Some minutes to kickoff, an ardent Chelsea supporter who happens to be my cousin reiterated his confidence that the Gunners are favourites for this one. For a bloke who is less of a pundit, I inquired into such assertion. He was firm: There’s something different about this Arsenal side.
Before the start of last season, I read an article from Gary Neville in the Dailymail. He praised the Gunners attacking philosophy and sees the team as title contenders but not yet ready to win trophies. It was reminiscent of Jose Mourinho’s infamous quote about a ‘’little horse needing milk to jump.’’
Neville suggested that the togetherness of celebrating a title makes the mentality of a title winning side. And for a club that wants to win big, they must spend enormously in the transfer market.
Arsenal had not won a silverware since 2006 and the crop of players present prior to the previous season had barely seen a trophy. There was immense pressure on Arsene Wenger to make that marquee signing that would change the fortunes of a setup in dire need of glory.
On came Mesut Ozil.
Many predicted the German talisman to have a scintillating debut season coming from a big club where standards are very high. In fairness he did. But his footballing ability complimented his ‘presence’ on the pitch that invariably lifted the spirits of the other disciples around him.
With that unforgettable 7 points gap tarnished in the twinkle of an eye last season, which I would fault to losing key players, the FA Cup was up for grabs and even though it wasn’t the best of finals speaking of health wise, however, Ramsey’s sleek finish was all that mattered.
People may cloud negatives over positives in the aftermath of the 2013/1014 season, citing the annihilation by top teams. Frankly that certainly needed addressing, for a title challenging team; you don’t succumb heavily to your competitors. But if you had asked me before the first game against Aston Villa to lose heavily and still get a trophy, I would have no qualms accepting.
After the 6-3 crumble at Ethiad, a crunch tie against Manchester City in the community shield was all about showing the world that we have learnt our lessons in the bitter way and won’t fizzle out abhorrently in defense even if we lose, at least to my thinking.
But a statement of intent was evident early on as Arsenal dominated proceedings like a team buoyed with the aura of winning. A goal was needed to compliment such display. It came.
Santi Cazorla, relishing the sumptuous free-kick he scored in Wembley against Hull City, drew first blood when he found himself in the box at the right moment, his first touch evaded the static defender and the finish was noble. Ramsey added later on with another impressive first touch, and left the City’s goalkeeper for dead with his effort on goal.
In the second half, the tempo was in contrast to the earlier showings. Olivier Giroud wonder strike however was enough to sink the Citizens.
Afterwards Wenger said:
I think it was important for our confidence to win the game, but it was as well even more important to have a big part in the game with a quality performance. That is the comfort for me to see that we can produce the kind of quality we can produce for some long patches in the game.
On individual performance, aside Alexis Sanchez’s burgeoning pace and Chambers resilient display, Debuchy should be given maximum credit for his work rate and zeal to win every tackle. I thought he timed them to perfection and looks a winner.
Sanogo had a fair game; Gibbs raised question marks on why he was snubbed in England’s provisional team for the world cup considering Leighton Baines woeful outing in Brazil.
With such radiant display, it omens a different looking side that is capable of challenging for titles. Crystal palace would pose a fierce test on Saturday evening, but the momentum looks good which frankly I see nothing else than a win.
That is that. On here every Wednesday as I take you through the baked waffles roller coaster of the new season. Can’t wait.