I am almost embarrassed to write a review of yesterday’s game as it was one which every reader will have watched, re-watched, read what the media have to say and for those of a robust constitution have probed the deep recesses of social media, Twitter and blog wise. I can tell you little more than you eyes saw and your ears heard. But I shall try.
I had hoped to inset a 13 second clip of my view during the game above but technology has robbed me of that pleasure, for the moment. My back row spot perhaps in visual terms less was less than than perfect and we had to bend double to see the replays of the first two goals on the screens before we could settle on who had put the ball in the back of the net. There was no doubt about the third though, we were right in line, the finger was raised, pandemonium X3 and a formidable sense of relief that we were going to crush the Northern monkeys. I have two new best friends, Steve and Steve. Neither had an actual seat and they just bowled up to stand in a convenient gap between the rows. As everyone stood up all game it was no inconvenience. I had the opportunity to see the goals again on the box last night properly and they were superb, the first two the root of the title. I see LvG appears to blame his defenders for those goals. Listen son, no team anywhere will resist the accurate passing, quick player movement and exact finishing that we saw in those 74 seconds. Don’t beat yourself or your players up about it Louis. Move on.
My substantial advantage of watching from the North Bank in the first half is that I was able to see close up how much good work, invaluable exertion, that Gabriel and Per put in to keep the visitors at bay. Santi put in a remarkable shift in front of the back four and alongside Coquelin. That save from Cech from Martial just before half time was important. I see the young Frenchman’s shot hit Petr’s legs and could have gone anywhere. As important a moment in the game as any goal though, in my opinion. Cech was in command all afternoon, a man thoroughly at ease with his responsibilities.
I have no intention of naming names among our attacking and other midfield players. A magnificent team performance from every man. The most satisfactory way to move into the international break and, for Arsene at least, to plan for Watford in a fortnight. I have not consulted the history books but a very long time since we lost to the Hertfordshire Hornets. It serves no purpose in hammering the red side of Manchester only to trip up at Vicarage Road so I imagine our manager’s brow will be carefully furrowed over the next ten days.
As I mentioned yesterday the next two rounds of round of games brings the Manchester derby, the Red Mancs travel to Goodison, and among our chasing pack Palace play Leicester and the ‘Ammers, the ‘Ammers are at home to Chelsea etcetera. If the cards fall right it could be a very important two weekends after the international break.
A word for the Mancs ? In spite of myself I was impressed with Martial, very strong and confident for a youngster. We shall have to watch him.
A final off topic observation about yesterday. I have been going to Mancs games at Highbury and the Ems for six decades, a high spot of the calendar and I can remember 63,000 in the ground back when safety regulations did not apply to football. Yesterday is the first time I can ever remember that there were no police anywhere in attendance I could see, no banks of plod massed around the tube or railway stations or packed in carriers in side streets, visors up and shields at the ready, no police horses traipsing backwards and forward, up and down Hornsey Road or the helicopter hovering beady-eyed over proceedings. I From what I read Ken Bates (of all people) won a case against West Yorkshire Police that clubs only have to pay for Police inside their grounds or on their land. If the police want to impose martial law and draft hundreds of officers into an area then they can pick up the tab themselves. Oddly enough they don’t. A significant improvement I think.
And with that I shall leave you to glow through Monday and into a promising week.