Would Arsenal’s form survive a six-week hiatus, we all wondered? Is it possible to bottle momentum and uncork it again? We needn’t have worried – out came the Boxing Day fizz.
Will my ability to write blogs survive a six-month hiatus? Don’t put the champagne on ice.
It’s been nearly eight months, truth be told (or three league defeats – it depends if your default calendar is Gregorian or Artetian) and I have no idea why. Other than one minute it was May, and the next minute it’s now.
You’d think that playing the best football in years would have drawn me to the blog like a moth to a flame, but no. The moths have got wise.
This is the best football we’ve played in years though: a satisfying mix of proper structure, attacking fettle and youthful oomph has led to a love-in with the fanbase that has reinvigorated everyone. We can play tough and we can play pretty.
And we can play tough without, it seems, Xhaka ending up going Full Xhaka. Now that’s progress.
The big talking point since the World Cup has of course been the Gabriel Jesus injury. Like Alexis Sanchez before him, he’s one of those rare-breed attackers who has an internal dynamo that seems permanently set to 100. When he’s fit, everyone knows the pecking order: Jesus starts, and Eddie is for cameos and cups.
We all know Eddie is a backup, and he’ll never – much like the Beatles – be more popular than Jesus, but some people do seem keen to write him off before he’s got his feet under the desk.
This is the same Eddie Nketiah who, when given a run in the side last season scored five goals in seven league games.
So if you ask me, as backups go he’s a pretty good one to have, and at 23 he will only get better. Yes, there were a few wrong calls against West Ham, but it’s hardly a crime to be rusty. And then, that goal. What a beautiful turn and shot; what a beautiful shot in the arm for him. And his workrate is always exemplary – any player not putting a shift in for Arteta wouldn’t be there very long.
Well done Eddie!
As for the rest of it
Yes, this is a lot of fun, but you won’t find me being swept up in any premature giddiness. We’re only 39% of the way through the season.
Doesn’t mean we can’t lap it up of course, or believe that we’re onto something good here, but *dons donkey jacket and talks earnestly to camera* we can only take each game as it comes. And… things do get a tad harder from here. In fact, January looks like an absolute assault course.
Maybe we’ll have Mudryk by then? What’s not to like about a “lightning-quick forward”?
Before then, to the south coast we go.
See you in another eight months. Or maybe sooner.