A welcome dousing of flames

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After another thumping win, in which we scored four times and went second, it’s been interesting to read some of the reaction in the press.

There’s no doubt that some of the sceptics have started to take note. We’re now thirteen matches unbeaten, and in those 13 games have scored 37 goals. There’s even talk that we might break the 100-goal barrier, though surely that’s a) absurdly premature and b) asking for a tumble. I think it will be hellishly difficult to keep up the pace we have been scoring at, even if we have shared the goals between seventeen different scorers. Wenger has been preaching humility and his captain, Fabregas, is duly dousing any flames of expectation.

Quite right too – I get the feeling we’re all quite happy to chunter along as the third game on Match of the Day. I certainly am, so long as I can stay awake that long (not always a given). I’d much rather we carried on improving, away from the spotlight of the two teams who most plaudits still consider to be the ones to beat.

So why is this? Well, while the ‘goals scored’ column is majestic, we’re still letting in silly goals. In the Premier League it’s fourteen now. While we’re scoring like we are it doesn’t matter much, but it might do if the goals dry up at the other end.

Actually, if you compare the amount of goals we’ve conceded to most of our rivals, we’re not doing too badly. Though all sides are some distance from the 8 goals conceded by Chelski.

The other reason, of course, why many of us are unwilling to start strutting is because we’ve had a fair few false dawns with this side already. Last season being a case in point – and let’s not trawl that up again.

There remain, also, some doubts as to our strength in depth in one or two positions.

So for the moment, the most enjoyable thing for me is watching the side progress, create, gel. The difference between this season and last is tangible. Go to the Grove this year and the crowd is upbeat – last season it was at times a hotbed of gloom.

What I wanted to say in a roundabout kind of way is that I’m loving watching us at the moment, but as for expecting or anticipating more – well I’m too long in the tooth to think that November is any guide to where we’ll be in May.

Frustratingly, we’re now mere bystanders as fifteen of our players head off round the globe with their countries to pick up injuries and lose their rhythm.

International weeks are bloody annoying at the best of times. They’re even worse when you’re on a fine run of form.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.