Sunday, 2 September 2012
Outstanding result marked by Bould fingerprints
It is no coincidence that we have not conceded a league goal in three games and that Steve Bould has been working on our defensive game in training, many of us have been calling for better defensive organisation for some time. It was also not just down to coaching, the players selected for the game were all doing their fair share of work in tracking back and defending, this was absolutely vital.
Oxlade-Chamberlain and Podolski started in the wide forward roles and got through a terrific amount of team work. The midfield three of Arteta-Diaby-Cazorla gelled magnificently. Arteta sat and did so much unnoticed but vital water carrying. Diaby put in his best ever performance in an Arsenal shirt, he was everywhere, gliding past men as if he had never had an injury in his life. Cazorla has given us a new dimension with his crafty movement and sixth sense for a pass.
Liverpool couldn't really open us up, they had a reasonable amount of the ball but couldn't create much clear cut. This Arsenal side was unrecognisable from last season's without the ball, we were organised and positioned in military fashion. There was less diving in, there was a sensible knowledge of when to press and when not to. We had men back in numbers when we needed, we played with discipline and responsibility.
The goals were nicely taken, even if the second was a bad error from Reina. The first saw Cazorla delightfully played in Podolski, who showed his quality with a quick first touch and unstoppable low finish. Giroud missed a cracking chance just after to make it 2-0 just before the break, Diaby slipped him in but he sliced his left footed shot side. Cazorla's goal earlyish in the second half gave us breathing space and we held out pretty comfortably after that. Howard Webb stood firm when Per won the ball cleanly in the box and later when Suarez dived, otherwise the ref wasn't great and he wasn't awful, somewhere in between.
That's enough rambling from me. A great performance that we should all enjoy, particularly the remarkable display of the injury plagued Abou Diaby, he look utterly imperious today, if, and it's a big if, he can stay fit then he can definitely be one of the best midfielders around. I shall keep my mouth shut before I tempt fate any more It was also great to see a real solidity in our performance, we were tough and stubborn, we held on to our lead at the toughest of locations with relative ease. A truly great day to be a Gooner.