And it’s on again!!!

as Arsenal got their mojo working yesterday. I’m still heady from the victory, so forgive me if this post sucks. It’s weird actually, after all that missing in front of goal, we managed to turn the corner and find the back of the net, not once, but twice. The hex has been broken, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. We’re five points clear of Bolton, with a game in hand. We go up against Man City on Tuesday; but with this victory our guys have found their shooting boots and regained some much-needed confidence. They held Liv’pool to a draw yesterday; good news in that Liv’pool are now only 2 points ahead, so we could draw them if Middlesbourough hold them this Wednesday. The 4th place spot is fairly secure, while the 3rd spot is up for grabs if Liverpool stumble. Not a bad situation for us to be in; with their Champions League aspirations Liverpool aren’t going to have a smooth ride. No silverware for sure this season but with this young squad we can’t expect the world yet.

Maybe in a few years though. Fabregas finally showed his caliber with a level-headed strike yesterday; a cutting pass from Gilberto found him perfectly. His marker slipped and Cesc was almost through. A defender caught up immediately, but Cesc paused and waited for an eternity before shooting into the left corner… a clinical strike, which shows how much he’s matured. After all those heart-breaking misses, he finally found the mark and the crucial go-ahead goal. I think what made the difference was the willingness to charge, to be selfish and take it on ahead.

Soccer is a team game, but you need to have the courage to blaze ahead if you’ve got the opening. All of our guys were making those runs, and that made all the difference. It was a radical change; instead of passing the ball around and giving it up or missing, we made several incisive strikes. Again,it’s disappointing that we didn’t win by a larger margin; Diaby had a hat-trick of three missed opportunities. Yesterday, we showed that we’re dangerous ; nervy, but dangerous. Rosicky must be given full credit for his goal; he read the play and surprised Nicky Hunt, who had been defending perfectly so far, and booted it past Jaaskelainen for the equaliser. You could hear the sigh of relief as Arsenal ended the drought.

We did tend to give away the game towards the end; what was with the long clearances out of the box? Our defense had gone panicky; instead of trying to control the pace and bide our time the defense was praying for fulltime. It’s the same stuff that got us the loss at Everton; to the degree that Arsenal is routinely called weak on corners; at taking and giving. We really need to train heavily on set pieces.

All in all, an excellent performance. The defense was a bit weak; but our midfield has excelled and shown itself to be a chance-churning machine; if we had Henry or RVP we could have tramped on our opposition. Baptista is surely out by summer, and Cesc has silenced his detractors. Anelka is making overtures towards Arsenal. Ribery is still a possibility. Can’t wait for next season.

Ahh, life is good.


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