Monday, September 3, 2012

Gunners Find Their Mark

Arsenal returned to winning ways this afternoon with a triumphant trip to Anfield.  New boys Podolski and Cazorla found the net but it was the Gunner's defense that shined in another classic EPL showdown.

Barring a few minor slips in the opening stages, Arsenal were firmly in control of the first half.  While some would say it was well overdue, the Gunners first goal of the 2012-13 season came on the half hour mark.  Podolski sparked a run from deep in the backfield and allowed Cazorla to carry the ball past midfield.  Continuing to streak down the left flank, the German goal-getter one-touched a through ball from his teammate and then confidently finished in front of the net.  Like a persistent nat, the Reds would sporadically test the visitors with Luis Suarez' dramatic "You'll Never Dive Alone" antics leading the way.

Play after the restart was decidedly more open and chances were flowing at both ends of the park.  In the 68th minute, Podolski returned the favor, putting Cazorla into a spit of space on the left side.  Working a difficult angle, the Spaniard forced home a goal with a powerful shot that took a turn off of Pepe Reina's left arm.  The Gunners exuded confidence after the second score and were content to absorb heavy amounts of pressure from the home side.  It seemed a bit unnatural to leave Arteta with a defensive midfield assignment but he completed the task with ease.  Diaby was a force to be reckoned with and it was encouraging to see his return to form.  Vito Mannone looked confident between the sticks and came up with a handful of big saves late in the game.

This Arsenal team are growing in chemistry and confidence and although they're off to a late start, its already an improvement over last year's beginning.  Next up for the Gunners, after a two week international break, hosting Southampton at the Emirates, but its all uphill from there.  Three days later Arsenal travel to France to face Montpellier in Champions League play, then away at Manchester City. As if that weren't enough, three days after that fixture, they return home to open their Capital One Cup (formerly Carling Cup) campaign.  A tough run to be sure, but plenty of excitement either way.

(photo credit: Arsenal FB page)

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