Unusually, the Arsenal vs Coventry game was not on tv and not available to stream online. For those of us who were not at the Emirates Stadium yesterday evening, the only way to keep up to date was via a few links to some radio stream. The good news is that match highlights (and the full game if you really want to sit for an hour and a half) are available on Arsenal Player. Below are my thoughts:
1) The first thing that I have to say is that we can’t really draw any direct conclusions from this game. We did win 6-1, but we have to remember that Coventry are a League 1 team and Arsenal fans need stay grounded. It was a slightly weaker team than normal, but it was still pretty strong bearing in mind how Arsène Wenger’s teams have previously lined up in the
Carling Capital One Cup. That said, take nothing away from the performance. This result (along with 6-1 Southampton and 1-1 City) will give us great confidence ahead of Saturday’s match against Chelsea.
2) After 354 minutes of game time Olivier Giroud finally broke his Arsenal duck with a nice chipped finish just before half time. Despite failing to score in his first 6 appearances for Arsenal, I don’t think that too many Arsenal fans were worried. His performances up to this point have been pretty good and he hasn’t started that many games.
Arsene Wenger said:
“It was in everybody’s mind that the sooner he gets it the better. It was in his mind more than our minds. It’s positive that he has scored.
It was a good finish. He’s a good finisher. I believe he is looking for confidence and that goal will help him. I expect him to score now in the Premier League.”
2 b) But Giroud missed a penalty… Unfortunately Olivier will have taken a slight knock-back after he missed a penalty, but I don’t expect this to have too big an effect. He has scored his goal and that is all he needed to gain a bit of confidence.
3) Giroud will not get a start against Chelsea. In his post-match interview, Wenger said about Giroud:
“I expect him to take that confidence into the Champions League”.
Wenger is talking about our Champions League game against Olympiakos next Wednesday, but we still have to play Chelsea in the early kick-off this Saturday. Giroud is unlikely to be given a start only a few days after he played against Coventry, but will probably be included amongst the substitutes.
4) Theo Walcott is looking very sharp. With Lukas Podolski and Gervinho both in great form, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hot on his heels, Theo Walcott has not had the start of the season that he would have wanted. However, Theo took the opportunity to show Wenger why he should be in the starting XI on Saturday. Theo’s finishing has definitely improved over the last few years as he looks to show Wenger why he should be played as a central striker.
On Walcott as a central striker, Wenger said:
“I’m not against it. He’s a great finisher now and in front of goal he is amazing.
“We’ll try but at the moment there’s big competition. The team is doing well and his time will come. We have to be patient.”
5) Andrey Arshavin can still be an important squad member. Andrey has hardly had a look-in so far this season, so yesterday was a big game for him to show why he deserves his place at the club. Most Arsenal fans probably thought that he was going to be sold over the summer. The little Russian did not look like his usual lazy self, but was extremely energetic and his goal and assist were enough to earn him the man-of-the-match on Arsenal.com
Wenger said on Arshavin:
“His best position looks to be behind the striker now.
“That is where his vision and the creative side of his game can be very efficient, when he has to work on the flank it is sometimes working against him because he has to work too hard up and down. When he is central he is also an influence on the game.”