AFter the disappointment of the Tube strike on Boxing Day, we had to face West Ham on Wednesday night. It was not so much the opponent as much as the scheduling that worried me. That we’d come from two very disappointing losses to City and Chelsea had me very concerned for this one, but I need not be worried. The key however, as always, is consistency.
You persisted with Giroud down the centre for this one, and Walcott on the right. Its often difficult to know which striker is the best to start with as both Walcott and Giroud are great strikers who complement one another. Giroud had a fabulous game against West Ham and Walcott was very good in his role down the right. I think the most important thing on the team sheet for the game was to see Ramsey starting down the middle with Cazorla and Wilshere. Ramsey is only ever good playing down the centre and it was no coincidence that he had one of his better games against West Ham. Its better to not play Ramsey at all rather than wasting him on the wing. With Arteta’s injury the Welshman has now got an opportunity. He had a 95% pass completion rate passing was fantastic but he was also defensively sound, illustrated by the goal line clearance off Carlton Cole. Great performance.
The plaudits however must go to Lukas Podolski, who led our second half explosion. It was 1-1 at the break and you felt the game could go either way, but as it has been with our previous two games we made that second half comeback, but only this time, with all due respect, it was against a lesser team, and we were able to capitalise. Podolski had a hand in nearly all the goals, with three assists and also scoring a screamer himself. He said after the game that he doesn’t mind playing out on the left I believe that in this team that is his best position. That left foot of his is so useful, and this game was a testament to that. The goal was was brilliant strike while the assists were carefully orchestrated. For each contribution he was in the right spot. It was finally good to see another player other than Jack Wilshere stand up and take responsibility. Wilshere by the way did wear the captain’s armband and it was a great sight. He looked like someone who really aspires to the role. To be given the role at such a young age shows the commitment of the man and the manager’s faith. Nothing against Vermaelen, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Wilshere as captain, something that may help Vermaelen focus. Wilshere naturally appears as a leader on the pitch anyway despite his age, and I don’t think it’d affect his game much. Fabregas received the captaincy at a young age and reveled in the role and I think it would do the same for Wilshere if he were ever to receive it on a permanent basis.
My only concern now is complacency. Its been the ongoing theme of the season. When you think about Norwich and Bradford it just drives you insane. We have Brighton away in the FA Cup this Saturday and it would be nice if we could avoid another embarrassing moment this season. It is beyond a joke. I just want to see us progress easily so we can focus on clawing back to fourth place, something we are 4 points behind on.
If we are to entertain any thoughts of beating Bayern Munich too we must not wait until the second half to come to life, we must do it in the very first second. We must not get too complacent either against the lesser teams like Brighton.
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