I know I’m a little late to the party today, having cried off blogging yesterday like a Daily Mail journo cries off a little bit of banter on social media, but I was on a little post match bender and ended up sleeping in until nearly midday yesterday. So that’s my pretty lame excuse.
But I couldn’t not write about Saturday’s great result and more than that, the manner of the victory, because it ignited something in the Arsenal fans everywhere that has been sadly lacking up until this point in the season:
Hope and belief.
Going into the game I was as sceptical as the next man. I just didn’t fancy us and I genuinely thought we’d get a shlacking. But to my delight and surprise we got a performance to a man that was worthy of the shirt.
Right from front to back the Arsenal players stepped up. Cech made a couple of good saves, the full backs got forward and also defended with good shape, the three central defenders were imperious all day, midfield was only overrun once or twice and we weren’t made to pay, whilst the three forwards picked up where they left off when they all started against Everton.
Quite simply, we were magnificent.
But what I really loved about the game itself wasn’t the swashbuckling overall performance, it was the way that we dominated the whole pitch, controlling all corners and making the Totts look like a team who didn’t have answers to an organised high press.
That was brilliant because it said to me that Arsène and the team had a tactical plan to play a certain way against an opponent to try to put them under the kosh. And it worked.
The pressing from the front forced that lot in to making forced errors and our players profited. Say what you like about the first goal and suspicions about the second, but had we gone in 0-0 at halftime I think – and I appreciate it’s easy saying this with hindsight – we’d have still won the game because the Arsenal players were super up for it.
The atmosphere inside the ground was awesome too. No more accusations of ‘The Library’ for the game. It was about the fans being united in song for The Arsenal and I’m also convinced we played our part inside the stadium. Perhaps it’s because we’ve heard – and believed – the noises from the media about how inferior our team was. Perhaps it was that we believed it too. But it felt like that just ‘spurred’ us on more to do them over.
The confidence of the players as they go into training this week will be massive. There’s a game against Koln on Thursday that the rotated squad will play in, but the confidence should reverberate through the squad and my hope is that the knock on effects can last us through to United at home in a couple of weeks.
None of us probably want to start talking about this being ‘the start’, ‘The blueprint’ or ‘how to play from now on’, but at least we’ve all seen first hand that this team can perform on their day. With talk of players downing tools, the manager becoming even more laissez faire with the overpaid primadonna’s, it was good to see how much that win meant to them and us.
I could probably wax lyrical all day about that game, but I have work to be getting on with, so I’ll just do a little bit more before I head off for the day.
Firstly to Mesut, who was majestic on Saturday and really needed a performance like that and when he does, he gets the kind of reception he got when he exited the field as a late sub. He was everywhere and if we got that performance between now and the end of the season then it’d certainly be worth the equivalent of a dozen extra points to the team I reckon.
Let’s also give some props to the back three again. Mustafi played superb. But all three were grand. All three won their duels, got bodies in the way and got the reward of a clean sheet. More of the same please lads.
And finally, to Arsène, because lord knows I for him enough of a slating when he gets things wrong. So it’s only fair I tip the cap in his direction this morning. The setup was right, as was the team selection, as was the mentality of the players. He has played a massive part in delivering on that and just as when he is culpable when we put in a limp performance, he should be praised when his players get it right.
Right, that’s me done for the day, a day in which the only sad thing is that there aren’t any Spurs fans working in my office. That’d be fun exchanging verbal jousts this morning but alas, it’s not to be.
Catch you all tomorrow.