Welcome to my Arsenal blog for the 2015/16 season; here you can check out my thoughts on the current goings on at the club.
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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Bendtner scores as Arsenal maintain lead at the top

Yes, you read that right, Nicklas Bendtner actually scored. It's been a long time coming but the Dane finally scored again in an Arsenal shirt. His first goal of the season came just a minute in as Ozil scored in the second half to wrap up a 2-0 win. It was an incredibly comfortable win which ensured that we remained 4 points clear at the top of the Premier League. We were able to rotate players with 5 being rested in total, something which would not have been possible earlier in the season. Nicklas Bendtner started in place of Giroud whilst Jenkinson came in for Sagna who had a slight hamstring problem. Meanwhile Monreal, Flamini and Rosicky replaced Gibbs, Arteta and Wilshere respectively.
Nicklas Bendtner scored on his first league start of the season
Hull were on the back of a 3-1 win over Liverpool at the weekend which meant this game was probably expected to be a tougher game than we had originally thought. The Tigers are doing much better than expected in the Premier League this season and currently sit mid-table. However, Hull looked a completely different side to the one that had comfortably beaten Liverpool. We absolutely dominated them on possession and they did well to restrict us to just the two goals.

The main talking point from the game was Nicklas Bendtner. This was his first Arsenal start since 2011 and his goal was his first for the club since a hat-trick against Leyton Orient in the FA Cup in the same year. To finish it all off it was his first Premier League goal for us since December 2010. His finish was fairly simple but with only a minute on the clock gave Arsenal hope that maybe Super Nick could actually perform in an Arsenal shirt. It was a lovely cross in from Jenkinson which the Dane could hardly miss as he rose the highest to head home. He's been slated a lot, but as mentioned just after deadline day when I featured him in a post, he's more than capable of playing the odd game now and again. That's excluding the big games though. If he plays like he did against Hull yesterday then I'm sure he'll grab a few more goals along the way. If he plays like he did against Chelsea though a few months back, then expect the fans to be on his back again. He did miss an easy chance and there were a few passes that went astray but he was much better than he'd been all season. It was a big gamble from Wenger, but one that luckily paid off.

The other goal scorer, Mesut Ozil, is beginning to find some form again after his brilliant start to the campaign. He had a few quiet games but he's now got 3 assists and 1 goal in his last 3 games which is very encouraging. He put in a man of the match performance and his class showed. He created a lot of chances and then after the break put one away himself with a lovely controlled finish at the near post. Aaron Ramsey played a lovely reverse ball into him on another productive night for the Welshman.

Moving onto someone who perhaps isn't in the best of form, Santi Cazorla. He had a spell on the sidelines with an injury but since he's come back into the team he hasn't been as good as he can be. Last season everything seemed to come through the Spaniard who was playing in a more central position. He's being played out on the wing, a position that he's more than capable of doing a job at but he's not putting in the displays we're used to seeing. Cazorla has been a little quiet and I think we all can't wait for him to be back to his best.

A final mention goes to the defence. Two different men were in the back four in Jenkinson and Monreal but that didn't seem to matter as we kept yet another clean sheet. Jenkinson provided an assist for Bendtner's goal but wasn't really troubled. Nacho Monreal on the other hand was very solid though. The fact that we can bring in a fully capped Spanish international in place of Kieran Gibbs is a luxury. There aren't many better reserve left backs out there. Monreal has been restricted in terms of game time this season but with a busy fixture schedule this month we should see him featuring a bit more.

It was brilliant to rest players and be able to still come out with the three points and a clean sheet to go with it. Something that we perhaps would not have been able to do in recent seasons. Giroud is also rested which should be a big bonus for our next game after he looked quite fatigued against Cardiff. Our next match is a tough one against an inform Everton side on Sunday. They've been solid at the back but are missing Leighton Baines. As long as we keep tabs on the likes of Lukaku then I think we'll be able to come out on top.

The teams lineups:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey(80), Rosicky(73), Ozil, Cazorla, Bendtner(73).
Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta(80), Wilshere(73), Walcott(73), Giroud.

Hull City: McGregor, Elmohamady, Chester, Bruce, Figueroa, Meyler, Huddlestone, Livermore, Brady(58), Graham(58), Sagbo(74).
Subs: Harper, Rosenior(58), Faye, Koren, Gedo(74), Fryatt, Boyd(58).

My man of the match: Mesut Ozil.

Referee: Andre Marriner
Attendance: 60,017

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