I suspect Santi Cazorla reads Goal.com.
Last week, I wrote about his wastefulness in front of goal, and what was his response? An absolute gem of a goal against West Ham, that’s what!
His sumptuous strike just spoke of immense technique, and I was then made aware of the following statistic: Cazorla scored the most goals from outside the box last season, if you consider the top four leagues in Europe. Well, let’s hope this weekend’s stunner is a sign of lots more to come.
That goal truly sealed the three points, but this was no easy win by any means.
With Sam Allardyce at the reins and Andy Carroll in the lineup, we were always going to be at the receiving end of an aerial barrage. I thought Carroll played a tremendous game, winning practically every header there was to be won. And that’s even though we had Mertesacker in our defence!
Carroll scored a winner against us a couple of years ago in the colours of Newcastle, and he very nearly scored a carbon copy in the second half. To prevent future hearts-in-mouths moments, our keepers do need to be a lot more decisive, and not be beaten in a straight jump for a high ball, regardless of the opposing player.
Other than that, I thought we dealt reasonably well with the second balls (after Carroll had won the first), apart from a couple of missed chances from the normally reliable Kevin Nolan. Of course, West Ham would go on to score via a rather more unexpected route.
Diame’s opener was really well taken, but more worrying was the ease with which he found space in our penalty area. As mentioned last week, our midfield trio may lack a little defensive steel at times. With all due respect afforded, Ramsey isn’t the person I want to see tracking opposition attackers week in week out.
Onto the good stuff then, wasn’t Giroud’s goal the quintessential striker’s goal? Powering into the box, meeting a quality cross, and smashing it past the keeper. That’s precisely what we bought him for, and he now gives Wenger the interesting dilemma of who to play as the central striker.
Someone who wants his name thrown into that hat is Walcott, who had a real influence on the game after coming on. His finishing has come leaps and bounds in the last couple of seasons, but goals alone do not make a convincing argument for him to be deployed as a striker.
His goals this season have come with him deployed as a wide man, so that may well justify his continuation in that part of the field. More importantly for him now, Theo needs to convince Arsene that he can produce from the first minute, rather than as an impact sub.
Still, it’s awesome that we are getting goals from all over. Our last six goals have been from six unique scorers, which is a far cry from the ‘one-man team’ we were purported to be last season. What that means is that it should be far more difficult for teams to defend against us.
Newsflash: it’s not as simple as marking our main striker really closely.
The defeat to Chelsea has been temporarily forgotten with our pair of 3-1 wins, but now it’s back to crossing our fingers and muttering silent prayers that our players come back from international duty unscathed. A clean bill of health would go a long way to preserving our so-far-so-good start to October.
Come on you Gunners!