Arsenal: Faith In Arsene, Sign Lavezzi & A Big F****** German
What’s going right?
Almost everything. The football has been fluid and regularly a joy to watch. Ramsey has gone from a reliable, underrated box-to-box midfielder to a goal-scoring maestro while still maintaining the box-to-box element, with the most tackles in the league in addition to his extraordinary goal tally. Giroud looked in fearsome nick at the beginning of the season, although he's gone off the boil in front of goal a little - his hold-up and link-up play remain outstanding, though. And the back four plus Szczesny have been superb.
The one complaint I have is that we've struggled to impose ourselves in the bigger games early on - we had tough first halves at home to Everton and Dortmund and away to Man United, and the less said about City the better. With Chelsea imminent, we'll have to amend that, or at least ensure that we can cope with not controlling the opening periods of those games.
Got the right manager?
After a short spell of worrying that his time could be up soon, my doubts have been spectacularly dispelled, even though some Arsenal fans still actually seem to hate him, if a few Facebook posts on a rather old-fashioned supporters group are anything to go by. The majority seem to be coming back around to Arsene though, while those that maintained faith are enjoying his vindication so far.
Mesut Özil is the star of this team and is slowly approaching the sort of form that will see him dominate, but so far it has to be Aaron Ramsey. His form from the second half of last season has carried on into this, and he's added goals too, meaning more appreciation from the mainstream. He's just picked up his fifth Arsenal player of the month award in a row, which says it all.
Who would you like to sell in January?
The squad is quite well-balanced really - a couple of weeks ago most would have said Nicklas Bendtner, but a strong showing and a goal against Hull plus the disallowed header and that ball for Walcott against City saw him finally grab what must have been his last chance. Now we seem to be in that wonderful position where we have none of the infamous 'deadwood' - unless you count Park Ju-Young.
Who do you want to sign?
The aforementioned Giroud is a great player to have in the squad and has some brilliant games but equally can become isolated at times. That may be a tactical flaw which can be worked on, but another option would be to sign an energetic, direct forward who can play through the middle as a lone striker but also out wide when Giroud does start, as rotating two out-and-out strikers every week would likely fail. Ezequiel Lavezzi has been touted by some - direct, full of pace and power and a good finisher. He may not quite be suited to the lone striker role, but he doesn't seem too happy at PSG.
Best chant so far?
Per Mertesacker continues to respond delightfully to his chant of 'We've got a big f***ing German', as does Olivier Giroud to his chant to the tune of Hey Jude, which really gets the stadium rocking. There have also been two offerings for Mesut Özil, simultaneously at the expense of Tottenham. However, I'm going to go with 'We are top of the league' - it's been a while since we heard it consistently at Arsenal, and it's sung more-or-less every week. It's also a song which is heard when the fans are trying to look up after a bad result on the walk back from the stadium. All it takes is one fan to pipe up with "We... are... top of the league", and a previously sombre mood improves when we remember how well we're doing.
Best opposition player/team you’ve seen?
The recent visit of Everton saw Roberto Martinez's side bring the game to Arsenal and his new-look team impressed everybody at the Emirates. In terms of players against us, Ross Barkley was excellent for the Blues, while Aguero and YaYa were the difference against City.
Biggest **** of the season so far?
Some might say Robin van Persie for celebrating against us when he scored, but personally I was more irritated when he refused to celebrate, as if he had any respect for the club - that had clearly gone when he wrote his now-infamous 'letter for the fans' or whatever on his website. It's probably got to be Piers Morgan - it says a lot when Alan Sugar, a Tottenham fan, is speaking more sense about Arsenal than Morgan, who follows Arsenal. The worst part was when he seemed to be claiming responsibility for Arsene Wenger's signing of Mesut Özil, as if his tweets had suddenly inspired the manager to get his chequebook out. No, Piers. No.
Funniest Moment of the season so far?
Despite Moyes' United offering plenty of laughs, but this award has to go to Spurs for the whole sorry AVB affair. Predictably shambolic.
End of season prediction?
2nd with strong showings in the FA Cup and Champions League. We finally have a team, and a squad, that looks capable of going all the way, but I sense it's a bit too soon for us. If City can sort out their away form I see them finishing above us; predicting us as first just wouldn't feel right anyway. But there's no reason why we can't do it - we'll just need a bit of luck along the way. It would be cruel if we missed out on the title by a couple of points - Giroud's sizzling, thunderous, last-gasp, 30-yard volley against Everton that hammered against the crossbar would haunt me forever.