Actually, ow doesn’t quite cover it. Ow is a bit like saying Paul Robinson is a little bit rubbish. Ow is like suggesting that it wasn’t the best display when Arsenal got thumped by Liverpool earlier this year. Ow is a bit like saying John Jensen wasn’t really a goalscoring machine.
I need a word to describe the pain of seeing a thousand Ashley Coles threatening to tell you their whiny life histories while you are helplessly tied to a tree, watching re-runs of glorious Dwight Yorke, Peter Crouch and Mickey Quinn hattricks against us, and a slow motion replay of the whole 91 cup semi final. Then I might be able to describe the feeling in my arms and legs.
Suffice to say that I don’t have a talent for surfing. Especially not solidly for three days straight, in particularly lively conditions in Ireland. I do have a talent for smashing headlong into rocks, however, along with an innate sense of exactly when my foot should rip along the sea bed through a neatly placed sharp bit of reef. I began the weekend as a clumsy novice, and nothing has changed.
I came home to find that the same was true of the football. With the proverbial ‘big four’ all claiming victories with varying levels of performance, and Man City continuing their impressive form with another win, the top of the table looks very familiar. At the other end, Fulham, Reading, Derby and Bolton are still pretty hopeless, while Spurs were saved further embarrassment by not actually playing.
Arsenal 2 (Toure 68, Rosicky 80) Bolton 0
Having got back only late last night, I haven’t seen any of the action at all, but from what I can gather, Bolton reverted to playing the sort of ugly non-football that was their penchant for years under Allardyce, without having the steel and ability to sustain it for ninety minutes.
Toure finally scored one of his free kicks, while Rosicky added the second with a lovely piece of skill, after good work from Walcott. After the game, Wenger suggested that Theo might get a start soon, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start tomorrow night’s game with Slavia Prague, instead of Eboue.
More fantastic news came earlier today – after brief fears that Van Persie’s knee injury, sustained on international duty, affected his cruciate ligament, which would have seen him miss the majority of his season, it turns out that his medial ligament is damaged instead. He is still unlikely to return before December, but should be fit as the fixtures pile up towards Christmas. It is a massive relief.
As for tomorrow night, a mostly unchanged team is expected – Walcott and Rosicky may challenge for a place, while Eduardo should get a chance to play a European match from the start, the competition in which he has looked most comfortable so far. Lehmann won’t play, and it is becoming increasingly likely that his time at the Emirates is ending.
Thirteen matches, twelve wins, one draw. Bolton bottom, Spurs in the relegation zone. Indeed it is a very happy 58th for Arsene Wenger.