Archive 2012
Oct 16, 2 days ago

Carl Jenkinson: Charlton To Champions League

In just two short years, Carl Jenkinson has launched himself from his humble lower league beginnings, to the forefront of world football.

At the age of 18, Carl Jenkinson made his first appearance for Charlton Athletic, in the Football League Trophy Southern Section semi-final game against Brentford. Jenkinson played 90 minutes at right back. The game ended in a 0-0 draw.

Following two short loan spells at Eastbourne Borough & Welling United respectively, Arsenal made a formal £1million bid for the Jenkinson’s signature. Charlton, probably thinking that Christmas had come early, accepted the offer, and on June 8th 2011, Arsene Wenger signed the lifelong Arsenal fan on a permanent deal.

Living The Dream

It’s every Arsenal fan’s fantasy to pull on the jersey and walk out on to the pristine turf of the Emirates Stadium. After having just signed, Carl was certainly looking forward to his first appearance. However, he probably didn’t anticipate having to do it so soon, or on such a grand stage.

Thanks to an injured Bacary Sagna, Jenkinson was thrust into a fierce debut in Arsenal’s Champions League qualifier against Udinese, at the age of just 19. Despite the difficult task, Carl put in a solid performance, and the fans immediately warmed to his passionate & determined style of play. His hunger was evident.

Carl went on to make 9 appearances at right back, as well as 5 substitute appearances for the club, laying down some solid foundations to build upon in the approaching campaign.

“There’s nothing worse than standing still, and it’s really obvious that Carl is making big steps every single week.” - Thomas Vermaelen

The commencement of the 2012/2013 season saw yet another injury to Bacary Sagna, allowing Jenkinson a second chance to build on his promising start. He helped secure two clean sheets against Sunderland & Stoke City, cementing his place in the first team. Since then, Jenkinson has put in a number of stellar performances, and even claiming Man of The Match at home against Chelsea.

His exciting performances, as well as his ever growing relationship with the fans, means that Carl Jenkinson is now providing Bacary Sagna with a genuine concern over his status once he returns from injury.

Jenkinson himself has not only gained the trust of Arsene Wenger, but has also earned the praise of his new captain, Thomas Vermaelen, “It’s really important for any player to keep improving - there’s nothing worse than standing still, and it’s really obvious that Carl is making big steps every single week.”

Carl’s Crossroads

Carl Jenkinson has got himself off to a great start at Arsenal, and his future at club level looks auspicious. However, he now stands at a crossroads. Carl is currently eligible to represent either England or Finland, and must decide between the two.

The Finnish Football Association are keen to capture the youngster, and Carl himself has admitted that he hasn’t decided upon which route to take, and would rather concentrate on his club football for the time being.

“A life long Arsenal fan, combined with performances full of tenacity and guile. The perfect recipe for becoming a fan favourite.”

However, Carl has recently drawn praise from the England manager, Roy Hodgson, “…Jenkinson has done exceptionally well for Arsenal. He’ll be very much in our thoughts when it comes to the next friendly match. He wouldn’t be out of place in the squad.”

These statements followed Carl Jenkinson’s emergency draft into the England senior training session at London Colney, which, although doesn’t make him eligible to play, may be a major sign of intent from the youngster. It is expected that Roy Hodgson will call him up for the upcoming friendly with Sweden in Gothenburg.

Despite the uncertainty of national allegiance, one thing is for sure, Carl Jenkinson has an exciting future ahead of him. A life long Arsenal fan, combined with performances full of tenacity and guile. The perfect recipe for becoming a fan favourite.

What’s your opinion of Carl Jenkinson? Share your views on the youngster in the comments section below.

Oct 8, 9 days ago

10 Arsene Wenger Interviews You’ve Never Seen Before

Arsene Wenger is renowned for his rigid, stern faced post-match interviews, and after 16 years in charge of the club, we have all been well acquainted with Arsene’s politically correct approach to the media. He crams his responses with footballing clichés, and consistently turns a blind eye to incidents concerning his own players on the field of play.

However, could there be another side to Arsene which we don’t see? We’ve compiled ten remarkable Arsene Wenger interviews that show us a side of ‘le Professeur’ that we don’t see very often at all.

