Tuesday 4th January 2010

Happy New Year to all Gooners around the globe. May 2011 be healthy, successful and gloriously trophy-filled!

Three games taking place since I last penned my thoughts is very much a rarity but with a number of my friends and family staying throughout the festive period time has been at a premium. Entertaining and attending the matches has very much used up any spare hours on this occasion.

None of us could have received a better present than the performance and resulting three points we took home from the Chelsea game. It was a massive win for so many reasons, none more so than the fact we thoroughly deserved to beat a full strength team we have struggled to overcome for a couple of seasons or so. The night game atmosphere, jostle-ensuing goals and warm three-point glow as we headed back home altogether made it a special night.

Much has been said about the fact eight changes were made for the Wigan game, all of course with the benefit of hindsight. For me, whatever way you look at it it was a night that once again demonstrated the extremely fine line between success and failure.

Without playing particularly great we once again dominated the first half possession and were caught with a sucker punch that TV replays have proved should have been so different. The Wigan player wasn't touched in the box and he went down. Not clear to the thousand of travelling Gooners on the night but so so clear on the TV.

Two quality goals sent us into the break with a lead that had looked unlikely late on but if winning was a trifle fortunate it was less than it would have been unfortunate if we had been behind.

The second period wasn't really any better but three crucial incidents spring to mind. The Meerkat could and probably should have added a third to see us home midway through the half and switching off momentarily at a set piece saw us pay the ultimate price when our hosts equalised.

With time running out however, we saw a mirror image of Spurs' equaliser at home when a Wigan defender in his team's defensive wall blocked a free-kick with his arm. For the second time in the match a penalty decision went against us and the long journey south felt graced with a feeling of two points dropped.

The Christmas period however, leaves no time to dwell on points lost but Birmingham away definitely wouldn't have been our hand picked choice to bounce back. Only one defeat at home all season and a miserly defence to boot it was always going to be a tough encounter.

Man Utd's early kick-off proved once again how sometimes you need luck on your side. Their hosts were the better side throughout, should have had a penalty with a resulting red card early on and missed the pen that was awarded late on to put them into a 2-1 lead. Of course, the inevitable then happened. Very frustrating.

Of course, it is not about Man Utd, it is about us and overall we produced a patient and powerful performance to run out worthy winners at St Andrew’s and give us all the perfect start to 2011. Totally mesmerising going forward at times, it was the perfect tonic to ease the New Year hangovers.

I always feel it is a good time to analyse where we are and if we would have taken the current situation if offered before a ball was kicked. Two points off the top of the league, in the Carling Cup Semi-Final and
through to the last 16 of the Champions League. Whatever way we look at how the season has panned out so far, those are the facts. For me personally then it is a resounding yes!

The fixture Arsenal v Man City has arguably never been bigger than Wednesday night. Looking at our last home game it is definitely a case of 'more of the same please'!

Like against Chelsea, we as fans can definitely play our part.

Come on you reds!


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5 Jan 2011