Majestic Diaby really does feel like a new signing

So the previous post was centred around my optimism surrounding two potential new central midfield players added to the already outstanding addition of Santi Cazorla. As happens all too often since the advent of twitter, the Sahn deal was all but confirmed by many supposedly reputable media sources. Like many of you I’m sure, I was pretty pissed off when he ended up on Merseyside because of difficulties surrounding personal terms and an option to buy clause. Shortly afterwards, in a rare moment of supposed honesty, Arsene told us he intended to sign a defensive midfield player to replace Song. So there we were at 11.00pm on Friday in disbelief as yet again we failed to end up in the red. But should we really have been surprised? and can we really challenge for trophies with the current squad?

My outlook continues to be hopeful even without foreign investment. My previous assessment suggested that a squad with more depth and more creativity in the middle of the park would unify and stabilise the team as a whole. Arsene seems to be of the opinion that the return of Wilshere and Diaby will provide this, and on the basis of the performance against Liverpool, It looks like he could be right. I’m sure no-one enjoyed watching Diaby bullying Sahin on Sunday more than Wenger himself. He really does have something of a Vieira about him and it’s great to see him playing at all after the injury ravaged few years. Interestingly Guillem Balague has been speaking about Real Madrid’s interest in Cazorla 3 years ago highlighting the quality of the little man.

“Real Madrid tried to sign Cazorla from Villarreal 3 years ago. Cazorla wanted to go, but Real Madrid’s wage offer wasn’t great. Villarreal offered Cazorla a contract extension with better wages than Real Madrid offered, so Cazorla stayed at Villarreal”

I watched the match on Sunday with a couple of Liverpool fans who, off the back of their draw against City and the introduction of Brendan Rodgers’ style of football, predicted that they would dominate possession and win the midfield battle. How wrong they were.. It was great fun to watch Arteta, Diaby and Cazorla keep the ball so efficiently but crucially also use it so effectively. Something I haven’t seen from an Arsenal midfield for many years. Unbelievably Mikel Arteta has averaged 96 passes per game thus far, more than any Stoke player has made overall!

Podolski and the Ox, whilst still providing pace, work incredibly hard and have the technical ability to penetrate in the final 3rd. The usual frustration with Gervinho and Walcott running into brick walls was absent and I think those two would be better off used as impact subs if we need an injection of pace. As a team we still haven’t conceded a goal, the best defensive record at this stage for 80 odd years. We’ve made more tackles than any other Premier League team. How much of this is down to Steve Bould I’m not sure but everyone seems to understand their role and their responsibility so long may that continue.

Before the Liverpool match the odds on us winning the league were 25-1, straight afterwards they were slashed to 12-1…. Just sayin.

Clearly it’s far too early to make any real judgement. Of the last 5 leading teams going into the first international break, only Chelsea in 09/10 have gone on to win. I’m aware that there is a need to ground my sickening positivity in some realism. Much harder tests lie ahead. We have the international break to look forward to which will give my own XI-a-side season a chance to get under way. The team name this year is ‘Bacardi Sagna’ if you’re interested. Hopefully shortly after the break the real Sagna will be back in training with a certain Jack Wilshere to follow shortly afterwards. Let’s pray for no horror injuries on international weekend. Nick

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