By Chris Toronyi
It was great to rise early on a Saturday morning out here in Los Angeles. The stress, the butterflies were welcome with open arms. Not sure what it is, but the first game of the season is always the easiest for me to stomach as the emotional implications of the game are not as magnified as the games after Christmas. I'm not saying it's not important, I'm just saying that it's easier emotionally on the mind and body. For me at least.
Now the game itself was a joy to watch as we were very offensively aggressive with our play. It could be a product of the tactics employed by the opponent, but nonetheless our vision and passing was a joy to witness. ESPECIALLY our new field general Cazorla. He was a master, a true leader from the start. Not only did he command the respect for the opponent, but our players did as well. They were looking to him to develop the play and orchestrate the forward movement. Santi was electric at times, but as the game wore on you could see that the mid-week travel was catching up with him. I really look forward to seeing him grow with our offense of push, learn how to play others into the game (huge smile as I write this).
The game also featured our other two summer signings - Poldi and the world's sexiest man alive as voted by Arsenal fans, Giroud. It was a tough game for Poldi to read and integrat into. Our opponents were very defensive, so Poldi was tasked with having to breakdown two CBs and a DM the entire time he was on the pitch. He did have some nice hold-up play, but as I said his forward movement was stifled by the parked bus. Overtime this German international will deliver for us. It may not be in the form of goals, but in helping our fluid play move forward with the precision.
Giroud also factored into the game when he came on in the second half. His time on the pitch wasn't as long as the other two signings, but he gave us a glimpse with some great runs without the ball and had a chance to give us three points. But for me I'm not dwelling on the chance that everyone seems have termed the sitter of ALL-TIME. It was a chance, he missed, move on. The game had plenty of other opportunities for us to execute and we didn't.
And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Diaby's performance or should say his appearance in the starting line-up. I'm a huge fan and hope we have a chance to see him grow this season in-terms of skill, but also mentally. We all know he's had an unlucky run. Let's give him the latitude he deserves and reserve the negativity for the other team's play. Sorry for being preachy about Diaby. Just love the guy's determination and attitude.
All in all I think we played pretty well. We had some nice movement forward and some hair-raising moments on the defensive end, but that's somewhat expected given our second choices taking up two key positions. The chemistry will only improve which we all know will deliver better play and goals. Be patient.
And be sure to check-out The Arsenal America Podcast this week with Matt Law of the Sunday Mirror and 7amKickOff. Look for it at ArsenalAmerica.com on Wednesday.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for listening.
'Stateside Gooner' Chris Toronyi is a longtime Arsenal supporter and the host of The Arsenal America podcast, available every Thursday evening at ArsenalAmerica.com. You can read more of Chris' thoughts on Twitter.
The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.
Aug. 10: Arsenal Ambition
July 26: The right silverware
July 6: Anti-anti-football
June 28: New additions
June 20: Failing chemistry
June 13: Summer school
May 8: Not the time to get ill
May 2: End of season variables
April 24: Making a point
April 18: Different kinds of tired
April 12: Emotionally spent
March 29: No doubt
March 23: An amazing run
March 13: Mad Men, mad season
March 6: Rush of emotion
February 29: Pride and joy
February 14: An evolving Arsenal
February 22: Anger is beautiful
February 14: An evolving Arsenal
February 8: A welcome display
February 1: The value of value
January 31: FA Cup magic
January 24: We have to be supportive
January 19: This is a massive game