Arsenal 4 Norwich 1: Bums are once again flying off seats
ARSENAL 4 NORWICH CITY 1
FROM GOODPLAYA AT THE EMIRATES
HOW fitting that on the day arguably the first and still finest incarnation of the classic Arsene Wenger attacking midfielder was reintroduced to the fans at half-time, we put on a show such as this. Four goals, all scored from midfield, though of course it should be noted that since Pires’ day the midfield has become a player heavier, the forwards one lighter. Talking of Pires, it should be said he’s looking mighty fine for 39.
What really marked yesterday out, however, was the quality. People are once again being treated to moments that get them flying out of their seats and that are original. Goals that are dissimilar to any we’ve seen before or in the case of Ramsey’s reminiscent of Henry’s waltz against Liverpool on Good Friday 2004, which is high praise indeed. There was a time, around a year ago, when a little bit of the fun had gone from watching Arsenal. That ain’t the case now.
The irony was that yesterday’s opener was lost on much of the ground to the extent that if you see the shot of the fans celebrating you’ll see them rise to their feet not in unbounded joy but almost in slow motion. It was only on closer inspection that the magnificence of the moment was understood. It is a real goal of the season contender.
What happened next will basically be boiled down by many very simply to Flamini getting injured, us losing our shape and Norwich getting a good foot in the game. I think that with all due respect to the excellent Flamini, that is probably ignoring the fact that against Sunderland, Swansea to an extent, Stoke and West Brom of late, a period where tempo wise we’ve struggled has been fairly common.
What this will mean against tougher opposition it is too early to say. It is also true that not even the Invincibles dominated every game for 90 minutes and that the ability to snaffle a goal out of nothing is a great one that may well serve us very well.
The second yesterday was a case in point. What needs saying about both it and the opener was Olivier Giroud’s magnificent and subtle contributions to both. A few weeks back I lamented the fact that our lead (only) striker was hardly hewn from the same fine marble as some of his recent predecessors. It is fair to say some of his recent play is making a real mug of me. But his contribution actually goes far beyond the flicks and delicate cross for Ozil to head home. He’s just playing the lone striker role to absolute perfection. You only need to look at some of the illustrious players who could never do it to know it isn’t an easy role. He’s nailed it.
Norwich scored, deservedly and then the slightly interesting decision was taken to reintroduce Bendtner to the home fans with nerves fraying over a fragile lead. But in spite of a few ironic cheers for his first touch (seriously, what is the point?), the vast majority were behind him and when he had a shooting chance a decent connection with the ball made up for the fact that actually his shot was at the keeper’s near post rather than his far and at a perfect height too.
Then Ramsey did his brilliant thing. I had pondered a few weeks ago whether some of his goalscoring prowess could be put down to him simply being given licence to spend more time further up the pitch and inevitably hoovering up a few of the goals that had he not been there, someone else probably would have scored. But you can’t say that has been the case with goals such as the one at Sunderland and most obviously yesterday’s.
That Henry goal I mentioned earlier was at 2-2 and dug us out of a hole. The stakes were not as high yesterday but there was a hole and Ramsey got us right out of it.
I’ll try and look at some point at what the major changes have been this season (I guess my answers may be fairly obvious) and how strong or weak we are. But this was a really fun day’s football and people are having fun again.
Reckon we’ve got a chance of doing something? Check out the odds on Betfair.com