Perhaps I should have saved that headline for a day when we won and Giroud scored, but it was simply too good not to use today and, of course, Giroud is being talked about so it seemed to fit. But I’m not going to talk about him. He missed two great chances, but the goals will come, of that I’m sure. Today it was not about one man, it was about a team which played together and defended as if a clean sheet had, once again, became a personal point of pride for the whole squad.
It was great to see and nothing epitomised this new Arsenal defence than when Koscielny replaced Vermaelen as Arsenal were defending a corner and a number of Arsenal players screamed and pointed at him until he stood exactly where he was supposed to go. Steve Bould. I wouldn’t ignore him either. Vermaelen, by the way, should be alright according to Wenger post match. His injury? The result of a Gerrard lunge which even Liverpool fans said was dangerous. A lunge that didn’t even warrant a free kick according to Howard Webb who had saw fit to book Mertesacker for running alongside Suarez as Suraez threw himself to the ground. Ho hum, that’s how it goes at Anfield I suppose.
By this point last season, as I’m sure you all know, we had lost two and conceded ten. This year we stand as the only team in all four divisions yet to concede a goal and against the first footballing side we have encountered this season, we simply bossed the game.
In the middle of the park Arteta, Cazorla and Diaby were simply magnificent. Diaby took huge strides to silencing many of his doubters with a man of the match display which saw him described as ‘majestic.’ Santi sprayed balls about the park with such ease that drooling seems to be the standard response when he’s got the ball and for his efforts he got a goal and an assist. He’s now created ten goalscoring opportunities since he arrived in the Premier League. That’s joint top if you’re counting.
Podolski simply seems to love playing with Cazorla, the two of them playing passes to each other like long lost lovers who have just been reunited and it was Santi who set up Podolski whose finish was only matched by the passion he showed in his celebration.
As I watched the game in Lavery’s Bar, Belfast, I was surrounded by Liverpool fans, the Arsenal fans who’d been there for the last match I was at clearly still working off their hangovers. It was quite eye opening. As I’d long suspected, Scousers see the body as one giant hand, screaming for handball whenever the ball touched an Arsenal player, and when a 50:50 ball was in play their reaction, time and time again was ‘hit him’. A classy bunch no doubt.
As regular readers will know I am a strong Wenger supporter but even I found myself doubting the policy of not reinforcing more during the transfer window. I can see clearly why we didn’t in midfield, with Rosicky still to come back and Wenger confirming pre-match that he’s had some good news about Wilshere. Up front I still wonder will we be ok should we suffer an injury, but I guess we just deal with that if it happens. No point worrying about it now.
I’m not sure many people outside Arsenal put us down for such a performance at Anfield today, and I know for a fact that many Arsenal fans didn’t think that Diaby was capable of what he displayed today – I had an argument about him last week as I tried to defend him and the player he could be if he could just get past him injury problems which are mostly related to that Dan Smith tackle. Today was a good day. Let’s hope that it is the first of many this season. I think we’ve all earned it – Wenger, Diaby and the Arsenal fans. Oh. And if today wasn’t good enough already, Wenger hinted very strongly he’d be signing a new deal, you can read about that here.------------
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