Grovehog day

I could have sworn I’d seen that game before somewhere.

Another jaunt against the Geordies, another three goals, another win with no real need to raise our game to get it.

And what goals they were, eh? The exceptional Nigel Flamini scuttled down the right wing, evading the challenge of a skinhead, and delivered a cross so delicious Adebayor must have been tempted to eat it. Instead, he nodded it in. It was almost half time, and as ever it’s a great time to score a goal. We’d created some chances before that without looking at our blistering best, so the goal came at the perfect time.

The second goal was an absolute belter from Nige, a right-footed rasper that sliced ever so slightly to the right as it sailed through the air. No keeper in the world would have got to it. And I suspect that had Flamini tried the same thing from the same position another 99 times, he’d have been fishing the ball out of the stands 99 times. It was that kind of strike.

So at 2-0, and with our opposition painfully limited in the goalscoring department (two shots on target in 180 minutes – it’s not hard to see where their problems lie), I relaxed in my lofty upper tier perch (swapped seats for a change. It’s a great view, if not the most sizzling of atmospheres). The third goal duly came with ten minutes to go; Bendtner crossed to Fabregas who scored for the first time in almost three months.

Flamini was excellent last night, but my vote goes to Gael Clichy, who is fast developing into the finest left-back in the league (if he’s not there already, that is). I don’t wish to gloat – well only a bit then – but contrast the form of Clichy over the last two years to that of his predecessor, whose name I can never remember. Then ask yourself who you’d rather have in your side?

It’s three points and a return to the top of the table. Our form is not at the level it has been this season, but it’s improving and we’re still getting the results. We were “coasting” according to Martin Samuel in the Times – and he’s probably right. Tougher challenges lie ahead.

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