Seven points from nine, and as Mark Lawrenson pointed out on MOTD last night, this season Arsenal have beaten the first two sides they played at home when, last season, they drew them both.
It was vintage Arsenal at times – vintage pretty play, followed by vintage wastefulness.
A word about City first: unrecognisable. I don’t recall ever seeing a team that has improved so much in such a short space of time. They gave us a real game – defended solidly and broke well. Had they had someone up top who could shoot straight, they could easily have scored. So it was a tough game in sweltering conditions.
But we deserved it – especially on the strength of our last 30 mins. We began to get round their defence (not that we found anyone with the final ball half the time – but I’m not telling you something you don’t know already). Finally, the chance came when Hleb was dumped turfwards but van Persie, who hit an unsaveable penalty against Fulham, just whacked it hard and straight. Much easier to save, and saved it was.
Still we came at them though – Fabregas hit a long rang stinger before finally screeching one past the Dane from a tight angle. Relieved, I was. And very, very hot in the cauldron.
There’ll be some burned people this morning. I sploshed on the factor beforehand, but there was one fan I saw roaming the concourse after the game, in a daze, who had two white panda marks round the eyes of an otherwise glowing red face. He looked like he’d been on holiday to Easter Island, poor bloke.
Anyway – football. We’re doing well, winning (albeit only just) and keeping going throughout the frustration.
But we’re still over-elaborating and wasting strong chances, and we won’t always get away with that.
On top of that – our slimline squad is already stretched. When Bacary Sagna went off injured, on came Denilson making it six midfielders on the pitch – two of whom were in defence.
There was not a single defender on the bench – why is this? I know Bill G is injured, as I presume is Eboue, but what about Justin Hoyte? As it happens, Flamini performed well at right-back, (it’s a better position for him than midfield, frankly), but to have no defenders on the bench is surely risky.