Arsenal 3 – 1 Brentford
Progress. There is no one measure but a 2 – 0 half-time lead is a pretty good start. Brentford made the second half a little nervier than it should have been but so did our finishing and Mike Dean or as he was christened, Mike Bloody Dean. His baptism is well remembered by the priest for the baby Mike Bloody Dean’s dismissal of Satan during the rites with a theatrical wave of both arms.
He dismissed VAR similarly last night. A clear penalty but his ego prevented him from reviewing the action while the VAR clearly decided it wasn’t worth fighting a battle Mike Bloody Dean’s ego was sure to win.
Away from the irritation of a clear penalty being denied for a foul of Alex Iwobi, it was a pleasing evening’s work which began extremely badly for Bernd Leno. Letting the ball skid under his boot in the opening moments hardly improved his chances of usurping Petr Cech. Naturally, the back pass came from Shkodran Mustafi. Of course it did; it had to. The German centre-back must think his luck is changing when the scoreboard didn’t flash up the letters “o.g.” after his name.
Both of which are minor points and detract from the overall performance. Danny Welbeck grabbed two, both of which possessed an admirable beauty. The first, a header where Welbeck found space in the box and guided the ball into the net. Perfectly executed and refreshingly in the first five minutes. A clean sheet at the weekend, the early goal last night; the Emery Revolution will be televised. Or shown on a jerky feed.
Welbeck’s second resulted from a well-crafted counter-attack; a typical ‘Arsenal’ goal in the speed and execution. The Emery Revolution embraces all. 2 – 0 at half-time and completely in command.
You Can’t Judge A Defence By Its Howlers
Naturally, we slackened off in the second half or appeared to. The reality is Brentford upped their game; we just pootled along at the same level.
Even more typically Arsenal, the Brentford goal came after a period where we dominated. Alan Judge scored his first goal in three years. Of course he did; we’re Arsenal and friendly like that. All of our own making as well. Canos thankfully skied a presentable chance shortly after and the ignominy of a penalties defeat remains resolutely Manchester United’s.
Alexandre Lacazette’s goal in the dying embers of the match put a fairer reflection of the match on the scoreline. Another well-taken goal as he shrugged off two defenders and Aaron Ramsey to lash the ball home.
There was plenty to be pleased with for Unai Emery last night. Emile Smith-Rowe’s performance lived up to the hype as he was close to fearless in midfield while Mkhitaryan didn’t show any sign of the injury which dogged him over the past week.
However, the indisputable Man of the Match was Alex Iwobi. Darting, energetic, purposeful; the Nigeria international gave the performance we need to see on a consistent basis. Which he looks capable of achieving under Emery. Wenger saw the potential in the player, Emery the intensity to realise it.
Emery unsurprisingly felt the positivity of the result and performance:
I think today is a good match, a good 90 minutes to continue working on our tactical things and our individual things also for taking responsibility for the players, for taking confidence in the players for the 90 minutesUnai Emery on last night’s win
There’s not much to argue with overall. Concentration remains an issue with lapses proving costly. It’s something the coaches will struggle to resolve; the answer comes from within the players.
Pass the Spoon
It’s tempting to think all is rosy in the garden. Perhaps it is and that’s why someone felt the need to drop a load of manure and stink the place out. Reports claim talks with Aaron Ramsey over a new contract broke down and this close to January, an exit seems inevitable.
The media talk of bids from Chelsea or Manchester United but it’s hard to see either appealing to the Welshman. Competition for places at Chelsea is intense but they do play a style which is more suited to Ramsey’s natural game.
As for United, who on earth would sign for the dishevelled crumpled heap Mourinho is turning the club into? It’s amusing for us to watch him implode with his skin pallor turning him into a Gerry Anderson baddie.
Reports claim we haven’t improved our offer with the driver being a push to reduce the wage bill. That might explain why, for example, Welbeck who would be a good squad player isn’t showing any public sign of being hurried into signing a new deal.
It’s a sea-change in attitude from the ‘Ramsey is the player I’m building the future around’ stories of the summer. Whether there is any truth in these tales remains to be seen.
But never forget that a garden grows better once manure has been used