Hello and good morning readers. It’s been a few days since we went to Shite Hart Lane and played the Sp*rs but I’m still feeling elated about the game and the result. I managed to get three tickets for the game, two in the bottom left of that photo (literally very bottom left) and one for a friend who can be seen above the ‘R’ in ‘Shitspur’ in a white t-shirt. All three of us were in agreement that the game is the best Arsenal game we’ve been to. The atmosphere was amazing, the fans were unbelievable and most importantly – after not doing so in the league since 2007 – we won in their back yard.
The game started brilliantly with Rosicky and Ox combining to create an opportunity which led to one of the goals of the season. I actually missed the goal as I was looking round and very much in the euphoria of actually being at away for the North London Derby (something I’ve dreamed of for years) but I caught the highlights after the game and what a goal it was.
The most impressive thing about it is that sometimes players just hit them with all their might and connect with that sweet spot which does the work for you. You’ll see it in lower league football every weekend in fact. However with Rosicky’s goal he could have certainly hit it harder (although 70mph isn’t exactly slow) but he decided to put more precision on the strike and it combined into one hell of a goal. The technique was superb and it put the Arsenal 1-0 up inside a couple of minutes.
The goal pretty much silenced the Spuds for the rest of the game, which made the atmosphere for the away fans all the better. A short while later Oxlade broke through on goal with a golden opportunity to put us 2-0 up but unfortunately scuffed it wide. Those kind of chances need to be at least testing the keeper but hey ho, it wasn’t meant to be.
The half from then on was pretty even I’d say with neither team producing anything massively clear-cut. The second half was a certainly more tense due to the fact that Tottenham had a lot of the ball but really they did nothing with it. Our defence were outstanding all day and gave them little or no opportunities to score. In fact the only chance they did create was one which came from a Szczesny error where he missed the ball and gifted Chadli a chance a goal. Of course Chadli didn’t stand a chance because both Per and Koscielny did their jobs and blocked the ball at the goal mouth.
After the game there were plenty of people saying that Tottenham were the better team. How the fuck does that work out? They had possession of the ball more but isn’t that expected when they’re at home? The fact is they didn’t produce a single chance all game, we produced three. Furthermore, Vertonghen 100% fouled Koscienly in the box. It’s a stone-wall penalty and should have been given. I don’t know how the fuck the linesmen or referee didn’t see it when even I could.
So no, I refuse to accept that they were the better team. They were the more inefficient, useless, tactically outplayed team. We let them have possession because we were both mature and intelligent enough to know they couldn’t do fuck all with it.
After the game was my favourite part without a doubt. Around 80% of our 3,000 fans stood around to continually sing “49, 49, undefeated, 49, 49, I say, 49, 49, undefeated, playing football the Arsenal way!” for almost half hour. It was unlike anything I’d ever been to in football and is a credit to our incredible away support. People like to talk up the foreign away fans but I gotta say – we’re up there with the best of them.
So, in terms of the significance of the three points, it means we’re still very much in with a chance of the title. Anything other than a win and I think we’d be counting ourselves out of it, but now we find it all very much in our hands. Our next three fixtures are Chelsea (A), Swansea (H) and Man City (H). I think if we can get a minimum of seven points from those games then we’ll go into the final six games with the wind in our sails and a probable chance of getting our hands on the trophy.
Of course we’d still need both Chelsea and City to slip up but I’m feeling quite confident they’ll do so – once. That’ll mean we’ll need to win all our games which I don’t think is beyond the realms of possibility. With the way this season has gone so far, I don’t think anything can be ruled out.
In other news it’s been announced that both Cazorla, Ramsey and Zelalem have committed their futures to the clubs with new contracts. Both Cazorla and Ramsey have been integral to our side the past few years so it’s welcomed news that they’re both happy to stay around longer. They join Rosicky, and Mertesacker in extending their contracts and it shows that the club are keen to avoid any more Nasri or van Persie situations.
Of course there’s question marks over Sagna’s future but it’s very much a yo-yo situation. One moment he’s staying, the next he’s gone. In my eyes he’ll be off in the summer which will mean a replacement will need to be bought. I did hear a few seasons back we wanted Piszczek of Dortmund but he’s 29 in June and been in and out of the injury room the past two seasons so I doubt that’ll happen.
I can’t help but wonder about the futures of those players that haven’t yet gotten new contracts too. Giroud and Podolski in particular because they’re both coming to a point where the next few years will be their most important in terms of a solid contract. Perhaps Wenger is doubtful over both of their ability to offer something to the team longer than their current deals so he’s therefore reluctant to offer them new ones. It makes a change to our usual approach of offering contracts in hope they’ll come good e.g. Bendtner.
Speaking of Wenger, I can’t help but have doubts over him too. On Twitter last night I referred to the fact that a few years back he said something like “I’ll step down when the club is in the best position for the next manager to come in” and it got me wondering – could he be leaving this year? He’s yet to sign an extension on his deal that expires in three months, so could it finally be the year?
When you consider he’s built a new stadium, secured the futures of our core team on lengthy contracts, got us competing for trophies again, quality young players coming through and £100m+ available in the transfer kitty, it does look as though the club is a golden opportunity for any manager should he decide to come in this year. The big question is though, who would that be?
Wenger said back in 2011 he’d love Dragan Stojkovic to take over after him but I can’t say I’d agree. I think he’s not a big enough name or personality and would struggle to handle the pressure of managing a club as big as Arsenal. Then there’s the possibility they’d go for a young experienced manager such as Roberto Martinez, or even promote from within through Steve Bould. Neither of them strike me as Arsenal managers (yet) though and that makes me feel the only real candidate is Jurgen Klopp. His footballing style, class and philosophy of producing young talent matches everything we want in a manager. Plus he’s been at Dortmund for a few years and won major trophies, so he’d more than capable of handling the expectation of the fans.
Anyway, it’s something to ponder over. Let’s hope Wenger signs a new contract as I think the club will be in a much better situation in two years and therefore give the next manager an even greater platform to start on. For now, let’s focus on this weekends game against Chelsea, where Wenger takes charge of his 1,000 game and will hopefully get that first win over Mourinho. Until then.