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I missed the first half of this one due to my commitments for Arsenal NYC FC (Sadly out in the group stage of the NYC Supporters Club tournament, but only on goal difference - and with a cathartic win over Barcelona to go out on). So, no ratings, no usual long-form report. But, I did want to share a few thoughts in bullet point form.
- All of the Olivier Giroud haters should have to march up to the nearest blackboard and write "I was wrong" 200 times. He was magnificent from the moment he came onto the pitch. His movement and hold-up play enabled Arsenal to get off of the back foot and start firing back, and of course it was he who popped up with the equalizer in the dying minutes of the match.
- If you are an Arsenal supporter and Aaron Ramsey isn't the captain of your fantasy team, what on earth are you doing? The man simply can't stop scoring at the moment. While every player has purple patches and down moments, of course, the way that Arsenal play means that a late-arriving attacking midfielder such as he will always get a ton of scoring chances.
- I wouldn't worry too much about Alexis Sanchez having (by all accounts) a rough game. It's his second outing in English football, let's give him a second to find his feet, eh?
- Along the same lines, let's all cool it about Mesut Ozil. He's not nearly match fit yet, he'll be fine when he gets some minutes under his belt.
- That relates to a larger point, actually. Our squad is not the finished article yet as far as team cohesion and fitness goes. Any non-loss result is a positive right now - take the points and run until you can get to a point where you've got everyone settled and playing well together. This goes double for a massively difficult fixture like Everton away, and double again for being down 2-0 at halftime.
- That said, referee Kevin Friend and his lino sidekicks were absolutely horrendous. Embarrassing. Never mind the fact that Everton's second goal was offside, but there was a foul not called in the build-up at the same level that would get Arsenal players whistled all throughout the second half. Don't even get me started on Ramsey's ridiculous second yellow - I would hope that Arsene appeals the shit out of that one.
The bottom line is that this result carries a tremendous feel-good factor to it heading into our all-important home date with Besiktas on Wednesday. Win that game, get one or two more reinforcements in, and this season just might shape up into something truly special.
Normal service will be resumed for that one