Change is in the air. I’m going to try a new, more streamlined style on here, but more importantly, the tactics are reverting largely back to our original 4231, although we’re rid of the team instructions “stay on feet” and “push higher up”.
Also, a transfer has been completed; Mitchell van Bergen joins from Vitesse. A 17 year old right winger with a stack of potential for £3m is not bad. If he stays and achieves, the fee will triple.
Bournemouth 0-5 Arsenal (Alexis 4, Giroud)
[FA Cup] Arsenal 4-0 Gillingham (Belotti, Monreal, Ehmer (o.g.), Mavididi)
Stephy Mavididi takes advantage of an FA Cup cameo to score on his Arsenal debut.
Another transfer, another youngster. Ryan Sessegnon in from Fulham. A 16 year old left back, yet more potential, for £5m, which doubles if he’s a success.
So, a good start to January. But next, the first real test of 2017 with a rejuvenated Chelsea coming to the Emirates. Since hitting bottom spot in mid-November, Chelsea are unbeaten and up to 9th, having finally got to grips with Antonio Conte’s 343.
A mention of a slight balls-up on my account. Coquelin got injured against Bournemouth, for at least six weeks, and it then occurred to me that Kessie and Elneny both being at the African Nations was a problem. So Xhaka’s playing as the ball-winning midfielder. A lot.
It takes 2 minutes for the first goal, Walcott smashing home after a failure to clear a corner. Then the heavens open, and the game is end to end, riveting stuff from both sides. After 36 minutes Giroud rises above two defenders to nod in a lovely near post Walcott cross.
I urge the team to avoid any complacency and the second half is comfortable.
Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea
The third goal seals the deal and John Terry’s terrible day too. Theo Walcott somehow rising above him to head in a far post Gibbs cross.
Watford 0-2 Arsenal (Walcott, Welbeck)
And next, another big game at the Emirates, with the visit of Man City, who beat us back in September. We go with the same team that dispatched Chelsea so comfortably.
We start brilliantly, two chances before Alexis snatches the lead on 9 minutes. Man City roar back though with two chances of their own before Leroy Sane equalizes after some dreadful defending, Mustafi particularly dubious in his efforts. We trade chances during the first half, but City’s are better chances, and we’re lucky to go in level.
I make a rare tactical change at half time. Sane and Silva have been dangerous from the wings, so we go to a 4411. Monreal on for Giroud, with Sanchez going up top, and Gibbs playing on the left of midfield.
Arsenal 2-1 Man City
I can’t remember a tactical switch working so well. City have one shot in the second half. We only have two, but one of them’s a goal, with Alexis volleying in at the near post, Walcott the provider.
[FA Cup] Brighton 0-0 Arsenal
A really pleasing month, despite the Brighton result. We’re playing much more convincingly, and Alexis is back on form.
We’re still top of the league, although once again I’ve forgotten to grab a screenshot. We’re seven points clear of some other team from North London. This management lark’s a piece of cake.