A lot of the discussion this morning has been around our performance in overnight in the Capital One Cup against Southampton. Personally, despite the obvious disappointment in losing a game, I’m not thoroughly concerned by the result or the fact that we’re now no longer in that competition. To be honest, I’m still quite pleased by the display that the lads turned out on the weekend against Aston Villa and what they means for the bigger picture in regards to our season so far, a subject worth much more discussion in my eyes.
As I’m sure many had noticed, prior to the Villa game the atmosphere amongst the Gooner community had become a bit poisonous and negative, especially on social media. Predictably, after the Villa game things became a bit more relaxed and positive, as is the way.
Where that leaves us now is 4th on the table with a return of 2 wins, 3 draws and precisely 0 losses. Not a bad start really, and in my personal opinion, when you take into account the teams we’ve played it’s actually a pretty decent start.
Defeating Crystal Palace (although it took until late to lock that result up) was clearly a positive, although expected, result. Draws against Everton away and City at home are also decent results and to be completely honest I would have taken a point from each of those games had you offered it to me beforehand. Whilst the manner of both of the draws was frustrating, for different reasons, I think they should still be viewed as positive results, especially the City game where I felt we played some very positive football.
The result that has caused the most ire (in the league) thus far was the draw away to Leicester. Given that we were expected to win that one it’s perfectly understandable that many fans (including myself) were quite disappointed with the result. But given Leicester’s performances so far this season it would seem that they’re currently not so easy to handle. They were one of the sides to have given Chelsea the most trouble this season and also eked out a hard fought draw against Everton. Ok, their 5-3 smashing of a pitiful mid-table side this weekend wasn’t all that impressive but hey, a win’s a win and they’re currently do themselves justice in the league.
Now, by no means am I saying that this makes the draw against Leicester a brilliant result and that we should be rejoicing that we came back from their joint with a point, but I hardly think the result is as devastating as some were making out on the day.
This then brings us to the Villa game, a very positive performance. Although we effectively won the game in a 4 minute burst the performance was still impressive and the most fluid we’ve been so far this season. With Özil moved primarily into his central/number 10 role (with license to roam) he produced the kind of display that we all know he’s capable of, registering a goal and an assist, linking up very well with Danny Welbeck who’s output matched those statistics. Welbeck and Özil have both been victims of the aforementioned poisonous atmosphere in the fan-base during the last view weeks, undeservedly so in my opinion, and it was especially pleasing to see them both play so well and display some promising link-up play with each other and their team-mates.
So, when we look back at those results, we see two very acceptable draws, two wins one more satisfying than the other) and a slightly disappointing, but not horrifying, draw. What am I getting at here? That when you look at some of our closer competitors so far this season (Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United, Tottenham) our early results have actually been quite decent. Clearly Chelsea have looked a gear ahead of us but you could say they have looked a gear ahead of most of the league, they still suffered a disappointing draw in Europe though, and City experienced a loss to Bayern Munich whilst we suffered a very disappointing loss of our own.
This may be coming across as patronizing, not that it’s meant to be, but our current situation is nowhere near as negative as some would have you believe. We’re still unbeaten in the league, we took it to Manchester City, fought our bay back into a game against Everton when all looked lost and are starting to click offensively after a little bit of adjustment amongst our new players. There have been sprinklings of disappointment in amongst our positive results but at this early stage we’ve built a decent platform to hopefully launch on to bigger and better things this season.
– Matty B