I'm not sure what's happening. It's like all the pain and suffering we went through early season has been recognised by the footballing gods and now they're offering us an olive branch. Once again Arsenal took three points. Yet again, those three points were made to look all the more glamorous against the back drop of some fantastic dropped points from our nearest and dearest.
Pinch me, I must be dreaming.
Liverpool lost, Spurs were lucky to only drop two points against Stoke and Chelsea had a 1-0 nailed on victory over turned late on with a City flourish and a superb run and finish from Samir Nasri. We're third in the league people and now it's ours to lose. An absolutely incredible turn around in the space of a month.
I was out last night, so I didn't catch the match as it was happening... so no in depth report from me, however, I can summarise the game for you.
The opening 15 minutes were pretty frenetic from an Arsenal perspective. Aaron Ramsey managed to find himself in front of goal twice but couldn't deliver the finish. My request of an early goal yesterday was met when Robin Van Persie curled a corner into the box, Vermaelen made a tremendous leap over Fellaini and buried his header in the bottom corner. One up after 8 minutes and we were playing well!
Our game tailed off after that. The most contentious moment of the match came when Alex Song duffed the ball out of defence, Everton gained possession, Drenthe was slipped through and buried his shot past Chesney... the lino adjudged him to be offside. Upon video inspection, he was wrong. We'd dodged a bullet. In fairness, I'm pretty sure if he was onside, Chesney would have made more of an effort to save his shot.
Down the other end, Rosicky lashed a shot at Tim Howard, but the American was equal to it and parried it away.
In the second half, Everton actually made an effort to test out keeper, the first was a header straight at Chesney from Fellaini.
Down the other end, Alex Song floated a ball into the box to Gibbs, he knocked the ball back across goal with his head for Robin whose snap shot hit the base of the post! So close... so very unlucky! What a goal that would have been!
Baines capitalised on a Sagna slip in our half, he whipped a low cross into Fellaini but the Belgian could only skew his shot wide. This was nervy stuff!
The last chance of the game fell to us, Gervinho raced down the wing, cut the ball back to Robin who smashed over with a misbalanced shot. No goals to Robin, I think it's time to reconsider that contract we're putting together for him.
The whistle blew for full time... Arsenal took their SIXTH successive win and third place in the process. This was a massive three points and a huge, huge win!
It's difficult to have much of a conclusion when you haven't caught the whole game. What I would say from what I've seen is that the team spirit actually looks fantastic at the moment. The defence, though prone to the odd wobble, has really looked settled over the last few weeks and the whole squad has shown superb belief when it would have been easier to lay down and die. Something we were certainly guilty of last season. The turning point can be tracked back to the Spurs game. Over turning a two goal deficit against your in form rivals has absolutely reinvigorated the club and we haven't looked back since.
There's no new injury news to worry about, big name players are starting to show the sort of form needed to justify our wage bill and we're chalking off the fixtures at a rate of knots. Our next two games are at home against Villa then QPR. Those are must have 3 pointers. After that, we'll have our toughest game of the run against Manchester City. They're just starting to show form, but as witnessed earlier in the season, they struggle at times playing against teams who can pass the ball at pace. Napoli showed us that. When we last played City, our form was shocking. This time around, at home, with the fans out in full force... I see no reason we can't get a result.
I just hope whoever gave the order to allow fans to stand in the ground continues to do so... the Emirates has been rocking recently and I think the players are enjoying that.
The next month or so is going to be tense, there's going to be ups and downs... but I have huge confidence we can make the top four and I'm starting to get a bit of a buzz for a top three position. After the start we had, I'd be pleased with that. It's still not good enough that a club of our stature is failing to compete for trophies, but at least at the bare minimum, we should be able to maintain our position in the Champions League. That's hugely important for our summer. It'll be even better if we can nab 3rd and avoid the qualification route. That'll also take away any excuses Wenger might have around not signing players.
Have a great day and enjoy the bragging rights we have over Spurs, regardless of how temporary it might be!