On occasion, when departing a stadium, it actually feels like you have played in the game you have just witnessed! Feeling mentally and physically drained and nursing an ankle injury picked up during the jostle that followed Olly's winning goal, Sunday definitely fell into that category!
The north London derby is and always will be an eagerly-anticipated fixture no matter what is at stake and with football changing so fast there seems to be a whole new bunch of reasons every time we come face-to-face with our friends from up the road.
The confidence being shown by our rival fans on this occasion seemed to be more intense than I can ever remember, a fact the media matched in the build-up, many making us big underdogs to get a result on the day.
Given recent history in this fixture we can only assume this was down to our disappointing opening day and the fact our visitors have spent so much money in the close season.
"The final whistle was met with gusto and north London remains very much 'red'"
Obviously I can't speak for all you Gooners out there but all in all, the above coupled with our excellent three results since had those in our group going into the game quietly confident we would deliver both the performance and result on the day.
This might sound like I'm stating the obvious but when the fans are as one and get behind the players on the pitch, our stadium is a very noisy place. If Sunday didn't emphasise this to all those present I'm amazed, the place was simply rocking even before a ball was kicked.
We started the game extremely well and poured forward for that early goal, the closest we probably came being Santi's magnificently clever free-kick that shaved the paint from the upright, a moment that they didn't even show on Match of the Day! Don't get me wrong, I fully appreciate they have a tight time schedule when editing a highlights programme but to omit an effort that was as close as it was brilliant is beyond me!
Our goal came at a crucial time I felt as our visitors were just starting to get a foothold in the match, a typically flowing move cleverly finished by the quite superb Olivier Giroud. The stadium erupted, the jostle in our personal section as intense as it was joyous!
The second half proved lengthy and nervy in places but we defended well and could have scored on numerous occasions to make the game more comfortable. One incredible save from another Olly effort springs to mind along with Nacho coming so close to knocking in a rebound from a Theo effort.
With time running out we had to dig deep to get the three points we deserved and this we did, a magnificent save from Chezz after a wickedly deflected shot emphasising that thin dividing line between a win and two dropped points.
The final whistle was met with gusto and north London remains very much 'red'.
A thoroughly nice feeling to take into the bedlam of transfer deadline day and it was to prove an interesting and exciting one for us Gooners.
Mathieu Flamini rejoining was old news by then of course, the way he slotted in on Sunday showing that he is a great addition to our squad. Emiliano Viviano and Mesut Ozil joining the Gooner family was a lovely way to end a fine weekend.
Good luck to you all, may your careers in the red and white be long and successful, and wear the cannon on your chest with pride.
As proud as us fans are to do the same.
Victoria Concordia Crescit.
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