By Chris Toronyi
It was an early Saturday morning for me before the Arsenal game even had a chance to register. I had my son's soccer (football for the rest of the world) game at 8am, plus I was coaching. So, navigating the energies and personalities of the under-10 boys team kept my nerves at bay for an extra hour.
That's until Arsenal kick-off...
The game gave us plenty of nerves. We went down 1-0 on a beautiful finish, but you gotta admit the defense lacked concentration when Diame received the ball on the wing. Felt too easy. Again showing that full focus is needed at every moment. Especially when the ball is in an attacking position. Stating the obvious. I know, I know, I know.
Now for the fun: the artistry by our goal scorers, but also from our build up. The first goal included great play between Poldi and Giroud that resulted in a great poke by the Frenchman. I've watched it a couple times on the Arsenal Player and it looks better on each viewing. A quality cross and a well-deserved finish.
The second goal was classic Theo, classic Arsenal on the counter Giroud gave Theo a perfectly placed ball that allowed him to continue his run without hesitation. The finish was just as good as the pass. Short side with pace. Lovely.
The third was a bit of magic by our Spanish Maestro. Theo slipped the ball to Cazorla at the top of the box and without even a thought of giving Theo a return through ball he cracked a knuckleball into the top right corner. A beautiful strike and finish. I'd use more adjectives, but I'd only water-down the highlight.
What I loved most is that his thought was shoot first, maybe pass second. Maybe. As in season's past, no doubt the ball would have been fed back to Theo. I love the aggressive thinking -- put the ball on goal and who knows what will happen. Although I'm pretty sure Santi knew exactly what was about to happen.
It was great seeing two players who have been getting slagged off from all angles deliver a goal and an assist each. Olivier and Theo, well done boys.
But look, the game wasn't without moments of nerves when we were pressed in the defensive half. Carroll had chances, but didn't deliver. As expected. But we grinned, kept pushing and didn't lose our composure when we went down. On the road.
I'll take "mental strength" for $1,000, Alex.
Just as my boys under-10 team fought back to a 2-2 draw earlier in the morning, the Arsenal showed fight and confidence. They delivered three points going into the international break. It was another team effort and another great effort by our three new signings. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.
Oh, and Mikel was once Mikel. Unsung, quiet, but the boss.
There won't be an Arsenal America Podcast this week, but we'll return next week with two quality guests. You have my word. And be sure to look for a video I'm doing with Jules Wheeler (@TheRealGunner) this week. She's in LA!
Thanks for reading and thanks for listening.
'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.Copyright 2016 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