Dirty Arsenal - is this a fever pitch year?

By Avenell Dave

One nil up against Stoke and a text came in from a M*nure fan.

"Is this going to be another Fever Pitch year" it said. Little did he know that later on that day, memories of Ron Atkinson and mid-table ignominity would come rushing back after a neighbourhood humbling. 

There was little convincing about our win, in honesty.

We didn't seem to have as much possession as we're used to, our shots on target were few and far between and we seemed to lack the zip and vigour that you might hope for from an Arsenal team.

And we didn't even keep a clean sheet to satisfy the traditionalists like myself. 

My neighbour commented that it was one of the least enjoyable games he had watched in a long time and yet I have to admit that i really enjoyed it.

We won. We were never not ahead for very long and despite allowing Stoke to have the ball, they rarely did much to hurt us with it. 

Why they didn't bring on Crouch to  cause us some aerial problems, I don't know, but it suits me.

Even Jack Wilshere, who might have appeared subdued yesterday, was involved in two of our goals and this week's League Cup game gives him the perfect chance to rest.

So we're top of the table, we have two defeats in 20 games and two youngsters came on and showed that our squad can cope when injuries come in. 

If Arsene Wenger's comments about the mysterious nature of Theo Walcott's injury are correct, Serge Gnabry showed the strength and the ability to suggest he could become a key member of the squad.

Yes it was Stoke at home and the team are in form, but he rarely gave the ball away, he tracked back, his passing was crisp and he wasn't afraid to have a shot. It all bodes well. 

Even the willowy Ryo Miyaichi didn't shame himself when he came on. Let's hope for more opportunities for both players so that they can push for regular squad places.

My main take-out of the day was that even when we're not firing on all cylinders, we could be clinical enough and focused enough to do what was needed to win the game. 

How ironic that we win through set pieces but that again bodes well from when the beautiful game isn't quite working for us. 

And that's something previous sides in recent years simply haven't been able to do.

A final word on Mesut Ozil. His delivery was mostly sublime and he has a deft touch. But he needs to get more involved in the build up, be more committed in the tackle and while it may just be his style, smile a bit more.

He looked distinctly unhappy throughout, didn't stay around with the others to applaud the crowd and I do hope he isn;t regretting his move already.