View From The North Bank – Arsenal 1-0 Man Utd
It’s a little late but I was too busy enjoying the bank holiday, bathed in sunshine and the rare glow of a victory over United, that I couldn’t post before now. In lieu of a full View From The North Bank, I’ll just summarise a few thoughts on the game.
Firstly, this win was important for us for a couple of reasons. We’re out of the title race but losing would have confirmed us as also-rans. No amount of could have beens would make up for losing 3 times in one season to the team I believe will eventually be crowned as champions. Winning was a matter of pride and sets us up for next season.
I don’t agree that this result will lead Wenger to be complacent and kid himself that we don’t have problems. We have a strong squad and I’ve long been of the opinion that we don’t need major surgery. A bit of match winning resolve is what we need more than a couple of token bank busting signings. We’ve beaten Chelsea, Barcelona and United this season. We have the talent and despite ill founded call to the contrary Wenger shouldn’t think otherwise, he just needs to search for that missing ingredient.
Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere were both fantastic on Sunday and provided another glimpse at what always promises to be a bright future. Both have good engines, a competitive streak and a great range of passing. We have missed Ramsey as he gives us another option in the middle. He is someone who can influence games, like Wilshere and unlike Denilson. Even with that subtle re-jig, we are a better squad.
It’s also been mentioned, in slightly sensationalist quarters, that this performance should signal the end for Cesc; that we should take the money from Barca and let him go. I find that to be utterly ridiculous and totally short sighted. Ramsey is excellent and will continue to improve however Cesc is already consistently world class and is a talisman on the pitch. Top clubs do not signal the emergence of a new talent by getting rid of a proven star, they maintain both and breed the competition for places that has been lacking at Arsenal in the last couple of seasons. There is now competition in Arsenals midfield, something a knee jerk sale of our captain would diminish.
On a related note, albeit not to do with Sunday, I just wanted to comment on the idea that Cesc has been slightly below his fantastic best of late. This is due to being played with dodgy hamstrings, not because his hearts not in it. Cesc wants to play for Barca, we all know that, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have pride in being Arsenal captain. Anyone who holds that opinion should look at him busting a gut against Tottenham for proof that he does still care.
Finally, I couldn’t let it pass without comment. In the 84th minute, 1-0 up against the league leaders and Laurent Koscielny intercepts a pass and plays a ball out wide. What does he do? Accept the applause and return to the last line? Of course not, he bursts forward and joins up as an auxiliary forward, looking to get a second and decisive goal. It was reckless and it was bold but I have to say, I loved it. For better or worse, that’s Arsenal. I pay to watch committed attacking Football, it’s not good for my nerves but it’s definitely exciting.
Keep The Faith – In Wenger We Trust.