The fact that we have such a clear first eleven is a good thing, I know it wasn't quite the first XI yesterday with Sagna's suspension and Fabianski's injury, although I do hope the former returns, the latter is not as good as Szczesny in my book and should remain firmly rooted to the bench. The balance in the current side looks right, this is partly from the physical presence of Djourou, the bite of Jack Wilshere and the width provided by Theo Walcott. Szczesny looks a dominant force in goal, he has the aura of a no1, he believes in himself, even if he makes the odd error it doesn't seem to rattle him and this seems to be passed on to the whole side defensively.
Injuries prevailing we have a chance. If Arsene can keep Mr Szczesny in goal, bring in a centre back for cover, realise that Denilson is deeply average and resurrect a certain Russian's confidence then there is hope. The way Wilshere has come in has been quite remarkable, he looks part of the furniture and he hasn't even played a full season in our first team, Samir Nasri has developed to a new level, as had Theo Walcott in my opinion, the return of RVP has been a catalyst for it all coming together. Here are my player ratings from yesterday:
Szczesny 7: The odd shakey moment but generally assured, one top save in first half.
Eboue 6: Decent, slightly suspect defensively but good going forward.
Djourou 6: Not his best game, a couple of errors which could have cost goals.
Koscielny 7: Solid, unspectacularly effective.
Clichy 6.5: Decent, some poor crossing though.
Song 7: Solid as a rock.
Wilshere 8: Great work rate and overall contribution.
Cesc 7: Far better game than in midweek.
Theo 8: Incisive and deadly.
RVP 8: Incisive and equally deadly, great finish for the first goal.
Nasri 7: Dangerous and very close to getting on the score sheet.
The big problem now comes with the flurry of fixtures that we face, we have potentially 12 games before the end of February. The tricky thing will be rotating the squad in such a way that results are not compromised, and as we have seen against Wigan, Leeds and Ipswich, this is far from easy.
The big question is who should Arsene bring in. A centre back is pretty much essential given Vermaelen's woes and Squillaci's hamstring. I just wonder whether another combative midfielder would be useful, someone who could come in for Wilshere or Song and do a job. Denilson just doesn't do it for me in this regard. What do you all think?