1. The defence is finally starting to show signs of improvement
Mertesacker himself said that after the Tottenham debacle the defence sat down and watched the video of their abysmal defending, and this has been largely responsible for the improved displays against both Bayern Munich and now Swansea. I wouldn’t have dreamed of winning both of these games, let alone scoring 4 and keeping two clean sheets. Against Swansea the defence were visibly much more organised, very much like in Munich and a stark contrast to the horror show at the Shite Hart Lane. Apart from a chance Michu had in the first half, Swansea were surprisingly quiet during the game. This is a testament to the defence, particularly Koscielny and Mertesacker who are reading the game well and seem to be a much better defensive pairing than any that involves Vermaelen at the moment. It’ll be hard for our captain to get back into the team. Our fullbacks were also worthy of a mention. Jenkinson was excellent, ran up and down the pitch like a workhorse and kept Dyer anonymous. Monreal was solid too and got his first goal for the club, a wonderful moment.
2. Cazorla is key for our Champions League aspirations
Make no mistake, Cazorla was our main man again against Swansea, he’s had a fantastic debut season. Kept the ball moving in midfield, played with a purpose, tried to make things happen. It was his brilliant run that was ultimately responsible for Monreal bundling the ball home evenutally. I really like the way he is so versatile. He is ambidexertous, can dribble, and also provide a killer pass when required. With Wilshere seemingly on an injury curse, we need our Spanish maestro to keep it up and carry our midfield for the rest of the season if we are to play Champions League football next season.
3. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho need to be used more often
I’m glad the manager started the Ox. He had two wonderful chances in the first half, and hit the crossbar on each occasion. The thing is, our starting XI at the moment can sometimes get a little predictable with all the passing and all, and it can be hard for us to get in behind the defence. A midfield and attack of Diaby, Cazorla, Arteta with Walcott, Giroud and Podolski up front, can sometimes lack that x-factor, especially if Cazorla is marked tightly or Walcott doesn’t get any room to get in behind the defence. The Ox is a dribbler, his game plan is simple, to get past defenders with his trickery. While passing the ball around is great, it can take time to find that killer ball, and sometimes a moment or two of brlllance can do the job more easily. Gervinho is similar in this regard, but his finishing always tends to let him down. When he was through on goal for the second I did not expect him to score at all, and I only believed it when the net actually bulged. With a bit of improvement here and there I think both these players can be key players for us in the near future, particularly off the bench if we are struggling to find an opening in the opposition defence.
4. The defence must not get complacent
The last time we were celebrating the defence being so good was at the start of the season, where we hadn’t conceded a goal for the opening three premier league games. We were very optimistic, and then we saw what happened. The season overall has been a disappointment, but the job isn’t done yet and Champions League football is an absolute must. The defence must remain as consistent as this until May, and Shite Hart Lane horror shows are inexcusable. Sp*rs have a tough fixture list and they will drop points. Thanks to Fulham, they’ve already dropped some and if we win our game in hand the gap will be a solitary point. A seven point lead a mere 3 weeks ago has effectively become 1 point, and the annual Sp*rs collapse has begun in earnest. We however, must not get complancent. As the old saying goes, there are “no easy games”, but I’m confident if the defence can continue the way they are now, we will be playing Champions League football next season.
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