Happy Monday as Arsenal Step On

Bit late in the day but…

The question on the lips of my little contingent of season ticket holders after Monday’s majestic swatting-aside of Chelski was simply: Was Theo’s goal the best bundle yet at the Grove? There have been a few others – Gallas’ last-minute equaliser against Man Utd, Henry’s header against the same opponents way back in the first season at the Grove and Fabregas’ mazy, unchallenged dribble and goal from the kick-off last season against the Spuds. There are certain conditions that need to be fulfilled to make the grade; it has to be against a big side, it helps if it’s a perhaps unexpected goal and it tends to come straight after another big moment when the crowd’s lungs are fine-tuned and the place is already rumbling along nicely. Theo’s goal fitted all those criteria and the bundle was explosive. My brother was somehow shunted down the aisle, terrace-style, I was hugging anyone who was prepared to be hugged (and some who, in retrospect, might not have been) and you couldn’t hear yourself think. I was hoarser than Red Rum.

As passages of play go, the ten-minute spell before and after half-time took some beating, but overall it was exactly the display many of us had been hoping, yearning to see all season. We were almost better off the ball than we were on it, and I can think of fewer better accolades than that. At times this season we have looked like we didn’t want it enough, but we couldn’t have wanted it more against Chelski and they simply had no answer.

I have no idea whether it will be marked as a coming of age, or just an exceptional one-off, but it was definitely a match that went some way to knocking a few theories about the team on the head. It wasn’t until after the game I realised how desperate I had been for the team to put in a shift like that and to bury a few doubts – many of them held by me. It was pretty cathartic.

No doubt much of the undoubted feel-good factor will dissipate if we head to Wigan tonight and trip up. Scene of the lowest point of last season, it is a game that must and I suspect will not be taken lightly.

I look at tonight’s game with increasing confidence and a renewed belief in the potential of this team – and if I’m thinking that, I suspect the players are too. Let’s go out there and dish out more of the same.

All I need now is to chase the stream…


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

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Gooner in Exile

    Totally agree with you about the way we pressed against Chelsea, was a great performance.

    However am writing this after our lacklustre performance against Wigan, I dislike criticising Wenger or the players but 8 changes left me wondering why I just bothered to travel for 5 hours to get there. I know why Wenger made 8 changes but Chelsea still managed to field Cech, Essien, Terry, Drogba, Lampard, Cole & Malouda and probably others.

    Then the way we were performing was making me question it more as all the passion we had and quality of football that gave us three deserved goals on Monday was missing.

    I don’t actually understand how we equalised or managed to get into the lead.

    Jack Wilshere changed the game and Denilson played well Chamack and Sagna also deserve honourable mentions other than that it was poor.

    Why Wenger didn’t make a change at 2-1 when we clearly needed fresh impetus was beyond me and the other 4,500 Gooners who made the effort to travel to the back of beyond to support the team.

    Rant over looking for some positive changes to the side before Birmingham.

    Yet again we failed to take advantage of another Man Utd slip up.

  2. Jeff

    Arsenal were so much better than Wigan technically – we should have scored more goals. I’m affronted by the lack of drive from the side today (except for Wilshere who I love to bits).


  3. Jeff

    The question about not changing things at 2-1 is certainly one that I had watching the match at home. It would have been great to have Theo come on with a lead, and in his current form, to counterattack, especially when the rest of the team was too ….?…something…tired?….to attack.

  4. Jeff

    Just saw in the twitter feed, “It was a clear pen at the end but we threw three points away I’m afraid.”

    Technically it was two, but as a rule I find a draw to be very much like a loss.

    I gather that before my awareness of football, a win was only two points, and there’s a carryover from that, I think, that gives people a curious tolerance of draws, compared to losses.

  5. Gooner in Exile

    Wilshere changed the game, he played with more purpose than Diaby had been.

    In the second half he did some lovely work around the edge of the 18 yard box and played a great ball for Arshavin, unfortunately the lazy git had already decided he had done enough in that move and stopped. Wilshere was fuming.

    What’s best about Wilshere is despite his size (or perhaps because of )he is prepared to earn the right to play and fights for possession and to win the ball back at every opportunity, a few more in his mould and we would be so much more of a team.

  6. East Lower

    Agree about Wilshere – outstanding this season. “Like a new signing” actually true in this instance.

  7. East Lower

    8 changes was a recipe for disaster. Took the wind out of our sails.

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