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Saturday October 5, 2013 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Saturday October 5, 2013 MYT 10:11:32 AM
by hariati azizan
All smiles ... man-of-the-hour Mesut Ozil and manager Arsene Wenger are bringing joy to the Emirates. - ADRIAN DENNIS/ AFP
IT was stalemate at the Hawthorns when Arsenal met West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup more than a week ago.
But that was before the Baggies slayed giants Manchester United in a 2-1 shock defeat last Saturday.
It matters not that the Arsenal they will meet in the match Sunday will be a completely different team from the one they met the week before; the Baggies will be a different team too.
Confidence can do much to transform players, something that Arsenal are discovering in their current streak of 10 wins (if you include that penalty victory over West Brom).
The Gunners are arguably playing their best football at the moment with a dream midfield.
The happy days have even quelled the worry that they are only an injury away from being striker-less. Ok, not quite; the Gunners are, to be exact, an injury away from playing Nicklas Bendtner.
To be fair, the Dane was rusty in his first Arsenal start in years in the game against West Brom, but he showed enough to convince that he is still a quality back-up to Olivier Giroud.
Wenger will no doubt rectify the situation during the winter transfer window but Arsenal’s precarious striker situation was obvious in how anxious gasps rang through the Emirates when Giroud fell to the ground clutching his leg in their Champions League game on Tuesday.
Still, it is easy to get carried away with the dream when the midfield is getting the job done so beautifully.
Last weekend, Arsenal scored a goal against Swansea City that followed a stunning flurry of tiki-taka in the middle of the park. Against Napoli, Arsenal again attacked with a pace and fluency that left the top Serie A club dazed in their wake.
It is no coincidence that the last time the post-Invincible Arsenal were contenders for the title was in the 2007-2008 season when Matthieu Flamini partnered Cesc Fabregas. Now, despite the fuss over his sublime midfield partner, Flamini is proving to be as valuable to the Gunners.
Of course, their current form is also due to their cohesive teamwork, something we haven’t seen for a long time, and definitely not in the opening day game when a depleted Arsenal hobbled around Aston Villa aimlessly. Now they just need to continue as they are and keep away from the sick bay.
And sure, the season is still in its infancy and their fixtures so far have not been that challenging, but if the Gunners continue to play as cavalierly, who knows?
Hariati Azizan thinks Ozil will open his Premier League account to help Arsenal win 3-0.
Tags / Keywords:
Hariati Azizan, Gunners, Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion, football, Olivier Giroud, Baggies, Nicklas Bendtner, Arsene Wenger, Mesut Ozil, Matthieu Flamini
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