By Brian Perceful
I'd be wrong to say that I wasn't feeling a bit of deja vu in the second half of our tilt with Sunderland. How many times have a seen a dominant Arsenal side that doesn't take their chances only to be undone by a sketchy call by the ref or some bit of piss poor defending? Too many to count right? Here I was taking in the second half and like a gift horse an Adam Johnson dive was blessed with a penalty. I've got no defense for Kos though as the diving wanker's run really presented no threat and he was heading away from goal. Can't someone shake our defenders and explain to them the principle that every time you go to ground in the box and you're sporting an Arsenal crest on your jersey you have a 99.999999% chance of giving up a penalty? Okay maybe I'm being a bit over dramatic. 99.5% is the actual probability. Nevertheless Gardner swipes all of our momentum in another dubious Martin Atkinson moment. Would the wastefulness of the first half come back to haunt us as it has so many times recently?
The first half was classic Arsenal. Possession was fully in our favor. All of the chances seem to have gone our way. Unfortunately we didn't take them like we should. Ozil's debut was nothing short of impressive. He seamlessly fits into our attack and we came out on the front foot. His first touch on the opening goal was delicious. Always a player with his head up (a trait a few of our youngsters will do well to pick up) he quickly spotted the run of Giroud and like a player in fine form he finished to the near post. Hopefully this is the first of many such link-ups. The rest of the first half was marked by the wastefulness of Walcott. It seemed, at times, he was genuinely shocked to get the ball in such great positions that he didn't know what to do with it. Defensively, I thought we were pretty solid. Sagna put in another good shift covering for Mertesacker. Halftime whistle blew with us holding what should have been at least 3-nil lead to only the one goal.
Altidore started to assert himself after the match resumed and we seemed a bit leggy. Gibbs kept letting Johnson do his best 'Ronaldo' impression and terrorize him on the wing. A bit of dodgy clearing later and Johnson works his magic and gets things evened up. Here we go again. Unlike the response we've seen over the past couple of seasons this team seemed to bow up and play on. Ramsey's volley on the go-ahead goal was world class. He is playing like a man possessed, like he has two seasons of haters and doubters to prove wrong. Hey, I'm all for motivation so play up son! Great movement down the wing and there was Rambo screaming for the ball. If Walcott could only find some of Ramsey's confidence we will be alright. Sagna got pimped by Altidore, and fair play to him, that goal should have counted. Lo and behold our favorite Martin Atkinson muffed a call in favor of the Arsenal. Say what you will but that's some Atkinson karma coming back around our way. We are owed. The interplay on the third goal was classic Arsenal. How good has Giroud been at rotating that pass in this season? For all the goals he has scored this season this part of his game is overlooked and integral to what we do. Of course the delicate pass falls to the greatest Welsh footballer on the planet and his finish was true. 3-1 to the Arsenal!
We now turn to a midweek trip to the southeast of France to meet Marseilles. We head there with a lot of injury concern. Not a single Gooner took a look at our bench today and drew inspiration. We need some players to get healthy and on the pronto. Word is out that Cazorla is joining Rosicky in the dreaded 3 week hiatus. This is a tie where depth is of the essence and we just don't have a lot right now. Lucky for us the starting XI we trot out have quite a bit of experience on the road in Europe. Giroud tweeted that his knee is fine so hopefully he's up for it. How about the return of Flamini? I couldn't be the only one who was encouraged by his leadership on the pitch today. I haven't seen a player being that vocal for us since Cesc was here. His organization and willingness to get stuck in has benefited us greatly. After the Villa debacle on opening day we've taken max points. That's all we could ask. Reinforcements have arrived and their impact has been instant and instrumental. As I type this we sit top of the table. All is right in the world. Come on you Gunners!
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