Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Monday October 23 2006
Arsenal might not win the title this season, we might not win anything at all. But two things are certain; i) We look like we're prepared to give it a bloody good go and ii) We ARE the best footballing side in this country. Doubtless most of you have seen the footballing artistry demonstrated by the Gunners yesterday, so I will not indulge on the fine detail as usual. Besides which, the English language is simply too prohibitive to describe the world class pass and move stuff the Gunners played yesterday. I mean, how would you describe a Picasso painting? Exactly.
Those of you who have yet to marvel in the mastery, get yourselves a tape, hell, I recorded it, message me in the forum, I'll send it to you, it's that good!
Those of you familiar with my analyses will be aware that I tend to draw focus on a particular player and base my report around him. As you can imagine, on days like yesterday, when everyone is in such composite harmony, this becomes very difficult. I have managed to narrow my choices down to two. Firstly, young Cesc. Tuesday night was possibly his most insipid display in the red and white, but with the ink still wet on his eight year conrtact, Fabregas produced a masterclass of passing and running deep from midfield. He even put in some gritty challenges, winning the ball back for his team, adding another string to his already impressive bow. I pontificated in the week about the timing of Cesc's deal. My esteemed editr Mr. Mustchin brought you the story a fair few weeks back, so the deal has been in the offing for a while. But the announcement coincided both with the annual AGM and with Cesc's first really poor performance. The desired effect was achieved as he over ran a fired up Sidwell.
The second player I am going to laud is a player who simply does not get the credit outside of this club that he deserves. Seconds before kick off, I uttered to a friend, 'Name me a better centre half than Kolo Toure,' before hastening to add, 'without wishing to jinx his performance today.' (I needn't have bothered!) The bemused answer was, 'I never really thought about it.' Kolo was simply everywhere, with Hunt and Seol Ki Hyeon seeking to exploit space between full back and centre half, Kolo manfully filled in the gaps. At times it was like watching those Road Runner cartoons, the koyotes in attack for Reading could be seen with tweeting birds circling their heads as the typhoon Toure thwatred every attack. What I really like about Toure is how uncompromising he is, if a situation requires a row z clearance, he obliges. If it requires a firm shoulder to an onrushing attacker, he applies it. But if he can get the ball down and start an attack, either with a measured pass or a forraging run, then by God he does it. I sincerely hope Henry gets world player of the year, but in honesty I've never thought awards like that were any cop while the likes of Toure are continually left out.
The goals were all aesthetically magnificent (even the penalty build up), Henry's first minute goal encapsulated his qualities perfectly. He made a very difficult chance look childishly simple, with the ball fired at him at pace, between the legs of desperate defenders, the calmness and technique he applied are not to be underestimated. The third goal is a goal I have come to affectionately label 'an Arsenal goal.' Slick one touch passing, at pace with movement. I said earlier this season that a hundred man defence cannot keep it out when it is played that intuitively. van Persie will be credited with the goal, but for me under third goalscorer it should say 'Arsenal.' (Or perhaps even 'Wenger?')
The Arsenal fans were in fine voice as well. The first strains of a new chant were aired (minors look away now). Now I know I said I wished we would stop singing about Ashley Cole, but this chant I like because it incorporates and acknowledges the brilliance of Gallas, #I would rather have a Willy than a c***# Brilliant. I've yet to have the chance to view the game back yet (pesky work), so I don't know what sky made of our performance, but one thing's for certain, I cannot wait to stick the tape on tonight and find out!
Next up is a trip to West Brom and in recent years I've come to really enjoy these games. Five years ago, I considered Leage Cup games of an obligation, a tick in the box as it were. But I undertake the journey to the Black Country with some relish as it is always a pleasure to see the next crop of Fabregas's coming through our conveyor belt like crop of talent. A glimpse of Denilson, the returns of Swiss Tony and 'Hurricane' Clichy and maybe even Merida? The boys gave the boss a deserved birthday treat on sunday, maybe their 'shadow cabinet' can continue to satisfy our footballing sweet tooth?
Date:Monday October 23 2006
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