Is it October already?

And we’re well underway into the season, and at the top of the table. Let me just pinch myself here – Ouch! Okay, this IS reality. Just checking. Wenger, predictably, wants us to enjoy the happiness while warning that it’s still too early to bring out the parades. For me, though, more than the pole position in the title race, it’s the way we’re playing that deserves homilies. We’re creating our chances, converting them into goals, and while we’re still shaky at the back, we have gotten much better.


Kanu believe it

I didn’t. Senderos sent off? When we’re up 2-0? Just about ready for Pompey to sing the blues? But then the decision was fair, by the book. Ref didn’t have a chance, with Big Phil being the last defender. Kanu did go down as if he’d been battered with dinosaur-old Swiss cheese, but Senderos was too clumsy there. He’s a hole in the defense that Arsene’s gonna have to plug. Not a good sign when Gallas is your other option and he’s knackered.

Otherwise, however, we had a fun run. Arsenal flowed effectively, Van Persie’s clean break forcing James into an uncharacteristic error that deserved the penalty. After RvP missed last time, he turned it over to Ade, who sent James the wrong way and coolly slotted it home. 1-0 to the Arse in 8 minutes. Cue palpitation, which is cured when Cesc does a fox-in-the-box on a corner and uses Rosicky’s delivery to slot it in. 2-0.

Post-halftime seemed to be just more of the rest, especially when another corner saw Senderos head into the goal to see his effort parried by James, and cleared before Rosicky could get it in. Then comes the Portsmouth long ball which wasn’t dealt with effectively, with Big Phil eventually having to drag Kanu down. Red card, and this would have been the signal for a Portsmouth revival. They nearly converted the free kick into a goal. This time around, though, we persisted with our attacks instead of camping in our half, and it paid off. Clichy draws a push from Utaka, and Cesc takes the free kick fast.

Hilarity ensues as the Portsmouth defense is caught napping, and Rosicky fires the ball through two pairs of thighs( one of them being the unlucky Glen Johnson who just transferred from Chelsea) and past James for the third. Absolute genius, and this is real cause for optimism. These canny goals are what we need, as it forces teams to get confused amongst the approaches that we can use. Two of the goals came from set pieces. Almost like a pretty Big Sam’s Bolton, eh? Perish the thought.

And then more befuddlement as Utaka’s cross( he wasn’t closed down effectively enough ) hit Kanu’s heel and the ball leisurely travelled into the Arsegoal just out of Almunia’s reach. Flukey, really, and it did give Pompey a boost. Arsenal’s defending was solid, however, and two chances aside, they rarely looked like coming back. Toure did need to blast a cross over the net, but all-in-all, a good performance all around from the Arse. Almunia looked particularly reliable in goal, and you couldn’t blame him for the Kanu strike. He does need to save better free kicks, though; he palmed the Utaka one right into the path of a Pompey shirt and was fortunate to see it fly over. Jens must be feeling the pressure.

I’ll probably post my ratings of the players as soon as I can. In summation, though, a good match, and good containment from the Arse.