Monday night proved to be a challenge for the Gunners. Despite a relatively strong showing, the full three points evaded Wenger’s boys. Aaron Ramsey nearly made it onto the score sheet, but the goal was wrongly ruled offside. I believe that instances like this prove that instant-replay technology should be extended to include such calls in order to ensure the fairest results from games.
Petr Cech proved to be a strong goalkeeper in net, finally silencing the critics, who had called for his head after the first two games of the season. A couple of fingertips coming in at the right time saved a sure goal from Phillipe Coutinho, who hit the woodwork twice in the first half. Simon Mignolet also had a strong game between the sticks, showing along with Petr that goalkeepers can be the most important position out of the eleven.
It was an interesting proposition, starting Gabriel and Calum Chambers in the centre of the defence. The value of Laurent Koscielny can’t be underestimated, as the man from Lorient has developed into a menacing, yet smart centre back. Games like this become even tougher when you are missing your strongest defensive player. Per Mertesacker was also out of the lineup due to illness. This is rather interesting to me, as it seems that Per has missed several games out sick over the past few seasons. Despite these key losses, Arsenal held down the back end of the park, especially going into the second half. Gabriel has a similar skill-set to Koscielny, and his pace is an unteachable, yet valuable trait for a central defender. Chambers is a solid player both in the centre and on the right flank; it is incredible that we now have four serviceable right-backs under our clubs’ ownership (Bellerin, Debuchy, Chambers, Jenkinson).
Aaron Ramsey is one fine footballer. However, is it good for the team that a player like him is playing on the right wing? Ramsey lacks the pace necessary to slice open back lines, and his greatest assets are his engine and instincts in the middle in the park. With a loaded midfield, it is likely that Aaron or Francis Coquelin will have to move to the bench to get Chamberlain or Walcott on the right wing. Although this isn’t an ideal solution, we need to get a more penetrative player in Ramsey’s position who can dribble and find space.
All in all, this was a decent effort from the Gunners, and the same could be said for Liverpool FC. However, it would appear that either club’s aspirations for title glory is probably unrealistic at this point. It is becoming increasingly clear that Arsenal could definitely use some new additions to the benefit of the team. Can a new striker or attacking addition prove to be the cutting edge? Would a defensive midfielder to collaborate with Coquelin make the defence more formidable? I guess we will have to wait a few weeks to find the answers to these questions.