Monday 29th November 2010
After what we can definitely describe as a difficult week, a lunchtime win at Villa Park seemed almost essential to lift the current mood! Having seen them come so close to beating Manchester United the other week however, on paper it looked a big ask.
Time and time again however, football demonstrates that despite a couple of poor results you don't become a bad side overnight and once again we come away from a league weekend in a stronger position than before it started.
It doesn't need me to tell you it's pretty cold out there at the moment, with some parts of the country experiencing more difficult conditions than others. I remember it being -16 one matchday out in Moscow a few years ago. To think that some areas in the UK have experienced such extremes this
week is almost beyond belief!
Consequently, very early on Saturday morning we set off not exactly in a buoyant mood as to what might be lying ahead. Wrapped up in our thick winter clothes however, it was to prove a quite superb day all round.
Despite a few sprinkles of snow here and there our journey proved pretty problem free and enjoying some pre-match fare in a nice warm pub among plenty of 'our own' certainly had us heading to our vantage point full of the optimism matchday brings.
Without exaggerating, with a little better finishing and some not so magnificent goalkeeping we could have quite easily found ourselves four or five up at the break. A totally dominant performance saw us looking far from lacking in confidence, the Meerkat and Sami's fine strikes seeing us take a more than deserved two goal lead into half time. The associated jostles were welcome in the cold air.
At half time we all silently knew we had been in this position before however, so that confidence that we had put ourselves in a winning position was definitely filled with trepidation.
Again the third goal would have killed the opposition off but unfortunately we found ourselves fighting for the victory in a game that was so one sided in the first half it was ridiculous. On this occasion it didn't just happen once either! Marouane's strike saw a more realistic scoreline but a further Villa goal had us all sweating once more.
Jack's last minute fourth was welcome to say the least and the joy among the travelling Gooners was definitely laced with a large dose of relief. To have not taken the three points would have been extremely difficult to take.
Another big three points on our travels as we long for our home form to reach the levels of consistency we have been used to in recent times. A good journey home and some celebratory beers in the presence of rock band Reef made it an altogether fine Saturday on this occasion.
Yesterday saw us paired with Leeds United in the FA version of our two-cup competitions but it's the Carling side we turn to next as we take on Wigan tomorrow night for a place in the semis.
Every Gooner I have spoken to has been hugely lifted by our away day win on Saturday, a place in the semi finals of any competition can buoy us further.
Wack on the thermals and sing up!
FrankCopyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 29 Nov 2010