Hopefully you’ll forgive me for not posting yesterday, in the aftermath of what turned out to be a good win for a team that had never played together, provided two full debuts and a spark of light from the boot of Alex ‘The Ox/AOC/Chambo’ Oxlade-Chamberlain. Any post yesterday would have been lacking in any decent content, so today’s is a bit of a roundup of things of the last couple of days.
Starting with the Carling Cup, I decided not to go to the Emirates to watch an Arsenal XI play a competent Shrewsbury first team (a guy needs some money, to eat), but I listened to the whole thing on Arsenal Player, and was subject to the stirring, but slightly ill-placed “Men Will Become Gods” Arsenal advert at half-time…when Arsenal were, arguably, lucky to be level with Shrewsbury Town. We suffered a bit at the back; Djourou was made captain but looked lacking without a confident Szczesny behind him who – no disrespect to Fabianski – would probably have come and claimed a cross that ended in a goal from James Collins.
Still, from the extended highlights, it’s fair to say we rallied, created chances and Gibbs (who was getting a fair amount of stick on Twitter) equalised with a well adjusted and powerful header. Make no mistake, not an easy goal. Of course we had a first look at Park, who played well from what I’m told, another look at the improving Coquelin – who at one point lost the ball in midfield and chased hard back to make a vital interception in our area, and all round decent second half performances. I think Chamakh put a good shift in, and then there was, as Jack Wilshere calls him, “Chambo”.
Thrown into desperate front line duty at Old Trafford, our most expensive summer signing could well have been affected by such an introduction to life at Arsenal. But three things the boy obviously has are heart, confidence and ability. He played as a guy of his age might: not always making the best decision, but with an eye for a pass, the ability to beat a man, and the confidence to try the shot that ended in his goal. Afterwards he said it just opened up for him. On the contrary Alex, you’re being closed down. He’s about 25yrds out and it’s a very good strike. Low, hard, and – quite obviously – worth a go.
I don’t want to pour adulation upon him, but I think we can say he might be a bit of a player. His interview after the game portrayed a guy who loves to play and who wants to play, who isn’t shy and who says of Southampton:
“I couldn’t have asked for more, so I’ve got a lot of time for them and I hope to be able to play there again one day and show my appreciation. I’ll always have a place in my heart for them.”
Good to hear.
There’s calls for him to be included in the first team squad, but if anything I think he’ll be on the bench for a little while. Although it wouldn’t surprise me if he ousts a Theo or an Arshavin. Put the work in guys, there’s a new kid in town.
A few other bits to round up. For those still interested in the life of Francesc Fabregas, an ‘interview’ published in Sport that wasn’t very kind to Arsenal was never anything of the kind. A few misery guts called Cesc’s integrity into question, and it turns out the thing was compiled from old comments, his Barca presentation day and the active imaginations of the Sport editorial staff. Cesc said:
Got the apology and retraction from that magazine that made up an interview about me. Can’t believe some journalists. I will also get damages that I will give to charity. Hope it teaches them a lesson. I would NEVER say a bad word about Arsenal Football Club.
Hope it teaches them a lesson indeed.
Finally a couple of quick recommendations for you. I’m sure if you’re reading this Arsenal-themed blog you’re familiar with Arseblog, but I couldn’t help chuckle at this piece of information from Arseblog News. Also, can I genuinely recommend that you go here and read an interesting little bit from Gingers For Limpar. I’d recommend G4L, even if the wallpaper mesmerises. Perhaps that’s the point.
Anyway, it’s Bolton on Sat and there may be a preview from me before that. Still, in a week where we came from behind to progress in the Carling Cup, discovered that Mr Oxlade-Chamberlain knows where the goal is, and in which Spurs were knocked out of…the Carling cup, it’s not all doom and gloom.