1. Arsene’s First English Interview As Monaco Manager

It’s been so long now, that we forget that Arsene had a life before Arsenal. He was in charge of AS Monaco FC between 1987-1994. After dispatching Swansea 2-1 in the 1991/1992 European Cup Winners Cup, Arsene gave a post-match interview which is far more open than what we’ve become accustom to. Is it just me, or was Arsene’s English much better back in 1992?

2. Ten Year Old Aspiring Sports Presenter Asks Arsene’s Advice

Ben, a ten year old competition winner, got the chance to ask Arsene about how to improve his game. Not only does he get told to sleep with the ball, but he even gets encouraged to imitate Lionel Messi himself. No pressure Ben.

3. Arsene Wenger On The Beauty Of Sport & It’s Role In Society

We all know that Arsene Wenger is no Kenny Dalgish. He knows a thing or two about the world outside of football. This conference he gave at Arsenal’s recent tour of Asia encompasses Arsene’s view of sport, culture, passion and emerging talent.

4. Arsene Reveals His Greatest Player Of All Time

Short and sweet. Much like Arsene Wenger’s favourite player of all time.

5. Alex Ferguson & Arsene Wenger Getting Along

No you didn’t read that incorrectly. The two rivals joined forces at the League Managers Association in 2008 to answer a few questions regarding their mutual respect, and vision of the future. Arsene also reveals that Arsenal were ‘just a few hundred thousand pounds away’ from signing Ronaldo before Man Utd swooped in. Ouch.

6. Arsene Wenger Looks Back on 13 Years In Charge

In 2009, Arsene Wenger sat down to discuss his 13 year-long career as Arsenal Manager. He tells us how lucky he was to inherit such a fantastic Arsenal side, reveals his best and worst Arsenal moments, and his source of inspiration.

7. Unearthing the Gem That Was Patrick Vieira

Whatever you may think of Patrick Vieira now, his Arsenal days were undoubtedly phenomenal. And he owes it all to his former manager, Arsene Wenger. In this enlightening interview, Arsene likens Patrick Vieira to a pretty wife. No, seriously.

8. Arsene Wenger On The Importance Of Languages

Have you ever wondered how Arsene spent his holidays as a young footballer? No, he wasn’t in and out of Vegas Casinos, nor was he caught with his pants down at the local night club. At the age of 29, Arsene spent his summer holiday in Cambridge, England. He stayed in a bed & breakfast, and spent weeks learning English with children half his age.

9. Arsene Wenger’s Most Relaxed Interview Ever - Part 1

I have yet to see Arsene as relaxed as this in a media interview. His best interview by far. He reveals his transformation as a manager, his challenges within the English game, technology in football, and even talks about his close family.

10. Arsene Wenger’s Most Relaxed Interview Ever - Part 2

Arsene’s eye-opening interview continues. In this final segment, he speaks about his desire to win the Champions League, being one of the longest serving managers in history, an Alcohol free lifestyle, and his Arsenal love-story.

So there you have it. Arsene Wenger as you’ve never seen him before. After 16 years of professionalism, it turns out there is far more to our great manager than a stony faced post-match interview after all. Who’d have thought it.

What do you think of Arsene’s sociable side? Let us know in the comments section below.

Oct 6, 11 days ago

West Ham Vs Arsenal - Analysis & Player Ratings

Final Score
West Ham 1 - 3 Arsenal

On the back of a solid win at home against Olympiacos in the Champions League, Arsenal were looking to grab three points in the Premier league, to stay within touching distance of Chelsea, who currently top the table.

The game began in typical fashion. Arsenal were retaining the ball excellently, and were creating chances. Giroud was leading the line, with Gervinho on the right wing, and, despite the Ivorians impressive goal record, it must be said, Giroud was doing a much better job.

Instead of bouncing back to the midfield, through balls and lobbed passes were being controlled and flicked on with purpose, and we were keeping the ball well in the final third, unlike in recent matches against stern defences.

Just as we looked to be comfortable, the game took yet another typical Arsenal spin. Diame picked up the ball from outside the box, nutmegged Aaron Ramsey, and fired the ball into the far corner, past a helpless Mannone. It was a top class finish.

