Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham
For a football fan, there can be few things as satisfying as an epic goal bundle.
In order to achieve optimum conditions for bundles, several key elements need to be in place. Surprise is definitely one. Scoring against your old rivals is another. Scoring twice in quick succession is the cherry on icing on the cake for a bundle of unrivalled silliness.
I hadn’t seen the first goal coming. We had created the better of the few chances without – as Wenger is now wont to remind us – taking the handbrake off. We didn’t look in trouble at all but at the same time it was a tight game and we weren’t running through the gears at all.
Then boom – a cross comes in from Sagna, van Persie evades his man and it’s 1-0. Their keeper should have done better – not for the first time, as it transpired. And we think we have issues with keepers.
Then a mere 11 seconds after the restart, it was 2-0 and the real bundle began. The Totts fell asleep completely, Fabregas ran right through the goal pretty much unhindered and it was 2-0.
I wasn’t alone in leaping skywards, bouncing up and down and offering to hug anyone within reasonable hugging range. My phone shot out my coat pocket, hit Mr A to my left on his head (he accepted that having something ricochet off his dome was perfectly reasonable under the circumstances, though he didn’t know what it was) and landed about three rows ahead of me. My season ticket went in a different direction entirely (escaping from a different coat pocket). Had someone been watching, they’d have probably seen several thousand objects from several thousand other pockets hurtling skywards at the same time. It was monumental.
I recall a bundle of similar stature when Gallas equalised against Man U a to make it 2-2 in the dying seconds a few years ago, and Henry scoring with his head against the same opponents a year before to make it 3-2. But for those who can’t make it to see the Arsenal that often, trust me, epic bundles are not commonplace. It was great fun.
We were utterly dominant in the second half, could have scored three more, but in the end had to settle for just one, thanks to some smart thinking from Sagna and van Persie, and aided by another piece of poor keeping.
So that made it a nice, round ten years (or twenty matches if you prefer) since last succumbing to defeat in this fixture, and as victories go, taking all the hype and hyperbole into account, it was as sweet as any.
And really, I don’t think we ever hit top gear, though Fabregas and van Persie played magnificently. We were patient for our chances to come and we were clinical when they did (though we did get a bit wasteful once we were 3-0 up. I can forgive that). And remarkably, we kept a clean sheet for only the third time this campaign.
Bendtner’s groin injury was probably the day’s only real downer – another player out, this time for a month. But it can’t detract from a memorable derby win.