Match Report – By the numbers – Player ratings – Video
Somewhere this morning, in a mock Tudor mansion, with monogrammed front door and gilt edged kitchen cabinets, there’s a man from Togo who doesn’t give a shit about what happened yesterday. This is because he is a footballer, and an idiot, but mostly because he’s a footballer.
Red card? Oh well, I still get paid enough to have my customised Bentley (not David) in which to drive around my entourage who tell me how awesome I am. Lost the game? Meh, there’s another one next week. Or something. I’m suspended? Hurrah, more time for parties and dancing!
But here, and in every Arsenal supporting household this morning, the people who do give a shit will be enjoying Adebayor’s superficial troubles, even if he doesn’t care himself. A former player coming back to score against us isn’t uncommon, a fact of footballing life, but a former player, who raises the ire like few before him, opening the scoring then getting himself sent off and letting us back into the game, well … it’s delightful really.
Thankfully there was no real damage done to Santi Cazorla when he went in studs-up. Howard Webb spotted the nastiness of the challenge and issued the red card, and credit to him for doing so. Then Jack Wilshere got into some pushing and shoving with the horrendous ape boy and the game turned on that moment. None of this ‘it’s more difficult to play against 10 men’ nonsense. Arsenal took Sp*rs apart.
You might speculate all you want about what would have happened if it had stayed 11 v 11, but it doesn’t matter. It didn’t stay 11 v 11. A Sp*rs team that had started brightly, had one disallowed before going ahead, and nearly went 2-0 up before Adebayor’s delicious red card, were blitzed by an Arsenal side who felt, rightly, that the momentum had changed.
1-1 : Per Mertesacker’s defending for their opener wasn’t great, in fairness, but he made up for it with his first Arsenal goal. A header from a Theo Walcott cross, and what a header. If the world ever finds itself a post-apocalyptic wasteland and fields need to be ploughed because all the oxen are dead, you’d better hope Mertesacker survives because he’s got some set of neck muscles on him. His reaction was wonderful and the emphatic finish reminded me somewhat of Sagna’s in this game last season.
2-1 : Regular readers will know I was never a fan of William Gallas. So when Lukas Podolski’s shot deflected off his heel and bobbled into the net to put us ahead I used my imagination to picture myself running onto the pitch, wearing a t-shirt of him sitting down on the Birmingham pitch, standing in front of him, wiggling my hands by my head and LOLing in his face while doing a silly dance. As it was his dejected countenance as he realised it had taken the last touch of him was sufficient.
3-1 : Players fall down too easily these days. Sometimes it’s a good idea to get up again because opponents think as soon as you’ve fallen down it’s going to be a free kick (especially when you’ve been fouled, as Cazorla was. See also, Walcott: Stamford Bridge). The little man carried on, the ref waved play on and he squared it for the HFB to sweep home another fine goal. It was great build up play and a great finish when you consider Vertonghen was trying to rip Giroud’s shirt off him (presumably to get a look at his super hot body).
4-1: Probably the goal of the game. Szczesny lumped it long, Giroud won a great header and flicked it on to Walcott who played it to Podolski. The German went down the left, got his head up, spotted Cazorla running into the area and played a perfect pass for the Spaniard to sidefoot home the goal his performance deserved. Simple, efficient, brilliant.
4-2: Cock off, ape boy.
5-2: The cream on the top of the icing on top of the cake (which is on top of another cake). Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain picked the ball up, ran with it, squared it to Theo Walcott and he finished past Lloris to give the scoreline a familiar and welcome look. Walcott played well and had spurned chances to get on the score-sheet earlier, so it was good to see him make 200% sure of the game.
And let’s be honest, there was some nervousness when ape boy scored. The glee was turned down a notch and if ape boy wasn’t such a glory-hunting dimwit, he could have easily squared for Defoe to make it 4-3, but he’s a glory-hunting dimwit and Jack Wilshere doesn’t like him and if Jack doesn’t like him that’s good enough for me.
But after that Arsenal controlled it fully. Sensible football, keeping possession for long periods and running down the clock well. Sp*rs were beaten, we knew they beaten, everybody knew they were beaten. Apart from their manager who was clearly watching the match in a different universe because according to him they controlled the game from the first minute to the last. As Arsene Wenger said afterwards:
If our opponents are in control from the first to the last minutes and we win 5-2, then I don’t mind too much.
I hear ya. And look, it’s normal after a game to analyse and to look at the good and the bad. To highlight what we did well and not so well, but not today. Which isn’t to say all our problems have been solved and everything in the garden is rosy, but this morning it doesn’t matter.
Football is supposed to be enjoyable. It’s a roller-coaster of emotion, I know, but some days it’s just not necessary to pore over the minutiae and pick at the bones of a game and a performance. There’s only one thing that matters and that is the fact that we beat Sp*rs, stuck 5 past them, Adebayor got sent off, William Gallas is sad, ape boy got pushed around by wee Jack, Santi Cazorla was brilliant, HFB is scoring goals like a strikerly striker from strikertown USA and the list goes on. Which is a number of things that matter but they’re all just part of the one big thing that matters the most.
If you can’t get off on that this morning then maybe you need to think about spending on your time on something that would be more enjoyable to you. Like self-harm or making Calypso style Phil Collins cover albums.
Arsenal 5. Sp*rs 2. Love it.