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Arsenal 4 Norwich 1: Bums are once again flying off seats


HOW fitting that on the day arguably the first and still finest incarnation of the classic Arsene Wenger attacking midfielder was reintroduced to the fans at half-time, we put on a show such as this. Four goals, all scored from midfield, though of course it should be noted that since Pires’ day the midfield has become a player heavier, the forwards one lighter. Talking of Pires, it should be said he’s looking mighty fine for 39.

What really marked yesterday out, however, was the quality. People are once again being treated to moments that get them flying out of their seats and that are original. Goals that are dissimilar to any we’ve seen before or in the case of Ramsey’s reminiscent of Henry’s waltz against Liverpool on Good Friday 2004, which is high praise indeed. There was a time, around a year ago, when a little bit of the fun had gone from watching Arsenal. That ain’t the case now.

The irony was that yesterday’s opener was lost on much of the ground to the extent that if you see the shot of the fans celebrating you’ll see them rise to their feet not in unbounded joy but almost in slow motion. It was only on closer inspection that the magnificence of the moment was understood. It is a real goal of the season contender.

What happened next will basically be boiled down by many very simply to Flamini getting injured, us losing our shape and Norwich getting a good foot in the game. I think that with all due respect to the excellent Flamini, that is probably ignoring the fact that against Sunderland, Swansea to an extent, Stoke and West Brom of late, a period where tempo wise we’ve struggled has been fairly common.

What this will mean against tougher opposition it is too early to say. It is also true that not even the Invincibles dominated every game for 90 minutes and that the ability to snaffle a goal out of nothing is a great one that may well serve us very well.

The second yesterday was a case in point. What needs saying about both it and the opener was Olivier Giroud’s magnificent and subtle contributions to both. A few weeks back I lamented the fact that our lead (only) striker was hardly hewn from the same fine marble as some of his recent predecessors. It is fair to say some of his recent play is making a real mug of me. But his contribution actually goes far beyond the flicks and delicate cross for Ozil to head home. He’s just playing the lone striker role to absolute perfection. You only need to look at some of the illustrious players who could never do it to know it isn’t an easy role. He’s nailed it.

Norwich scored, deservedly and then the slightly interesting decision was taken to reintroduce Bendtner to the home fans with nerves fraying over a fragile lead. But in spite of a few ironic cheers for his first touch (seriously, what is the point?), the vast majority were behind him and when he had a shooting chance a decent connection with the ball made up for the fact that actually his shot was at the keeper’s near post rather than his far and at a perfect height too.

Then Ramsey did his brilliant thing. I had pondered a few weeks ago whether some of his goalscoring prowess could be put down to him simply being given licence to spend more time further up the pitch and inevitably hoovering up a few of the goals that had he not been there, someone else probably would have scored. But you can’t say that has been the case with goals such as the one at Sunderland and most obviously yesterday’s.

That Henry goal I mentioned earlier was at 2-2 and dug us out of a hole. The stakes were not as high yesterday but there was a hole and Ramsey got us right out of it.

I’ll try and look at some point at what the major changes have been this season (I guess my answers may be fairly obvious) and how strong or weak we are. But this was a really fun day’s football and people are having fun again.

Reckon we’ve got a chance of doing something? Check out the odds on

21 Responses to “Arsenal 4 Norwich 1: Bums are once again flying off seats”

  1. Klaus says:

    Nice read, looking at both sides of our game, giving credit (Giroud) where credit is due. Considering that most attacks from Norwich came in on our left side, I think Gibbs as well has very much improved and gosh, he’s fast. The goals, no doubt, worldclass.

  2. jeffers says:

    We’ve got a midfield again. Flamini gives a real defensive option, he actually cares about defending and organising. It was noticable that Norwich had acres more space when he was off. Don’t underestimate Rosiky either. I think he’s been massive in this run. He keeps the ball moving quickly and with real purpose, which puts more pressure on the opposition than our midfielders who are more inclined towards the constant sideways pass.

  3. Shabbier says:

    My favourite moment of the game was when Ramsey took on 4 players on the left wing made a mug out them.

    So much confidence.

  4. Wallace says:

    a better back-up is needed but a team with a midfield as multi-talented as ours could win the league with Giroud up top. if he stays fit i can see him scoring between 18-25 goals and setting up almost as many.

    also, we’re getting away with it but i don’t like the way we’ve started playing central midfielders in wide areas. i know we have 3 wide men out but i’m disappointed Gnabry is being overlooked. it’s partly to accommodate Arteta, who is a great player, but i think his re-introduction has upset the team’s balance.

