I don’t know about you but after a season-defining loss I always feel like taking a bit of distance from Arsenal, blogging etc. Not that I am extremely unhappy or even depressed as some seem to be; it is just good to reflect on things and thus allow time to get over the seasonal deception.
Yet I did look forward to seeing Arsenal play again yesterday, and maybe this was based on simply having no expectation and just wanting to watch our boys play a game of football. We often forget that this is what it is all about and that 95% of all football supporters do it week in week out. The joy of watching your team play a game of football without continuously looking at where your team are and where they should be in the table. I spoke to an ex-colleague recently – a Manure fan – and he said to me how he is often jealous of some of his mates who support a non-top team and just enjoy every game with their focus just on the football on display. Enjoying football in the moment we Gooners seem to have unlearned.
Last night I sat back and let the game come to me. No expectations, especially not after I saw the lineup. In a way, I have never come as close to being like Fat Sam as I did then. 😀 It was wonderful. No stress, no swearing at the TV, no finger-pointing at players… just enjoying the ball being played round the pitch. Even the abysmal referee did not spoil my Zen-TV moment.
And I enjoyed it.
I saw a great performance by the biggest talent Arsenal have produced since Cesc Fabregas. Bukayo can play everywhere and how silky were his moves, how sharp his crosses and passes into the box and how efficient is he at everything he does?! 19 years old and being the best Arsenal player on the pitch, WOW.
I saw ESR score a lovely goal and him being the team’s glue again, running between the lines and linking everything and everybody up with purposeful runs and passes. Another great talent who has come of age in no time and just keeps growing.
I saw a wonder goal by Nicolas Pepe. We all knew what he was going to do and for once there was a bit of space to do it in. These are the sort of goals one scores when one is bored and the mind goes wandering. We can watch it twenty times on repeat and celebrate it every time with the same passion.
I saw a surprisingly effective midfield duo of Elneny and Ceballos. As low as my expectations were, they both played a great midfield game especially after we scored the first goal. It was surprisingly effective and I hope that Mikel goes back permanently to two central deeper-laying midfielders. Okay they were partly at fault for the West Brom goal – especially Ceballos was left wanting – but Pereira – with Saka the two outstanding players on the pitch – produced a great run and he scored a fine goal that we just have to applaud. Pereira was in top form and I hope that Arteta took notice of this 25 year old top talent (10 PL goals this season for…. West Brom..).
I saw the most despised Willian score a peach of free-kick, his first goal of the season. The goal was fab but what was really nice to see is how his fellow players were so happy for him. To all those Willian haters: look at how his players value him and how much the goal meant to him. He is only human after all. Yes Willian did not deliver on our expectations but next season could see a big change. I have not given up on him yet.
I also saw two classical central defensive performances by Holdingho and Big Gab and thought: we are fine for CBs next season.
All in all, I saw four fantastic goals in an entertaining win and so enjoyed my evening. Bliss.
Oh and Happy Birthday Dennis! It is time you come and join the coaching staff.