A victory in the North London derby is the ultimate feeling in football, it’s what you crave more than any other. With the exception of winning a trophy there is no better feeling; it’s better than sex.
Better. Than. Sex. Those were my words earlier this week in the build up to the weekend and Arsenal delivered. For the second time this calendar year The Arsenal have given us a North London derby performance and result to be proud of, and if the impact of this 5-2 can be as powerful as last season’s then all the better.
After all the talk of pre-match fitness tests and injury concerns our starting eleven was very strong. Even with everyone in the squad fit and healthy you’d have still started with ten of those eleven players, with the only absentee being Kieran Gibbs. The promising line up didn’t translate into a promising start, however. 4-4-2 is an endangered formation species, but it’s what 5pur2 went with, and the challenge of dealing with two strikers, as opposed to the more popular modern-day formations of just one, seemed to throw us off. For the first ten to fifteen minutes our back line was a bit of a mess. Two dropping off, two stepping up seemed to be the theme and that was the case when three of their players found themselves bearing down on our goal. The returning Szczesny made a quite brilliant save from Defoe, but being at full stretch could only claw it across goal where the slow to react Vermaelen was beaten to the ball all too easily by Greedypaywhore. Not the start we were looking for. And then the game changed.
As we all know Greedypaywhore is a stupid idiot, one who cares only for himself, his wallet, and his personal agendas, never for the wellbeing of his team; thankfully it was to our benefit. His challenge on Cazorla was reckless to say the least and rightly received a red card. From that moment on we never looked back. The midfield trio of Arteta, Wilshere, and Cazorla took control of the game and they were exquisite, relentless. The pressure built and finally the equaliser came, with our Big Fucking German getting his first for the club. Walcott stood up the cross nicely and the BFG thumped it home with a fantastic header. I bloody love the BFG, I’m absolutely delighted for him, and his celebration was pure passionate joy; love it.
What was great to see at this point was that we didn’t apply the old Arsene hand brake. For the first time in a while we looked hungry and angry, and who better to take out your frustrations on than your nasty ten men neighbours? From 1-1 it was quickly 3-1, heading into the half time break with a two goal cushion. Our not so big fucking German got the second, with one of those scuffy deflecty trickly kind of goals that creep agonisingly inside the far post, which he celebrated with some corner flag love-making. Then, in first half injury time, it was the turn of Olivier Giroud who made it 5 goals in his last 5 games (in all competitions). After some excellent work from Cazorla, and a good use of the advantage rule from Howard Webb, our sexy Frenchman steered it home. Cazorla has been getting most of the post-match praise and Man of the Match awards, which he richly deserves, but Giroud (and his compatriot Koscielny) must have run our little Spanish magician close.
The second half started much like the first. A change in formation from them saw us taking a little time to adjust, but once we re-composed ourselves, and got our foot on the ball, we started to dominate again and the fourth was just a matter of time. The build-up was most un-Arsenal, with a long Szczesny clearance being flicked on by Giroud. It landed nicely at the feet of Walcott, who slide in Podolski, who crossed for Cazorla, who slotted it home. 4-1, pure happiness.
Obviously it wouldn’t be Arsenal if we didn’t give the opposition a glimmer of hope, so it was no surprise when they pulled one back. That we had to let the monkey impersonator score it was all rather annoying. Arsenal being Arsenal meant there were a few nervous fans for the next five to ten minutes, me included, as we seemed intent on playing the killer ball, leaving ourselves vulnerable to the counter attack. But for the third time in the game we suddenly found our composure again, got our foot back on the ball, and started to pass it about nicely again. Cazorla was instrumental in this phase of possession, switching the play numerous times thus finding a team-mate in space and making their ten men run and work a little harder – it’s a simply game really. And then came the fifth.
The Ox, who had come on for Giroud, beat his man down the right, drove towards the area, squared it to Walcott (who was now in his desired central position), and he finished it with aplomb. 5-2…AGAIN!! I’ve become rather accustomed to typing their name as 5pur2 so it’s rather kind of the lads to deliver this most beautiful of score lines again. Afterwards a very happy Arsene said:
We came back into the game and got what we wanted, which was to win the game. It is not always easy against 10 – we have won games with 10 men. I thought it could become even more difficult because they could have dropped back and waited for us, but we had the quality and movement to play through their lines and create chances. There were some outstanding individual offensive performances. In the second half you could see that the confidence was not completely still there, I hope that this result will help us.
So there you have it. North London is red. They’ll forever be in our shadow. Was there ever really any doubt? Personally it’s a bit of a bitter-sweet moment. It goes without saying that I’m over the moon we won, we needed the points and we had to beat the enemy in our own backyard, but I’m also sad that I wasn’t there in person. With every game being televised here in Sydney I’ve been managing better than expected with becoming an armchair supporter, but yesterday was by far the hardest yet. That I couldn’t be in the stadium, singing my heart out, and then be in The Tollington to celebrate with my friends was difficult; I really miss my Gooner family, especially on a victorious North London Derby Day. That said if I had the choice of being there in person to witness a defeat or being here in Sydney witnessing a victory then I know which one I’d pick, because regardless of where you are in the world a victory over the scum is always better than sex.