We didn't play Liverpool off the park as we have done in the past; we didn't always have much of the ball, but the best way to describe Arsenal at Anfield is 'utterly professional'.
We were focused, hard-working, and spirited; not words one would often associate with Arsenal over the last few years. At no point did we really look like conceding, and we actually looked very dangerous on the break, as we used to pre-2006. Our first goal was classic Arsenal, and perhaps the reason we haven't seen as much of that in recent times is because we haven't been signing players who are good enough. In Cazorla and Podolski that certainly isn't a problem. These two are a class above anything we've seen at the club for quite some time. Potentially they can be better for us than Fabregas and van Persie.
The only thing that makes me sad is that players like them, Arteta and Mertesacker weren't signed earlier. Any of them could have improved Arsenal massively any time in the last five or six years.
Between 2006 and 2011, the team was all Wenger, all his influence and too many of his players, playing his way. Now we have more players brought in who have played under different managers in different styles and systems in the early stages of their careers, and we have the influence of new assistant manager Steve Bould.
It might seem early to say all our defensive problems are behind us, but the signs are very encouraging. Sure, Sunderland and Stoke didn't attack us very much and Liverpool perhaps just aren't very good, but that's never stopped us conceding in the past has it? Gone are the lazy, careless mistakes and lapses in concentration that have gifted our opponents something out of nothing.
It's not crazy to assume Bould must be having a big part to play in this. Coaching has a big effect on all players, no matter how naturally talented they are; they all need to be told what to do. Barcelona might look like their beautiful free-flowing football is all improvised and natural, but it's well known that Guardiola had them ruthlessly drilled. Players also respond well to a shake-up, with new and fresh ideas being brought to training, especially if they're coming from a club legend who knows how to win from their playing days.
Just look at the improved display of Abou Diaby. Clearly this is a player who has always had talent, but was playing with far too much freedom, holding onto the ball for too long and trying unnecessary tricks that wouldn't work out. Players like this are sometimes the ones that need the most coaching; they need to be told to keep it simple and play for the team. Sunday was Diaby's best ever game for Arsenal by quite a distance, and hopefully under this new regime he can be a key player for us this season.
Three clean sheets from the first three games doesn't lie. We've had many great players at this club, but not since 1924 have we achieved this feat. If we make it four from four against Southampton, it will be a new record in the club's history. This is without our first choice right-back and goalkeeper as well.
I'm not saying we'll win the league, or any trophy for that matter, but perhaps this is the beginning of us being a serious team again. It's looking good so far.
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