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Things Are Looking Up For Arsenal

Arsenal are beginning to awake from their sleepy start. After the much-talked about 8-2 embarrassment at Old Trafford, the Gunners fought hard to gain two good results. Arsene Wenger has been forced to reconstruct the team.

No club would be ashamed with a draw in front of the “Yellow Wall.” Arsenal, like the two Manchester sides, took a point from their first Champions League group stage match. The Gunners survived an attacking onslaught from the German champions Borussia Dortmund.

On Wednesday, I saw headlines such as “Arsenal Let Lead Slip.” While that is technically true, a more accurate title would say “Arsenal Held on for Dear Life.” Dortmund’s finishing was dreadful, and they easily could have scored three or four goals. Luck, something the Gunners have not had a lot of lately, played a big role in the game.

After the international break, Arsenal seized a chance to get their first win of the Premier League season against Swansea City at home. The victory was narrow (1-0), but it did provide an opportunity for Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta to make their debuts.

Mikel Arteta has blended in with his teammates well. He has not been exceptional, but he is certainly an improvement over Tomas Rosicky. Per Mertesacker, while undoubtedly slow, has the sort of positional sense that Johan Djourou lacks. The German defender should, at the very least, help the Gunners on set pieces.

Arsene Wenger has been tasked with rebuilding this Arsenal squad. For the moment, they are not playing pretty football. Wenger has been forced to forgo his system in the name of results. Based on his fist pump after the Dortmund-dominated 1-1 draw, Wenger is not fretting over the lack of possession and shots.

Arsenal have a chance to race up the table to a more accustomed position. Their next two Premier League opponents (Blackburn and Bolton) have a combined four points. Blackburn fans are quickly turning on Steve Kean, while Bolton are coming off three straight defeats. The real challenge for Wenger will be keeping Arsenal in the top four while he rebuilds the team.

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  1. Lyle

    September 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Stop kidding yourself. Things aren’t looking up for Arsenal. Arsenal will be relegated from the top 4 this year.

    • James

      September 17, 2011 at 1:39 am

      You don’t need to judge Arsenal harshly like that. Mistakes were made and I personally believe Arsenal has learnt the hard way already. Arsenal players, I believe, will not put on those jerseys and allow that pride to slip through their fingers. Arsenal will make it in the top four.

      • Lyle

        September 17, 2011 at 7:01 pm

        Yes, Arsenal, like every other team must be judged by the facts. Right now they’re getting relegated from the top 4 and they’re close to just being flat out relegated. Beaten 4-3 at Blackburn… yep, things are looking up for the Gunners.


  2. R2Dad

    September 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Would settle for a top 6 spot for the new year, assuming the board/Wenger continue to make smart buys that improve the squad. Still not convinced management can routinely pull the trigger on new player transfers.

  3. gargoyle

    September 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Hard to get excited over the Swansea result but as I’ve said before this team will be the reverse of recent Arsenal sides and play it’s best football after the New Year. I don’t think they can snag a top 4 spot as I think Liverpool will actually make a real run at the title.

  4. Todd Parker

    September 15, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    I love how when Arsenal was playing with flair everyone said “they don’t like it up in em’.” I also love how those same people who were complaining about a lack of substance and grit to grind out 1-0 wins or 1-1 draws with valuable points earned in both cases are the first to now claim that we can’t keep the ball. There is certainly truth that we need to find a healthy balance, we need to keep the ball and we need to be able to have a plan B to grind out some games. It would be more productive to try and discern why we can’t keep the ball instead of using it as a blame to the manager and the team. We simply need to survive until January because we have 35 million profit and they WILL CONTINUE to build the squad because they know they have to. Arsenal were not lucky, they have a team right now that has caused Wenger to change his tactics-they are happy with trying to see out games with grit and determination. You should be talking about tactics and how this is part of the rebuilding process. Anyone can claim luck, that analysis provides zero value.

  5. jdoe

    September 15, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Phenoum, said it all already.

  6. Phenoum

    September 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    “Dortmund’s finishing was dreadful, and they easily could have scored three or four goals.”

    I see you quickly forget the two clear chances from Gervinho? If they spurned chances – didnt also we?
    I’d give the defense more credit that simply stating that Dortmund missed chances. Both teams had missed chances and both teams had some great last-ditch interventions. Good game all around and to say Arsenal was somehow “lucky” take a lot of credit away from a well played match.

    • Jack Tomczuk

      September 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      I did not forget the two chances for Gervinho, but you do have to consider that Dortmund had 23 shots (6 on goal) and Arsenal only had 9 shots (2 on goal.) Sagna did make a great goal line clearance, but Kagawa, in particular, thrashed a couple of early chances right over the net.

      Also, I am an Arsenal supporter, but you have to admit we did get a bit of luck during the past week. Graham missed that late chance for Swansea, and Dortmund dominated the match but were unable to score until the wonder goal.

      I am actually applauding the Gunners for grinding out results, which is something they need to do with the current squad. I do hope Wenger (and the board) will spend 35m in January, but I wouldn’t count on it.

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