Monday, 19 November 2012

Arsenal's Fortunes Take An Upward Turn

The weekend couldn't have gone too much better for Arsenal. They won their Premier League game 5-2 at home to local rivals Spurs for the second season in a row. To make things even better for them most of the teams they currently have to view as rivals dropped points.

Everton were unexpectedly beaten away to Reading and are only one point ahead of Arsenal despite playing so well so far this season. Fulham lost 3-1 at home to Sunderland after they had to play for an hour with only 10 men. West Brom did manage to win though, but their victory was over a Chelsea team who have only taken two points in their last four games.

It means Arsenal are still within touching distance of third place and it's still a realistic possibility this season. The top two may be a little further ahead of Chelsea but they showed they are far from invincible either. United's 1-0 defeat away to Norwich was a real boost for Arsenal and every other team in the league.

City may have won 5-0 at home to Villa but they have suffered after Champions League games this season. They have to play against Real Madrid this week and hopefully their confidence will take another dent in that game. There may just be a little bit of life left in the Premier League title race.

The manner of the Arsenal victory was yet again one to revel in for Arsenal fans. After Spurs took an early lead and looked to be playing well it was looking ominous for Arsenal. Thankfully from Arsenal's perspective Emmanuel Adebayor got himself sent off and Arsenal punished their opponents when they were down to 10 men.

There's no way of knowing how the game would have ended up without the sending off but that doesn't matter. He deserved to be sent off and Arsenal could only play what was in front of them. They may have been a little nervous at times in the second half but it was Arsenal who missed more gilt edged chances than Spurs.

It's how Arsenal can use that victory to help them push on and find some consistency that will be important for them. Their defensive display was still far from impressive but they showed some real flair going forward. When Spurs left space at the back Arsenal were able to exploit it to make chances.

Santi Cazorla was back to his very best and it was noticeable how often he pulled into a wide right role with Spurs suffering on that side. Good players know where to go to find space and have an influence on the game and he certainly did that. Hopefully the rigours of the Premier League will not take too much of a toll on him and he can continue in that vein.

In the last couple of weeks Arsenal have eventually started to find some joy from crosses. The quality of the balls into the box seems to have improved and Olivier Giroud is getting the chance to show how good he is in the air. With a player the height of Per Mertesacker in the team Arsenal should still have a better return from set pieces and corners though.

With no more international football until next year things should get pretty hectic from here on in. There's games against the teams in and around Arsenal in the table to come up and they're very important games. Qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League had to be earned too and that's a real necessity.

There's also the matter of a Capital One Cup quarter final away to Bradford City. If that hurdle can be overcome I can only assume that a two-legged semi final will be treated more seriously than the earlier rounds of the competition. The prospect of reaching the final and possibly winning a trophy cannot be ignored even if it is the fifth of the club's five targets for the season.

The defeat to Birmingham in the final a couple of seasons ago was a bitter pill to swallow and it would be nice to make amends for it. I'm not trying to jump the gun as there is a lot of football to be played first, but any sort of trophy could be the making of the team.

There are certainly plenty of problems and issues to sort out first, but things always look a lot brighter after a victory over Spurs.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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