So far so good in the two big games of the week. Firstly, seeing Liverpool off in the Carling Cup in a record attendance for the competition, then disposing of a Sp*rs side who insist they are going to finish above us this season!
As I’m travelling, it’s hard to update the site as regularly as I’d like, but pre-holiday I have invested in a tidy little Samsung netbook – it’s got a 10-12 hour battery life – and I have 2 batteries – so I’m able to write when I travel. 10 flights in 10 days is a little too much for my liking. A massive shout out to the wedding couple whom tied the knot in New York last weekend where I think I successfully managed to recruit at least 6 people to life long Goonership! And another massive shout out to the boys in Vegas (where I am now) who are really showing me how to party!
By now, I presume you’ve read many a match report, so there’s probably no point in me going into much detail on Saturday’s game. It’s 3.15pm here on Monday, and that means it’s 11.15pm back home so just a quick summary before we look forward to the midweek game tomorrow.
The game against Sp*rs was a little more nervy than I expected and maybe the 4-4 was playing in the players minds. Luckily for me the game was on ESPN2 over here and I could watch it in the comfort of my bed. The first half of the first half was in all honesty Tottenham’s best period and at that point we didn’t look that threatening either. As the half went on though, we got into our stride and a goal before the end of the first half looked more possible.
Two goals though made the half time talk much better – the first coming from a cross from Sagna with Van Persie on hand to prod the ball into the back of the net ahead of the defender and past the keeper. And then whilst they were showing the replay of the goal, the commentator said “And that’s Cesc, past one, past two and now past three, can he finish? Yes he can, that’s 2-0 to Arsenal!”, and then they showed the goal and he did exactly that!
In the second half, it was crucial not to concede – we really didn’t want 2-1 with time to go, especially after West Ham, and I believe that our defensive performance was key, with Song being essential in front of the back four – wrongly carded for an excellent challenge too – I don’t think we can do anything about that though. And the third goal was the one that sealed the game, again Sagna down the right – a horrible gaff from Gomes and another right footed shot from Van Persie – bingo, 3-0.
The boss had a few things to say too, commenting on the game and the crazy noise levels in the stadium.
“I believe the fluency lacked a little bit in the first half an hour. We played a little bit with the handbrake and couldn’t find our usual fluency. But during that period we were serious and overall despite the fact we won 3-0 we had a good defensive performance and our back five was very efficient. We dealt well with their offensive problems.
“Then we took advantage of the first goal, a little tricky goal from Van Persie, and then took advantage of the shock provoked by the first goal. Then in the second half we always played a little bit restricted but once we got the third goal you didn’t have the impression that Spurs could come back and we didn’t give any goal chances away.”
When Arsene threw his jacket down, I was thinking he was frustrated that we’d missed so many golden opportunities, but he revealed later, it was because of the noise in the stadium meaning no one could hear him!
“I threw my jacket up because I was frustrated. I could not communicate with my players because of the noise of the stadium. I am not used to that. That’s why I got frustrated because I felt it was important for the team not to concede a goal today because any goal with what happened recently could have caused a panic maybe and resurgence of Spurs.
And on TV, the noise was pretty incredible, well done to all who were there making it such as atmosphere. And finally, I’ll leave you with this – the question that everyone always asks… Can we win the title?
“I think so yes, I have said that since the first day of the season and I will not change my mind today. That’s what we want to show, I believe we can. We want to show consistency, intelligence and that is not easy. We have other competitors but why should we not challenge? We have the opportunity and the quality and it will be down to our attitude. We cannot lose a striker in every game, that would cause a problem. We need to be preserved a little bit from injuries but I am convinced we have the quality, attitude and spirit in the squad.”
Til tomorrow (I hope)…!