Good morrow humble gooners.
Well, how about that for a perfect (almost) Saturday’s work then, eh?
The pre match festivities started in their usual format: slight apprehension, a little bit of tension about what Arsenal team would turn up for the game and whether we would be rejoicing a lovely three points received or besmirching points that have been dropped.
Thankfully, the ‘besmirching’ was on minimum volume for this weekend, replaced by many a whooping or hollering which becomes the inevitable conclusion of a successful pillaging of an opponents goal at The Emirates.
I have to hold my hands up to admitting that I had no idea whether Southampton would arrive at The Arsenal with an extra bus or a floodgate, but the first twenty minutes gave me all the reassurance that I needed. The Saints were open, willing, and thoroughly culpable for their 4-0 half time deficit that they required to recover any kind of points from yesterday’s game.
The first came from Man Utd’s best friend, Mr OG. As man of the match (in my opinion) Lukas Podolski wrestled the ball back from a Southampton midfielder, he slid the ball into the on-rushing Gibbs on the left hand side of the six yard box, who smashed the ball across Southampton Goalie Davies. Unfortunately, some guy who’s name sounds like a horse noise beginning with ‘Hooiug’ was on the end of the ball and steered it into his own net. Own goals are always a funny thing: you celebrate and laugh at them, but deep down you would have preferred that your player scored said goal.
Goal number two was curled home courtesy of our German superstar Lukas Podolski, who wrestled the ball from his teammates clutches to place down and smash home from jut outside the D. It was a marvellous finish and should guarantee him a couple more cracks at dead ball situations in the coming weeks.
Two more goals followed in the first half, with Gervhino spinning into a good position and smashing the ball past Davis on the right hand side, then Gibbs once again being the creator for Mr OG to get his second of the match following a deflected cross beyond the stranded Southampton keeper.
The only real time Southampton got a sniff in that first half was for their goal. It was pretty standard stuff from Szczsney, food and drink for a keeper of his quality as a ball looped into the box looked like it was going to be gobbled up by the Pole. Unfortunately though he spilled it and allowed Fox to smash the ball into an empty net. It’s not quite the way in which I’d envisaged us losing that clean sheet record, but on a day like yesterday it was just the icing that was missing on our six goal cake. With calls earlier in the week to give Mannone a shot at keeping his place, yesterday’s display by our number one might have filled the Italian with hope that it could happen sooner rather than later. Szczsney’s distribution wasn’t great at times, and you do wonder if he’s in a comfort zone as the established number one. Look, there’s no point over analysing one mistake made by him, but if he sees Mannone as a serious contender for the jersey then perhaps it will help Szczsney all the more. I did find it interesting that on two occasions Vito was warming up and down the touchline. You don’t tend to get keepers doing that so perhaps it’s a little warning to the Pole that he has a ready and waiting deputy in the wings.
Over a half time cider I mused to Jamo that we would not see another half like the first in the second forty-five. So often you see a team that does its job in the first half and treats the second as more like a testimonial match. It was probably inevitable that Southampton would come out and show more fight than they did in the first, but I would have been happy to just see us sure up at the back and not concede. As it transpired, I got the best of both worlds, as the defence never really looked uncomfortable or troubled and we were treated to a couple more goals.
The fifth was created and delivered on a tap-in plate by Aaron Ramsey with Gervhino the willing recipient of his second goal of the game. Flicking a lovely ball by Cazorla past his man, Rambo drove into the box and placed the ball beyond Davis, only to be thwarted by the post. Gervhino was on hand however, to ensure that the Welshman’s hard work was rewarded.
The final goal of the game came from Theo Walcott, who capitalised on a scuffle in the box to smash home from around the penalty box. With a touch of class he didn’t celebrate against his old team, instead preferring the occasional high-five from his Arsenal colleagues.
All in all, a fabulous days work from the team, which is really starting to gel superbly at the moment. We have a strong central defensive partnership that is building with our Big Friendly German and Vermaelen. The German and Spanish flair also looks to be combining well together, with Cazorla, Arteta and Podolski looking imperious together. All over the pitch yesterday there were battles won by Arsenal players and performances that can put a smile on your face. I thought Jenkinson was excellent yesterday, The Ox is growing ever-impressive with each game, and even the options from the bench were looking good – Rambo getting an assist and Theo off the mark with his goal tally. When you think of some of the players we’ve been missing going into the start of this season, it just goes to show how strong we’re looking.
The players have got a couple of days to recover before a tricky away game to Montpellier followed by an away trip to Moneychester City, but right now we’re looking in good shape. The team looks strong, unified and ready to achieve something special. Football is a game where confidence can be almost as important as technical ability and after yesterday’s performance we should have bags of the stuff right now.
Have a good one, enjoy your Sunday and who knows, maybe Andre Villas-Boas might serve us some more entertainment later.