1) Steve Bould’s defensive work is producing successful results. Bould has worked extremely hard with the likes of Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Mertesacker and Gibbs to ensure that our team isn’t weak at defending from set pieces and when facing more physically imposing teams. We are yet to concede a goal this season. In my opinion, having Mertesacker in the team has made a big difference. Per may be slightly slower than Koscielny (he still has good pace, but he somewhat lacks in acceleration) but that doesn’t matter. He does his job really well and is will no doubt challenge for Laurent’s place in the starting line-up. Maybe Wenger should choose who he plays alongside Vermaelen based on the opposition rather than playing the same team each week?
2) Olivier Giroud is coming out of his shell and the goals will come. He needs to work on his finishing (-that could just be down to confidence!), but his movement off the ball is fantastic and his hold-up play is excellent. He was unlucky not to score with a long-range effort from the left channel with only a few minutes to go. Rest assured. The goals will come. Lukas Podolski looked sharp and I am not too worried that we didn’t score in the first two games.
3) The Stoke fans should be ashamed of their behavior during the game. Firstly, wearing anti-Wenger t-shirts and masks etc is just childish. Maybe they should spend more time supporting their team and not worrying about others teams/managers. Secondly, booing Aaron Ramsey was unnecessary and uncalled-for. Apparently the justification for booing is that Ramsey wouldn’t accept an apology from Ryan Shawcross, but I think that it is more because Aaron is an easy target.
4) Abou Diaby needs to move more in order to really influence the play by offering some attacking support. Diaby’s movement was rather static and he only ventured forward on occasion. He slowed down the play and made everything look a lot more difficult than it should be.
5) Arsenal still don’t threaten from set pieces. We had 11 corners and several free-kicks from decent positions, but nothing came from any of them. We had a relatively big team on the pitch (Mertesacker, Giroud and Diaby are all 6 foot 2 +), but that didn’t seem to make much of a difference. The corners were poor, the free-kicks straight at the wall. This is something that we really need to work on in training.