Rambo gives relief as Arsenal keep building

Once again I return to the blog having not written for a while, this time for about a month. Firstly may I say I’m terribly sorry to anyone who felt aggrevied at the lack of content of late. I can’t imagine there are too many of you but hey ho. I’ve been struggling for consistency in a way that has been almost parallel to Arsenal, but hopefully now that we seem to be shaking that off our backs I’ll be blogging more often.

Obviously only one place to start, last night’s victory over Marseille. Before I get to the individual performances, time to focus on the team’s efforts. It was a bit of a different performance compared to what we’re used to. Without the last minute winner it wouldn’t have been a terrifically welcome change, but the the result certainly made the performance seem somewhat better. We played very well defensively overall, but in attack we struggled a little. Again we seem to be unable to combine effective defensive play with effective attacking play.

The two seem to be directly correlated, and as I read on Arsenal Report earlier, our deep defensive layout which worked very well had a knock-on effect in terms of our attack. The team was more spread out across the pitch, which restricted the fluidity of the team. It’s difficult to spot a definite solution for me right now – ideally you want the defensive solidity as well as the attacking fluidity but right now it seems like that’s a tactical catch 22.

Hopefully if Arsene can’t solve the problem the team will be able to adapt to the style and find a way of being more efficient going forward – perhaps we need to get more midfielders forward in support of the forwards when attacking, but then that does leave us open to counter attacks so the supporting midfielders would have to get back very quickly if they lost the ball.

One thing that is encouraging is our gradually increasing form – stating the obvious a little there but oh well. We’re showing signs as a team and individually that all we needed was time to gel, as I’d hoped. The new signings are now fitting in well and are rarely causing problems anymore.

Mertesacker looks a lot more comfortable now, and apart from the odd scare due to his lack of pace he’s slotting in well at the back. Sadly we’ll probably always have that problem with his pace, so hopefully we’ll adjust when he plays. The good thing is, we played a deeper line partly to compensate for his lack of pace, and when Vermaelen comes back we should be fine playing higher up, which should in turn help our attack – yes, I just realised that I was typing. Hopefully I’m not the last to come to that conclusion.

As I hinted there, personally I’d partner Koscielny with Vermaelen once the Belgian is back. I feel he suits our overall style best, and I’m a big fan of the ex-Lorient man as you all must know by now. I’ve been a defendant of his for a while now and I feel that’s starting to be vindicated. More and more people are noticing his solid performances, and they’re becoming a lot more consistent too which can only help. He’s really growing into a top centre half.

Tomas Rosicky was a little disappointing after his encouraging showing against Sunderland. He does seem to be a little bit of a flat-track bully these days, but I’m hoping that’s just a slightly early judgement. Fingers crossed he’ll become more consistently good, like at the weekend. He’d be a really useful asset if he did.

The last player I have something substantial to say about it Johan Djourou. He came on at right back during the second half, which led to panic amongst the fans about an apparently imminent mistake – I’ll admit, I was also anxious, but I tweeted in hope as much as expectation that “The Djouresurrection starts here” as he entered play. Surprisingly my words seemed to come true, as he played better than he has done in a while – even helping set up Ramsey’s goal with our first successful cross of the game.

There are a few little bits and pieces I haven’t covered but I didn’t feel they warranted writing about, and frankly I’m just happy to get a blog post over and done with at last. Hopefully I’ll be back with more soon. Up the Arsenal!

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