Arsenal 4-1 Portsmouth
Who’d have foreseen that our start to the season, as well as being faultless, would feature the steady rat-tat-tat of goals, almost all of which have come from defenders and midfielders?
It doesn’t seem to matter how or why this is the case: there’s no pressure on our strikers to hit the mark if the rest of the side has left ten magic parcels in the opposition’s net. This is especially true if our strikers are assisting goals themselves (as van Persie and Eduardo did on Saturday).
Ordinarily, I’d have been there with the other 60,431 souls at the Grove, waving my acrylic scarf, but alas I wasn’t, instead keeping tabs on the match via text updates and Tweetie from my sedentary spot in south London. Naturally, I followed that up with Match of the Day, an institution I love despite an overdose of white-shirted Alans.
Now, having not been there, I can only comment on the heavily edited few minutes on MOTD, but it was interesting and gratifying to see Diaby take the plaudits (Song and Fabregas were already basking themselves in previous acclaim).
Interesting, in part, because I was intrigued to know whether reports of Diaby having treadmilled his way through the summer in an attempt to step up had any substance, and gratifying because I’ve always wanted him to do well. Sadly, he’s the Stewart Robson of the modern era – promising but suffering from one frustrating injury after the other – and despite having been at the club 3.5 years, he’s still not managed to nail a place down for more than a few games at a time.
It’s not just him though – I don’t know exactly what Wenger has put in our midfielders’ tea leaves, but he seems to have done something, given the competitiveness of their early season performances.
The games are now coming thick and fast, with no rest for the wicked and little time for bruised bodies to recover. It seems pretty amazing that after one league game, Wenger rested Clichy, Sagna, Song and Bendtner, but he did and it’s a good indication of the challenges that lie ahead. Celtic on Wednesday is far from a gimme given what is at stake, and then there’s Utd away on Saturday.
I’m confident that we can do well in both games, but I’d be that little bit more comfortable if Fabregas – as crucial as ever to our fluidity and creativity – can recover from his hamstring scare. Having Nasri, Rosicky and Walcott out is bad enough – add Fabregas to that list and it’s that bit harder.
Here’s hoping the usual cocktail of Strepsils and magic sponges can heal him.
And finally, it’s the last full week before the transfer window closes. Will the result of Wednesday’s £10m qualifier have a bearing on what Wenger does with his chequebook, or is he just waiting till the end to drive prices down? Or is going to abstain entirely?