By Chris Toronyi
What a weekend of football for my English and American teams.
The Arsenal returned to normal service by delivering a solid result on Saturday morning, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M (my alma mater) won the Heisman Trophy -- which goes to the nation's best college football player -- and the New York Giants defeated the New Orleans Saints.
The latter two were icing on the cake - Johnny Manziel's Heisman win was the first by a freshman. He's a true specialist at the quarterback position who completely dominated the season by passing and running past all defenses in his path. The New York Giants finally figured out how to stop the Saints by delivering a strong performance on both sides of the field. Kick-return specialist David Wilson set-up scores for the Giants and ran for two touchdowns too boot. Another true specialist that changed the game.
I'll come back to this in a minute.
But first, back to proper football. For most Arsenal supporters on the West Coast, our moods are defined by 9am Saturday morning. And as I've written before, it's not easy to go through the day with a loss, or points dropped.
The game against West Brom provided a couple of big highlights. One requires more discussion than others, but overall it was a deserved three points. We created many chances that resulted in many missed opportunities. It feels a bit like test anxiety, as these are professionals that seem to have difficulty with the final ball in-game. But the important takeaway -- that we created opportunities -- showed that we were pressing intelligently, not overplaying the push forward by allowing the counter.
I have no complaints about the strategy, but as many have written, I wonder if in the long run this will hamper our scoring from play. It's a bit unlike the modern Arsenal, but if it delivers results, how can one complain?
Coming from the spot, the goals themselves were uneventful, but I think the one thing to note that Arteta is our penalty-specialist. Without question. His demeanor, patience and maturity combine for the exact formula that you want in a penalty taker. Both were coolly taken, finished right down the middle. It was not only gutsy, but it showed confidence.
A true specialist.
Just as David Wilson of Giants is the kick-off specialist who can change a game on one return, Arteta is our penalty specialist at the spot who changes games for The Arsenal. And he did that on Saturday.
Thanks for reading and thanks for listening to the Arsenal America Podcast.
'Stateside Gooner' Chris Toronyi is a longtime Arsenal supporter and the host of The Arsenal America podcast, available every week at ArsenalAmerica.com and on iTunes at "Arsenal America Podcast." You can read more of Chris' thoughts on Twitter.
The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.
November 28: No proselytizing
November 20: Three points
November 16: 3.8 miles
November 13: Season of adventure
November 5: Take a breath
October 29: Positive drama
October 19: Club and country
October 11: Social madness
October 9: Shoot first...
October 2: Uncomfortably numb
September 25: Feeling the love
September 21: A road win is a win
September 17: Saturday's synergy
September 9: (No) break time
September 4: The negotiation dance
August 28: Give it time
August 21: Game on!
August 10: Arsenal Ambition
July 26: The right silverware
July 6: Anti-anti-football
June 28: New additions
June 20: Failing chemistry
June 13: Summer school
May 8: Not the time to get ill
May 2: End of season variables
April 24: Making a point
April 18: Different kinds of tired
April 12: Emotionally spent
March 29: No doubt
March 23: An amazing run
March 13: Mad Men, mad season
March 6: Rush of emotion
February 29: Pride and joy
February 14: An evolving Arsenal
February 22: Anger is beautiful
February 14: An evolving Arsenal
February 8: A welcome display
February 1: The value of value
January 31: FA Cup magic
January 24: We have to be supportive
January 19: This is a massive game
Copyright 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 11 Dec 2012