In some ways I'm glad we didn't beat Man City on Sunday. You see I spent the morning locked inside a shop called Lush with my daughter and her friends making bath bombs (no, me neither) and other smelly stuff for her birthday. Had we beaten them I would've felt obliged to lock myself in a 'lucky' girlie shop for 90 minutes prior to any fixture. It turns out Lush is not unlucky but not lucky enough for me to put my nostrils through that twice a week.
We got home smelling of roses and took our front row seats. I, strangely, wasn't nervous about this. I dislike man city like I hate the Chavs. Medium sized teams who've bought every recent success with their chuck enough money at it policy. Arsenal fan complaining about money? Thin ice. We spend but in the right way. Cazorla is the prime example. No £35 million pound panic buys & that's the way we like it.
Minutes into the game and it seemed we had the upper hand. We were on top. With plenty of disrespect to Liverpool, this lot were by far our hardest test so far and we were looking good. Yet half time arrived with that frustrated feeling washing over us. Gervinho, with the touch of a battleship, fluffed his lines when clean through and our old friend, crap defending, paid an unwelcome visit. After 45 minutes we were all over them 0-1.
Doubts crept in. 6-1 at home to a very poor side is one thing but losing to the newly bought champions away after playing so well raises concerns. Have we been found out?
Have we bollocks! The boys came out with heads up. Last season that rarely happened. We still looked like we fancied this and that, as a fan, is beyond pleasing. We forgive things if we see desire. Show us you care and we'll care about you. At the basic level, we pay a lot to see this so give us a show.
At the heart of that show is our splendid little ring master. We all know players that you immediately love. Sometimes it takes a goal or a vicious tackle before we think 'he's ok, we like him.' With Cazorla it took about 3 minutes to see we had a special one there. His touch, control and vision is exquisite.
This is what happens when you have this kind of player around. He's lifted us out of the 'he who will not be named' gloom. The team looks beautifully balanced with Santi as the pivot.
He is not alone in winning us back. Mertesacker was outstanding and the player we all knew he was. He maybe slow but when you are always in the right place that doesn't matter. The Corporal at right back and Gibbs at left look wise beyond their years while Koscielny, starting for the first time, was doing back heals and scoring cracking goals. (Nearly forgot! We scored and it was a proper goal. None of your defensive slip ups. A proper goal from a proper player that wasn't bought for billions.....etc!)
I need to go now and feel bad I don't have time to mention Captain Arteta, Poldolski, Ramsey. In fact they all played well aside from one cock up at the back and Gervinho going a bit non league on us up front. Even Pay rise looked ok when he came off the bench. Useful pace to scare worn out defenders. Walcott has effectively got his improved contract by playing far less football for the same money. Well done lad. No more bread and water.
So we look in fine fettle as we approach the week. First up is another sky blue city in the Milk Cup (I baggsy 'COC OUT' as a blog headline if we lose!) then it's on to a massive game at the weekend. Thanks to @avenell_rD for starting the hype with the picture below!
So another great show and one we were annoyed not to win. Who'd have thought it?
Up The Gunners.
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