After my own summer break, it was good to get back home to The Emirates, and to my shiny new seat in the Clock End. I made the move from the North Upper due to the fact my son now wanted to come to games and therefore I needed to make each week more financially viable. I smirk at the media when they talk about the cost of going to The Emirates. They of course mainly fail to mention that our ticket prices include 7 cup games (inc the CL). But for me, now in the Family Enclosure my son’s ticket is £15 on average a game and mine £45. That sounds pretty good to me. The view isn’t too bad either.
So another CL Qualifier beckoned – our punishment for dropping like a stone in the league following Theo’s injury in January. I always worry about the qualifying tie when you play a team you have heard of and have no away goals. The build up was of course all about Giroud’s freak injury. How many more long-term injuries can we get. Unlucky doesn’t even come close to describing our injury issues, and it is always to our key players. In this instance our one and only experienced striker who sits nicely on the 4-5-1 Wenger formation.
The noises from the Le Boss are not encouraging that we will sign anyone within the next week. I always have hope, but have been let down many times. If we do not sign a recognised striker and the much needed DM we have been craving for, I am sorry to say that you can kiss the league goodbye. Winning the FA Cup and buying Sanchez hasn’t changed anything in regards to our depth in key areas. I am of course happy to be proved wrong.
As for the game, it was a tense night but always felt that we were going to go through. It was nice that our new number 17 secured our 17th successive year in the CL. Agreed, we will probably not win it but its great to be in it.
I thought our overall performance was OK. You can clearly see we need more time on the training pitch. At the back Kos and BFG were immense and Monreal was for once a lot more composed. Chesney really didn’t have a save to make. I think Debuchy has slotted in very well into the hole vacated by Bacary ‘I moved for football reasons’ Sagna. No way should he have been given two yellows as the round of applause he got as he trudged off would tell you. But when you had a ref who booked Chambers for apparently coming on a bit too quick and Chesney for time-wasting, anything was going to happen.
In midfield, many hailed Jack’s performance. It was better but still he needs to work on his distribution. At the end when the pressure was on we still saw wayward passing. The Ox started well but seemed to fade. Santi had moments. Flamini for me was superb and my MOTM. Sadly you know he can only play 5 games in a row until the inevitable next suspension.
As for Ozil – I always have time for him when others in the media don’t. Only 2nd game back aside, yes, he seemed to pull out of tackles a little too easily, lost possession in key areas and went down some numerous blind alleys, but his control and movement was good. For me, all this doesn’t matter – he played the ball to Jack/Sanchez for the goal and that is all that matters – one killer pass for the goal. I’ll take that every week.
Lastly to Sanchez. One of those moments you can say I was there for his first goal. He took that well and was a constant threat. His energy is astonishing and let’s hope he can keep it up. Wenger seems to think he the striker we needed, only time will tell. He now has even more pressure on him with Giroud’s injury.
All eyes now on the draw at 16:45 UK time. Not holding my breath for an easy draw or us winning it- but man it’s always exciting to be in it. You’ve got to be in it to win it. 17th time lucky? Who knows.