“Andy Carroll was constantly causing problems in the Arsenal box. However, Mertesacker proved to be a difficult adversary for the Englishman.”

All of the possession, none of the goals. Sound familiar?

However, in the 41st minute, Giroud picked up the ball in midfield, and played Podolski out wide. Giroud continued his run with determination, and got onto the end of the German’s excellent cross to poke it home. Olivier Giroud’s first Premier League goal, and it couldn’t have come at a batter time.

The second half proved to be a bit of a battle, especially for the first ten minutes. West Ham were determined to get back into the game, with Andy Carroll constantly causing problems in the Arsenal box. However, Mertesacker proved to be a difficult adversary for the Englishman.

Kieran Gibbs was replaced by Santos with what appeared to be a light injury. Theo Walcott was then thrown on in place of the lacklustre Gervinho.

Midway through the second half, Giroud’s excellent pass set Theo Walcott free down the right-hand channel. Theo was calm as he beautifully passed the ball into the bottom corner. His celebration with the fans was a pleasant sight, as controversial contract negotiations continue. Sign him up, Arsene!

We held on to our slender lead, but West Ham were constantly bombarding out box and causing our back line issues. We needed a third. And we got it.

Theo Walcott did brilliantly to win the ball in the midfield, dropping the ball onto Cazorla’s capable feet. He set himself and slammed the ball towards the West Ham goal, and the ball dipped elegantly into the top corner. An amazing finish from the Spaniard.

Laurent Koscielny was then introduced in place of Lukas Podolski to ensure the victory. And the three points were well and truly bagged up, thanks to an excellent team performance.

Arsenal Player Ratings

Mannone: [6.5/10]
Couldn’t do much about the goal, almost conceded by losing out to Carroll in the air, but made a few good saves.

Jenkinson: [7.5/10]
On his way to becoming one of our established players. Another excellent performance offensively & defensively.

Vermaelen: [7/10]
Solid as usual, kept Carroll quiet enough, and didn’t make any mistakes. What more could you ask for.

Mertesacker: [8/10]
Proved once again why Koscielny will struggle to win his place back. Dealt with Carroll well and made a superb challenge on Noble to prevent a goal.

Gibbs: [6.5/10]
Not one of his best games. Crosses were not as good as we’ve become accustom to. Subbed by injury.

Ramsey: [6.5/10]
Given a defensive role today, and coped rather well. Should have done better against Diame for the opener, and still makes unneccessary long balls.

Arteta: [8/10]
Simply integral to the Arsenal midfield. Keeps the ball moving, gets tackles in, and links up perfectly with Santi Cazorla.

Cazorla: [8/10]
MOTM. Despite losing the ball on occasion, Cazorla was yet again at the heart of every Arsenal move. Took his goal beautifully.

Podolski: [7/10]
Worked hard down the left-hand channel all game, winning tackles and driving forward. Great cross for Giroud’s equalizer. Subbed.

Gervinho: [5.5/10]
Placed on the right wing, and was rarely in the game. His first touch& passing was poor, and he was caught offside in vital moments. Frustrating. Subbed.

Giroud: [8/10]
Won most of his aerial battles, held up play excellently and grabbed a goal and yet another assist. Giroud now has more assists than any other player in the Arsenal squad. His goal was well deserved.

Subs:

Walcott: [8/10]
Replaced Gervinho with immediate impact. The run for his goal was well timed, and he kept his head to produce a top class finish. Currently outshining The Ox and Gervinho by far.

Santos [6.5/10], Koscielny [N/A]

Forever Bursting Bubbles

West Ham showed real grit and determination, especially in the first half, to mount successive attacks on the Arsenal box. They got a deserved goal through Diame, and were well organised across the pitch. However, Arsenal simply proved too strong, thanks to great performances from Giroud, Cazorla & Theo Walcott.

We now have the dreaded International break, followed by Norwich away. Another three points that need to be taken.

What did you think of the West Ham Vs Arsenal match? Let us know in the comments section below!

