Nothing like putting Tottenham in their place, offset the overall foul mood that was permeating the air after the losses to Zagreb and Chelsea. The injustice served at Stamford Bridge was cruel to the Arsenal and no amount of bans to a certain Chelsea cheater and or unfair red card rescinded to our player can fix that we may have lost out on getting three points away at Chelsea. I don't want to dwell on the result of that match as it was changed drastically changed but he sending off and at this point everyone has had their say.
Following the horror show that was the Chelsea match, we had to travel to White Hart Lane to taken on the scum down the road. I was pretty confident that despite the previous two losses, we would get the win and advance to the next round of the Capital One Cup. My only concern was the team selection Wenger was going to use. With Gabriel's red card rescinded, he was now eligible to play center back but was given a rest, which was probably needed in the aftermath of having to deal with Diego Costa's cheating ways.
Wenger normally treats this competition as a chance for young and fringe players to get valuable game time. With that inexperience usually means we crash out early and we just write off the competition altogether. This was different however, as we just came of the back of two bad losses. We couldn't afford to simply through out youngsters this time. Not only did we need a win to right the ship, but it was against that horrible lot down the road. A loss to them would be utterly unacceptable. No matter the competition, we must win against the scum. As such, Wenger did rotate, making ten changes to the squad which is a gamble but the squad looked more than capable of sending the Spuds home crying into their Bale-shaped pillows.
With the injury to Coquelin during the Chelsea match, it was down to Arteta and Flamini to fill the defensive mid positions normally occupied by Coq and Cazorla (who was out due to his red card). Ramsey was slotted in the attacking mid position with, Giroud in place of Walcott and Ox and Joel Campbell getting the starts out wide. Bellerin was rested for Debuchy and Gibbs on for Monreal. Mertesacker is finally over his illness and he paired with Chambers in front of Ospina in goal. Not a bad selection, some rusty legs but overall experienced players. Flamini was a wild card, as he usually is but he was the surprise of the match as no one expected him to score not, one but two goals. The goals were both well taken and the second was highlight reel worthy as he took the volley first time and hammered the shot home with power and accuracy. I often joke about how when I play FIFA, Flamini always manages to pop up near the goal and skies a shot that could have been put in. This was not FIFA, the real life Flamini scored a brace at Shite Hart Lane and sent the Spuds fans home crying. I would love to meet the guy who bet on Flamini to score two goals. He walked away from the bookie with a fat wallet.
The match overall was a good one with several players looking like the cobwebs are finally being shaken off. Debuchy didn't do himself any favors and it is hard not to feel sorry for him as he hasn't looked like the solid player we signed from Newcastle. His long injury spell only gave Bellerin the time to develop into the starter he has become. Debuchy is still a good player and I expect him to play more matches when we need to give Bellerin a rest. I am confident he will get back to his best and continue to challenge Bellerin for the starting right back position. Gibbs was effective on the left both defensively and offensively and it looks like Monreal taking the spot from him has kicked on his drive. Competition for positions is a necessity for a competitive squad and in the defensive positions we have that competition. For once I am not that concerned that our defense will be the reason we lose goals. We have two capable keepers in Cech and Ospina, three if you could Szczesny on loan, 3 starter quality center backs and one young player who looks like a player can go on to do great things.
Our main issue is still the lack of goals. As great as Flamini's goals were, it shows that we don't have that goal scoring catalyst right now. Alexis still isn't the monster game changer he was last season, Ramsey spends more time out of position and shooting the ball out of the arena, Giroud hasn't kicked on and Walcott isn't winning the contest for clinical finisher. We know the goals are there as we are near the top of the league in chances created. Our striking confidence is low and the sooner we correct that behavior the better. We all wanted that twenty goal scoring machine to come in the transfer window but it didn't happen and we may be suffering from the consequences. Welbeck being out injured hasn't helped either. We manage to keep winning, even without the contribution from our main goal scorers and that fortune will only carry us so far. We need the strikers to score, it's as simple as that.
Leicester City is our next match and they have had a decent start to the season. I would like to see Wenger have the squad watch the video of the Stoke match and show them that we have plenty of pace and skill to run riot against the opposition defense. We just need to put the ball into the net after a chance is created. Easier said than done but once again if you look at the stats from last season, our current squad can do it. I would expect Wenger to return to the same XI that faced Chelsea, with the exception of Mertesacker returning for Gabriel and Giroud will start over Walcott. I still back Alexis to score a goal to get his game going and if he keeps getting closer to notching his first goal of the season.
A win on Saturday will be a fine way to keep the good vibes going from the win against Spuds.
Come on you Gunners!