Arsenal’s Premier League season started on a low when they lost their first league game of the season to Aston Villa and to rub salts into injury, the loss was right before the home fans at the Emirates. The Gunners made amends by ending the season on the high when they beat Norwich this time on the road at Carrow Road. The match was dubbed a dead rubber as both teams had their fate already sealed prior to the game. Arsenal had already sealed a the 4th spot while Norwich had been condemned to relegation. Two 2nd half goals from Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson gave the Gunners maximum points against the Canaries. Let me share my thoughts from the game with you.
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Szczesny benched – this was a decision I find very bizarre and hard to understand. The Pole had been in goal all through the season and was on course to win the golden glove award. Prior to the game, he was tied on 16 clean sheets with Chelsea’s Petr Cech and he needed one more to leapfrog the Czech stopper. Wenger didn’t help his cause by benching him and fielding his older compatriot in his stead. This decision shocked me because it was faux pass from Wenger who is a very good man- manager.
Could it be a last ditch attempt to convince Fabianski to stay or could it be that Wenger is planning to play Szczesny in the FA Cup final? If it is to convince Fabianski to stay, playing him in the all important FA Cup final will do the cause more good than playing him in a dead rubber insignificant league game. I just hope that singular decision hasn’t bruised Szczesny’s ego. If we can’t win the golden boot or PFA award, winning the golden glove would have been good for the club but Wenger knows.
Diaby returns to a rapturous welcome – what an irony for the Frenchman as he finally played his first league game of the season on the last day of the league. When he came on in the 2nd half, it was to a rapturous and thunderous applause. I wonder what it was for. Was it a send-off or an encouragement that he was still loved at the Emirates and shouldn’t give up fighting for his Arsenal career. With his Arsenal contract ending next summer, I doubt if he will be sold this summer. Wenger may just be giving him the chance to prove he can stay fit and sincerely, I wish he does. It will be painful to endure the torrid spell of injuries, sell him off and then watch him stay fit and shine somewhere else. It is a big decision for Wenger and his assistants to make.
Ramsey’s blockbuster goal – what a way to end the league season and enter double figures for league goals. Ramsey’s sublime volley from Giroud’s pinpoint cross ranks as one of the best from the many good goals he has scored this season. Watching the goal, I wonder what would have been if he had stayed fit for the three crucial months we desperately needed him to keep our title push alive.
Jenkinson grabs first goal ever for Arsenal – Arsenal’s Finn/English right back Carl Jenkinson got his first ever goal for Arsenal. The goal might have looked normal since it was a tap in but the jubilation was over the top. That is what happens when you have a fan as a player. It is unfortunate that Jenkinson isn’t Arsenal grade at the moment but I believe with time he would grow to become one and then we can see a fan churning out world class performances for Arsenal.
Stars rested – Wenger decided to give some of his top players a breather and that isn’t unexpected considering the fact that the Gunners have an all important FA Cup final clash against Hull next weekend. Why risk the best legs in a match of no significance? Wenger rested some key players but still maintained the balance of the team. He rested Mertesacker but the defence wasn’t weak, rested Flamini, the midfield still had solidity and shape. Ozil and Gibbs might have played full minutes
but they need to build form after some time out. I expect the Gunners full strength squad file out against Hull in the FA Cup final as we bid to put to rest the ghost of the trophy drought.