What an ending to an exhilarating game. As Ozil caressed in the set piece, time seemed to stop. Even the commentator couldn’t quite believe what he had just seen and it took him a second to comprehend as such. Alan Smith was audibly excited which was reflective of how genuinely massive DatGoal was. I loved the celebration and the scenes that followed. It was pure joy, absolute ecstasy a huge release of belief that will now flow through the team and hopefully propel us through a tough run of games.
It is quite incredible to think that we were celebrating a last minute goal against Leicester of all people in such a manner but that’s where the season has led us and that it was against a top of the table club made it all the more special. It meant that the pressure was firmly on both City & Sp*rs for the late afternoon game. One that we could watch knowing full well that we would be gaining points on at least one, if not both sides. All being considered we still have to remember that Leicester are currently 2 points clear. They have no other cup competitions to worry about and they have nothing to lose. The run ins for ourselves, City & Sp*rs look to be trickier than that of Leicester but having said that they will have this new found pressure that comes with being top of the league. Added to that their last 3 games are Man Utd away, Everton at home and then Chelsea away. In my eyes so long as we are within 1-2 points of whoever is at the top with 4-5 games to go we will be able to do it.
During our game I was glad of a fair few things. The win firstly and for-mostly follows by some accumulation of karmic balance. Drinkwater was outrageously lucky to stay on the field after a leg breaker of a challenge on Aaron Ramsey somewhat similar to Flamini from last week. In addition to that Jamie Vardy channelled his inner Ashley Young and bought his team a penalty (interestingly he has won more penalties alone than the rest of the premier league combined). He kicked/ran into Nacho Moneeal and went down all fish in a barrel like, just as Ashley Young has been treating Watford, Villa and now Man Utd fans over his career. The fact that we had a couple of poor decisions not go our way and win fills me with confidence that we may yet get some luck when a game or two isn’t quite going as we’d hoped so I’ll gladly bank that karmic love. What followed was a pretty silly red card for Danny Simpson. He along with many pundits seemed dubious about the decision but the countless fouls that weren’t punished with bookings must also have played their part. There were plenty of players who got away with fouls and breaking up play through cynical football so his sending off was more than likely a representation of this. What followed was a barrage of attack minded football from ourselves. The kitchen sink was being thrown and a combination of poor finishing and great goalkeeping kept us at bay. Our equaliser finally came from some great play down the right hand side. A good ball in from Bellerin followed by a sumptuous knock down from Giroud give Walcott a great chance to make it 1-1. He duly obliged. With 20 minutes to play there was only one winner in my mind, it was surely a matter of time. I thought we might get a second goal pretty quickly and then sit back for a dangerous last 10 minutes, however we delayed this to create what might become a season defining moment. Deep into the 95th minute we have a free kick on the right hand side and everyone waits with baited breath. Ozil delivers a peach of a cross but as I mentioned earlier it felt like a slow motion movie. DatGuyWelbz was there to glance in the winner and sent everyone crackers. A brilliant way to win a game. Last minute winners, when they are for you, are a thing of beauty. A special mention needs to go out for both Giroud and Walcott as they really made big impacts today. Giroud was brilliant all game long and Walcott made a real difference by latching on to a deft Giroud knock down for his goal.
It did seem odd that Kante, the best player on the pitch, was on the losing side. He would be brilliant for us however what’s not to say that Elneny becomes that man for us? I do wonder what some of the Leicester players will do if they finish in the top 4 but don’t win the league. Do they stick around for Champions League football or do they go to a more established club within the competition? Whatever happens this season the summer will be an interesting one with the Euros and transfer fun.
In the later afternoon game between City & Sp*rs I was able to sit down and watch without much stress. That was until Sp*ra scored. Another horrendous decision from the officials and that’s what shaped the game. Kane stuck away the penalty with ease and the injustice of it all kicked City into life. For Sp*rs to have gone on and won that game however is something quite impressive. They played very well and while a draw would have been a fairer result they took full advantage of having some luck to win the game. It will go right down to the wire but the NLD is now massive. It’s a game that if we win we will be well on our way to the title, a draw keeps us massively in the hunt but a loss there could well be terminal. Well before that we have a couple of quite important games already; Hull, Man Utd away, Barcelona, Swansea and then Sp*rs away. 3 massive league games from which last season we managed just 1 point. That will need to dramatically change if we are to win the league this year. I feel as though we need to win one of the away games and draw the other whilst winning our home game v Swansea. That string of results will put us in the box seat but it’s a big big ask based on what we achieved in these fixtures last year alongside a different pressure. In the same sequence Sp*rs play Fiorentina away, Palace, Fiorentina, Swansea, West Ham away and then The Arsenal. 6 games to our 5 however their games look simpler on paper. Completely in the balance for now but the Derby will go a long way to showing us who might be the ones to lift the title come May. That’s not to discount Leicester in any way, however it seems as though there is a simmering build up of games to the NLD where a contender may become an also ran.
The next few weeks hold the key to our challenge however we need to approach this without looking too far ahead and with the completely cliche attitude of taking it one game at a time. For now our focus is to rotate a little and get some minutes under the belts of Danny Welbeck & Mohammed Elneny amongst others against Hull and try and ensure safe passage through to the Quarter-Finals of the Cup before the small matter of Barcelona. One step at a time and something quite special could develop this month.
In the mean time lets just bask in the glow of #DatGuyWelbz for the right to a fantastic week.
Have a great week folks.
Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1.