On the pitch: good

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So there I was, in a seaside town that reached its peak of chic in about 1950, sitting in a ‘sports bar’ that, if I’m honest, wouldn’t have been cool in the Arctic Circle.

As well as a sniffle, I caught the second half of the match, and I was impressed.

Clumsy Phil’s cuckoo challenge that got himself sent off didn’t seem to matter – we played some scintillating stuff against what was, admittedly, a strangely rubbish Pompey.

As has been pointed out, our midfield has gone from goal-shy to goal-hungry – a most satisfying development. ¾ of our goals (8 of 12) have been scored by midfielders. And none of those has come from the main midfield contributor of last season – Gilberto. If the midfield can continue to contribute as it has, it takes so much pressure off the strikers.

And hey – we’re second. It’s been a great start, even if three of the opening four games have been at home against sides we would expect to beat. Next stop – Our Chums Up The Road. That should be a cracker, though a tough cracker. They’ve not beaten us in a long while, and are under huge self-imposed pressure to deliver.

Winning would bring them within three points of us, but losing would make the gap nine – with that game in hand in our favour still.

But just as heads of steam were gathering, international week comes along.

The English among us have the pain of that to endure.


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