Well, that’s the first week of January officially over and it wasn’t the best fun I’ve had as an Arsenal fan.
A 3-3 draw at Bournemouth after being 3-down was followed by another poor first half, this time in the FA Cup against Preston on Saturday. Both times, Olivier Giroud saved our asses.
Against The Cherries he grabbed two assists and a goal to help Arsenal overcome a three-goal league deficit for the first time since 1988. At Deepdale, his late winner ensured that we qualified for the fourth round of the FA Cup for the 21st consecutive year – the longest run in the competition at present.
Giroud has started Arsenal’s last four games. He’s scored four and assisted two. Averaging a goal or assist every 44 minutes in the League this season (a goal every 73), there will still be people calling for him to die when he next misses a chance. Sigh.
Despite most people (myself included) operating under the belief that Arsenal are at their worst in November, they falter more in January (in the League, at least) when they’ve averaged only 1.42 points over the past five seasons. January is our second worst month of the season after August (1.36).
But it wasn’t all bad news.
Despite it seeming like we always struggle in first halves, the game on New Year’s Day was actually the first time we were behind at the break away from home in the league in 11 months.
Arsenal down at half-time in the PL for the first time in 11 months. Rest matters.
— Leutrim Rexhaj (@LeutrimRexhaj) January 3, 2017
Sure doesn’t feel like it.
Danny Welbeck made his return, but we lost Santi for who knows how long. Well, to be fair, we lost Santi a long time ago, we just keep getting updates delaying his return at regular intervals. He hasn’t played since October 19.
Hector Bellerin picked up a problem in training although no-one seems to know if it’s serious or not, hence why Ainsley Maitland-Niles started on Saturday. What must Carl Jenkinson be thinking?
So one win, one draw, one returning star, one crock confirmed and one non-league player on his way.
It’s been better, but it’s also been worse.
Hopefully a full week of rest before our next game will make a massive difference when we travel to Swansea on Saturday, a ground we won 3-0 at last season. Woop.
[Arsenal record at Swansea in Premier League P6 W3 L2 D1]