I’m still basking in the metaphorical iridescent glow that is the days after a North London Derby victory yesterday. I think it was James from Gunnerblog who put up on social media yesterday that he was soaking up all of the content after the win on Sunday and I couldn’t have put it better myself. Every hour yesterday I was flicking back to my phone to see a new video, read a new match report, digest it all in because having endured the opening exchanges and volleys of finger pointing and laughing at Arsenal’s expense in the first three games of the season, the comments, the memes, etc, have all gone quiet. There are no more jibes in the Houses of Commons, there are fewer betting accounts creating graphics to dig the knives in about Arsenal’s poor start. After three wins we now have ourselves a little bit of breathing space and that feels nice.
It feels nice to bask in the glow for a bit longer too, actually, given that we haven’t got a game until Saturday. Sure, it stings that we aren’t in Europe and from a financial point of view the clubs accountants will certainly be feeling that particular pinch, but after a game like Sunday’s, as fans, we don’t have to concern ourselves with that right now. All we need to do is soak up all of the #Content we possibly can. And it’s delicious. Especially when you see some of the salty Spurs pundits who were talking up their side after three games, whilst digging in on Arsenal after our dreadful start.
I will continue to bask in the NLD glory for a couple more days I suspect, but I’m now also looking ahead at our next few fixtures and starting to hope that perhaps we can put a run together. On Saturday coming we have Brighton away. They are in form, Potter has them playing well, but if we have any kinds of aspirations on turning this in to a good season, these are the games we have to win. Then it’s back-to-back home games against Crystal Palace and Villa and I think we owe both of those teams a bit of revenge after last season. Palace got a draw against us during the ‘unpleasentness’ of that poor run last season, whilst Villa beat us 3-0 on our own patch in what was the real nadir for Mikel Arteta’s reign at that time. I hope he has Brighton’s undeserved victory against us two season’s ago when lockdown started (remember Maupay taking out Leno and then scoring in the last seconds?), as well as the bore draw at home to Palace and the 3-0 humbling by Villa squarely in his minds eye. I hope he has a spring in his step because of the result, but focus and determination in his heart for these three games, because i’d love us to pick up three wins against opponents who have caused us plenty of problems in recent games against them.
It’s time we went on a run and the Tottenham result must be a springboard, not just a footnote at the end of the season because of our inconsistencies.
I have the belief it can be with this collective of players. I touched on it in my review of the game yesterday, but it really does feel like there is something brewing right now. As a fan I haven’t felt as connected to a team as this one for a long time. Winning of course helps that, but there feels like there is a unity slowly growing between those players and we seem to have augmented some of the talent we already had (Smith Rowe, Saka, Aubameyang, Tierney) with additional talent plus characters too. Tomiyasu looks like the kind of quiet, unassuming, footballer who let’s his football do the talking. He’s strong and resolute without being chest-thumpingly loud. He plays on my side of the pitch when we shoot towards the Clock End and already i’ve noticed that. People have said he could be Monreal-like for us and I feel like that is a good comparison. Monreal was an excellent, consistent, hard working left back who wasn’t the loudest, but was reliable and great for us. Tomiyasu feels like he can be that sort of player and hopefully he stays fit and we see more of what we’ve seen in these first three games. If he continues that form then he’ll be quite some player.
Ben White is on his side of the defence too and he’s not come across as a particularly loud and shouty defender, but he does his job well and has shown that he is an upgrade on what we had. Ramsdale feels more like a chest-thumper and you can see straight away what he has delivered in terms of his personality with the players, but also in helping to bring the fans closer to the team too. Almost straight away in that West Brom game you could see it. I was there behind that goal in the first half and you could see that he had connected with us. I looked at his signing at the beginning of the season and I saw a young ‘keeper who’s stats looked average at best, who we had been tricked in to believing that he was worth north of £20million by a Sheffield United team looking to maximise their outlay. What I am already realising is just what this guy can bring and it is also perhaps testimony to the Arsenal back office team and scouts who identified some of the ‘soft factors’ aside from stats on the pitch, as to what he could bring.
This team feels likeable. They are young, they have hunger, they have energy. They will make mistakes, we all know that, but as fans it feels like we’ll all collectively give them a break when we can see that they are leaving it all out on the pitch. For too many recent years it just hasn’t felt like it. Now it feels like this investment in Project Youth 2.0 could actually pay off. Of course I don’t want to get ahead of myself and of course it may all come crashing down on Saturday evening at the Amex, but right now it feels like we have something developing and I want to keep that good feeling in my mind throughout this working week.
Catch you all tomorrow.