Posted on Thursday, 29th March 2012 by Dean Roberts
Well, isn’t this refreshing. It seems like an age since we were on a run like this. In part, this is probably down to the two abysmal runs we had earlier in the season. In fact, even when we were in contention for the title last season, I don’t believe we had a run of seven wins in a row. Now obviously there are many reasons for this, a large one being that Robin van Persie has been determined to drag us kicking and screaming into the top four. But lately we have seen other players take the pressure off him.
Theo Walcott seems to have rediscovered his finest form, Thomas Vermaelen is as efficient going forward as ever and we are even beginning to get goals from our midfield, with Tomas Rosicky enjoying arguably his finest form in an Arsenal shirt, or at least since he suffered that long-term injury a few months back.
But what about our infamously fragile defence?
With a reshuffle over the summer, and members of the established defence leaving, or being replaced by others from within the squad, our back-line this season is almost unrecognisable from that of last season, with of course the exception of the ever-dependable Bacary Sagna and perhaps Laurent Koscielny.
So are we actually any better off than we were last season or perhaps even the season before? Well, let’s take a look.
Now I’ll come right out and say this – I do not believe for one second Almunia was bad as fans and pundits made out. I merely think his concentration levels were horrendous. If we were in a game where we were not tested for long periods, when our opponents did wake up and test our defence, there was a good chance Almunia’s concentration levels had dropped and he was not prepared. Think back to the 3-2 against West Brom last year. The Spanish shot-stopper could have prevented at least two of the goals, and saved us an embarrassing defeat. However, since our 1-0 loss to Manchester United last year at Old Trafford, we have been treated by viewing the rise of one of the most promising young goalkeepers in the world.
Szczesny has been nothing short of brilliant for most of his performances as Arsenal’s first choice keeper, and should have the spot tied down for at least the next 10 years. One area he needs to improve on however, is his kicking. He tends to rush his goal-kicks and, as a result, occasionally gives the opposition very simple chances to convert (Zlatan Ibrahimovic somehow contrived to miss one against us at The Emirates a few weeks ago). Bar this though he has been great for us.
A definite improvement from last season.
Not much to comment on here. In Bacary Sagna we have, I believe, the best right-back in the league bar none. Good going forward, great defensively, boasts a high work rate, crosses well and also has professional attitude, simply a great player. One thing we have changed however is the signing of the youngster Carl Jenkinson from Charlton, following the sale of Emmanuel Eboue. Although Eboue was something of a fan favourite, he was quite a poor defender. I’m not going to lie and say Jenkinson is a vast improvement, but he offers around the same in both attack and defence and has time on his side to improve and become a useful member of the squad. I think we’re just as well off as we were in this area.
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Tags: Alex Song, Andre Santos, Arsenal, Bacary Sagna, Carl Jenkinson, Emmanuel Eboue, Johan Djourou, Kieran Gibbs, Laurent Koscielny, Manuel Almunia, Per Mertesacker, Robin Van Persie, Sebastien Squillaci, Theo Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen, Wojciech Szczesny
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