Sunday, February 5, 2023

OG and GvO

Morning all,

welcome to a brand new week, a brand new month, and with three points tucked safely in our belts from Saturday’s thumping of Reading, we’re in decent shape ahead of our next game. That’s a trip to West Brom next weekend and I suspect it’ll be a fairly quiet week leading up to it.

Unless something extraordinary happens, the discussion tends to be fairly tame when we’ve won a few games in a row. Such is human nature, I suppose, and I’m not complaining in the slightest. If we keep it up until the end of the season then I’d be very happy indeed.

Olivier Giroud has been talking after the Reading rout, and says they need to keep doing what they’re doing:

There’s eight games to play and a lot of points to play for. I trust in our qualities. So I really think we can make fourth and maybe even third place if we continue to play like we did today.

We take the games one by one. Spurs have to play against Manchester City and Chelsea so it’s hard games for them. We want to dictate the games. We are confident. We are used to finishing the Premier League season well. And again this season we will do the same.

I like the fact he sounds so confident, but it is the very essence of one game at a time territory right now. And I don’t really think we have to pay any attention to what the other teams are doing. If we were to win 7 or 8 of those final games, I think that’d be enough points to finish in the top four. Somebody around us will drop enough to make that space. As I mentioned yesterday, it could be Chelsea just as easily as Sp*rs.

As long as we keep doing what we’re supposed to, then the pressure will mount. The concern I have, I suppose, is that we get into that comfort zone we’ve found ourselves in too often this season. The longest we’ve gone without losing in the Premier League is just five games, so that’s something we need to improve on. Anyway, we’re on track so far, which is a good thing.

Bonus viewing for a Monday: John Terry falling over – it really is one of life’s simple pleasures, isn’t it? A cold beer on a warm day; a good book; the infectious laughter of children; a big horrible bastard falling over and getting clobbered on the head in the process.

Meanwhile, the boss has spoken about Gervinho, who had probably his best game for the club with a goal, two assists, and some dangerous, if occasionally ineffective, running. He touched on his finishing, saying:

He finishes … better than when he arrived and he will get better and better. But his finishing is linked with his psychology.

To be honest he is not clinical however when he is completely relaxed he is quite good. He rushes his finishing because when he arrives in front of the goal he wants to get rid of.

But you can gain experience and calmness.

This would make more sense to me if we were talking about a 19 year old, rather than somebody coming up on 26 who, in no way, could be called inexperienced. For me the big issue with Gervinho is this weird thing he has where every time he kicks a football it looks like the first time he’s ever kicked a football. He makes brilliant runs down the channels, then scuffs a cross which is easy for the defence. Or we see him in front of goal and he just doesn’t connect properly with his attempt, like the one after the run against Reading.

That’s why his early season goal scoring confused me, especially the one against Southampton (I think) when Arteta played a ball over the top, he ran onto it and lashed it home with real power. I genuinely didn’t think he had that in him. I agree with the manager that he works very hard, but there just seems to be a fundamental flaw in his kicking technique that prevents him from being as effective as he should be.

And when you’re a footballer, the whole kicking the ball thing is pretty important. Maybe the answer is for him get back to basics in training, Gervinho + ball + wall for a couple of hours a day. Or maybe manufacture a ball from old socks and bits of jumper wrapped up in sellotape like the street kids have to play with. Then, when you get a real ball, it’s much easier.  Hmmm, there’s a reason I’m not a football coach.

Let’s just hope he does get a confidence boost from the last couple of games, the more players we have capable of sticking one in, the better.

Right, that’ll have to do for this morning, watch out for dodgy stories, given the day that’s in it. *cough*

Till tomorrow.

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