Santi Class-orla: Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa

All class

It was a torrid week, a week that ensured that barring a miracle, there will be no silverware at the Emirates stadium for yet another season. There was still a job left to do however and a top four spot had to be secured before the season was out to save us from complete embarrassment. This rescue mission started with a visit from Aston Villa and it was all class from our Spanish maestro “Class-orla”.

This wasn’t our most convincing win by any means, but there was reason to be positive. It was that kind of win we see a lot of the big guns produce. What am I talking about? The kind of win where you don’t play so well, but get the result thanks to a great individual performance. Cazorla did well to get us out of jail.

This was in contrast to the FA Cup. The thing that frustrated me the most about the Blackburn game was the fact that our midfield was so stagnant and very one dimensional. Rosicky and Diaby didn’t provide much spark in their passing. When they did and found our wingers they refused to run into the box and line up with Giroud to meet the crosses (not that the deliveries were that great, but at least give yourself a chance with more bodies in the box).

Cazorla’s movement impressed me the most against Aston Villa. He’d be great on and off the ball. As soon as he distributed a ball, he was halfway in making a run into the box, or making himself available in another direction. His persistence helped him score the first, when he refused to let Aston Villa have their way in defence. For the second he linked up with fellow Malaga recruit Monreal, getting into the empty space and exploiting Villa’s vulnerability as we got in behind their defence.

It is important for our midfield to be good both on and off the ball, when midfielders are too static, their passing will suffer and their lack of running will cause problems with lack of options in the box, especially given the formation we play. This is why someone like Wilshere is such a complete player and has been our most consistent player this season. I think the likes of Diaby and Rosicky need to work on this sort of thing. When you think about someone like a Gervinho he is actually excellent in his passing and movement but his finishing is worse than that of my grandma’s, that’s why he, quite rightly, is crucified.

All class from our Spanish maestro though couldn’t have got the win without him. The game wasn’t perfect however and while Cazorla and Wilshere’s passing was sound, there was a lot of the ball being given away by the rest of the team. Our possession game is based on keeping the ball and creating chances. If possession is interrupted we are left very vulnerable at the back and sucker punch counter attacks can ensue. This is what happened for the goal. The worrying thing was it wasn’t the first counter attack of the game. Szczesny really should do better and save that. He really hasn’t been great this season compared to previous seasons and I think a new goalkeeper is needed this summer, maybe not to replace him, but to provide him with some decent competition. I still believe in the kid but the mistakes have got to stop.

We have a decent rest before the North London derby. Ordinarily I wouldn’t fancy our chances given our form, but it’s the derby, we always produce our best. There will definitely be goals in this one. I think I summarised well above that if our midfield can keep the ball, have good passing and movement we will create chances and score and avoid counter attacks. We need to avoid these counter attacks like we had against Villa, because that other North London team has a certain Gareth “the ape” Bale, who will rip into us. If we keep him quiet I’m confident we can beat Sp*rs. ‘Til next time.

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