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Optimism is almost rife
Yep. Optimism is almost rife - who'd have thought it?
So are we in with a real shout at the title this season? Well I'd have to say its way too early to say but its quite obvious to all that we're playing well, playing as a team, looking good and generally looking more solid. Not entirely solid, but pretty solid. Our foward options are limited however and our goal-scoring, Southampton apart, has been fairly mediocre by past standards. Although I'd suspect that this will improve as our new players gain a further understanding of the pace of the Premiership together with a better understanding of each others play.
It's all fairly heartening. The biggest plus for me has been the solid look of a team who defend as a unit rather than as seperate sections of the same team. This has resulted in minimal panicking.
As for the players:
The midfield looks seriously outstanding. Atreta has looked majestically controlled and is now playing like the new Gilberto. Santi Cazorla has looked to be possibly THE buy of the Premiership season thus far. For my money he's the most two-footed player we've had since Geordie Armstrong. Diaby looks like some of us always believed he could and is growing in confidence game by game, not to mention stature. Aaron once again showed at the Etihad the potential we knew he had prior to his horrific injury, he's really back now and beginning to fire on all cylinders again. With the Ox coming on stream as a force and Rosicky yet to return that would be good enough news. But factor in the pending return of young Jack and our midfield strength in depth bodes seriously well and looks hard to match. Add in the versatile Coquelin and I think we're sorted in midfield. Frimpong is down to 8th in the pecking order and he's also a reasonable prospect. We lack no depth here.
Up front Podolski clearly doesn't take prisoners, looks like he was made for the Premiership and is settling in nicely. Grevinho is making great runs, taking up great positions but unfortunately rushing his shots. Someone needs to tel Gervinho that Henry didn't get motoring on the goal stakes till he learned to calm down and pass it into the net. Giroud hasn't found his feet yet but I'm confident he will. Walcott for all the problems, mainly an arsehole agent, would most probably have flourished this season. And his pace is still a major asset for us no matter what some might think. Chamakh I've written off but we still have the options of the Ox or Ramsey who can slot into our front line. Should we want to slow our play down and not bother to track back there is of course always Arshavin.
We have three top quality centre backs vying for places, which allows each a break if they stay fit. They're now all past their Premiership learning curve and beginning to flourish under Uncle Bouldie. Jenkinson is my pick for most improved player, although Gibbs is running him fairly close in this respect. What an engine Carl has and how well he uses it. With Sagna and Santos also on tap the fullback position looks well covered this season for once.
Not so the keepers both of whom have been less than perfect, but at least we know they've got what it takes and Szczesny has all the potential we could wish for.
If it were my money I'd look for a forward in January and ditch Chamakh. But even without another forward we're definately getting there.
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