Evening Gooner Fam.
I’m taking a detour from my usual practise of typing my thoughts directly onto a device, usually my mobile. I’m actually penning my thoughts this time; no thanks to the absence of power in the village where I reside. Been a while I was here and does it feel good to be back.
The past weekend was definitely better compared to the penultimate one. The reason, to Gooners, doesn’t need Google’s friendship. 😀 We, albeit not so comfortably and not without putting up a fight, left Upton Park with 3points in the bag, a +2 GD to boot, Olivier breaking his stubborn League duck, Theo doing better off the bench than he did against the chavs and the Arab mercenaries before them, the beauty called Santi’s goal in our memories, need I go on? This time last week, I was grumpy as can be. Different scenario today.
We won 3-1 at a ground we were expected to find things difficult. And if a scoreline is anything to go by, we did. We started in an up-tempo manner, showing we meant business from the go; the players eager to wipe last Sunday’s sorrows off our hearts. That eagerness did not immediately bear fruits tho: we trailed with WHU’s first clear chance. In all honesty, although we coulda done better in defence, Diame’s effort deserves praise. Were we in for an upset as many unpaid Arsenal-haters predicted? Time did tell. We did not droop and lose steam, unlike some times in the recent past. We responded in a fashion increasingly becoming typical to us. It bore fruit as Olivier’s lunging foot reached the ball before Jaaskelainen after a lung-bursting run through the middle. He was awash with relief, as were many of us. One thing caught my attention as the players’ jubilation went on (and I hope Olivier or Podolski get to reveal it sometime in the future): Poldi in all seriousness was saying some things to Olivier when he ran to him to celebrate. No smiles, no nothing from the all-serious German. We went in at halftime level on the scoreboard. Came for the 2nd half. Got a 2nd: Theo off a Giroud assist and a 3rd for good measure: a Santi-fied belter from 30 yards. When was the last time we were treated to screamer by one of our players? Can’t remember.
Coming from behind is good for morale and belief and determination. But do we always have to concede at all? Reminds me of the days the Eagles used to be super, when if they weren’t playing well in a match, we’d opine amongst ourselves that they conceded a goal so they’d wake up. Not anymore that, the Super Eagles.
The game wasn’t all roses and cupcakes for us. But, perhaps long overdue, we had luck on our side and we did not have Phil Dowd not on our side. Plus everybody turned up bar the honourable Forehead (dude had the lowest rating on d evening, 5.90). WHU gave us some heart in mouth moments, but Gooners’ prayers around the world were answered. Talking about prayers, I should get la petite amie to pray for me more cos she prayed we’d win when we were trailing and we did.
That win at Upton Park plus our performances since the new season began, have opened my eyes to a couple of things. Pardon a brother if what his eyes have seen and will put here aren’t on point. The eyes are still developing.
I do not have the stats (I won’t mind for folks to corroborate or oppose in the Comments section) but I think we are getting back to our counter-attacking best (we aren’t actually there yet, but we are on the right path). Those days when the defence was mean and top notch and we had a midfield that could transform a defensive situation to an attacking on in seconds. Thos days. The current defence looks strong but ccan be better. It isn’t yet uhuru and we have to quit conceding. The midfield is very creative and no defence can afford to be complacent against our attack. I can remember I was just telling friends on a BBM Gooner Group, Proud Gooners, that we have to be moping-up the 2nd balls cos Per and Verm seemed to be fighting a lost battle against Carroll in the air and before I lifted my head to the TV, Olivier had scored. Theo’s also came off a counter attack. If memory serves me well, our two goals at anfield were also from counter-attacks. The fact that anybody in that attack can score, even further multiplies that threat we pose from counters. If not for anything, with this, we get a diversity to our play.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that we seem to be developing a pretty solid spine. Great teams I have seen in my not-yet-long-but-sure-to-be life always possess that and then all other things fall in place. I’ve questioned this observation myself that what happens when one of the vertebrae of that spine takes a knock or is absent (like against Chelsea and in the 1st half against Olymppiakos)? But hey, that’s why it’s a spine; an important component the ‘whole’ depends on. That spine I see, runs from Woj in goal (arguably Fabianski, depending on what you want from your ‘keeper. Either way, they are the best we’ve got right now), through Per + Verm/Kos at the centre of things in defence, Mikel and Santi in the middle (as we say in Nigeria, running things) and Olivier up top (this particular vertebra hasn’t convinced yet but he has shown that all he needs time to polish is his finishing and that will become better as he settles). Only few can boast of such quality down the middle, at least, not in the Arsenal Circumstances. And when the spine is steady and holds, all other parts tend to behave and play their part. Probably why some folks do not joke with their opa eyin concoctions. #justsaying
In the news, there are rumours the Club hope to get Theo to sign a shiny-new, 75k per week, 3_year contract. In my opinion, he hasn’t a reason not to sign. A 3-year contract will be up for review in 2years max. So he has that long to further receive AW’s tutelage (which many would love to be in his shoes for), further have access to such facilities as we have which few can boast of and further prove why he deserves (reportedly) 100k a week and (certainly) to play centre forward, while still remaining a relevant footballer.
Also, today Bacary will make his return to competitive football with the Reserves. Jack and Emmanuel will also be in the team in their bid to regain match fitness. We at GoonerGist hope they all succesfully continue their rehab although, in my opinion, only Jack can be relatively (emphasis on relatively) assured of a starting shirt.
That’s all for now folks. See you soon. Much sooner than the interval since I last said that here.
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