Have Arsenal turned a corner?

By Avenell Dave

The problem with Arsenal at the moment is that we're so predictable.

While Sunday's game could have been a stalemate, getting an early goal should have given us the impetus to go on and dominate the game, take it easy in the last 20 and get ready for a trip to the South of France in midweek.

RvP was in sensational form, his sublime twist and chip deserving of a goal when we were 1-0 up and another shot fired just wide suggested we could have had a cricket score.

But the longer a game goes on without us scoring a second or even a third goal, the more likely it becomes that the opposition will draw level.

What concerns me about this Arsenal team is not that we seem to let in so many goals - or even that teams tend to score with their first meaningful efforts.

It is that when we concede - and wasn't it predictable that Seb Larsson should score against us when he got that free kick - all confidence and character seems to drain out of us instantly.

We completely lost our shape and our concentration and relied on a superb Szczesny save to keep us on level terms soon after.

Mikel Arteta was extremely poor - and why he was not replaced when Yossi Benayoun came on with Tomas Rosicky doing so well for a change is beyond me - and sadly, while I am against anyone booing our players, Theo Walcott and Gervinho also went missing for large periods of the game.

We must have had half a dozen free kicks that went over before RvP scored his second and the winning goal - one which certainly wasn't predictable even though it was as much as we deserved for the domination we had enjoyed.

I can't believe that it's only 10 months since RvP last scored a free kick - in January - I thought it was way further back in time than that, but it just goes to show what a bad run does for the sense of perspective.

But have Arsenal now turned a corner?

Only a year ago Arsene Wenger was talking about having the best crop of players he had ever worked with, although no one really believed him.

Without the magic of Cesc Fabregas and with our wide players consistently being inconsistent, it's a struggle to see where the goals can come from.

But, there is quality in this squad, for sure.

To be able to bring on AA23, Benayoun, or the unused Frimpong and leave the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Coquelin out of the squad altogether underlines the fact that while we have more prospects than finished articles at present, we just have to keep eeking out victories and push our way up the table.

Yes, we desperately need another quality striker and for Theo to get his mojo - if he ever will - and I can imagine that next Sunday's game is going to be a turgid affair.

But if we can just start building on results rather than letting teams score cheap goals against us, the youngsters may well surprise us all.

Not long until Marseilles now - and we have to make sure we come away with something against another team who have found it hard to match domestic form with European challenges.

There's a huge amount of room for improvement but a win is a win is a win.