And…. wow. That was one to add to the list of things to tell the grandchildren, that was.
At the end of the first half last night, I wondered to myself whether we’d be able to keep up the pace, passion, technique and outstanding teamwork that made us look so good in the first 45.
I needn’t have worried, as we were even better in the second half. How that was possible, I don’t know, but we were. We were so good that we made the runaway leaders of Serie A look – well, poor. I’m not one to get carried away as a rule, and I know we could still get bumped out of the CL against a team that will fight to the last, but last night cemented the notion that something big is happening at Highbury – and I’m not talking about the new stadium (though that is big, I admit).
It was one of those nights when no one player stood out. If I had to pick out one or four though, it would be Senderos, Toure, Henry and of course, Fabregas. But now I think of it, that would be tough on all the others, all of whom fought like dogs and played like panthers.
As for the return of the prodigiously talented prodigal son, well it was one I think he’ll be chalking off his tell-the-grandchildren list. He wasn’t poor, but he wasn’t great, and he was totally overshadowed by his former team mates. He looked pretty sour at the end, and you can understand why. So would I be if I was dumped on my arse by the non-tackling Pires, who then went on to set up our first goal.
So a humdinger of a night all round, and the excitement now buzzing around Highbury (games remaining: 4 or 5) is palpable.
But as Henry and Fabregas said at various points last night, (and I paraphrase), “The job is only half done”.
And as one long-in-the-tooth regular said on the way out of the ground last night, “Bet we lose to Villa now…”
Finally, I’d like to champion a new song, for Matthieu Flamini, created by my long-standing long-sitting partner-in-crime in the East Lower last night. I think it’s got legs.
Taken in the context of his new haircut, which has turned him into an identikit of legendary former Highbury number three Nigel Winterburn, it’s simple, but effective, and conveys all the right messages, with a touch of humour added;
“Nigel Flamini, Ni-gel Fla-mini”.