Arsenal 4-0 Blackburn
Read all the papers yet? Ogled at replays of Arshavin’s goal online? Yup, me too.
What a scintillating second half that was – without doubt the best 45 minutes of football we have played all season. And how we all needed that – the fans needed it, the players needed it, Wenger needed it. We’d scored just four league goals in eight previous home league games, so to double that in one game was enormous fun.
Some weeks back, after the Fulham game, Wenger alluded darkly to the team’s “psychological” problems. I think they might have gone now. It’s as if Wednesday’s penalty success in Rome was a mental spring-clean for this side, because yesterday they absolutely ripped Blackburn apart.
We were particularly magnificent on the wings, where Walcott and Arshavin were dishing football aggro out all afternoon. With proper wingers, Arsenal suddenly look a far better-balanced side, and it’s testament to how well we played that even with Bendtner having a shooting off-day, we still bagged four.
Arshavin’s goal on 65 minutes was just superb – very Kanu-esque – and much deserved after a sublime performance. He really does look a snip at £15m and a player with the capacity to come up with the unexpected.
At one point yesterday my cousin turned round and asked if we had dropped into some peculiar parallel universe. Not only had Man Utd been thumped at home, but Alex Song (or ‘Songinho’ as he was hastily nicknamed) was excelling, and Emmanuel Eboue had scored twice. Or should I say “Arsenal’s goal machine”. It was head-scratching stuff but a pleasure to see: I like nothing more than being proved wrong, and yesterday I was by their contributions.
Finally, Bendtner. His performance was enigmatic. He worked his socks off, got into excellent positions and had an assist for the first goal, but he finished like he’d had his bootlaces tied together. Interestingly enough, after his fourth miss in as many minutes you begun hearing his name being sung – and it got louder and louder. He got a fine reception when substituted too. A few weeks ago he’d probably have been booed, but there’s a groundswell of opinion now going the other way and that’s the way it needs to be. He couldn’t have worked harder, and so long as a player puts in the elbow grease then it’s hard to fault him for a lack of confidence in front of goal.
Overall then, a sweet afternoon. Loving it.