It would have been easy for Arsenal to turn up for this match at home to Wigan and not be all that bothered, after all, we’ve seen that quite a bit this season. Not so yesterday. The Arsenal that turned up absolutely annihilated Wigan, and it was only for the heroics of the Wigan keeper, the last-ditch tackles by their centre-backs and some woeful calls by a linesman we could have quite easily posted a record score.
But it was not to be, and that’s ok for me.
By now you’ve no doubt seen the highlights, read match reviews and taken in all the blogs you can find. You don’t need me to tell you how good we were yesterday. But I’m going to anyway.
People can point to Wigan being useless, but you have to look at how from the first minute to the last we pressured and harried all over the pitch. When we lost the ball, we went and got it straight back again. Every player worked so hard to retain possession, make space, and generally attack Wigan as if they were a top four side.
There is a momentum building around Arsenal, you can almost feel it. For so long now we’ve seen our team turn up for some games only to relax in the next match. As I said, I didn’t think that would happen against Wigan. There seems to a mood shift in this squad, perhaps that’s what happens when you can play your first choice team more often than once a season, maybe it’s a sign of maturity.
Whatever it is, I love it.
Right from the kick-off we wanted this, and we wanted it big. We gave Wigan no time to settle, no time to get their bearings before we started battering them, and, once again, it was only the fact that a goalkeeper was having the game of his career that stopped it being a cricket score by half-time.
Theo Van Nasregas were on fire. Cesc’s passing, hell, even Song’s passing, were simply something else. Nasri was perhaps the quietest of the four, but Theo’s running and hold-up play was top-notch, and what can you say about Robin?
Should have sold him in the summer huh? He’s nothing more than a luxury player eh?
Bet you feel like right fools now? Probably not, but it feels gloat-worthy. Seven goals in five games will do that to me.
When he missed the penalty you thought that hat-trick would never come for him, but it did. It has only taken six years, 135 games, and hitting the woodwork 4,507 times.
Has there even been a more deserved hat-trick? Not only did he score the three, he hit the post, missed a penalty, and was denied by Al Habsi more times than I could count (I struggle with numbers higher than three). To see what it meant to him just made it even better for the watching fans, this is a man who loves this club and more than any of us wants to be fit to play as much as possible.
If we can keep Theo van Nasregas fit, there really could be no stopping us.
There’s not really much to say about the defence, our fourth clean sheet in the league in a row for the first time since the dinosaurs and they weren’t tested at all. Wigan simply couldn’t get out of their own half as we pressed and pushed them back, exploring every crack in their defences.
I think I’m right in saying we are the only team still to concede a goal this calendar year. Ok, so it’s only 23 days old, but we are Arsenal, we’re not supposed to be able to do defend remember?
So on the up, next match is a semi-final, and I fancy we will see Theo Van Nasregas start again. With Huddersfield the next match after Ipswich we can afford to rest them then. I don’t know if Wenger wants to take any chances with Wembley so close, and this monkey so nearly off his back.
Then again, you know Wenger.
It is a good day to be an Arsenal supporter. There is somehow something truly satisfying about watching the team play against a Wigan or a West Ham as if they were Man United or Chelsea. There is no question which team is playing by far the best football in the league, a result of consistency of selection more than anything else.
A tiny part of me wonders just what we could have achieved already had we been able to select our strongest team over the past few season as regularly as we have already this, but that part gets overshadowed quickly by the optimism that is ruling inside me.
I think we’ve FINALLY learned our lessons.
In weird news, the Mirror are reporting that Chelsea are going to try and sign Arshavin. Do I even need to discuss how many things are wrong with that idea?
A short blog today due to other commitments, my apologies, but if what I’m working towards comes off it will be superb news for this site so fingers crossed and thanks for tolerating my tiny blogs recently.
You really are a superb bunch.
If you missed it earlier, you might be interested in checking out this piece on Sexism in Football that I posted earlier.
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