Yes, yes, I know, the headline was an obvious one. Haven’t you heard I’m ill?
If ever there was a game to contrast the opening Premier League of the season then last night was it. Heading in to the game all talk surrounded how Arsenal hadn’t strengthened, we were playing the walking wounded in order to scrape together a team and how, basically, we were a club in crisis.
For me there were no nerves. Perhaps it was the volume of cold meds I’d taken throughout the day in order to be able to breathe and keep my lungs inside my chest but more likely it was because I knew with a second leg next week only a balls up of epic proportions would see us left with no chance of making the group stages for the 16th season in a row.
Going in to this first leg we were reminded how Arsene has played ten qualifying matches and won them all and when that was tied to the fact that Fenerbahce hadn’t won in the Champions League in seven or eight matches I did find myself cringing. I hate those type of stats.
But there was nothing to worry about.
Complaining all night about Theo as I’m want to do [he irks me], the wide ‘I want to be a forward’ man found a beautiful pass to allow Gibbs to score the first and showed a surprisingly sublime touch to control the ball before being fouled to win a penalty for the third. In between Aaron Ramsey hammered home from outside the box and leaving aside the Fenerbahce goalkeeper’s weak wrist, it was hard not to think of Cesc at the San Siro.
In goal Sczcesny did what little was asked of him and did it very well, pulling off a couple of great saves as well as putting his head in the danger zone, the end result of which looked like a love bite from an elephant.
In the middle of the park Santi showed that he is closer to fitness than many of us thought and at times managed to wiggle his way out of situations in a manner that only he seems capable of and with Rosicky and Ramsey never stopping for the entire 90 minutes and Jack getting closer to the player we all know he is, things look rosy in the middle of the park. Ramsey. Well, he’s just fantastic.
At the back the only down-point of the whole night was the injury to Koscielny who was sent to hospital due to the depth of the cut on his head in order to make sure that there was no bone damage. Ever the one to jump the gun, Twitter was claiming he had a fractured skull before final whistle had even blown.
I’m quite annoyed if I’m honest, that I’m so doped up on cold meds. I don’t feel as happy as I should. It has been a rough few weeks for Arsenal fans and while one result does not a season make we deserve to be able to enjoy this.
Make no mistake, no matter how poor people tell you Fenerbahce were, Istanbul is never an easy place to go and if I’m not mistaken Arsenal are the only English side to go there and win – and we’ve done that twice.
You can only beat what is put in front of you and that is exactly what Arsenal did. And they did it comprehensively. Fenerbahce may have been poor but Arsenal made them look worse with their constant pressing and harrying. They couldn’t handle Arsenal’s movement and even when we were three nil up there didn’t seem to be any drop off, even as we closed in on injury time.
I’ve seen many people ask if Arsene Wenger has lost the dressing room or if the players just simply aren’t performing for him – knees jerking all over the place after what was, admittedly, a disaster against Villa. But look at the results which came before, the unbeaten run which was strung together to get fourth place and the performance which came last night when there was even more pressure heaped on the side – they came through for him – and if that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about where the Arsenal player’s heads are at then nothing will.
Of course, none of this means we don’t need to strengthen. After the match Arsene pointed out rightly that you can’t buy permanent players to fix a temporary problem. Vermaelen will be back so will likely not be replaced but Arsene did say we needed one player back there and he’s always believed that you need four centrebacks at the club. We have three and, once again, we were one injury away from having to play Aaron Ramsey in the middle of defence. And we can’t stop there.
Signings will come., altough not Luis Suarez as Arsene admitted that was dead. We will bring in a striker, but who that is is anyone’s guess, and I heard about one that you wouldn’t be able to guess if I gave you until Christmas, but we’ll see. This result will not be used as an excuse not to buy and I don’t know why they haven’t come before now. But they haven’t and there’s not much we can really do about that.
There is a very good core at this club, a great first 11 who have all bonded and developed a team spirit. There doesn’t seem to be any divisive figures at the club anymore and no-one is agitating for a move for the first time since, well, I don’t know when. Since we moved to the Emirates? Perhaps.
Add a few quality players in there and we might, just might, be able to do something this season.
If we can have negative kneejerk reactions after a bad result then I’m thoroughly encouraging a positive one after that win.
As for me? I’m off for more cold meds lest the internet madness gets through to me. News and transfer rumours thoughout the day on the Gossip Site.
597 total views, 1 views today