Oct 3, 14 days ago

Arsenal Vs Olympiacos - Analysis & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 3 - 1 Olympiacos

After an impressive defensive display at Montpellier, Arsenal faced the Greek champions at home, who were ready to test their resolve. On the back of a poor display against Chelsea, Arsenal had a point to prove.

Arsenal began the game in stellar fashion, dominating the possession and passing the ball well. Coquelin was filling in for the injured Diaby, and was struggling to settle. Most of his passes went astray, and the game seemed to be passing him by. Arteta and Cazorla pulled the strings beautifully, bringing in the wide players and full backs.

Carl Jenkinson & Kieran Gibbs have been excellent for us so far this season, and they didn’t disappoint against the Greek champions. Their typically solid defensive display was yet again accompanied by surging runs and searching crosses. Kieran Gibbs in particular is having a superb start to the campaign. Long may it continue.

As the first half played out, we retained possession well, but our chances were few and far between. Gervinho, who was leading the line, was making minimal runs and failing to hold up the ball to bring Oxlade Chamberlain or Podolski into play. frustration was setting in.

However, just as an attack was seemingly breaking down, the ball fell to Gervinho outside the box, who took a touch into space and drilled it across the goalkeeper. The shot wasn’t the best, but it was enough. One nil.

“Girouds movement and aerial ability were clearly the missing ingredient during the earlier stages of the game, where our penetration was found to be non-existent.”

Things were looking rosy again, as half time approached, we were a goal to the good and possession was ours when we wanted it. But Arsenal never make it easy for themselves.

Minutes before the half time whistle, poor defending from the midfield saw Olympiacos pick their way through, swinging in a very good cross. Vermaelen rose, but the striker Mitroglou won the header, guiding it away from the helpless Mannone. Lead, lost.

The second half commenced in similar fashion. Coquelin began to relax on the ball, and was winning some good challenges. Vermaelen & Koscielny, (who was filling in for the sick Mertesacker) were noticeably shaky at the back. Snatching at tackles and being reckless in general.

We continued to show no attacking guile. Gervinho was taking extreme first touched, and failing to lead the line with any real purpose.

That is of course, until he jigged his way past a defender in the box, and passed to Podolski, who slammed the ball through the goalkeepers legs to put us into the lead yet again. A powerful finish from an excellent player. Now we just had to hold on to our lead.

Giroud & Walcott were introduced in place of Gervinho & The Ox, and the change was immediately noticeable. Walcott made excellent runs down the wing, and nearly found Thomas Vermaelen for a third. Girouds movement and aerial ability were clearly the missing ingredient during the earlier stages of the game, where our penetration was found to be non-existent.

We were absorbing the Olympiacos attacks well enough, and moving forward at speed thanks to Cazorla & Arteta, who worked tirelessly. The second half was winding down, as Ramsey was subbed on for Gervinho.

Just as the game was coming to a close, a long ball over the top was headed forward by Giroud, who found Ramsey. He drove into the box and delightfully chipped it over the goalkeeper. A sublime goal, and a convincing victory.

Arsenal Player Ratings

Mannone: [5.5/10]
Couldn;t do much about the headed goal, but his distribution was extremely poor all game.

Jenkinson: [7.5/10]
Fast becoming one of our most consistent players. Still makes unnecessary long ball passes, but is improving rapidly.

Vermaelen: [7/10]
Back to his old self after a disappointing performance against Chelsea. Intercepting passes with ease and driving the team forward. Got into the box on a few occasions and nearly scored from a Theo Walcott cross.

Koscielny: [6/10]
Made a few rash challenges and was rightly booked. Looks relatively shaky and needs to settle himself if he wants to challenge Mertesacker.

Gibbs: [8/10]
Another suberp game from Gibbs. patrolled the left wing and swung crosses into the box. Outstanding start to the season.

Coquelin: [6/10]
Wasn’t able to settle during the first half, but found his feet. Managed a few good challenges, but needed to do more.

Arteta: [8/10]
The best passer in Europe was once again fantastic as he dictated play. Helped both Coquelin & Cazorla out when needed.

Cazorla: [8.5/10]
MOTM. Quick feet and accurate passing were the key to his great game. Noticeably targeted by Olympiacos, and dealt with the pressure perfectly.

