Not the start we were hoping for. The personnel may have changed slightly with new signings Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla both being handed their competitive debuts, but the same old problems were on show.
We enjoyed 70% possession and created over 20 shots on goal but the Sunderland keeper only really made 1 save of note, tipping over a fierce Cazorla effort early on. In fact, we only hit the target 3 times throughout the game.
Many will point to the fact Sunderland basically played for a draw with 10-men firmly behind the ball, and they will have a point. BUT this has been an issue at home for years now and we must find a way to break down stubborn defences.
The tempo wasn’t high enough, there was a lack of movement off the ball and our finishing wasn’t good enough. All these things, and more, must be worked on in training. We know teams will come to the Emirates to frustrate, it’s up to us to find a way past.
Here are my ratings from the game:
Szczesny – 6 – Smart stop early on but relatively un-troubled thereafter. Easy day at the office.
Jenkinson – 5 – Still doesn’t look like he’s ready for regular first team football yet. Decent crosser but positionally inept.
Mertesacker – 6.5 – Saved us a few times in the first half but was also at fault for not holding his line early on and allowing Sunderland a chance on goal. Steady enough though.
Vermaelen – 6 – Unspectacular first outing as club captain. He dealt well with Sunderland when they did decide to come out their own half, but we didn’t really see any barn-storming runs forward.
Gibbs – 6 – Steady performance. Got forward a few times in the second half but delivery was poor. Caught out a couple of times in the first half at the back.
Diaby – 6 – A fairly labored display by Abou. Never really got hold of the game and offered little in attack and lack of movement off the ball. Subbed.
Arteta – 6.5 – Kept things ticking over in the middle of the park. Free kicks were pretty poor though.
Cazorla – 7.5 – Encouraging start from the Spaniard. Looks superb on the ball and will certainly chip in with his fair share of goals judging on this display. Went close with a thunderous early long-range effort.
Walcott – 5.5 – Was a danger in the first half at times but faded in the second. Scuffed a decent left foot effort. Subbed.
Gervinho – 8 – His best performance for a long, long time. Looked lively and positive and always willing to take his man on. Final ball needs some work and tends to hold on to the ball for too long at times but good work overall.
Podolski – 5 – Slightly disappointing from the German. He started well and was getting in some dangerous positions but began to get in Cazorla’s way on occasion and wasn’t making the right runs. It’s early days and he’ll need some time to gel. Still think he’ll be a big success. Subbed.
Giroud -5 – On for Podolski and missed the best chance of the game when he was put through by Cazorla but blazed wide from 12 yards.
Arshavin – 5 – On for Theo but didn’t really make an impact.
Ramsey – 5.5 – On for Diaby and had a couple of speculative shots but couldn’t find a way through. At least he was trying.
So poor start but there is still two weeks left of the transfer window and Alex Song has followed RVP out the door, with Arsenal confirming after the game today that he’s off to Barcelona for around £15m. Le Boss has plenty of cash to invest so time to start spending it Arsene.
A defensive midfielder and a utility defender is the minimum requirement, many also feel we could do with another forward/striker. Lets see what Wenger brings us….
You can watch highlights from the game here. Next up Stoke away. Always an enjoyable trip!
What were your player ratings from the game? Who should Wenger buy before the window closes? Get involved in the comments section.