Wolves 1 (Craddock 89) Arsenal 4 (Zubar og 28, Craddock og 36, Fabregas 45, Arshavin 66)
Moving house and blogging is a tricky combination. Phone companies tend to ensure that you haven’t got a hope of getting online during the first few weeks in the new place, and trying to write anything meaningful from a mobile is nigh on impossible. Hence this will be a Monday-Friday blog for the next fortnight.
The upshot of that is by the time you read this on a Monday, you’ll know all about the matches that happened two days earlier, so instead of providing a blow-by-blow account of the game, I’ll talk about a few things that struck me.
- Van Persie has been an absolute revelation, and not just in his performances, which have probably exceeded everyone’s expectations. His touch is exquisite, his finishing lethal, and his ability with his back to goal is a lot more impressive than any of us probably realised. But more than that, he seems to be thoroughly enjoying his football. All that talk of being a united dressing room doesn’t appear to be hot air.
- Cesc has nine goals and eleven assists. That’s a defining role in twenty goals, and it is only early November. That is quite astonishing for any player, let alone a 22 year old.
- We might not be able to keep clean sheets, but hopefully that is purely a concentration thing. Twice in a week we’ve conceded sloppily when 4-0 up, but remember in September we weren’t scoring as freely, but instead kept it tight at the other end – 2-0 wins over West Brom and Olympiakos, and that 1-0 win over Fulham being part of four consecutive shut outs. As long as we only concede when we’re cruising, I won’t mind.
- The lack of a backup option for Alex Song is a worry, however. That we’re even concerned about coping without him shows how far he’s come in the last year, and I’m not sure Ramsey is suited to that role, fabulous talent though he is. Nasri could, but would be similarly stunted. The African Nations Cup forces Song to miss our trips to Bolton and Villa, plus the United game on January 31st if Cameroon reach the final. Let’s hope they don’t.
It would be fair to say we weren’t at out best on Saturday, but even without the slices of good fortune for our first two goals, we were still comfortably too much for Wolves, in the sort of game we have struggled to get the points from in recent years. That in itself is a massively encouraging sign, although we shouldn’t get as carried away as the press who, now that Liverpool are their chosen target, have taken to boldly predicting we’ll break all goalscoring records this season.
Amazing how times change, isn’t it?