Arsenal 4-0 Cardiff City
Just as two and a half months of temperatures hovering at and often below zero were beginning to get on my wick, and Arsenal’s football was similarly bone-chilling, along comes some decidedly springlike air to London. And quite bizarrely, along came some springlike football too.
Arsenal, it must be said, were pretty slick tonight. I mean, crumbs, we even managed to score in the first half – not once, but twice. Scenes to relate to your grandchildren, let me tell you.
And who got the first? None other than Mr Eduardo, of course, who probably had a fiver on himself down at Paddy Power to knock in the first goal in on his mended-legged return. He ghosted across his defender, nodding Vela’s cross in with his bonce and set off mass delirium amongst the fans and his own teammates in the process. If ever a man needed to see off a rubbish year with a goal, that man was Eduardo. It was a return – capped off, lest we forget, with a finely taken penalty too – full of promise. Welcome back that man.
Some will say that Cardiff never really showed up, and they were certainly not the dangerous side we played in the first game, but I think that would be a little harsh on Arsenal, and besides, I’d rather concentrate on a game that we bossed from front to back. We defended well – Sagna was magnificent and Gibbs deserves praise too – and attacked with gusto. We looked, in short, bang up for it and full of ideas.
The only downside for me was missing van Persie’s goal: I did the thing I tend to abhor most by slipping away with six minutes remaining, and heard the fourth goal go in as I queued to get into Arsenal tube. I did actually have a good reason to pop away early – and it wasn’t just to write this, or to make myself a hasty prawn sandwich, I might add.
But this is all good: Arsenal have struggled for what feels like an eternity at the Grove, so to break down opponents with a fluid performance such as this feels fresh, fruity and fine. Who the opponents were is entirely irrelevant if you ask me.
And it’s a good time to start scoring – we have a crucial (and winnable) game on Saturday at home against Sunderland, in which we may see Arshavin make his debut and who knows, perhaps even Walcott’s return too, followed by Roma at home in the Champions League on Tuesday week.
We need all the momentum we can muster. Tonight was a good start.