Tuesday, 30 December 2014

West Ham 1-2 Arsenal: Signs of progress

Match Report | Match highlights | Wenger's thoughts

I'm not one for unnecessarily bringing hopes up by overrating the positives. I don't think, for instance, that defending that lead till the death is a huge step or a turning point. West Ham were impressive until we sucker-punched ourselves into the lead - that doesn't mean we were assured as such. The impressive defending that spanned across the calendar year of 2013 looks to me like a one-off, not something we've taken heart from and progressed.

Francis Coquelin was impressive. I for one always rated him whenever I saw him on the pitch, but I assumed he might have regressed since he barely got games in for Freiburg and Charlton. However, I don't really think this might be some sort of career landmark moment for him. He was an emergency player and performed admirably as one. I would like to give him a run of games, for he certainly seems calmer than Mathieu Flamini, but asking Wenger to give someone a chance has become foolish thought nowadays. The man hardly ever rotates.

However, the only positive that I found was about our attack starting to click. I know that many were fans of the Welbeck-Alexis-Giroud trio, but I personally prefer Oxlade-Chamberlain into the mix. The forward trio we had out there, sandwiched with Santi Cazorla in the middle produced one of the finest attacking displays this season.

West Ham at home, particularly this season, are not to be undermined. Manchester City faced them and couldn't find a goal because the likes of Cresswell and Song were so influential. For this jaded Arsenal side to find three valuable points and legitimately claim that we could have won by more is not to be scoffed at. With the defence yet to settle down, I have a feeling our attack may have to carry us for the games to follow.

On a final point to this alarmingly microscopic match report - don't for one second bear any illusions of Arsenal stumbling into the title race. From an Arsenal perspective Chelsea are impossible to overtake, while although Manchester City are not different class as such, we still have a lot to work to do and a lot of fine margins to reach before thinking about them. Imagining Arsene Wenger remedying the minutiae is laughed at for a reason.

Speaking of Arsene Wenger, here's a superb Arsenal Truth piece that goes miles into describing him.

Until then, Happy New Year!

-Santi [Follow me on Twitter @ArsenalBlogz ]