  5. PD says:

    Wallace, Arteta is a good player. Great ? Nah. He’s going to have to spend a lot of time on the bench if we’re serious about contending. Sad for him, but fantastic for us given our options.
    (I was talking to a mate last night & we were ruminating on what our match-day 18 would be with everyone fit. And Rosicky didn’t make it. That’s frightening.)
    I agree re: Gnabry at the minute. I can’t wait to see Theo back I have to say to see how he fits in with Ozil/Santi…

    Real shame the Flam didn’t get his yellow yesterday. Assuming he’s passed fit for Tuesday it’s got be Flam v Dortmund, Arteta v Palace & Chelsea in League Cup then Flam back in for Pool/Man Utd.

    As for Jack’s goal…..totally agree. Looked good on first viewing but gets better & better each time…..simply wonderful.

  6. Wallace says:

    @PD – i hope you’re right re Arteta. i do worry Wenger sees him as a mainstay, and that we’ll have to get used to seeing Jack & Ramsey playing wide.

    i’m loving Ramsey and this rich vein of form he’s in right now, but i hope he keeps the flashier stuff to a minimum or someone’s gonna be getting frustrated and taking a whack.

  7. gee says:

    hi goodplaya.

    just want to give credit to nice write up about yesterday’s match. ive been s bit critical of your articles of late but have to give praise when its due so respects.

  8. onafuwa says:

    What flew under d radar 4 much vaunted addition to d squad,is d quality of d ones we do have.i think we are veering away from a side repleted with average bums,to a squad of superclass!……………..honestly I did’nt get to watch d invincible’s midfield,but I dare say d present crop are arguably one of d best midfield we ever had.they are made of any striker’s wet dream.d lil’ boy inside rvpounds must b crying allover again ‘cos of d paucity of talents in manu’s midfield n d plethora of class in ours………..its sure fashionable to b a gunner now,but u know what?even when it was’nt fashionable,we were still proud to b GUNNERS

  9. Efe says:

    Great review touching on the right points….@wallace and pd I think Arteta will have to make way at some stage when Walcott/Ox/Podolski return because I think Flamini is a permanent fixture for this team except we get a Bender/DMF and Ramsey is proving to be the complete midfield enigma and he’s also enjoying a rich vein of form. Walcott is a definite starter and maybe our only line hugging winger and we need the width against more compact teams. The €50m man is definitely not going to be left on the bench so I guess Arteta/Wilshere will make do as subs for Flamini/Ramsey. Santi/Podolski will occupy the left wing and we have geniune options on the bench and real quality in the starting 11. @onafuwa #GBAM…you can’t be more spot on!!!

  10. Elvis says:

    Nice write up.

    That first goal is the reason why the crowd still sing ‘one Arsene Wenger.’

    He’s had a barren few years due to the financial discipline of building the stadium, serious injury to key players (Eduardo, Ramsey, Diaby, van Persie) and greedy players running off for more money instead of reciprocating the loyalty he showed to them (Cole, Adebayor, Nasri, van Persie).

    But with the stadium finances no longer a straightjacket and a settled squad on long term contracts, he’s back to his best. No wonder bums are jumping up off their seats again.

    The record of the last 21 games is looking like the sort of thing we have not experienced since 2004. And now with a breathtaking style of football to grace the impressive results. WWWWWDWDWWWLWWWWWWWDW.

  11. skillz says:

    Well, well the last 10mins of that Norwich game was sheer eye candy…even Bendtner threatned to get in on the act…lovely stuff..My freind PD, the agitator-in-chief of a DM for eons on this forum would not have liked what he saw when Flamini exited the game.. ‘cos all of a sudden we reverted back to the ”Bad Arsenal” of last season. Timid and Vulnerable..Norwich sensed this and really tried to capitalize but alas the gulf in quality was telling…great going forward we are, but Arteta showed that in the absence of Flamini, at best he can only be a deep lying ochestrator of play from defence to attack.. Not a DM!

  12. Christricted says:

    Great blog, great win, great team!

    But can we have a decent backup at right back for Sagna while jenko goes out on loan?

  13. Rsaltlove says:

    Am a proud gunner for life. I believe a lot of other EPL clubs are not taking us seriously for now and that is good. Our boys are good at what they do, and you can be guaranteed and improve play with one already a success, also bet you me with bigger teams we will soon be getting penalty from the type of 1st goal as they may not like the tiki taka style that will embarrass them and would like to hack down our men.

  14. slc gunner says:

    i was watching on tv and agree re the response to the Wilshere goal. I’m not sure that people could fathom what they had just seen. I actually thought that there was a lucky deflection initially. About a minute after the goal was scored, there must have been a replay of the goal in the stadium because i heard this collective gasp of astonishment.
    Great to have some good times back. Of course there is a long way to go and this little spell of 7 games is much tougher than the previous 7 between international breaks.
    It was a game of 3 thirds rather than 2 halves. We had that wobble in the middle third. Flamini was definitely missed, although I think it is a little unfair to blame the drop-off entirely on one player’s absence. Shape-wise, you need a Flamini with Ramsey as Ramsey will attack more than Arteta. The decision to leave Arteta out will be difficult given that he’s the captain at the moment. It was the same with Vermaelen last year. Good problems to have though.

