Well, what a difference a goal makes.
At 0-0 with barely any time left, it looked like another immensely frustrating evening for us, but then up popped Ade Cool to bag the win. 1-0 to the Arsenal always did have a nice ring to it.
Strange game though. The first half was worse than bad – no shots on goal, nothing. It was dreadful. Fortunately, the second half was a huge improvement with both sides having presentable chances, but neither side looked like taking the game by the scruff of the neck.
Then a fine pass by Fabregas – our one real creative genius – and the game was won. A fine three points away from home, and that’s the bottom line.
There are a few worries still, though. Principally, we’re just not scoring as much as we normally do. In fact, tonight’s starting eleven had managed just ten league goals this season between them – that’s an incredibly low tally. Without Henry (or an on-form Henry, to be precise), we’re just not the goalscoring monsters we once were.
Our midfield has scored just seven league goals – and fair play, six of those have come from players not usually noted for their goals (Gilberto and Flamini). But that means Fabregas, Ljungberg, Walcott, Rosicky, Baptista and Hleb have scored – wait for it – just one league goal between them. These are all attacking players and should be offering more.
Can you imagine how potent we might be with one or more of those players knocking goals in?
In the meantime though, a win’s a win against a tough side, and in a part of the world we’re not noted for doing that well in.
Also of note: that’s three straight games we’ve scored, not conceded, first. In those three games we’ve taken seven points from nine.
The three league games before those we took one point from nine – conceding first in all three games.
Stranger still, we’ve scored exactly the same amount of goals home and away as the Russians – but they’re ten points clear of us. The difference of course is that they don’t gift teams one goal starts.
With any luck, we’ve stopped doing that. And if we have, we’ll go from strength to strength.