Swansea 0-2 Arsenal
Optimism is not an emotion I have much associated with this stuttering season, during which all our weaknesses have been laid bare on far too many occasions, but I have been in a curiously upbeat mood since our ultimately futile win in Bavaria.
I thought we’d win in Swansea – based on nothing but the clutching of straws, probably – but my bullishness had started to fizzle out by the middle of the second half. Neither side created much and it wouldn’t have surprised me had it finished 0-0. A few high-scoring games aside (Reading, Southampton, Newcastle), we’re not scoring for fun these days. So when the goal came, it was after some huffing and puffing, and it was a bobbler of the first order.
I have to say, I love a bobbler. A scuffed slicer, one off the knee, or something bouncing off a player’s rear echelons. There are pirhouettes, volleys, 30-yard raspers and there are daisy-cutting scuffed-bobblers. I’m standing up for the latter.
It was a first goal for Nacho Winterburn (Nacho Winterburn, Na-cho Winterburn – thanks Nige) and boy did we need it. Then as if to turn the world as we know it on its head, a second came at the end from Gervinho, who hasn’t scored since the trees were in leaf, a goal set up by the oft-maligned (but in my view increasingly impressive) Aaron Ramsey. Substitution-tastic.
I’m not sure Fabianski could have had a gentler re-introduction to Premier League football – but things could have been different had Michu rolled a good effort a bit to the left. Overall though we defended pretty well again and whatever our weaknesses elsewhere on the pitch we do now boast real quality at full-back. Gibbs and Monreal, Sagna and Jenkinson. A lot of teams would kill for that depth.
We’re still a way off where we want to be, let’s be honest, and it’d be a fool who got too confident, but it’s been a good week – however bitter-sweet Wednesday was.
Heading into the ‘lull pointless and back to square one would have been no fun at all.
So those three points were sweet.