We’re at this point of the season in which Arsenal need to start proving they’re not only winners with style, but also a team that can pull three points out of rough matches with their teeth. Their most recent victory is one of those hard to obtain ones, as Olivier Giroud continues to show just how wise Arsene Wenger was to sign him last season.
It’s never about just one year. Giroud found it difficult during his debut season in England. Arsenal lost their way quite a bit from the best show in English football last season, and it was harder for the striker, who relies on quick and excellent passing from the midfield to showcase his ability from Montpellier while his team wasn’t playing well most of the time.
This year, it’s quite different. He has now scored five goals, and is immensely enjoying the likes of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey having just as good of a start to the season as him. It was a beautiful chip from Aaron Ramsey that helped Arsenal clinch the victory at Selhurst Park, despite being reduced to 10 men after Mikel Arteta was sent off, probably wrongly.
It was the same Arteta who scored the first goal of the 2-0 victory after a very soft penalty was given to Arsenal. However, Crystal Palace, despite their struggles, are a tough team to beat on their “home soil”, which means teams are pleased to take what they’re given and get out of there with the three points, which usually happens, especially for the big clubs.
It’s not like Arsenal didn’t have some scary moment. Wojciech Szczesny had his finest match this season and maybe in general since becoming an Arsenal player way back. Most people will talk about his wonderful save off of that Mile Jedinak volley a few seconds after stopping a Jodie Ward shot. That was the most dangerous moment Crystal Palace managed to create in the match, but it only filmed well, nothing else.
The easy part of the schedule for Arsenal is over. It’s Liverpool they’re playing next, and after that come Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, that even under David Moyes are not a threat to be taken lightly. The loss against Dortmund did tell us that the team aren’t as unbeatable as their league form might have suggested, but that is understandable, especially against last year’s Champions League finalists.
One problem that Wenger might now have is in his defensive midfield. Mathieu Flamini managed to last only 8 minutes after being taken off for an injury, and Mikel Arteta will now be suspended for at least one match. Without the two, he might have to resort once more to using both Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey as his central midfielders, something that worked quite well early on in the season, but obviously doesn’t offer the same defensive traits we see from the French – Spanish partnership. Arsene Wenger loves rotations, but not when they’re forced upon him.