the sum of its parts
Arsenal v Chelsea: a game that neither team wanted to lose and a game that offered little to cement anyone’s view on the destination of the Premier League Trophy. Not starting with Flamini seemed to be a mistake given that the Chelsea midfield were quite combative, as the bruising on Arteta’s legs showed. Team selection for both team’s highlighted the lack of a world class striker in either camp but on boxing day Arsenal turned dominance into three points and this game showed Walcott’s value and the return of Podolski to strengthen the goal scoring ranks. Manchester City have many options, as do Chelsea but you feel that when the chips are down City can rely on a deadly finish to settle things. Is it possible that in the absence of an Aguero, Suarez or Negredo that a team that contributes with goals from all over the team will come out triumphant in May?
Domestically maybe so, however in Europe the high level finisher is key to achievement. The question on most Arsenal supporter’s minds is probably that in reference to the January transfer window. Will a new striker be added to the ranks? Given that most top strikers are cup tied in Europe I suspect that our manager will stick with Giroud, Podolski and the unknown quantity that is Sanogo.
Perhaps this course of action is best, the whole team ethic has got us this far and with those around us due to drop points over this holiday period it is essential that the whole team contribute to ensuring that we start the year with a lead at the top in order to give us the best possible start to 2014.
World class strikers often settle big games but teams win the others. My contention is that this year the team that claims the Premiership will not be the one that wins the big games but rather the one that doesn’t lose the ‘smaller’ games. The Arsenal’s team approach may yet win the day: Victoria Concordia Crescit indeed.