Another game, and a third consecutive win to ensure our unbeaten start to the season remained intact. But only by the skin of our teeth. After dominating the first 8 minutes, Vermaelen gave away a penalty after making an unnecessary challenge on Belhanda, who fell to the floor as if struck by lightning needless to say. Despite any queries or doubts over the penalty which could have gone either away and frequently do, it was chipped home comfortably by the falling forward, No.10 Belhanda. This goal out of nowhere appeared to shock Arsenal for the next 5 minutes, and the crowd came to life. But after quickly regaining our composure, Montpellier couldn’t handle the quick, slick passing from the midfield. Short-interchanges, from Diaby, to Cazorla, onto Giroud, who flicked it through to Podolski, one-on-one and there was no stopping him. Back of the net, game back on. 3 goals in his last 3 games for Podolski, pretty good going. Unlike another player we bought, Olivier Giroud. A neat assist was about his only noticeable contribution to the match. He worked hard, but too little endeavour. And in the second half there was no service to him at all, so we can’t blame him from that respect although I feel he should do more to get into the game rather than act as a long ball receptor.
Anyway, 2 minutes later, some more lovely football and a bit of luck, the ball sprang out wide to Jenkinson, who swung it in low for Gervinho to tap in. His 3rd goal in 2 games. A few more opportunities arose throughout the 1st half, but we failed to take them and this could have been to our demise in the second half. Luckily it wasn’t, and sometimes you need a bit of luck.
Montpellier came out in full attack mode, after one would presume receiving a rollocking in the dressing room at Half Time. They had at least 5 clear cut chances I can think of off the top of my head to score, but blazed them all either high or wide, bar one which struck the crossbar, and the other which Mannone did well to hang onto from close range. One thing’s for sure; play like that against City, or any other World-Class team for that matter, then we will be in trouble. The midfield ran out of legs it seemed, and this was noticeable in Diabys challenges, including perhaps a questionable penalty claim, and some of the other players poorer work-rates. I just hope they’ll all recover fully for Sundays game.
Regardless, let’s remain optimistic after what has been a very good start to the season, without getting ahead of ourselves. Unbeaten, best Goal Difference (with least conceded too) in the Premier League, sitting in 3rd place. 1st in Group B of the Champions League after an away game at the French Ligue 1 Champions. Podolski on fire, and a lot of the others playing well and finally making that step up too.
Stay tuned for Wenger’s reaction.