It’s always nice to get a clean sheet and score several goals, no matter who the opposition. This is nothing to get excited about however, for it was only Derby, albeit a Derby side who managed to somehow beat Newcastle in their last match.
Still, away from home they’ve already lost heavily to both Tottenham and Liverpool. There is no question that we always should have been gunning to add more misery to Derby’s surely relegation bound season and we did just that. It was a good result, a good performance but let’s not overreact here, Arsenal played Derby, not Man Utd.
Also something to point out: four of our six league wins have been at home. Away, we beat Tottenham and drew to Blackburn (though you have Lehmann to thank for that.) We’ve played some strong teams but we’ve had it a bit easy in terms of home games so bare that in mind. Next week Arsenal travel to Upton Park to do battle with an in form West Ham and that won’t be easy.
Adebayor continued his goal scoring form with a hat-trick. For the record, I’ve always thought Ade an important player for us, even last season when he had his share of the critics. He wasn’t just a half decent third choice striker, he added something different to our game and was a hardworking physical presence up front. He just wasn’t the best finisher or rather, lacked the composure to put the ball in the back of the net. Composure’s largely a confidence thing and now everybody’s favorite Togo striker has found the net several times his confidence has shot up. That’s the real bonus I saw we were going to get out of this game. Confidence.
One player lacking in confidence is Theo Walcott. Not lacking in ability, nor potential, but in confidence. He’s showed he’s capable of making some excellent runs, combining some dazzling dribbling with lightning pace but at the moment there’s no end product to his game. That’s a lack of confidence. Theo really needs a goal or two to find his form and he will do, eventually. I have faith in him anyway and I think Le Boss does too.
Diaby put in a better performance on the wing than we’re accustomed to, scoring a cracker to get off the mark for Arsenal with his first goal, of what I hope will be many. Wenger explained post match that the change in performance was due to him not having been playing much. He claimed the same is true of Walcott and that his poor performance was due to not having played much recently and maybe we’ll see a better Walcott in his next performance, which I expect will be in the week against Newcastle in the Carling Cup. Wenger’s usually right so that’s good.
Fabregas scored again, showing just what a phenomenal player he now is. And he’ll only get better with age and experience. I fully expect him to be up there competing with Lionel Messi for World Footballer of The Year gongs in the future. I also fully expect a battle to keep Cesc at Arsenal for I fear now he’s become this good, Madrid and Barca will come calling. Not that he has any reason to go, especially if we prove ourselves as title challengers once again. The only way is up for us and Fabregas is one of the players at the heart of that.
So a good result then and a strong performance against a not so strong Derby. It’s expected to be honest but it’s good that we’re living up to expectations. It’s good that we’re scoring as well. Last season we couldn’t find the net. It’s a problem we’ve rectified, with goal scoring responsibly now being shared across the squad as opposed to relying on Thierry Henry, who might I add I saw for the first time tonight in another club’s shirt – Barcelona’s. He missed a sitter and was unlucky with another, finding the post but he looks a shadow of the player he once was and I don’t think it’s merely because he’s adjusting to a new team and is still ‘finding his feet.’ He’s still good, with something to offer but no longer is he the Henry of old, mainly because he’s beginning to lose that frightening pace he once possessed.
Arsenal were right to sell, something I felt at the time and something I continue to feel, more so now that the team seems to be performing better in his absence.