Podolski: [7/10]
Helped Gibbs when needed, and looked a threat all game. Took his goal well and helped the team as per usual. Subbed.

Gervinho: [6.5/10]
A real enigma. Despite scoring and grabbing an assist, Gervinho’s overall game was extremely poor. His first touch, vision and hold up play were all lacking. but a goal is a goal, and an assist is an assist. Subbed.

The Ox: [6.5/10]
Linked up well with Jenkinson, but failed to make any real impact, and I’d be surprised to see him start ahead of Walcott for the next game. subbed.

Subs:
Giroud [6.5/10], Walcott [6.5/10], Ramsey [7/10]

Bring On Schalke

With six points out of six, we sit comfortably at the top of Group B. Schalke tail us with 4 points after drawing with Montpellier. After two solid defensive displays against Montpellier and Olympiacos, I feel we’re ready for the biggest challenge of the group, which awaits us in the Germany. Bring it on.

However, before that, we have to deal with West Ham this weekend before we return to our European aspirations.

Who was your Man Of The Match? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sep 29, 18 days ago

Arsenal Vs Chelsea - Analysis & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 1 - 2 Chelsea

On the back of a good point up at the Etihad, Arsenal’s ‘second string’ made short work of Coventry City in the Capital One Cup. Spirits were high and Chelsea at home was looking like it could be another good day for the Gunners. But it wasn’t.

Chelsea began the game focused and determined. Di Matteo had opted for a midfield trio consisting of Oscar, Hazard & Mata, led by Fernando Torres. A formidable force. A high tempo of passing was immediately set by the Blues, and we simply weren’t switched on for the opening few minutes.

Arsenal regained a good slice of the possession as the half went on, but the attacks were being formulated by Chelsea alone. Torres was winning most of his aerial battles against Laurent Koscielny & Thomas Vermaelen, who, in hindsight, both had terrible games.

Chelsea opened the scoring in a frustratingly familiar way. Thomas Vermaelen lunged in on Oscar, giving away a free kick. The ball was played in, and Laurent Koscielny simply couldn’t handle Fernando Torres’ presence, who was able to sidefoot the ball past Vito Mannone, who could do nothing but watch. Our abysmal set piece defending was back.

As Steve Bould pulled his imaginary hair out, Chelsea used the rest of the first half to expose our general weakness in midfield and defence. Diaby went off injured, leaving Ramsey to deputise in his absence. The solidity was gone and Chelsea were driving through us with ease.

Towards the end of the first half, Oxlade-Chamberlain, who came on for the injured Diaby to play on the wing, crossed into Gervinho. John Terry & David Luiz had done a poor job, and Gervinho impressively fired into the roof of the net, making it four goals in four appearances for the Ivorian.

“As Steve Bould pulled his imaginary hair out, Chelsea used the rest of the first half to expose our general weakness in midfield and defence.”

In all honesty, the goal was probably undeserved. We hadn’t looked threatening in the final third, and we certainly didn’t look like scoring. but a goal is a goal, and we took it well.

The second half saw little improvement. Chelsea continued to dominate our weakened midfield, and Torres was having no trouble with our back four. Podolski and Cazorla looked to be finally creating some issues for the Chelsea defence, until disaster struck.

Yet again, Thomas Vermaelen made a rash tackle of Fernando Torres, and Chelsea won a freekick. The ball was shipped in with pace across the goal, and Laurent Koscialny rather needlessly attacked it, and touched it, putting off Vito Mannone, who could have arguably done better. An own goal had put Chelsea ahead once again. and once again, it was a result of combined error from our centre-backs.

Chelsea in familiar fashion, dug their heels and frustrated Arsenal for the rest of the game. They were happy with a one goal advantage, and they knew how to defend.

Giroud & Walcott came on to replace Ramsey & Podolski, which curiously meant that the rather awful Gervinho was going to get a full game.

As the game came to a close, Giroud made yet another fantastic run behind the back four, and was found by Cazorla. He skipped past Cech, taking himself wide, and blasted into the side netting. The stadium groaned in agony. Firstly because it was the last chance to equalise, and secondly, because Giroud had yet again failed to finish his chances.

