By Richard Clarke
Alex Song believes this Arsenal side is getting better as it gets older.
The 23-year-old midfielder powered home a last-gasp winner against West Ham on Saturday to keep his side at the top of the pack chasing leaders Chelsea.
For the previous 88 minutes, it appeared to be one of ‘those days’ for Arsène Wenger’s men. However the ability to prise out victory in such circumstances often separates champions from also-rans. Afterwards Song suggested he and his team-mates had grown up together and had now learnt to win together.
“When I came to Arsenal, I was just 17 years-old,” he said. “Today I am 23. I am more mature and I feel I learn every single day. I am more confident, which is maybe why I try to push myself.
“But we have a lot of players who have been here for seven or eight years now. When you play in one team for a long time, with the best manager in the world, you want to give your best every day. You can see it when we are on the pitch - we showed very good character and never gave up, which is very good for the future for us.
“The game was very difficult. At 80 minutes we said we had to continue to play because we play at a very high level and they could not defend like that for 90 minutes.”
They didn’t. And Song’s winner took inspiration from close to home.
“Before the match, my wife Olivia said ‘you will score today’," said the midfielder. "I was very happy. I called her straight away and she said 'I told you!'.
“I just said to them afterwards that it was their goal.”Copyright 2013 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 1 Nov 2010