Well, that’ll teach me not to be confident about our chances. Thinking that a draw in last night’s opener with Seville would not be an awful result, I predicted a 2-2 scoreline. How wrong I was.
The first half hour was fairly cagey, the only notable action being that Fulop, the Seville keeper, seemed particularly dodgy with his handling. Encouraged by this, Van Persie, Flamini and Adebayor all had pops from distance, and when Cesc tried his luck, Escude gave the errant shot a huge deflection, putting Arsenal one up. It was a goal straight out of the Frank Lampard locker.
The goal seemed to settle the team, and Toure should’ve doubled the advantage from a corner but seemed to run beyond the ball, almost having his back to goal as he twisted in a futile attempt to make a decent connection.
The second half didn’t start well, Rosicky going off with another hamstring injury. Although Wenger said he’d be ruled out for at least two weeks, with his history I’d be surprised to see him back in twice that time.
But soon after that setback, the lead was doubled, a Fabregas freekick delicately flicked on by Sagna for Van Persie to smash home from close range. In truth, the goal owed a lot to some pretty slack defending, but credit where it is due – we are beginning to look threatening from set pieces again, something you could rarely say last season.
After that everyone relaxed a little, and despite Seville having a couple of chances, mainly to Kanoute, they were never a serious threat, and the players eased into passing the ball around and through their Spanish counterparts, until in injury time a beautifully slick move saw substitute Eduardo slide in a third. He gets into some excellent positions and is rewarded by accurate passing. If he keeps that going he will continue to score plenty for this club.
Although the first goal came about via a huge slice of luck, and the second killer goal was poorly defended, it was an excellent performance, if not quite the spectacular one some papers would have you believe this morning. Flamini and Sagna especially were everywhere, bustling into the opposition and flying around the field, while Fabregas roamed around efficiently in the centre, playing intelligent passes whenever he got the ball. Up front, Adebayor put in all the hard work, he deserved the generous applause when he came off, while Van Persie also looked more of a menacing threat.
Almunia didn’t have a lot to do at the back, but coped fine with the couple of shots that came his way. His handling was a touch suspect, twice letting balls squirm away from him that on another day could be costly, but for me he’s doing fine right now.
There is a huge amount of excitement around the club right now, and rightly so, but we have to check and say that things are going our way at the moment. While the performances are excellent, we had some luck last night and on Saturday, so we need to remember that when the luck turns, as it undoubtedly will at some point. What is important to see is the fire in this team, the drive to win, and the fight that lasts for ninety minutes, as shown by the continual stream of late goals. Scoring at the death is a happy habit to get into.
The Chelsea situation needs to be covered by another article, but for now, enjoy the present, because it’s rare to see any football team clicking like ours is at the moment.