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Happy but that wasn’t a great penalty was it?

I’VE just managed to catch the Match of the Day highlights. The win is obviously very welcome.

A few random thoughts:

- As I’ve said on countless occasions previously, I am no great Theoist. And yet it is hard to deny that when he’s not having a nightmare, he brings something to the team that nobody else quite does in terms of raw speed.

- I’m still none the wiser as to our first choice midfield.

- Nor our strike force!

- The ball in for the third goal was an absolute beauty. The power of Sanchez’s thighs to just whip it in like that with so little back-lift is amazing.

- You so rarely hear a successful penalty being called out as a poor one. But let’s be honest, that wasn’t a great one was it? Is Cazorla (who is technically brilliant but whose shooting is often wayward), really the right man to take our penalties?

- I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but if the two new signings are confirmed, dare I say it our squad looks potentially a little bloated? Less so in defence where injuries have forced the manager’s hand. But in midfield and up front I think you can argue it is. It is hard to imagine all these players can be accommodated.

- As Ruud Gullit pointed out on Match of the Day, the signings are always late with us and they all, obviously, need time to settle. I do accept the transfer market isn’t simple and that the fact that the window shuts when the season is already underway inevitably creates something of a cluster of transfers around this time of year. But I do wonder if anyone in Highbury House has ever been asked to sit down and make as objective an analysis as possible of points lost over the years courtesy of the squad not being settled in good time?

11 Responses to “Happy but that wasn’t a great penalty was it?”

  1. Rob Utah says:

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  2. Oskar says:

    I’m happy with Cazorla as penalty taker. He has scored 7 of his 8 penalties for Arsenal so I don’t see the point in switching penalty taker.

  3. Arseluvr says:

    I realize that at the EPL level one of several strategies is to hammer the penalty straight down the middle. For most of us however, its a mistake made by a nervous dude with two left feet. But I don’t like it as a choice, and for that reason, I would agree that the penalty sucked and Cazorla now makes me nervous if he is going to be taking them.

    I liked Xhaka’s performance. His passing and through balls are going to bear fruit yet. There was that one from deep that I think he put Theo through on – that was gorgeous. I can’t wait until he nails Ozil with one… and the finish is Ozil-esque. Its coming.

    Come on Perez. Put on your rocket boots and get ready to take it up to light speed for the Arsenal.

  4. Jordan says:

    All this Cazorla talk is unfounded rubbish, when your that good at striking a ball (left or right foot may I add) the goalkeeper has to make a decision early to have any chance of saving it. To say it’s nerves or anything is ridiculous (look up Cazorla panenka) he’s total class. If you didn’t watch the 90 minutes don’t write a blog

  5. Arseluvr says:

    All the guys at this level can strike a ball, and a penalty obviously has a high-probability of scoring, so the mathematical chance of the ball ending up in the back of the net is pretty good even if your nervous. I would think shooting down the middle is one of the more high-risk options however, even with the talent of Cazorla and his ability to pull off that brilliant panenka. If it weren’t more penalty-takers would choose that option.

    Take it easy Jordan – this is a damn good blog, much more probing than some of the crap ones out there.

  6. MDP says:

    I have no complaints with the penalty. I’d prefer it was placed out of the keepers reach opposed to down the middle but it was well struck and confident. Santi is certainly one of our better dead ball takers and he stuck it away.

    I’ve certainly shared Ruud Gullit’s sentiment all summer. There’s been a cloud hanging over the club until news broke on Friday of the 2 pending signings and it’s timing has cost us points. The fact we always do our business so late really reflects badly on the management and board. However, I’m prepared to put the summer behind me now, the cloud has lifted and it showed in the players faces. We appear to have more depth in the squad than we have had in a very long time. Assuming the 2 players sign in the next few days we are only we really looking for that marquee striker as the cherry on top and could possibly upgrade on the wing in time. But, I’m excited now we have so many options. Up until recently our defence has started to look like it was getting on a bit with Koscielny and Mertesacker over 30 and I had concerns as to who was coming next. Holding and Mustafi have changed that and we now have some very exciting options. We can’t get too carried away but at least there is great potential for really firming up at the back and the midfield trio of Xhaka, Coquelin and Eleny offering cover in front of the back four. Sometimes you just need hope and to at least try something different which we now look to have done. That Groundhog Day feeling looks to be fading a little and it feels good for now.

  7. slc gunner says:

