Good morning Positivistas and a bright and breezy start to the day in Norfolk. The detritus of cans and empty bottles around the premises reminds me it was a good night. I have a slight haze and a strange recollection of a heated argument about the Queen. It will pass.
I have perused the media this morning, social and mainstream. The content is warm in relation to Arsenal Football Club, its manager and players. Seemingly a light has been switched on among the ignorant and the malicious. No doubt a temporary aberration but it is encouraging not to see the usual clichéd trash of commentary concerning midfield “beasts” and “not liking it Oop North” recycled endlessly.
Turning to matters at hand however eight league wins on the bounce and three points hard earned at Turf Moor in the evening game. I say hard earned because the home side were thorough and organised. We know there recent impressive record against the top four. They massed in defence and made few errors. Boyd and Barnes ran and ran. Their central defenders, Duff and Shackle ( great names for centre backs btw) were resolute. Did you see just how many Arsenal players it took for Ramsey finally to whack the ball into the back of the net ? And if you are aiming to get a goal against a bottom three side, make it an early goal. Burnley were rocked on their heels in the 11th minute, the home crowd quietened, from then we had the 3 points to hold on to. Another fairy tale result was not on the menu for the plucky claret and blue battlers.
The match itself? After an opening phase when it looked as though we would blow the home side away with our speed and craft the game became more difficult, much more of a genuine contest. They did not back away from that effort however for the next 80+ minutes of the game. Not at any stage were we hanging on, not at any point were Burnley creating clear scoring chances, but even so there was pressure of a not entirely pleasant type. HOW IMPORTANT that early goal was !
There then followed 60 minutes of hard work from both sides. Alexis fizzed like a firework all over the pitch, we created a few chances, Burnley dabbled around the edge of the box, Ospina made a good save, Hector looked a little off his game once or twice, referee Dean displayed the patience of Job with players on both sides.
And so we moved into the traditionally tricky final fifteen minutes when I assumed that we would come under sustained high level bombardment, as Burnley pressed for the equalizer. That is after all what is supposed to happen, goal line clearances, finger tip saves, breathless finish, me hiding behind sofa etcetera – you know the form. You have suffered as I have often enough.
Not a bit of it. As the game drew toward the 90 we took total control again and our hosts were barely able to get over the half way line let alone put together an equalizer. As impressive an example of “game management” as you could ever see.
And so Deano blew his whistle and the contest was decided. Three points gathered, the Manchester derby to come with points dropped by one or both of the pursuers, and just a notch more pressure applied to Chelsea today. By 6 p.m. our win at Turf Moor may be an even more satisfactory result than on the day itself.
The Premier League now needs to be put aside by us and our full concentration directed toward Reading. A great opportunity for back to back FA Cup finals is open. As Burnley demonstrated yesterday though an organised, fit team can cause you problems.
Enjoy your Sunday wherever you may be.