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Arsenal: Keep calm and carry on

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The final 17 minutes of Arsenal’s outclassing of Southampton on Saturday said an awful lot about both clubs at the beginning of this Premier League season.

For the Saints, a team battered and bruised by the late, almost heroic defeats to both Manchester clubs and given a stark warning of the quality throughout the division when Wigan won convincingly at St Mary’s, it was all about just getting to full-time without experiencing any more damage on what had already been a harrowing afternoon.

In the event, they ended up conceding a sixth goal to their former favourite Theo Walcott two minutes from time, but the lack of celebrations from the winger after biting the hand that used to feed him were repeated all around the Emirates Stadium. The locals were desperate for Olivier Giroud to score.

That desire and anxiousness wasn’t a slight on the abilities of a forward who scored 21 goals in helping Montpellier to win the French title last season, but more a reflection of Gunners fans in recent times.

The £12million Giroud hadn’t scored in his first three appearances for the club, he didn’t find the net in his 17 minutes on the pitch against Southampton and followed that up with a goalless 76 minutes back at his former club in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Cue red and white panic.

If an Arsenal fan hasn’t got something to worry about, then he or she must be doing something wrong.

It isn’t their fault, it has been ingrained in supporters ever since summer-long transfer sagas surrounding the likes of Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and now Robin van Persie, all of which were destined to end with the player escaping the club in the same manner that Usain Bolt accelerates away from his rivals.

After the inevitable parting of the ways became official whoever was left, particularly those who were viewed as replacements, simply had to hit the ground running. Supporters already felt let down by former heroes, and so they didn’t want to see mediocre performers enter in their place.

The longing for Giroud to be a success will go on, but fans should be mindful not to freak out too much as they hope for every touch from the new man to end in the back of the net. They should simply take stock, take a deep breath and take a look at the talents elsewhere.

The other two new additions illustrate this perfectly, and as long as Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla keep on impressing to the levels that they have been so far then maybe even the Arsenal fans who are thinning on top wouldn’t mind losing the hairs they’ll tear out of their head whilst worrying about Giroud. And they will still worry.

Podolski, Cazorla, a seemingly reborn Gervinho, Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby Aaron Ramsey, Walcott for now, and potentially even Jack Wilshere one day, maybe. All of whom add up to a potent attacking force before you even consider a French international forward who could very easily turn out to be a roaring success. Throw them in alongside a now much tighter defence and suddenly Gunners fans have every reason to be rather content with life right now, if they allow themselves to be.

The Giroud side issue will be solved soon enough – the forward is too good a player for it not to be – and when it is then Arsenal fans might be best advised to avoid finding something else to worry about, to just to play it cool, to keep calm and carry on.

They have the good fortune to follow a very good team which will only improve the more that its shiny new components are allowed to click together.

It’s getting there, so just try to sit tight and let it happen.

@Mark_Jones86

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Gameweek 4 preview: Tevez to rule Britannia

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Just under half of you reading this can skip the next few paragraphs.

It’s not the traditional approach to the start of a piece that I’m usually hoping that you’ll read all the way through, I’ll give you that, but there isn’t much point in telling a lot of you what you already know.

Carlos Tevez (now £9.8m after a rapid price rise since the start of the season) can currently be seen in 48.9% of Fantasy Premier League teams, a staggering amount and testament to both the Argentinean’s low price at the start of the game and the form which has seen him score a goal in each of Manchester City’s three matches so far whilst racking up three assists too.

These may be famous last words, but Tevez looks focused, fully fit and prepared to stay away from South American golf courses.

His ‘lost’ campaign of last season is now forgotten about, and he now – admittedly aided by the injury to Sergio Aguero – has re-established himself as the focal point of City’s attack at the beginning of his side’s defence of their Premier League crown. He simply cannot be ignored by Fantasy bosses.

He can, however, be overlooked by his national manager Alejandro Sabella, who left Tevez out of his Argentina squad for the World Cup qualifiers at home to Paraguay and in Peru in the past week. Such words should be music to your ears.

Tevez will be fresh for Manchester City’s trip to Stoke on Saturday afternoon, a match that always carries its own levels of difficulty but one that Roberto Mancini’s side should emerge victorious from.

If they take the points from the Britannia, then expect Tevez to be picking up more than a few points of his own.

Elsewhere – 48.9% of you can come back now – it looks to be a big scoring Gameweek for players from Arsenal and Manchester United given their respective fixtures.

Unlike United, Arsenal have been solid at the back in their opening three games and there looks to be nothing to suggest that that solidity will stop when they entertain Southampton at the Emirates. However, before considering bringing in the likes of Thomas Vermaelen (£7.0m) and even cheap option Carl Jenkinson (£4.8m), Fantasy bosses should bear in mind that the Gunners’ next two fixtures after they play the Saints see them head for Manchester City before hosting Chelsea.

Perhaps it will pay to be more forward-thinking then, with the addition of Santi Cazorla (£9.1m) sure to increase the creativity within your team, and Lukas Podolski (£8.4m and still cheaper than Olivier Giroud) no doubt ready to impress after scoring his first goal for the club at Anfield last time out.

At Old Trafford the usual suspects will be eyeing goals with the visit of Wigan Athletic, but with selling the family silver now required if you want to afford Robin van Persie (£13.4m), perhaps a gamble on Danny Welbeck (£8.4m) could prove fruitful. Midfield options are also plentiful, and with Shinji Kagawa (£8.6m) reportedly suffering a knock on international duty with Japan, Tom Cleverley (£6.0m) could be thrust into the more forward role we saw him occupy for England over the past week.

It is a man who left United behind who could prove the most astute addition for this Gameweek though, with Dimitar Berbatov (£6.9m) looking terrific value ahead of what is sure to be his first Fulham start against West Brom at Craven Cottage.

The forward – whose retirement from international duty leaves him fresh for the weekend – will only see his value rise, and so it might pay to get in early.

Just as it did with Tevez a month ago.

@Mark_Jones86

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