Monday, 2 September 2013

Forget the hype and just enjoy beating Spurs

There is no better result than 1-0 to the Arsenal.

It is victory in its purest form. No need for a comeback, no opponent letting things slip, no easy street. It is perfect – especially when it comes against Spurs.

There has been so much negativity around the Club recently (much of completely justified but much of it completely not) that it is easy to push victories like this to one side. Likewise, speculation is increasing by the minute that we will finally make that 'marquee signing'.

It is quite right that we should all take an interest in the big issues like Club finances and ownership, and the thought of us signing true world class talent in the shape of Mesut Ozil is exciting, none of it should overshadow the 11 blokes pulling on the red and white.

And when those 11 play as well as they did yesterday we need to take joy in it.

Arsenal performed with a maturity, solidity and cohesion that should bring a smile to the face of every supporter whether they think Wenger should be deified or sacked.

From back to front, there were players raising their games and standing up for their team.

Mertersacker was full of heart and Koscielny always seemed to be one step ahead of the attack.

The returning Flamini, even though he only played about 50 minutes, gets a mention for bringing some much-needed passion to proceedings and his willingness to organise those around him.

Giroud led the line superbly and the touch required for his goal was worthy of Henry and Bergkamp, it was that good. He had run himself into the ground by the final whistle (highlighting the urgent need for at least one striker to be brought in before the window closes) but fully deserved the three points.

Cazorla and Walcott, who was unlucky not to have made more from some well-timed runs, played well too.

But my standout player was Aaron Ramsey who put in one of his most impressive performances in an Arsenal shirt.

While his passing was actually slightly off kilter at times, it was his energy and physical strength that stood out most.

He refused to be outmuscled on at least three occasions when he was clearly second best. They are minor victories in the grand scheme of things but in years past they would have been little defeats. In matches like this it is that kind of attitude that inspires crowds and teams alike and can help to make the difference. Ramsey has been excellent so far this season and there can be no better example of Wenger’s approach to player development paying off.

All of this does not now mean I think we are going to challenge for the league, and perhaps I am guilty of Spurs-esque small-mindedness in taking so much pleasure from beating our nearest neighbours.

But when you think about the consequences had we lost, it throws into relief why we are justified in getting excited about it.

This was a litmus test for the way each club has approached the transfer window and had it turned sour the boos and hysteria following the Villa defeat would have paled into insignificance.

Thoughts will now turn to the transfer window and the prospect of more positive developments after a summer of frustration.

But the window closes in 15 hours – let's enjoy this moment for a bit longer first.

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