Giroud looks to be continuing his excellent scoring form and we will need him to continue in this vein.
I still see Manchester City as our only challengers this season, if Leicester keep it up then all credit to them but there is still almost half a season to go. Matching Manchester City's results when we have a tougher run than theirs is a positive, even if of course stretching the lead would have been far more preferable.
A few points on the game itself as it is far too late to give you any sort of review. Would have loved to have seen Gabriel up against Simon Mignolet from those corner kicks. He really does not look comfortable does he? In hindsight perhaps a partnership of Gabriel and Mertesacker would have been the best choice on the night, it wasn't Koscielny's best game. Speaking of defenders, Nacho Monreal was exceptional once again. Surely he is one of the best full backs, let alone left backs in the league at present. Our best left back since Ashley Cole for sure.
Annoying heart symbol with fingers goes to Joel Campbell once more. His pass to Aaron Ramsey for the first equaliser was beautiful. Mesut Özil better check himself before Campbell assist wrecks himself, or something. I have a little bit obsession for chipped goals and reverse through passes, Campbell is satisfying the latter obsession. He tried it again for Giroud's second goal and it was Ramsey once again making that run. Wonder if we will see some more of that during this season. From 78th choice on the flank for Arsenal, Joel may have moved to number 2 on current form. All the credit should go to him for his desire and commitment to work himself into this position, then of course his quality which is becoming clearer and clearer as the weeks roll by. Heart symbol Joel, heart symbol.
Less positive was the way we still cannot deal with intensive pressing. Liverpool were all over us in the opening exchanges and with a few more of their better players on the pitch, maybe conceding a goal to drop 2 points would have been something we would have loved. Maybe I am being harsh and that kind of pressure is difficult for all teams to handle, I mean look at Manchester City at home to Liverpool and Chelsea also at home.
But it felt a little like a boxer (again I know) going into the ring not throwing any punches and only blocking with one hand. It looked like we wanted to pass the ball between our defence until they tired and then slowly get ourselves in the game which in fairness we did. We just did not restrict Liverpool enough during their good spell.
Aaron Ramsey continues to divide opinion in his central midfield role. Division among Arsenal fans is common practice these days and I read an interesting debate on Twitter. Cazorla vs Ramsey in the middle of the pitch was the topic and the truth is, both players are fantastic but both have flaws that need to be corrected by a partner. We struggled to gain any control of the midfield on Wednesday night but Ramsey scored and his presence in the box allowed Giroud to score his second.
We shall see soon enough if Elneny's introduction to the team will help address these problems. I will write about this soon enough once I find the time.
Anyway, onto Stoke away *gulp* If we win that we will quickly forget about the 2 dropped points on Wednesday. Lose and I suspect we will be revisiting Allen's goal once more.
Heart symbols to the former, please.
The Podcast is a little late this week, it should be out early hours of Saturday morning so make sure you check that out.