I cannot tell you how excited I was about this game; it really was six year old boy stuff, jumping up and down at Christmas; having just been woken by my parents and told that I could go down stairs and open my presents; we all know that no matter how many presents you get there is always one very special one and this special one was made in Germany.
I am sure there have been far more games worthy of far greater excitement but it seems a long time now that I got this excited about a game due to the signing of a new player, certainly not over the last seven years, how far would we have to go back to find the equivalent?
Anyway, not only did the shiny new toy look great — it worked; in fact, it took very little time for it to show the silky skills we all hoped for by playing a beautifully weighted pass for Giroud to clinically drive home past the helpless keeper.
One-nil to the Arsenal and everything was going to plan, the good guys started stoking the ball around and the gulf in class started to show; Sunderland had a few long range shots but nothing to really trouble Szczesny.
I was mentally mocking Di Canio for his cartoonish Italian gesticulation as we went into the break but I don’t know how he did it but somehow he managed to lift his players because they came out like a completely different team – determined and direct.
I was going to use a bull fight imagery of the beast that comes charging out into the ring, driving towards the matador only for the smarter of the two to step aside at the last minute — but Koscielny was not smart enough and got the team gored with a school boy tackle that led to a penalty and their equaliser.
Game on. Sunderland’s tails were up and they started coming through our midfield a little too easily for my liking. I am sure I wasn’t the only one who started asking at this point, who is supposed to be stopping this happen?
It’s all very well for Flamini to take up the defiant stance of hand on knees, lifting a clenched fist every now and then and shouting: come on boys but it counts for nothing if the opposition are charging through the middle as easily as a hot knife through butter.
We needed a hero and just when you thought you couldn’t praise Aaron Ramsey anymore for his start to this season up he pops to volley home what probably is the best goal of the new campaign, maybe you can think of a better goal, let me know?
So, I now take you back to the Christmas analogy; yes, there is always a big present but there is usually also something that you initially overlook, something hidden in one of the cards, something that you only give a cursory glance at — in this case it was a card that said – Get out of jail free. Because that is exactly what we did when the referee decided to give a free kick outside the area after one or another of their players scored a goal that would have had sites like this going into melt down had that happened to us.
The only thing for it was to score a third, up stepped Johnny on the Spot, or Taffy in the box to stroke home our third and put this game to bed.
Özil came off to great applause for an excellent debut; if I had to sum it up in a sentence I would say that I thought it was a very special Christmas day.
Szczesny: I am a big fan; he is the right man for the job, he gets better all the time and I for one hope he stays at THOF many years to come. Commanding, stopped the shots that needed to be stopped, couldn’t do much about the penalty, good game. 8
Jenkinson: Özil’s arrival seemed to prompt the majority of the team to take a step up in their ability on the ball; the problem is I don’t think Jenks got the memo: too many crosses that flashed across the box when no one was there. 6
Sagna: I think it was against Sunderland last season that Bacary’s reputation to be able to play central defence first started, it wouldn’t have been the same if today’s performance was his first as a CB. I think we saw today just how good the BFG makes both Sagna and Koscielny look. 6
Koscielny: no excuses, school boy error for the penalty. 5
Gibbs: he just gets better and better doesn’t he, it wasn’t so long ago that there were debates on this site about how we needed an experienced LB – well those days are gone as our Kieran has got the job. We are also fortunate that Baines and Cashley are still around or Gibbs would be another one getting kicked to buggery in an England shirt. 7
Flamini: I think the title of The Flamster is perfect for him, he is a utility player, to be consigned to the bench when Arteta returns but will come on when we are ahead after seventy minutes and Wenger feels the need to shore things up. 6
Wilshere: I have always refused to fawn over the most talented midfield player to come through Arsenal’s ranks in a long time and as such will become Arsenal and England captain but today is different, I have talked about Özil’s arrival prompting others to raise their game, well our Jack raised his game more than anyone else in my opinion; his passing was superb, it was everything good today as it was bad in the week and because of that he is my MOTM. 9
Ramsey: how can the man who saved our bacon not get the MOTM, well, his first half wasn’t brilliant which might sound a bit odd but he has raised the bar so high now that if he isn’t scoring every ten minutes something is wrong. In fairness the first half was congested which doesn’t suit his play as much as a slightly more open game in which he can charge through the middle, although, when the game did open up for the few short periods he certainly was brilliant. 8
Özil: oh my goodness, where do I start, picture a kid at Christmas having just opened his big present and is now jumping up and down shouting, thank you, thank you, thank you that’s just what I wanted. 8
Giroud: you can try and knock him and I have but his goal scoring record will turn round and slap you in the face; he went off at the end but if you look closely you will see the physio mouthing to Wenger that he just got a knock on the knee, the implication was clear that it was not too serious, now I have said that, what do you reckon? Out for six weeks? 7
Walcott: “everyone knows he is shit but he is dangerous shit” How am I supposed to compete with that? Forgot to bring his scoring boots, should have got a hat trick. 6
Enjoy your Sunday.
Written by LB