So, the good start did not last long. First defeat of the season in the 3rd game to United 2-1 away at Old Trafford. The result was not the worst one, but considering the nature of United's goals, us fans can feel a little aggrieved. We are just 3 games into the new season, but a lot has happened already. So here is a quick recap.
Game 1: Away at Goodison Park - Going into this game, I expected a tough hard fought battle against the likes of Cahill and Fellaini. But what a surprise the match and the result was. 6-1 away win against Everton is just unimaginable, but there it was. Playing this newly formed 4-3-3- and having the "happy heading" new boy Vermaelen at back, we outplayed Everton with a stunning performance. Cesc was superb with a double - dedicating them to his departed friend - the Espanyol captain Jarque.
Next up we had the Champions League qualifier away at Celtic Park. A lot of talk about how intimidating the atmosphere would be at Celtic Park among other things dominated the headlines going into this game. However, Arsenal played well, getting two rather lucky goals along the way to come back with a very impressive 2-0 away win for the second leg.
Game 2 of the Premiership against Portsmouth was the first home game for us this season. And while a double from Diaby sealed another good 4-1 win, the really interesting thing about this game was a conscious effort by the club to make the Emirates a more 'warm' and 'intimidating' place. Looked superb on TV and this pic illustrates it beautifully. Love the kid holding up the scarf with Gooner pride.
Next up, we had the return leg against Celtic at home. Another comfortable victory 3-1. But the penalty awarded to Eduardo for a supposed 'dive' has created such headlines and reactions overall that all I can say is this: Majority of the media are fucking hypocrites and the football authorities, especially UEFA don't really know the mess they are getting themselves into. Good luck to them, cause Arsenal will keep a track of how "neutral" and "unbiased" they are. These people certainly give the word "Doublespeak" a whole new dimension.
And after 4 convincing wins, the team reached Old Trafford to play the champions yesterday. The match was tough and close. The first half saw Arshavin score a stunner to give us the lead, just seconds after being denied a stone-wall penalty. The second half started with Arsenal on the front effort and it took a superb save from Ben Foster to deny RVP his first goal of the season. And in some sense, the match turned there with United scoring through a Rooney penalty and a "diabolical" own goal by Diaby. We had a late goal ruled out (correctly) for offside in the 95th minute. I could take that all right, but just then the referee (who denied us a penalty, brandished 6 yellow cards - most of them incorrectly) sent off Arsene Wenger for kicking a water bottle, when he saw the offiside flag after he had been celebrating mistakenly. A manager of the stature of Arsene Wenger being sent off for by referee Mike Dean !! ( a person who has been suspended for involvement with a betting syndicate - suspect character in my opinion who acted disgracefully) The brief period where Wenger did not really know how to react and face the sick humiliation from the United fans was sickening. Moments that I will not forget or forgive. But as a Football365 mailboxer said -" ...Man United fans will label him rude and arrogant. Neutrals will call it frivolous and childish.But fifty years into the future, no Gooner will forget that image of a tall, thin, white-haired French man standing imperiously in a hostile Old Trafford stand, arms outspread in defiance." Well said and this image is for posterity.
The season so far as described above has been eventful to say the least. The positives according to me have been - Vermaelen looking pretty good for a Arsenal centre back and Alex Song playing rather well compared to the expectations. The one thing that has worried me (apart from our huge injury list of course) is Almunia. He is not having a good season and his decision making looks suspect to me. I just hope he comes to form back soon.
All in all, exciting times ahead.
Gunner for life.