It’s gone, done and dusted now but I’m still purring after that Napoli game. To put this latest win into some sort of context Napoli were 2nd in Serie ‘A’ with a won 5, drawn 1 record which included an away win at A C Milano. They still are 2nd in Serie ‘A’ of course, it’s just that they’ve now received a serious footballing lesson before their 7th Serie ‘A’ game.
In the Champions League they’d already beaten Borussia Dortmund which currently looks pretty good on any Club’s CV. So surely Raffa and his boys were not exactly expecting to suffer such a total spanking during the opening fifteen minutes at The Grove. Then again neither was I expecting such scintillating football given that Wenger was playing an almost unheard of pair of holding midfield players and we were looking for all intents and purposes like we had a line-up set to finish the first half at nil-nil. Were we Chelski in disguise perhaps? Well obviously not, none of the crowd dozed off and what appeared to be a defensive line-up proved to be anything but.Before the game began Arsenal had shown some very fine form against a bunch of fairly classless Premiership teams plus that mob from the wrong end of Seven Sisters. However we had yet to show what we had to offer against a really decent outfit and Napoli were for me the first real acid test. If we could scrape a win from this one I felt our momentum would continue to build and we’d gain yet more confidence in what is after all had been an injury depleted squad of late. Instead of which we chewed Napoli up and spat them out and really looked to be serious contenders despite still being light the odd decent back-up centre forward so.
The Italians were restricted, in the main, to long range pot shots and we absolutely tore them a new one. So much so that all the rent-a-gob-two-bob TV pundits were reduced to turning a complete 180 with regard to their opinions on what they’d all been proclaiming to be a team in crisis only a few weeks back.Just quite how Özil was already interchanging positions with other players in a squad he’d only met just a few days previously was all rather surreal. Probably only under Wenger could such interchanging even be considered at this stage of any player’s introduction to his new Club. Then again quite probably only under a manager such as Wenger would such a class act even consider moving to a Club that wasn’t dripping in new money.
It’s always seemed fairly obvious to me that the long-term plan was for a multi-functional and interchangeable midfield to emerge at Arsenal. But that will now be the norm I suspect. And with the new Ramsey currently emerging as the best British midfield player around anything is possible. Clearly our latest German was player of the match against Napoli, but not by a massive margin in my opinion, Ramsey ran him very close and Giroud was mega. Dennis only knows what it’ll be like if when we get both Özil and Cazorla playing together. Cazorla is probably the most two-footed Arsenal player I’ve ever seen bulge the old onion bag for The Arsenal, while Özil can play keepie-upsie with a piece of partially used chewing gum and nutmeg linesman for fun. His passing is clearly as good as Cesc, Dennis or Bobby. His left foot is as good as Liam’s and his vision is the sort of thing our next new centre forward can only currently dream about.So we only won 2-0 against Napoli. But the fact is we made them chase the game throughout whilst controlling it almost totally, only very rarely on the back foot. They passed quite a lot but mainly backwards and sideways because we denied them the space. When we passed backwards or sideways it was because we had a two-goal lead and were effectively saying ‘If you want the f*cking thing come and get it you pussies’.
Not since the days of Bergkamp and Henry have I got depressed about having to actually wait to see the next Arsenal game. I’m currently depressed because right here and now we’re better than good, way better than good and I want the next game to be immediately after the last one.Momentum is the key. Trust me it really is. It can be argued that we’ve still not played anyone worthwhile, that Napoli were over-rated, that Marseille are not all that and that the result of any game against the Spuds can go any-which-way. Which of course they can. But do I give a toss? No way Pedro. We have momentum. We have a real team that clearly enjoys playing together and all of whom are quite happy to work their rocks off in the cause. In fact if they don’t work their rocks off they probably won’t even make the team right now. We have a work ethic. We have a good mix of experience and youngsters plus those yet to peak such as Ramsey, Wilshere, Szczczczesny, Gibbs, Walcott and Özil, yes Özil. His best is yet to come.
Madrid you stupid tossers, what have you done?We currently have serious competition for places in all bar two positions, and we need a steady keeper in any case. We have a manager that world class players want to play for and learn from. We have Germans. We have an Assistant Manager who has been there and got the t-shirts, lots of t-shirts. We have a home crowd who in my experience bear little or no relation to the vociferous and sometimes mindless minority on the internet. We have ignition. We have lift-off and in my humble opinion we don’t have a problem Houston.
Try not to laugh, but way, way back in December 1970 I already knew that it would be a truly momentous season, I knew from what I was witnessing and enjoying on the pitch. I knew that my team, the one I’d always supported forever but only seen win one trophy was once again the real McCoy at last or the real McLintock as we called him. Now I know it’s only early October in 2013 but this current batch really are the real deal believe me, and if you can’t enjoy what you’re seeing right now and don’t share the faith, then are you really, really sure you’re an Arsenal fan? There’s more competition from rich Clubs these days for sure and we may not win the double as we did back in ’71, but what’s not to enjoy? This current team, whatever their format or line-up really are 'the dog's proverbials’.Believe me. Good times are coming. Trust me. I may be a boring old git but I’ve been there, seen it and got way more Arsenal t-shirts than Uncle Bouldie.
Enjoy this. Right here and now. Because if you can’t, or don’t I’ve really not got the faintest idea why you claim to support The Arsenal or even bother watching them.