I recall watching such a mediocre Man Utd earlier in the season and wondering how on earth they were managing to remain there, or thereabouts, in touch with the league leaders.
Similarly, I’m sure that any neutral watching our lacklustre win over Newcastle on Saturday would’ve found it barely credible they were watching the title favourites go two points clear at the top of the table.
The afternoon looked like turning out even more profitable, when it appeared we were destined to stretch our lead over Man City to a somewhat more significant five or six points. Having dashed back home from the Arsenal to watch the late KO on the box and with the plucky Hornets retaining their goal advantage, right up until the 82nd minute, it seemed as if the gods were really smiling down on us Gooners.
Seemingly Sagna had other intentions, seeing the 32-year old full-back storming down the flank in the 84th minute. Bakary appeared intent on dishing out some rough justice to all those Gooners who’d booed him at our place a couple of weeks back, by whipping in the cross for Aguero’s winner and thereby denying us a far more comfortable cushion, over the most obvious threat to our title aspirations.
Who knows, perhaps much like Cesc Fabregas, Arsène’s apparent sleeper cell at Stamford Bridge, Sagna is merely inveigling himself into Pellegrini’s plans as a more permanent first choice, prior to perpetrating the ultimate act of sabotage as this campaign reaches its climax? Truth be told, we might well end up requiring such chicanery and all the external aid we can get, if the Gunners are to carry on in such a complacent looking fashion as Saturday’s lamentably leaden-footed triumph.
Ultimately I was just delighted Koscielny eventually found a means of securing the all-important three points. Sure with Petr Cech saving our bacon yet again, there was plenty of satisfaction in seeing the Gunners being able to win quite so ugly, when this title winning attribute has been missing list for much of the past decade.
Yet with Dave over from Dublin for his first match since we departed Highbury, it was disappointing that the Gunners failed to light up such a depressingly rain-sodden afternoon, with this encounter lacking even the odd isolated moment of “worth the price of admission alone“, trophy-winning type example of the beautiful game.
With Özil’s body language frequently demonstrating his frustration at the lack of vitality of those around him, the weather seemed to reflect the Gunners’ mood, with the majority looking as if they’d much rather be elsewhere!
It was only when Campbell came on for the last 20 minutes and really started putting himself about that the Costa Rican’s energy truly put into focus the comparative lethargy of the likes of the Ox, Walcott and Ramsey.
Wenger was on the verge of resorting to throwing the young Reine-Adelaide into the fray to try and conjure up some inspiration. The youngster was stripped off and waiting to come on, only for us to be denied an opportunity of seeing if he can cut the mustard, as he was promptly sent back to the bench when Koscielny poked home the decisive goal. So as the stadium finally rocked, , my own joy was tinged with a slight hint of sadness.
Hopefully the French midfielder won’t be left waiting too long, as he’ll likely play some part in Saturday’s FA Cup encounter with the Black Cats. Doubtless with this being timed to demonstrate that Arsène isn’t quite so desperate to splash the cash, with more resources to be discovered from within. Whether or not Wenger reinvigorates our squad, by availing himself of a bulging wallet, we’re certainly desperate for some spark to re-ignite our recent indifferent form, with the return of Alexis’ dynamism the most likely source.
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