Digging deep…

The substitute saves the day...

The substitute saves the day…

For the second time in their two opening Premier League matches of the season, Arsenal fought back and avoided defeat. Both games saw late Aaron Ramsey goals but that’s where the similarities end. We did not win on Saturday but it felt like a victory because we came away from Goodison Park with a point despite a shambolic display. We deserved three points against Palace purely because of the enormous possession stats in our favour. However, we were truly awful for 80 minutes against Everton so the fact we fought back for a draw bodes well for the future.

A criticism of Arsenal in recent years has been that we crumble too easily and don’t have the ability to salvage points even when we’re playing badly. The horrendous mauling’s at Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton last season proved that. Just like our previous trip to Goodison Park in April, we were 2-0 down but this time around, we did not collapse and slip to a 3-0 (or even worse) defeat. I think that shows a real improvement. People are claiming that the late goals are pure luck but when Manchester United used to do it, it was hailed as showing their mental strength and a true sign of potential Champions.

I feared the worst the longer the second half went on and we remained 2-0 down. With 10 minutes left, I was confident that our first loss of the season was on the cards and I had accepted that fate. It was annoying but not the end of the world, as we were only two games into the season. Even when Ramsey slid in to make it 2-1, I thought it was too late for a comeback. I definitely gave up hope when our star man Ramsey produced a wayward cross heading for the corner flag (if he couldn’t do it, no one could or so I thought). I looked on in sheer disbelief as Monreal delivered a perfect ball to Giroud who beat Distin and headed in the equaliser.

We had a chance to win it straight from kick off but I was content with a point and a late win would have definitely been daylight robbery. I would have taken 2-2 before the match, as Goodison Park is a tricky away day and Everton are a very good team. The game did show me two things but a lot of Arsenal fans won’t agree with what I have to say. I really don’t believe we need a top bracket striker because the goals will come eventually, whether that is from midfield or current strikers. I’d much rather we spent our money on a top CDM rather than a striker. It’s no good having Cavani if we have a soft middle opposing teams can easily break down.

Anyway, the transfer window closes on Monday so we’ll see what happens. Arsene Wenger is difficult to read so I’m not going to predict what he does. There is the more important task of Champions League qualification tonight, which might influence who we buy.

By Glen Shorey


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