Let’s start with the most obvious and pleasing of statements this morning:
A win is a win is a win.
And we won. So ultimately it’s a good Friday to you and it’s a happier one than had we drawn or lost.
There’s also the positive of seeing Jacky Wilshere once again pulling the strings in midfield and whilst some will protest of the clear lack of quality in the opponents, I prefer to look at this being another big step in his rehab back in to the first team and making an influence for Arsenal this season.
His touches were good, I saw at least three instances where he was able to wriggle us out of pressure or drive us forward, but his role in the only goal of the game is what really caught the eye and watching him spin away from three players, exchange a pass with Theo before flicking it back to him to head for Giroud, was the Jack we all remember and I’m just praying that his body is holding together well after each game because it’s clear he is a class act on the pitch.
He was clearly the most promising player yesterday and performances like that must surely have Arsène Wenger pondering whether to just throw him in to the Premier League soon. I suspect we might start seeing some cameo roles for him in games. That feels the most logical next step.
He was influential in the goal but we should also give props to Ollie G for his goal and as my companion for the evening Mark noted “he can move for a big fella”. Indeed. In fact he’s quite graceful and when you see him put in a volley like that you wonder why he wasn’t gifted more composure in front of goal on a more regular basis.
The goal was a moment of beauty in an otherwise turgid game of football. It was rarely brimming with quality and having now watched Red Star Belgrade for the first time you have to say that you can see why from their side. They had a couple of chances and Cech made a couple of decent saves but you could tell that any half decent side would have battered this makeshift Arsenal team.
When you’re starting your back five with four players out of position it is always going to look a little disjointed at times and whilst there wasn’t any major problems caused, there were a few half chances where players got spun or turned out wide and we could have been vulnerable in transition. You could just tell that a better side would have carved more clear cut chances.
But Red Star didn’t and the result means that basically Arsène can run a competition to let fans play in the final two games if we beat Red Star in a couple of weeks time.
The hotch-potch of a team last night also means that the players who will play on Sunday will be fresher and hopefully that gives us a better chance against a beleaguered Everton who are sure to play like Barcelona come Sunday afternoon. I caught a bit of their game and they looked terrible so we all know how that story plays out for us in Liverpool on Sunday lunchtime.
A few words for the youngsters who played yesterday and I thought Willock was tidy enough and Nelson continued his good run. He’ll still be learning the game in three years time but he seems to be going in the right directions so we can all be happy about that.
Other than that there’s not really a lot more that can be said about the game because it was a drab old affair. So I think I’ll call it a day.
See you tomorrow.