The final home match before Christmas usually provides the opportunity to share a brief few moments and some tasty morsels with a top Gooner and his family. This year was no different. Bubbles, rioja, and some very tasty nibbles set the general air of well-being. To the pub I went to locate my temporary neighbour for the day, one Take a Bow Son, the Daily Mail’s poster boy.
We dominated the game itself from the off. I recall Gervinho, Santi Cazorla, and Jack Wilshere all going close around the incident that livened up the first half. I am fortunate enough to sit within view of the touchline monitor and yes, Santi dived it confirmed within seconds of the incident. Mikel Arteta put right the wrong of his miss from the spot against Fulham and we were on our way.
One cannot avoid commenting on the dive. I wish we wouldn’t indulge in it, but that would put us in a minority of one. It is once again noticeable that there is a marked difference in the coverage of such incidents when good honest English lads are involved. I don’t think Santi is being painted with the Suarez brush here, but he has certainly leant (is that a word?) up against a fence freshly coated with the stuff. Stinking furriners coming here and polluting our game, and all that stuff.
I have to say shortly afterwards I thought we survived a pretty blatant handball in the box by Per Mertesacker. When Lady Luck decides to smile on you it tends to come as a beaming grin rather than a subtle smirk. Some would say you make your own luck, and Arsenal certainly deserved the advantage at the half.
As the mid-point of the second half loomed into view we doubled the lead. Again it was a penalty, but there was no doubting the award after Brunt upended the much improved Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Arteta again smashed it down the middle. Little did we know at that point the second consecutive ‘holic pound was secured. I have to say if Lukas Podolski had his shooting boots on the punt would have been lost. The irony of the day was that a better performance than we have produced of late yielded no goals from open play.
So TaBS and I strolled back to the pub for a rather cheerier dissection of the afternoon’s events than we have become used to. The traditional free issue of sausage and chips was a more than welcome contribution to the general air of optimism around the place.
This one win is just that. There are still things that concern, but if we can get on a run that brings more valuable victories before the opening of the transfer window there is yet a chance that we can channel all of the emotions of recent weeks into a power for good. Come on now, this is a season of virgin births, and all that.
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