Searching for back to back league wins (following the victory over West Brom) and in need of a response (after the humiliation of losing to Bradford City) there was only one thing for Arsenal to do last Monday night and that was win. And win they did. Another improved performance saw us dismantle a poor Reading side 5-2.
There are many who’ve said “it’s only Reading”, but you can only beat what’s in front of you and that’s exactly what we did, and certainly in a more convincing fashion than City did this weekend.
So we went into this weekend’s game with a new-found semi confidence, but still with a large dollop of nervousness and caution. This Arsenal side have a special habit of imploding when on the most excellent runs of forms, so two league wins going into this fixture was more a laying of the foundations than evidence of anything more. But the foundations were cemented a little further with another away win, this time beating Wigan 1-0.
It was certainly less convincing than the win over Reading, but arguably more important. On an afternoon when the passing wasn’t fluent (partly due to us, mostly due to Wigan’s pressing and work rate) we managed to grind out a very important three points. I wasn’t sure where the goal was going to come from, but thankfully we didn’t have to find out, as a stupid challenge from Beausejour gifted us a penalty which Arteta tucked away.
Since defeat at home to Swansea we’ve beaten West Brom, Reading, and Wigan. Nine points from nine, exactly the reaction we were looking for. There was of course the almighty blip that was Bradford in amongst those league games, but overall we’re taking steps in the right direction. That said there’s still a lot of work to be done, and signings required in January, so let’s hope the team keep working hard. And if a few more of them could get their shorts as dirty as Jack Wilshere then all the better.
Our Boxing Day fixture with West Ham has been postponed due to the London Underground staff wanting some cold turkey sandwiches and left over chocolates, so our next game will be Newcastle. Their form is worse than ours and they’ll be going into it off the back of a game against United, so let’s hope our couple of extra days rest will work in our favour and we can get another three points.
That’s everything from on the pitch, and off the pitch has been equally busy. There was the announcement of five new contracts, for five of our excellent young British talents, with Wilshere, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlin, Jenkinson, and Ramsey putting pen to paper. As Arsene has always said it’s not about the passport, but the quality and the attitude and these five players certainly have both.
When you add those five players to the contract extensions of Vermaelen and Koscielny, in the not too distant past, it proves that if both parties want to sign a new contract then it came be done in a rather quick and painless fashion. I’m not sure what’s going on with Theo Walcott and to be honest I’ve given up caring. If you want to sign Theo, then sign. If you don’t then there’s the door, don’t let it hit your over hyped arse on the way out.
The other main news off the field was the Champions League draw, which has seen us paired with Bayern Munich. Ever since they moved to the Allianz Arena I’ve wanted to draw Bayern so I could pay the stadium a visit, it looks amazing. Then, the first season I’m not about due to flying half way around the world, we go and draw them. Oh fate, you cruel bastard. I’ve heard a few people complain that they wanted an easier draw, but this is the Champions League. There is no easy draw. And even if there was, why would you want it? This is what European football is all about, pitting yourselves against the very best Europe has to offer and Bayern are one of the true European giants. If you want to win it then these are the ties you’re going to have to face. I’m really excited about this one and very jealous of everyone who gets to go. For those who don’t feel the same way and only want low-key, easy opposition European night, I’d suggest N17 on Thursday nights; it might be more to your liking.
Finally, I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and to my brother-in-law a very Happy Birthday (he may be a 5pur2 fan and less special than baby Jesus, but he still deserves birthday wishes on the 25th). I hope you all enjoy the festive season, with family, friends, good food, and fine wine (or soft drinks if you’re a non-drinker like me). And of course, with any luck, we’ll get the one present we all want – another three points, this time against Newcastle. Until next time my Gooner friends, have a good one. Up The Arse.