Arsenal Player Ratings

Mannone: [6/10]
Despite conceding two goals, there was nothing the Italian could really do about either of them. Hopefully will have better days.

Jenkinson: [7.5/10]
Another impressive display from Carl today. Stood up to Hazard & Torres well, patrolled the right flank, and got a few good crosses in too.

Vermaelen: [6/10]
Not his usual self. Lunged in on two different occasions which led to the Chelsea goals. Didn’t inspire the team in the ways we’ve come to expect.

Koscielny: [5.5/10]
A rather shocking display for Koscielny. Wenger had chosen him over Mertesacker to perhaps counter Torres’ pace, however he simply wasn’t up for it. Asleep for both goals and lost possession regularly. Mertesacker won’t be worried.

Gibbs: [8/10]
MOTM. Another excellent performance for Gibbs. His tackles were superb and he helped Podolski bombard the box all game.

Diaby: [6/10]
Didn’t get much time to settle, as he picked up an injury as he shot at goal. Can we really rely on Diaby to stay fit? Subbed.

Arteta: [6.5/10]
Given the run around by Hazard, Oscar & Mata, but did well to break up play and get the ball moving up the field.

Cazorla: [6.5/10]
As our midfield was overrun, Cazorla became shackled by Mikel & Ramires. He wasn’t able to find the space to create any real chances.

Podolski: [6.5/10]
Drifted in and out the game, but put in a good defensive shift to help out Gibbs. Made some excellent runs before surprisingly being taken off. Subbed.

Gervinho: [5.5/10]
If it wasn’t for his well taken goal, the score would be a lot lower. Apart the goal, Every pass that found Gervinho’s feet come to nothing. His first touch is severely lacking, and his ability to see a pass is non-existent. No idea why he started, and no idea why he was allowed to play 90mins.

Ramsey: [8/10]
Yet again provided stability to the team with his reliable passing and good defensive work. Had to fill in for Diaby early on, but did a good job of linking defence to attack. Fast becoming an unsung hero.

Subs:
Giroud [6/10], Walcott [6/10], The Ox [6.5/10]

A Case Of The Blues

You could say that we looked like the ‘Old Arsenal’ today. Defensively poor from set pieces, and defenders who clearly lack organisation. But one bad game doesn’t say much about our collective performances this season. Unless we make a habit of it, we can certainly rule this out as just a bad day at the office.

Chelsea were rugged and tactically sound. Di Matteo got his approach correct and Arsenal couldn’t handle it. It’s tough to take, but it was probably a fair result in the end. Now we have to put it behind us, as we host Olympiacos on Wednesday.

Who was your Man Of The Match? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sep 23, 24 days ago

Man City Vs Arsenal - Analysis & Player Ratings

Final Score
Man City 1 - 1 Arsenal

Pundits & fans alike were adamant that today would be Arsenal’s first real test. Solidarity throughout the defence and attacking guile have carried Arsenal on an impressive start to the season. But, until today, they hadn’t faced high quality opposition. They hadn’t been tested.

Arsenal started off in an encouraging fashion, dominating the midfield and staying tight defensively. Our preferred trio of Cazorla, Arteta & Diaby were doing well against Yaya Toure & Co, keeping possession well and moving the ball out to our wingers.

Aaron Ramsey, who was surprisingly slotted into the right-wing position, did excellently throughout the first half. He drifted inside, driving at the City defence. Perhaps more importantly, he provided the young (yet impressive) Carl Jenkinson with some defensive back up. Which was probably why Wenger selected him to begin with.

Gervinho had an excellent chance to put us ahead, when he was put through brilliantly by Ramsey. Unfortunately, Gervinho’s touch was Adebayour-esque.

We continued to dominate City up until the 40th minute, when Kieran Gibbs needlessly conceded a corner. The ball was crossed in, and Mannone ran out like a brave Stallion on a mission. He leapt victoriously off the ground and elegantly soared through the damp northern air, missing the ball completely.

“Cazorla cracked a sublime shot towards Joe Hart, who got two hands to the ball, but only just parried it wide. It brought about a welcome injection of belief…”

Lescott rose above the static Podolski, who Steve Bould is currently torturing in chambers deep beneathe the Emirates stadium, to head City home.

