Ten thoughts on the Madness at the Madejski Stadium by Twig
1 Arsenal could have lost the game: On another day we would have lost the game 3-4. Indeed, after Martinez took that last goal-kick, I had thought the referee would call an end to proceedings. How 4 minutes of added on time ended up being 6 minutes we may never know. And again after Reading scored their fifth, Arsenal looked to be in danger of being knocked out. At that moment the game could have gone either way. I thought we would witness another Birmingham-like collapse but thankfully we held on for a victory.
2 Walcott has what it takes for the Arsenal Central Role: Wenger played Walcott more centrally in the game against Reading and he proved he just could deliver in that position. He scored three goals with two assists along the way. He scored important goals at crucial moments on the 45th, 90th and 120th minute to effectively give the game to Arsenal. He was a menace throughout the game and gave the Reading defenders a tough time. Impressive performance.
3 Arshavin’s still got it: What a drive by Arshavin! The way he seared into the heart of the Reading defence was jaw-dropping. He was full of energy and was helpful on the counterattack. Arshavin, Walcott and Eisfeld gave Arsenal a lot of pace which were lacking in recent games. It has to be mentioned though that Arshavin didn’t have a particularly impressive first half, which could be said of the whole team anyway, but even then, it seemed as if he could invent something out of nothing.
4 Eisfeld is the next big thing: Why does Wenger seem to accelerate Gnabry’s progression to the first team while keeping Eisfeld in the reserves? I do not know. Eisfeld is at least two years older and would have a bit more experience. He was quick and pacy and helped carry the ball from the defence to the attack. His introduction, along with Giroud, helped turn the game in our favour.The lad has got goals in him too.
5 Koscielny could have seen red: The referee was clearly lenient with Koscielny and could have just been sent off after picking up a yellow card earlier in the game. Even though he scored an own goal, he recovered impressively to score Arsenal’s third. (He seems to have developed a habit of scoring own goals but getting one back at the other end of the pitch!) He virtually drove the team from the back making many key interceptions. I feel he gave one of his best Arsenal performances.
6 Chamakh could still have a future with Arsenal: Chamakh gave a brilliant forward’s display and were it not for the mercurial performances of Arshavin and Walcott might have got the man-of-the-match award. This was not the old back-passing, goal-shy Chamakh that we are so used to. If he continues this way, he might give Podolski and Giroud some serious competition.
7 Giroud, Chamakh and Walcott can lead Arsenal: It seemed the attacking trident of Giroud, Chamakh and Walcott might just be the working formula for Arsenal. It is a combination of strength and pace and got Arsenal six goals yesterday night. Has Arsene finally found the best attacking combination for Arsenal? Would this make us shift from the old and very predictable 4-3-3 formation?
8 The game could have ended in big controversy: Walcott scored Arsenal’s equalizing goal on the 96th minute, but the linesman didn’t spot it. It had to take a Jenkinson follow-up to ensure that the goal stood. You wonder what would have happened had Jenkinson missed the target with that effort? It would surely have intensified the calls for goal-line technology to be introduced into football.
9 Jenkinson gave his biggest performance in an Arsenal Jersey: The lad had stood in admirably for Sagna while he was injured with several eye-catching displays. But on that night he gave us his biggest performance for Arsenal. Sagna has lots of experience and is a classy defender, but should he decide to move, or fail to shake off his injury woes, Arsenal have found a ready and able replacement in Jenkinson.
10 Arsenal can challenge this season: I believe Arsenal can challenge this season. The 7-5 victory would be a major boost and would surely rub off on the other members of the first team who didn’t play yesterday. The defence was awful but there was a lot to cheer when Arsenal went forward. Many players – Arshavin for example – provide Arsene with powerful weapons and he just has to find out how (and when) to use and motivate them to help the team. Our midfield is rich and our defence looks far stronger than it has ever been in recent years. If only Arsene can sort out the attack and get the formation right, I believe our seven-year wait for a trophy – any trophy – might just end this season.