  15. David says:

    Well written, Goodplaya.

    Just would like to point out that although I don’t see many people mentioning it, I thought our fullbacks did very good job yesterday.

    They give us the much needed protection as our attacking midfielders went on their free roaming mode. None of our attacking midfielders were real winger. So often we find all of them busy interchanging passes in the middle that the FBs needed to remain focused all the time.

    Can’t be happier that Sagna is fit and regaining his defensive form.
    And Gibbs? Our best LB in years for me.

  16. RambÖz says:

    Can we please have an extended contract for Sagna? It scares me to think that he might leave in the summer. He’s been back to his best this season. Still miles ahead of Jenko and crucial role to play in the upcoming big fixtures. Bring on Dortmund!! COYG!!!

  17. Volks says:

    Very good article goodplaya. Spot on.

    First, I think Giroud is good enough for The Arsenal. I don’t think there’s any striker in the league who is “humble” enough to play as he did. *reference to Wilshere’s goal* And for those propagating for an out-and-out striker, I believe we’ve got that being covered by one of our own, One Aaron Ramsey.

    Second, I think Wenger has to lower Arteta’s stand in the team. Flamini has shown us what a real DM looks like. I don’t need to say about yesterday’s defensive displays after Flamini left.(Oops. I just did) For a more effective team display, I think we have to disappoint yet another captaincy armband holder.

  18. Rio Bill$ says:

    Saturday’s game gives credence to the fact that Arsene is Arsenal. Arsene is a great coach and a genius. Everyone seems to be full of praise for Ramsey and Wenger,yet we all remember how many people wanted Wenger out last season(cos we didn’t win a trophy),and Ramsey out(cos he was having a bad time). What would have happened if we had offloaded Ramsey,only to see him rediscover this type of form elsewhere? It would have been painful to take. This Ramsey playing this season would walk into any top team in Europe at the moment. As a matter of fact,I think He’s the most in-form mid-fielder in Europe at the moment.Wenger’s decision to take all the criticisms for Ramsey has finally paid off. Arsene is in a class of his own;not many teams can boast of a coach who is this ready to stick behind his players during tough times. I’d never criticise him cos I think “Wenger knows best”.

  19. PD says:

    Or alternatively, what would have happened if Arsene had indeed known best & replaced Flamini when he left in 2008. Would the last 5 seasons not clearly have been much, much better ?? As always, things are never as black & white as the extremists at both ends of the Wenger spectrum would like to make out….
    Let’s just enjoy it & cut the gloating & ‘told you so’ until the team have actually done something that counts. 8 games into the season is nothing.

    By the way can anyone clarify the situation with Flamini’s inevitable ban after 5 yellows…I can’t keep up with the FA’s ludicrous disciplinary system. If Flamini gets yellow v Palace, does the ban start immediately & take in the Chelsea league cup game ?? Or will he miss Liverpool ??

  20. slc gunner says:

    @PD: as I understand it, if he gets a yellow v Palace, he would miss the Chelsea game. I’m not one for deliberate yellows though. If he misses Liverpool, sobeit really. Yes, we’ll miss him and he is clearly the better option in the position. That said, I would play Flamini against Palace and Arteta against Chelsea – as I think the better option should play in the league game.
    Later in the season, I can’t see him not missing 2 more games when he reaches the 10 game mark, and the way he’s going, a 3-game suspension after 15 yellows is not out of the question. At that stage, we won’t really have that much choice in the games that he misses.

  21. Ed says:

    Nice job giving Ollie his due. His steady improvement in every facet of his game (especially his first touch) has been really eye catching. His hold up play is nothing short of superb… how many players can do the job he does? Okay, he cant run in behind or probably wont make goals out of nothing, but he is a key outlet for us and is involved in all the buildup from back to front. We still could use more of a crazy goal scoring type that can create something from nothing and likes to run in behind (aka Suarez)… but the guy has improved so much that it is nice he is starting to get well deserved recognition.

    Flamini has outlined the need for organization and terrier-like combativeness in the team. So lets go out and get him some cover or buy somebody younger that can do it long term. Flamini’s weakness is that he cant always pick out the pass when teams press us, so I liked Wenger’s logic of pairing him with Arteta against high quality opposition. But why use 2 holding mids against weaker sides (especially at home?). Let Ramsey or Wilshere take the 2nd central role and bring on a true winger that can run in behind and stretch defenses. I see the logic in taking Gnabry off against Napoli, but I do feel he should have been allowed to keep his run of games going.

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