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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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Wilshere shines as Arsenal beat Villa

Arsenal managed to atone for their opening day defeat against Aston Villa by beating them 2-1 on Monday night. Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud scored goals a minute apart from each other before Benteke scored late on to set up a nervy finish. However, the Gunners were resilient and despite a flurry from the hosts in the last ten minutes, we managed to come away with all three points. It was a vital three points as well with every club in the top seven winning over the weekend. In terms of the line-up Arsenal put it out, there were a few changes from the win over Spurs. Giroud and Ozil returned after injury whilst Szczesny regained his place after being rested. Meanwhile Serge Gnabry retained his place after impressing in the Cup.
Jack Wilshere starred as Arsenal maintained the pace at the top of the League
It had been nine days since our last game against Spurs, meaning that the players had a very good opportunity to recharge their batteries after a hectic Christmas and New Year period. It had meant that the likes of Ozil and Giroud had a chance to come back fully fit along with Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain who were also returning from injuries. Having lost to Villa earlier in the season it was a brilliant chance to put things right and we did in fairly comfortable fashion up until Benteke's goal. Once again though, as against Newcastle and other sides this season we've managed to see a game out when leading by only one goal. Something that may not have happened last season.

The goals we scored though were of great quality and it was nice to see us not trying to walk the ball into the net for once. We'd built up a lot of early pressure but Villa had effectively parked the bus and it was proving very difficult to break them down. Mesut Ozil played a brilliant ball in behind to Monreal who pulled the ball back to Wilshere who found the net with a precise finish. Villa Park brings back happy memories for Wilshere who scored his first ever Arsenal goal there back in 2010. For the next goal Wilshere turned provider, clipping in a lovely ball to Giroud who then buried his chance beyond Guzan for 2-0. Jack Wilshere was a revelation in this game and completely deserved the man of the match award. After a slow start to the season, he's beginning to pick up some real form when playing in his preferred deep lying role. The talented midfielder now has five goals this season, the most he's scored in a single campaign so far.

The goal we conceded though was not like us at all. Santi Cazorla had been giving the ball away cheaply quite a lot but it hadn't cost us up until the goal. Instead of clearing the ball down field he passed it straight to Lowton who found Benteke with a brilliant cross. Although on a long run of games without scoring Benteke couldn't miss. Cue angry hand gestures from Mertesacker in the direction of Cazorla. That's twice this season that we've seen Per get extremely angry at something which shows the dominant leader that he has become. The Villa game was the German's 100th appearance for the club. In that time he's only lost 19 games, drawing 18 and winning a massive 62 times. When Mertesacker and Koscielny have completed 90 minutes together, we have not lost since January 2012, a quite incredible record.

Apart from conceding, the only bad points from the game where the injuries to Monreal and Rosicky. Yes, more injuries, as if we didn't have enough already? Monreal hobbled off after the hour mark after clashing with a Villa player whilst Rosicky got an elbow in the face. The consequence? A broken nose for the Czech international. On in place of Rosicky was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has missed the last six months having been injured in the corresponding fixture in August. It's a relief to have him back, especially with the news of Walcott. The Ox made an encouraging come back and made a few good driving runs late on. There's definite potential there for the rest of the season that's for sure.

Next up is a game against a struggling Fulham side at the Emirates. Should be easy enough shouldn't it? We've conceded just one in our last few games at home and we seem to be in pretty good form. Every thing's looking pretty nice as we play a relegation threatened side who haven't been good at all this season.

The teams line-ups:

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Baker(21), Luna, El Ahmadi(73), Westwood, Delph, Agbonlahor, Benteke. 
Subs: Steer, Sylla, Tonev, Bacuna(21), Albrighton, Weimann(73), Helenius. 

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal(66), Wilshere, Flamini, Gnabry(69), Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud.
Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Gibbs(66), Rosicky(69)((86), Oxlade-Chamberlain(86), Podolski, Park.

My man of the match: Jack Wilshere.

Referee: Neil Swarbrick.
Attendance: 36,097.  

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