Sunderland 1-4 Arsenal
Ferrying children to various sporting endeavours is pretty much my weekend. I am a dad taxi. That is my life.
Itâ€™s unpaid, to flag up an obvious downside, but on the upside there is marginally less vomiting and haggling to deal with, and they never ask me to go south of the river, which is a blessed relief.
Anyway, there I was at midday shuttling Child One hither, while lugging Child Two thither, knowing full well that a 12.45pm kick-off was problematic in the watching department. So between the three of us we decided to lock down the gadgets, switch off the radio and watch as-live later in the day.
It was working well. There I was in the supermarket, snatching an hour mid child-gathering to do some shopping, with my phone buzzing like a furious wasp in my pocket. I left it untouched.
(I do realise that for you young folk of the world, this snapshot of the mundanity of middle age is terrifying to envisage, and I can only apologise, but steel yourselves for the future).
And the plan was still working well at 1-1, some hours later, watching as-live, as I wondered whether Arsenal had blown the three points and whether Sunderlandâ€™s equaliser would mark their ascendancy.
Until Child One, who had momentarily disappeared for biscuits, re-emerged wide-eyed and said, â€œIâ€™ve seen the final score Dad, and Iâ€™m not going to tell you what it was but ITâ€™S ACTUALLY AMAZING.â€
Noted, thanks pal. So we donâ€™t lose then 😉
And then, as if on cue, Giroud swept his first and Arsenalâ€™s second in, and the world was calmer. Then again, then again, and before you could say â€˜Next time donâ€™t give the score awayâ€™ it was 4-1. Game, set and match and onwards we march.
Sanchez, talking of furious wasps, was outstandingly good, but Giroudâ€™s cameo was hardly any worse – a gentle reminder, as if it were needed, that when thereâ€™s sweeping in crosses to be done, or looping headers to dispatch, Olivierâ€™s your man. Perfect timing with the bad news about Lucas Perez, too.
Coquelin was his aggressive self, Elneny was tidy AF, and Gibbs gave Wenger a pleasant headache with a performance of attacking verve.
We have a squad, ladies and gentlemen, that can be rotated. We have strength in depth. We have players out but it wasnâ€™t a calamity – and By George, itâ€™s handy.