Story by Sarah Mobbs
Apologies for my absence again over the last couple of weeks—I (and many of my fellow writers for 11), had some Graduating to do! But I’m back now, and this week, I’m talking about my own team again. Very biased I know, and I apologise profusely, but I want to try and round up the Gunners’ first 4 games and reflect on life after van Persie. I must admit that I really wasn’t sure what to expect at the start of this season. Arsenal had ended reasonably well previously, but we were still haunted by that heartbreaking defeat to Manchester United at the beginning of the 11/12 season. Yet, Wenger had signed 2 new strikers to make up for the loss of van Persie at the beginning of this season, so I suppose I had no choice but to trust him, given all the wonderful things I had read about both Giroud and Podolski.
So, the first two games of this season actually passed reasonably uneventfully, the only thing I can really say about them is that, at least we didn’t concede. Actually, this was quite an incredible feat, being as after only 4 games last season we had already conceded 10 and 8 of those were in one game! And this season, in 4 games so far we have only conceded 1, and funnily enough, that was when Szczesny came back. To say Mannone was a third choice keeper in the first 2 games, he performed exceptionally- I’m actually not sad to see that he will be keeping against Montpellier.
The last two games for Arsenal though have been a real boost to the fans, or at least, they have me. It was pretty great to have a 2-0 win against Liverpool, with both goals coming from new signings (Podolski and Cazorla), and a 6-1 win against Southampton, with Podolski scoring again was also rather a nice surprise, although, admittedly, 2 of those 6 goals actually came from Southampton feet. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing Mannone perform again tonight (Tuesday 18th September), and to seeing our team really tested against Man City at the weekend. It’s difficult to say how things will go against Man City, as they too have had two draws and two wins, but their draws were not goalless.
It seems then that losing van Persie to Manchester United has certainly not put a dampner on the spirits of the team or the fans. It’s nice to know he has been replaced by strikers who have shown the same level of skill, and enthusiasm. I’d now like to see Giroud performing to his full ability (I’m reliably informed that once he starts scoring goals, he will remain “on fire”) and I would actually like to see Mannone in goal a little more often. Szczesny may be first choice, but I personally believe that given more opportunities, Mannone could well surpass him, certainly in terms of what and who the fans want to see on the pitch.
I’m not going to get complacent though, we are afterall only 4 weeks in, and things could go very wrong, although I’m extremely hopeful that they won’t. It’d be nice to see the top 5 of the Premiership again this season.