Question marks could also be asked of Koscielny regarding Lescott’s opener. However one things for sure, it’s wasn’t the same defensive certainty we’ve become so used to over recent few weeks.

The second half started off awkwardly for us. Our dominance had faded and City were on a high thanks to Lescott’s first half header. Mancini mirrored our formation and it seemed to be working for them.

We remained defensively sound, despite conceding, and we looked to be dealing with Aguero & Dzeko extremely well. Then, in the 82nd minute, Cazorla cracked a sublime shot towards Joe Hart, who got two hands to the ball, but only just parried it wide. It brought about a welcome injection of belief. Cazorla took the corner, which eventually fell to the feet of Koscielny, who drilled it brilliantly past Joe Hart to equalize.

We appeared to be passing this monsterous test set infront of us. All we had to do now was hold on to our well deserved point, or better yet, grab a winner. Arsene Wenger two positive substitutes, replacing Diabyt & Podolski, who had both been quiet, with Giroud & Walcott. I would have kept Podolski on and taken off Gervinho instead, but hey, what do I know.

We continued to press and defend well against City counter attacks, which were coming thick and fast. We had chances to win the game, with Gervinho’s quite awful shot towards the end of the game, which went high and wide, for a decent position. I cant help but think Podolski would have made such a shot count.

The final minutes were not uncomfortable for us, a tribute to our defensive excellence. We remained calm in the face of world-class strikers. We earned an extremely good point away from home against the Champions of England. We passed our test.

Arsenal Player Ratings

Mannone: [5.5/10]
Apart from his error for Lescott’s header, he really didn’t have much else to do. Needs to do better to shift Szczesny.

Jenkinson: [7.5/10]
Fantastic improvement from his first few appearances. Still shows some naivety at times, but put in an excellent display against the Champions.

Mertesacker: [8/10]
Always in the right place at the right time. Makes up for his lack of pace with his reading of the game. Kept Aguero & Dzeko quiet.

Koscielny: [7/10]
Despite scoring the equalizer, and making his first start of the season, I couldn’t help but notice some rust. At fault for Lescott’s opener, and almost gifted Aguero a goal. Hasn’t done enough to push Mertesacker out of the team.

Gibbs: [7.5/10]
We’re becoming used to Gibbs flying up and down the wings, creating chances and defending well, and he didn’t disappoint today.

Diaby: [6/10]
Not at his best today. Gave the ball away on occasion and looked tired. Didn’t provide any of his traditional driving runs. Subbed.

Arteta: [6.5/10]
He’s had better days. A lot of passes went awry and he failed to create anything significant. defensively sound though.

Cazorla: [7.5/10]
The heart of our midfield. Everything goes through him and rightly so. Excellent shot to win the corner leading to Koscielny’s equalizer.

Podolski: [6.5/10]
A quiet game from the German, din’t create anything and looked isolated at times. Couldn’t link up with Gervinho at all. Subbed.

Gervinho: [5.5/10]
After some amazing performances against Southampton & Montpellier, Gervinho reverted back to his old ways. Silly passes, awful finishing, and a laughable first touch. Should have been subbed.

Ramsey: [8/10]
MOTM. I was as nervous as the next Arsenal fan to see him on the team sheet out wide, but Ramsey did a great job of getting the ball forward and linking up with the central midfielders. Slotted nicely into the middle when subs were made to solidify his performance. Glad to see him back on form.

Subs:
Giroud [6/10], Walcott [6/10], Coquelin [N/A]

With Flying Colours

Arsenal faced a test today. To see if we really were as good as Southampton made us look. To see if our comeback against Montpellier was guile & grit, or just pure luck. And with a great performance and late equalizer at the Etihad, we’ve managed to pass that test with flying colours.

Even with rotations including Koscielny & Ramsey, we managed to play beautiful, yet constructive football. It was a pleasure to watch. Some will say a win was needed to pass this test, but for me, they;re missing the bigger picture. We’re finally a unit, and a team to be feared. We proved that today. But, the test doesn’t at the Etihad. Bring on Chelsea next week.

What did you think of the game? Let us know in the comments section below.