Wednesday, September 5, 2012

While listening to pundits purring about the footballing talents of the great Barcelona side of recent times, some put their emphasis on the incredible work they do when they haven't actually got the ball. Looking back at our own trophy-winning squads down the years, the importance of that side to the game cannot be stressed highly enough.

Sunday's game at Anfield was a good example of our concentration and application to that aspect of our performance being so prominent. The result was there for all to see. A simply fine day out.

My last piece finished discussing our potential destinations in the League Cup and Champions League as well as the final hours of the transfer window.

The latter proved quiet for us Gooners of course and the others, interesting if not exactly my personal choice on all aspects!

Highfield Road is a ground I have visited many times down the years but we are yet to enjoy a trip to Coventry's new Ricoh Arena. An away day there would have been ideal on a personal note but instead the Sky Blues come to north London for a tie that will once again be a good test for some of our younger talent.

The European tour sees us first head to France and a new destination for us Gooners. The city of Gelsenkirchen then plays host, Schalke away being a fixture we have enjoyed before.

Finally we head to Greece once again and a city we have been lucky enough to visit many times down the years. Once again I won't be too disappointed if by the time we play the Greek champions in early December, something from it won't be essential for progression.

All that gave us plenty to talk about as we made our early start on Sunday morning, destination Anfield. An easy journey made for our usual routine for this fixture and consequently we all entered the away end in fine spirits, the PMT rife as always seems the case with this game!

We made a confident start I felt, looking sharp with the ball and extremely determined without it. Our hosts' quick attacking players were giving us one or two problems however, but after maybe the first 15 minutes I felt we handled this particular threat superbly.

Our solid-looking defence has been discussed at length but it was the goal we all longed for and when Lukas smashed home in front of the Kop after a lightning-quick counter-attacking move a jostle of massive proportions ensued! It was some release in the away end believe me and matched by all the millions of Gooners watching all around the globe I'm sure.

I find it very difficult to pick out individual performances on the day as for me, every single player was involved in what was a powerful display. I do agree with most, however, that Abou was absolutely immense. More of the same please!

Santi's first goal as a Gooner was no more than we deserved and put the icing on a very satisfying cake. Three massive points, no goals conceded, unbeaten so far.

The dreaded early-season international break is upon us now. Fingers crossed boys and girls, fingers crossed. You don't need me to tell you what for!

The Premier League new boys Southampton come to London N5 next. No game is easy these days, this we are all well aware of. Another powerful show is essential to build on our start.

And then of course it's off to the south of France. I do hope the shades and suntan lotion will be required!


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5 Sep 2012