Good Morning Positivistas,
What a gorgeous Spring morning. Little lambs gambolling happily and noisily in the field, scurrying packs of ducklings on the river bank. Hullo clouds, Hullo sky.
As you can probably tell it is my last day before the annual retreat to the Hebrides – and my mood is rather good.
And to send me northward we were treated to a sumptuous footballing display last night against the ‘Ammers. 3-0 may have been the official score but if it had been 5-6-7-0 then the visitors could have had no serious complaint. As Shankly quipped “they were lucky to get nil”. The unusual thing about our three goals was they all went in the same spot, low to Randolph’s right.
We saw on Sunday confidence seeping back into our players against Citeh. No sudden upswing, just a little more assured, less hesitant. The recent domestic and European misfortunes had clearly dented their belief in themselves. Last night that improvement moved on a further pace. Ozil had his best game, in terms of influence and involvement for three months. It was Mesut’s snap shot that undid what had been, up to then a good night for Randolph.
The recent boo boys target Sanchez had a very good evening, working like clockwork with the German maestro and chipping in two of the sweetest balls to Danny and Hector that I have seen this season. We saw Granit last night also hitting some sweet passes, again the Swiss played (to my eye) like man with a weight lifted from his shoulders. Much praise has been aimed at the Elneny and Xhaka combination last night. A little early to say yet but two tall, long legged central midfield players ( neither of whom is the new Vieira), both comfortable on the ball, certainly did for the ‘Ammers.
Going forward therefore we were totally dominant then but spare a thought for the lads at the back. Andy Carroll has a reputation for success against Arsenal, with his biff-bash-bang style unsettling even the smooth Koscielny in seasons gone past. With Kosc out and our third string keeper in last night Oor Andy must have fancied his chances. But no – not at all. Last night the pony tailed one received just as much stick as he handed out, courtesy of Gabriel. It seemed to me every time Carroll was in the air or challenging for the ball that Gabriel was all over him. At one point in fact he was through the back of him. It is good to know that an opposition striker went home with a few bruises for once. Martinez had one serious save to make all night. Says it all.
For the team from the London Stadium, soon to be the Vodafone Stadium apparently, a fifth defeat on the trot. Bilic tight lipped, relegation looms. What a shambles that enterprise is turning into.
Poor night for Martin Atkinson. Evidently he had set out not to award a penalty no matter what and resolutely stuck to his guns. Let the cameras roll.
For those of you who cannot stomach the MSM I can save you the bother and we are now “officially” back in the hunt for a Champions League place, as though we were ever out of it ? Liverpool and Citeh obliged us last night. With games in hand and the confidence flowing I rather fancy the game at Selhurst Park to be a opportunity for reeling them in some more rather than an obstacle.
Enjoy your Thursday.