A visit to Montpellier was supposed to be about Olivier Giroud meeting the club he played for last season, but after Arsenal went behind after nine minutes, it stopped being a friendly stroll and serious business, meaning the better players step up. Lukas Podolski, that means, scoring his third goal in three matches for the gunners, winning 2-1 with a come from behind kicker.
The amazing thing about the win? Gervinho scoring the winner. Gervinho actually scoring for two consecutive matches. You’d expect it from Podolski, who has scored 31 goals in his last two Bundesliga seasons; but from Gervinho, one of the more incompetent talented players when it comes to scoring from perfectly good chances? And a winning goal? Already scoring 75% of what he produced the entire last season?
It’s not only Stephen Bould magic, who filled in for the suspended Arsene Wenger on the sidelines. Arsenal did have a sort of toughness we usually don’t see from them, but maybe it’s was only seeing what you want to. Maybe Abou Diaby getting a yellow card after one minutes was simply carelessness and not some extra aggression.
What is impressive to see is Olivier Giroud finally being part of a goal, setting up Podolski’s equalizer. He was much more mobile than in his Premier League appearances, looking a bit more clueless with the ball at his feet. He still seems utterly afraid to score his first goal for Arsenal, getting nervous when he shouldn’t be, but if the simple things start clicking for him, than the more complicated ones will in time.
The midfield duo of Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta is one of the more enjoyable to watch at the moment. Cazorla is the de facto playmaker, with Arteta relegated to a deep lying one – defensive midfielder role, although Diaby is the actual enforcer in this group, if there’s one at all. Cazrola spreads the wealth and often drop into one of the wings when Podloski or Gervinho make their cuts inside, allowing Arteta more space to venture forward and make use of his passing and long range shooting skills.
Arsenal have yet to face a real dominant and aggressive midfield unit this season (Manchester City this weekend) but they’ve been looking better and better with the new faces with every passing match. A trip to Montpellier wasn’t the toughest of outings for the gunners, but their poise and confidence staying intact after going down so early might signal some sort of change for this team, who were always lacking toughness and not quality. We still need to see it against a real top side, but it seems that the wins over Liverpool and Montpellier are enough proof to determine this season might not be a forgotten one after all.