Since my last blog Arsenal have played nine games in all competitions. We have won six of them drawing once and losing twice. Those losses against Everton and Man City came back to back and we have had to bounce back since then with so called easier games.
We have managed to beat the teams we should be beating including Stoke, West Brom, Crystal Palace and Burnley at home and Swansea in the league and Preston in the FA Cup away. As known though in the Premier League some of these games were far from easy and we had to really work for the win until the end.
In the Stoke game we had to come from behind, against West Brom there was a late Giroud winner and against Preston in the cup we had to both come back from behind and get a Giroud winner.
The most recent game against Burnley though was perhaps the most amazing. We were 1-0 up and seemingly comfortable before Xhaka once again got sent off. We did manage to hold on until near the end but then Coquelin gave away a penalty which was converted.
I couldn’t believe it and really thought that was it and that we had missed a great chance to go second, fail to put the pressure on Chelsea and benefit from other teams dropping points previously but Arsenal never give up until the end.
We piled on the pressure and got the reward as Koscielny won a penalty in the last minute of added time. It was controversial just like in the reverse fixture I must admit as he was offside but you need luck in football and to win titles. We should have had a penalty before that so it balanced out.
Up stepped arguably our and the Premier League’s best player this season in Alexis Sanchez and he scored with his usual class with a cheeky panenka chip down the middle to win us the game. What a way to win it in what was virtually the last kick of the game.
Wenger had previously been sent off before this and was watching in the tunnel showing his passion and you could also see how much it meant to all the players. It also showed that we have a lot of character to not give up until the last minute and come out with a win. Could it be a crucial win in our season?
The Bournemouth away game was also an example of us showing a lot of character to come back from 3-0 down and not lose. We were actually 3-0 down with 20 minutes to go but somehow managed to come away with a point. Should we have been in that position though against a smaller club and you have to question our defence.
Alexis Sanchez once again started things off, before Lucas Perez (who should get more playing time) scored a great volley and then the man of the moment Olivier Giroud scored the all important equaliser. Giroud really is showing his worth at the moment and is proving his critics wrong once again. Can he continue this form though?
We did also lose two games 2-1 against so called bigger teams in Everton and Man City which was disappointing but we have responded well since then. In both games we just did not look like ourselves and did not turn up properly which is worrying.
It is also disappointing as in both games we were 1-0 up but we then seemed to relax a bit and let the other teams back into the game. Hopefully we can do better against bigger teams until the end of the season as we will have some tough games coming up.
I also have to give a mention to two sensational goals that happened at home. One of which I was lucky enough to actually be in the stadium for. The first was Özil’s header in the Stoke game which reminded me a bit of Van Persie’s in the World Cup and the second was Giroud’s scorpion kick against Palace which was simply sensational.
It has to be up there with goal of the season and I don’t think he will ever score a better goal than that in his career. To actually be there was special and it is probably one of the best goals I have ever seen.
Next up is Southampton away in the Fourth round of the FA Cup which will be very tough. Southampton is a team that we have struggled against recently and we have got the hardest match in the draw. Hopefully Wenger will put out a strong enough team to win and progress into the next round.
In the league, we then face Watford at home which I should be going to meaning it will be my third game at the Emirates this season. This is followed by arguably our biggest game of the season against Chelsea away in what will be a must win really if we are to win the title.
There will probably be no new transfers this January which I am ok with as we do have players returning from injury which will be ‘like new signings’ in Wenger’s words. Players such as Bellerin, Coquelin, Welbeck and soon Walcott are all coming back which will only help us in what already is a strong squad. Cazorla will also be back in the coming months which will be very important for us as we have missed him a lot.
So tough times for Arsenal but it will define our season. There is uncertainty with Özil and Sanchez’s contracts which should be sorted out soon and Wenger’s future is also unknown but much will depend on what happens at the end of the season. Exciting but also nervous times ahead for the club. What will happen to Arsenal? Will we finally win the title and what does the future hold?