Arsenal finally saw off a spirited and skilled (seriously, didn't they look a bit like Swansea?) Brighton & Hove Albion today by a final of 3-2 at the Falmer. Here are the Clints, the Lees, and the Elis.
Olivier Giroud. More to come on him in just a while.
The Return of Little Mozart. Rosicky, who's not played for a couple of months, looked basically like he did in the second half last year, moving well, dribbling successfully, and generally popping up in between the lines. It was a good start from a guy who's been out for a while, again. He even threw in a patented "way late" tackle!
Arsene Wenger's subs. When they needed to come, they came--the like for like subs of Jack Wilshere for Rosicky and Theo Walcott for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sparked the Arsenal offense, and although many wanted to see it much sooner, when Kieran Gibbs finally replaced Andre Santos, the whole team clicked into place for real.
Abou Diaby's chipped pass for Giroud. Yep. Yyyyyyyyep! Yep.
Brighton. Has to be said: they were prepared, and they worked, and they passed well. I'd kind of like to see them up next year; how about you?
Per Mertesacker's speed. As in, lack thereof. His positioning is usually very good, and his awareness and experience are useful. His slowness is a problem, though, and it's getting exposed.
Arsenal's "Let's Not Press or Close Down Maybe Ever" policy. We know this doesn't work. We know that if we let teams ping the ball around and wait for the perfect pass to expose our mercurial central defenders, that doesn't work. We know that if we don't win the ball back higher up the pitch, our attackers can't always find their way through two banks of four. So not pressing seems like...yeah...The Bad.
Wojciech Szczesny's effort on the first Brighton goal. Not entirely his fault, as most of his teammates were still trying to decide where to stand when the short corner was in motion. But golly, man, he was jumping AWAY from the ball trying to punch it out. He got rolled.
Andre Santos. Look, he's a nice guy, and a good guy in the locker room, and on his day, a serviceable wingback. Most of the time, though, especially this year...dude. Dude! Dude. Dude!
What do you think? What are your goods, bads, and uglies for today?