We’re off to one of our best starts in the Premier League, 8 points out of 12, unbeaten, and only one goal against in the first four games.
Our defence has been very solid, pivoted around exceptionally strong performances by our center back pairing of Mertesacker and Vermaelen. they along with Gibbs and Jenkinson, thanks to the coaching of Steve Bould, have gained a new positional sense, and are stirring up memories of our famous back four.
Before I go overboard I must remind myself that neither Sunderland nor Stoke tried to play offensive football which made our defensive task a whole lot easier, but that’s happened to us many times before and we’ve fallen foul to a sucker punch and had a goal scored against us – so credit is given where credit is due.
The mid-field is pure magic, who could have guessed that a five foot six, two footed Spaniard would make such an enormous difference to our team? Santiago has fitted in better than O.J. Simpson’s glove.
When have we seen a stronger more in depth mid-field? Diaby has a renewed sense of purpose, Arteta is a master technician and seems to thrive in the company of Santi, Ramsey is looking like the player he was developing into, pre Shawcross, Coquelin is a star in the making and we have Rosicky, Frimpong and Wilshere in the wings awaiting return.
What an offensive display we put on against Southampton, simply as good as I’ve seen in 65 seasons – and that is not an exaggeration. Of course I recognize that we played against a defensively weak team – but they were the same team that scared the poop out of the Manchester sides.
Podolski does not just look the part – he IS the part and has improved in each of his games, on Saturday Gervinho put in a masterful display of football – and long may it last. Walcott has to get off of the fence and make a decision on his future. We need fully committed players, i.e. Oxide who gives everything he has in every game.
Giroud will come good, but the longer it takes for him to score the tougher he’s going to find life in the Premier League.
In spite of Saturday’s display I fear for our lack of depth up front, the only other strikers in our squad (until the January 2013 transfer window opens) are Arshavin, Chamakh and under 21’s, so the last thing we need is an injury to one of our main strikers.
Goal keeping has been our Achilles heel for several seasons and our reliance on a 22 year olds confidence level is a tad scary, Mannone has looked like a good replacement and after that we only have Fabianski. It looks like a major omission in not bringing in a top shelf keeper during the summer.
Can we win the Premier League in 2012/13?
Even though I have very positive vibes about our team and our performances I feel that lady luck, and good refereeing decisions, will play a huge part in our fortunes this season.
Injuries to our strikers could hurt us badly and shaky goal tending could be our downfall, the type of errors made against Southampton will cost us points against any of the top teams.
Talking about the top teams, who I see as Arsenal, Man U, Man C, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and Newcastle, I fully believe that our games against them will tell a bigger story.
I’ve broken our schedule down into 4 segments to highlight our games against each of them.
During the 1st segment of 10 games (Aug 18th to Nov 3rd) we play Liverpool (won 2-0) back to back games against Man C and Chelsea and then Man U.
During the 2nd segment of 9 games (Nov 10th to Dec 26th) we only play against Spurs.
During the 3rd segment of 10 games (Dec 29th to Mar 9th) we play Newcastle, and then in consecutive weeks, Man C, Chelsea and Liverpool, and finally Spurs.
During the 4th segment of 9 games (Mar 16th to May 19th) we play Man U and then Newcastle on the final day of the season.
So, in a segment sense, our 1st and 3rd segments are critical with the 3rd segment being immense with 5 out of 10 games being against the top teams.
Having the 3rd segment (Dec 29th to Mar 9th) as our most difficult is not all bad as it falls during the winter transfer window (Jan 1st to Jan 31st) which give us an ideal opportunity to bring in new recruits to strengthen the squad.
All in all I feel that a top 3 is our most realistic goal but I would not be shocked to see us win the league – however I feel that a Cup is our most realistic chance of a trophy.
Written by GunnerN5