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Arsenal Lack Sharpness on Opening Day

Saturday’s game was a complete contrast to the excitement, drama and despair that we witnessed in February. Arsenal we were at their free flowing best in the 1st 45 minutes back in February, in fact we were unstoppable and Newcastle could only watch as they were taken apart. We all know what happened in that never to be forgotten 2nd half but what Saturday did highlight in many fans opinions was our need for creation but it also showed a certain sense of control.

Compared to the kamikaze 90 minutes last season, we attempted a staggering 600 passes on Saturday, compared to 435 in February. Our pass completion was 81% compared to 77% in last seasons game and we also had 62% of the possession compared to that of 51%. If you gave me those stats on Saturday morning I would have happily placed a substantial sum of money on an Arsenal victory. What I would have neglected was the absence of Jack Wilshere, Cesc Fàbregas & Samir Nasri. We created two fewer chances on Saturday – 8 and as we all know didn’t register a name of the score sheet. We will miss Fàbregas and we are all hopeful, tha replacements will be signing up soon but using the 2 games against Newcastle as a barometer, with more attacking guile we could have won but instead we starved Van Persie of possession or so you would assume anyway.

Player stats v Newcastle 13.08.11

Passes attempted: 72
Accurate passes: 64
Chances created: 1
Forward passes: 34
Through balls: 0
Touches: 89

Passes attempted: 67
Accurate passes: 57
Chances created: 3
Forward passes: 35
Through balls: 0
Touches: 87

Fàbregas(v Newcastle 10/11)
Passes attempted: 59
Accurate passes: 53
Chances created: 5
Forward passes: 34
Through balls: 1
Touches: 83

Given the contrast in the two fixtures, their stats are quite familiar. For being the focal point of our team, Fàbregas doesn’t command the ball anymore than Ramsey or Rosicky. Fàbregas did create 2 more chances but none of the trio achieved an assist in either fixture. My point? A lot has been made of our lack of creativity at the weekend but this is only the first game of the season. Ramsey as Fàbregas has said today has a great future ahead of him, much like Cesc himself. We need to be patient, this may not be fixed overnight, although a signing would be welcomed as I don’t think Rosicky is going to prove to be the answer. For now this is a case of watch and see and I will keep an eye on this over the coming months and see where we are at the end of September.

I'm a 29 year old Arsenal season ticket holder from Gateshead. I believe Dennis Bergkamp is god and I wish we still played at Highbury. I blog on any ongoing issues at Arsenal, which I try to give a balanced view on.
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