Having been away in Belgium over the weekend to a magical place called Radhadesh for a spiritual retreat left me out of the loop football wise for around 36 hours or so. Cut away from most forms of communication and Internet to the outside world was something I thought would make me nervous about the footie and not be able to concentrate on the event in hand. Thankfully that didn’t happen and added to that I was informed that City, Chel$ki, Sp*rs and Southampton had all been knocked out, all whilst playing at home. Incredible. Notably Bradford’s performance for having come back from 2-0 down at Stamford Bridge. Simply incredible. I thought coming back from such an uplifting experience would be a massive crash back down to earth, which it has been but I can’t say the football hasn’t softened the blow. Temporarily at least.
The next day we had much of a similar day where football results took a bit of a back seat and I was only in the know of the score with 10 minutes remaining. An hour later and I had found out the result from my wife’s text message that got through. A brilliant footballing weekend whilst lacking the usual stress – not a common occurrence but a welcome one nonetheless.
Our performance looked good on the whole and this starting fast business is becoming a good habit of late. It was really good to see Theo back in amongst the goals with a rather tasty finish. In addition to that seeing Mesut Ozil score from a quite wonderful pass from the ageless Tomas Rosicky was a thing of beauty. Finally watching Rosicky score a volley off the back of a no look pass, a quite extraordinary occurrence, ensured(ish) the win. To which Phil Neville said he doesn’t want to see things like “the no look pass in the game” and made a statement to say “I’d jump in two footed at him!” What a miserable and quite awful human being. He doesn’t want his team mates or kids expressing a genuine piece of skill but is happy to advocate two footed tackles? Fantastic TV appearance “fizzer”. It’s because of clowns with his shared opinion at the FA from, a grass roots level upwards that Emgland have no fearless dribblers with an ounce of trickery to their game. It’s beaten out of them by traditionalist and cautious thinking. When will these clowns ever learn!? A debate for another day… Tomas Rosicky had a Cazorla-esque performance on Sunday and topped it off with a quite remarkable goal. Keep scoring you floppy haired wonder! As Wenger said, if you love football you love Rosicky. It’s so damn true.
With the win we put ourselves in the hat for the next bout of fun. We were handed a fairly tough test in Middlesbrough who have one of the meanest defences in the championship and who have just knocked the champions out of the FA Cup. It will be a tougher test than the majority think but a home draw against lower league opposition is a favourable position to be in. Let’s hope we take advantage.
On the transfer front it should be announced that Gabriel Paulista is an Arsenal player. It’s really good to see that the problem at the back has finally been addressed. I’m really hoping he can hit the ground running with us and help make rotation a little easier for Le Boss. I do have to say I’m a little sad at Campbell going the other way on loan as I really thought he did well against Hull and I wanted to see more of him. Obviously Wenger knows better than I do not to mention that we have Alexis & Welbeck who can play there. If we didn’t need a defender then Campbell would have been a nice option to have but needs must and that’s what’s forced Wenger’s hand. In addition I saw an interesting exchange rate fact in that having waited 2 days we saved £700k on the transfer as less GBPs were required for the purchase. Smart work from Dick Law and the others involved in the coup.
I also love the fact that Arsene said that our business was “not necessarily” concluded after the Gabriel purchase. Let’s hope there’s another iron in the fire and we can bring in the fabled DM to work in rotation alongside Arteta & Coq. It would give us, as we all well know, a serious foundation on which to mount a full scale attack on the trophy hunt. The FA Cup represents an enormous chance for success and with the right signings and some luck, the Champions League wouldn’t be completely out of the question (I did warn you I’m a dreamer!).
There seems to be a lot of positivity around the club at the moment and I’m really hoping this continues as the players look to be playing with a bit more freedom.
Have a great week folks.
Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1