My first ramblings from Sydney and what a start it’s been to my adventure down under. Friday and Saturday were largely spent travelling, it’s certainly one hardcore journey. Thankfully the jet lag and tiredness seem to be in hiding, but I’m waiting for them to hit me with full force at any unexpected minute now.
It’s been an eventful couple of days since then. Yesterday was Father’s Day in Australia and my friend Paul and his family (who I’m currently staying with) kindly invited me to lunch; it was nice to see three generations having such a lovely day…despite me intruding. In the evening thoughts switched to The Arsenal, with myself, Paul, and his brother all settling down to watch the game at the unfootballing hour of 10.30pm – although that’s one of the kinder kick off times here, so a nice gentle starter.
It was a very good performance and an excellent result. Things started off a little shaky, with Mertesacker and Arteta both picking up early bookings, and possession being given away a little too cheaply on a few occasions. However, once things settled it was an accomplished performance. The back four worked with Bould-esque efficiency, protecting Mannone well. In midfield Arteta was his near perfect self, Diaby was absolutely immense (showing us what a player he can be if injury stays away), and Cazorla was the little magician we are quickly growing very fond of, scoring a lovely goal – his first for the club – following an excellent interchange with Podolski to wrap things up at 2-0. The German had also opened his Arsenal account, during the first half, applying a tidy finish into the bottom corner to round off a devastating counter attack. It was quite a sight and great to see us breaking with such pace and directness, just like earlier Arsene years. After the game Arsene said:
Overall I am pleased with the quality of our performance, offensively and defensively. In our first two games you could feel some potential but we lacked a little spark and that is getting better now. We come out of the game with the feeling we had a good performance but there is also a good potential and team energy and that is always very interesting because there is something to work on.
So overall positive signs. There’s clearly still room for improvement and areas to be worked on at the training ground, but at the same time it’s also important to focus on the positives and the clear potential of this group of players . Having landed in Sydney to the news of no deadline day signings, it’s important that this group of players stick together and keep working hard. If Diaby can stay fit along with the returning Sagna, Wilshere, and Rosicky then we have a really good chance to be in the mix come the latter stages of the season.
The feel good factor of this result will be somewhat diluted by the international break, so all we can do now hope for is a clean bill of health for everyone being called up by their respective nations. After the break it’s Southampton at home, which won’t be easy (you only have to look at the fact they’ve given both City and United a good run for their money), but that said it’s a fixture we really must be looking to win. After slow starts on the goal scoring front both Bergkamp and Henry opened their accounts against The Saints, here’s hoping Giroud can do the same. His work rate and movement is looking good, I’m confident his finishing ability will soon be there for all to see too. It will be only the second ever competitive match I’ve missed at The New Home of Football, with the last coming in August 2006. With kick off being Saturday 3pm, viewing here in Sydney may be tricky, but whether it be live or a re-run it will certainly be an odd feeling watching a home game on television.
And so that brings us to today. With a spring in my step following last night’s game I headed into the city. I took a stroll down George Street until hitting the harbour which was awash with glorious sunshine. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, with both Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House gleaming in the spring time sun. I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to a waterfront and the harbour certainly didn’t disappoint. I can’t wait to see more of the sights and beaches over the coming days and weeks.
Finally for today I’d like to say a big thank you to the Wainwright family for all their ongoing support and hospitality. As mentioned before Paul is my former season ticket holder comrade, so the support of both him and his family is just another great example of how awesome our Gooner family is. Thank you.
Right, that’s that for today. More ramblings coming soon.