Monday, 3 October 2011
Jr Walker and the All Stars make a joyful sound
The most significant thing, perhaps, is that this was only my third favourite win against Arsenal in the last couple of years.
The spell-breaker at White Hart Lane in 2010 and the curse-lifter at the Emirates six months later occupy the top two slots.
Still, it wasn't bad...
We were, of course, famously, loudly, justifiably and terrifyingly favourites going into the game. And during the game? Did we look noticeably the better side?
I think in terms of possession and territory, they were at least our equal, but we consistently looked more dangerous - apart from when VdV stopped playing ten minutes before he got taken off. And they gave the ball away far more often and easily than we did.
From a fan point of view, the reviews, regrets and recriminations have swapped almost completely. Here, surely, is what a sane Arsenal fan's appraisal would be:
* They went into the game with the better squad and the better starting 11
* We had a lot of the ball but never really looked like scoring until they sort of let us.
* They scored two and could have had four or five more.
* We always looked vulnerable in defence and nervous in possession.
* We huffed and puffed but never purred.
* They had the game's outstanding player(s).
* When we equalised, we kind of knew it was false hope. And so did the team. Instead of us kicking on for the winner, we sat back and let them wrestle momentum back. We never believed
* And yes, at the end, were were knocking on the door. But very, very timidly.
* We could, just about conceivably, in a galaxy far, far away, have snatched a win. We should, maybe, in something akin to the real world, have grabbed a draw. But, ultimately, in 2011 we lost - and could have lost by more.
* We're not as good as them and need to get some points on the board fast before we get dragged into a relegation battle.
* I really miss us being good.
That's our script! Unchanged for 25 bloody years! That's worse than My Family (dear wife and children, please note capital letters and obvious reference to pedestrian but inexplicably enduring BBC sit 'com')
And now? Well, we've won three out of the last four derby games? Arsenal? They've 'only' won 12 out of the last 20 or something. So, as with most stats and trends, the result depends on how long a period you take into account. And which point you want to 'prove'.
The giant leap forward will be finishing above them in the league. And saying goodbye to all that St Tottering Day bollocks - dumped, hopefully, in the same bin where Chelsea's Three Point Lane jibe is gathering dust.
Even then, it will only be one year in 17.
So, let joy be unconfined, absolutely. But let reality have a starter and pour perspective a drink.
Also, our next game, against Newcastle, suddenly looks huge, doesn't it? They're in a Champions League spot and packed with good young French players you hadn't heard of 20 minutes ago. Remind you of anyone?