    I have no problems with Cazorla taking the peno. I can only remember him missing one at WBA last season. Otherwise, he a has a good record and does not always go down the middle. As long as he keeps varying the placement, he will be ok. Most of the top players are able to see where the keeper is going and adjust their placement if needed. You’re not going to find two better feet than Cazorla. I remember once yesterday when he was taking a corner from the right: he was going to take it with his right, and then changed to his left at the last minute. What other player is that two-footed. Amazing.
    As for the squad: the regulars on the blog have argued for strengthening in 3 positions:
    Centre Half: if you had told me at the start of the summer that we would bring in two, not just one, I would have bitten your hand off. Holding looks good but will need time. I’m optimistic about Mustafi: if he’s in the German squad, you have to think he’s decent. I think I said that about Squillaci too, but I am more confident about Mustafi. He’s younger and in a much better German squad than the French one where Squillaci played rarely. Time will tell.
    Midfield: Xhaka looked good at the Euros and was excellent yesterday. His passing adds an extra dimension to the holding role.
    Striker: Perez is far from a marquee signing and I’m sure most of us had never heard of him. His stats over the years are not impressive, with the exception of last year. The argument is that he was playing out of position all along. Jury is definitely out on him. He will be 28 soon, so definitely not your typical AW buy either. He’s unearthed some gems over the years, so let’s hope this is another one.
    I think that will be it in terms of signings. Chambers (loan), Debuchy, Sanogo, Akpom are still listed in the squad, but I think they will all leave in some form or another. Until Gabriel and Jenkinson reappear, we’re a little short at the back, but I think we’ll be ok with the 6 fit defenders for a month. Maybe we have one or two too many in the other areas, but I would prefer that than the opposite. We definitely have the numbers, whether we have the quality is debatable, especially at #9.
    As for league position, we have had two tough games. I would have been happy with 7 points from 9. As it is, we’re 3 off that target and 5 off the 3 leaders. We need to start reining that in. Looking too far ahead with Arsenal has always been a mistake I’ve found . Win the next game has to be the mentality for the entire season.

  8. Elvis says:

    It is no big deal to beat Watford. They are cannon fodder every year for Arsenal. Let’s see after ten games if this side is competitive. One is always more hopeful with signings about to be unveiled, but my feeling is that the last two or three years have offered the best opportunity for Arsenal to win the title with Chelsea and Man Utd in various states of disarray and Man City underperforming. Now with better managers and/or players at all three clubs, I’m afraid I think that the chance has gone.

  9. MDP says:

    I get your reservations Elvis. Arsenal have missed a number of golden opportunities for the title over the last 10 years, none better than the season just gone. The fact Arsenal have failed to exploit these opportunities has left deep scars in many of us. I still fear that the managers loyalty to players and lack of ruthlessness may haunt us again in the future.

    Something has changed in me this summer. I recognise for now that Arsenal no longer are aiming for the very top. I always believed that the new stadium would offer the chance to one day stand side by side with teams like Real, Barca or Man Utd. But this summer is a resignation to the fact we sit in a band below that and nothing’s changing anytime soon. Whilst Stan is in charge, Gazidis is his lackey and Wenger on an agenda I’m still trying to work out, we’re only going to be considered outsiders for the title.

    For now, I can’t help putting the above to one side and enjoy the fact we have rolled the dice and have a much more encouraging depth and strength to the squad. Thoughts of the title are on hold until we see how our new players bed in but this feels a lot better than this time last season.

  10. Arseluvr says:

    The more I read about Kroenke and his cold calculated movements in the NFL, I believe more and more that Arsenal is just a business interest, not a passion or even an interest. With all his companies and clubs he owns, and a gazillionaire wife, he can’t possibly have time to actually watch sports. I think Kroenke has Gazidis and Wenger on a much shorted financial leash than we realize, and one day when Arsene writes his book, we may get something more on that.

    Or… on the other hand perhaps Wenger is just continuing his painful, low-cost 10-year experiment to try to unlock the secret recipe to winning a cheap Championship, except Ranieri just stole that feat out from under him.

  11. MDP says:

    Guess it’s a good time to share our thoughts on the summer dealings now the transfer window has actually shut. Despite being angered by our approach to the transfer window, I actually think it’s been a relatively decent outcome in the end, better late than never. I’d say the only position we really lack now is that marquee striker. Lewandowski, Greizmann, Aubameyang were all unattainable, Higuain was over priced and it’s that lack of a world class striker that sits us behind the Manchester clubs and Chelsea in the league, betting and media opinion right now.

    As I’ve said previously, I love the depth we now have in defence and midfield, we have so much more to work with and I hope to see us tighten things up in defence. In attack, Perez is maybe not the striker we all hoped for but I like what I’ve heard and time will tell on the impact he can make. Despite sounding off about signing a striker like Lacazette in the summer, I’ve come round to the thinking that paying over the odds for an average striker, on higher wages may have been counter productive in the current financial climate, if we’d needed to sell him on in the future.

    The two biggest surprises this week were Jack and Serge Gnabry, two situations that I think were instigated by the players. It feels wrong to see Jack heading off to Bournemouth but he does need games and he has struggled to find form after returning from injury. I don’t doubt his quality and I think that will show if he can just get through a season without injury. I wish him luck and hope we see him back in red and white this time next year. Gnabry is a strange one. I didn’t give him a thought last season but on the back of the Olympics was excited at the prospect of seeing him back in the squad this season. One year left on his contract, he held the cards, I assume he wanted games and Arsene couldn’t guarantee that. A massive shame, in a position on the wing that I feel could be strengthened. Not much else to say other than we could be rueing his departure in the years to come.

    I think my final point is Theo, my hunch is wages have kept him at the club. I lost faith in him 2 seasons ago, Wenger appeared to lose faith in him last season. I was sure he was heading for the exit but I reckon his wages were a stumbling block to potential suitors. Wenger has given him another chance on the wing and he certainly looks better than last season without setting the world alight. If we could just merge Theo’s pace, runs and finishing with Campbell’s ability on the ball, determination and defensive qualities we might just have had a decent player. I can’t help feeling this is an area that needs upgrading but have more faith in The Ox being the player that brings the wings alive this season.

    All in all, I’m excited for things to get going again. We might be outsiders but we have a better shape and maybe the strengths of Ozil and Alexis can make up for the patched up No. 9 position.

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