By Tony Attwood
Season openings can be exciting, frustrating and misleading.
Frustration seemed to be the order of the day in 2012/13 as Arsenal sold not only Robin van Persie but also Alex Song.
The pre-season games had proven a mixed bag, and included one match against a Nigerian team that was postponed until the summer of 2013 and them seemingly abandoned completely. Here’s the 2012 summer main results…
There was no early Champions League qualifier in 2012, so after that it was straight into the league, and the natives were decidedly unhappy.
Here’s Gf60’s take on the openers written at the time.
18 August 2012
Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0
So after a very frustrating week for Gooners who’ve been loyal to the club since Pa did his fallin’ orf the bus trick, the season started after we’d seen how far player loyalty to the club goes these days.
Adding Song to the v P exodus was a real kick in the groin. From being a liability, AW’s belief in him allowed him to turn into a quality player. Pity it didn’t give him a moral quality. Maybe AW, who doesn’t believe in Captains, should hand the armband to one of those that we do seem to want to move on. Paddy; Thierry; Cesc and now vP is beyond a joke.
Ungrateful *^$#%@ aside, I think my greatest let down from this game was that James, my eldest grandson was at the Grove for the first time and didn’t have a win to celebrate. But he caught up with Jack Wilshere afterwards and got his autograph, so it wasn’t all frustration.
And, let’s face it, he could have seen a loss…the gap that opened up early on for McLean to run through could have accommodated 5 Mac trucks. What defensive system was that Bouldy? The “Give Ches early exercise” routine?
And that was about all Ches had to do for the whole game. Even playing as slowly as we were, it was very much one way traffic. Presumably the heat (claimed to be have been about 35 at pitch level) had much to do with the pace of the game, although Cattermole seemed to have wings when necessary to break down some promising attacks. But that’s all our attacks were throughout…promising.
22 odd shots of which 3 were on target sort of rings bells, but only one, Olly Giroud managing to miss when put through by Santi, had me jumping up in anticipation. Olly looks like he will be a more than useful asset (It took Thierry about 8 games before he stopped threatening the clock rather than the net.) and Santi really looks a class act.
If Pod, Vinho and Theo get some understanding together, then we could be having some fun. But yesterday it looked as though running into space was too much hard work. Wonder what they were thinking about at Fulham and QPR?
Unfortunately most of those who’d had a bit of heat acclimatization in Asia weren’t playing, those that hadn’t played much together were. I do hope that we sold lots and lots of shirts in Asia…otherwise it was a bit of a waste.
Stoke 0 Arsenal 0
26 August 2012
Oh dear. 70% possession; Stoke time wasting; 12 corners to 0. Stoke 2 yellows to our zero. Lee Mason almost having a reasonable whistle…and we still can’t put a goal in.
Only consolation is that this year, unlike last, we’ve had two shut outs and no red or yellow cards. We also played very much faster this week than last and whilst more misplaced passes resulted, we looked a deal more confident. Talking of misplaced passes, Diaby, albeit it’s good to see him performing for more than 20 minutes, has to be the most infuriating player in the squad. How can he do such much that is outstanding and then screw up all the hard work? Unbelievable.
The defence looked very cool and Mikel and Santi were running the show from midfield. But patently, we are still short of the fluency that will occur once the players start understanding each others’ foibles and strengths. Let’s face it, Pod, Olly and Santi probably didn’t know each other three weeks ago, let alone the rest of the squad. Unlike last week, Vinho didn’t look like he knew anybody.
Maybe it’s unfair to think of this game as being 2 points dropped, bearing in mind previous games here, but we really should have had the lot here.
Next up in the 2012/13 season: Liverpool away.