Samir Nasri, Alexandre Song and Nicklas Bendtner all score in the same game away from home in the North against a genuine Premiership rival and the goalkeeper and defence manage to avoid conceding even one single goal. If I made that up you wouldn’t believe me but it is Monday afternoon and you know it to be true. What I can’t decide, though, is did we win in spite of Boyata’s sending off or because of it?
If I follow this anxiety through, neurotically, I end up questioning does it even matter. I’m writing about the sending off, not the result. I mean of course the result matters. Sure, we can examine it all cynically and follow it all through to its logical conclusion and conclude that the result doesn’t matter but if we really want to be so cynical we can end up concluding there is no point to wake up in the morning and that doesn’t really matter either. Where am I going? I started questioning the relevance of Boyata’s sending off, then the importance of it, then the importance of anything and everything and now I’m just aimlessly commenting on that. I better start again.
We won. We were impressive. Whether we were impressive because Manchester City were reduced to ten men or in spite of it is, the way I see it right now, academic. We won. If we wish to start dealing in nuance and what ifs then every Arsenal fan would conclude we should have won the Champions League in 2004 and the Premiership title in 2008 – but we didn’t, and it would be churlish to imagine that anybody else is explaining it away because of a sending off here or a missed chance there. These things happen and this time at the City of Manchester Stadium, or Eastland’s as the Mancunians seem to like calling it, they worked in our favour.
On the M1 back to London Arsene Wenger must surely have decided on a few things. Johan Djourou can be relied upon and proved his class, to some extent, even if he will probably be dropped soon enough. Lukasz Fabianski should be the number 1 until, well, until we buy somebody better. It’s not as though Almunia has not had opportunities. He has! Denilson and Song are a wonderful supplement for Fabregas in midfield when we play away from home. Finally, the instructions at the kick off, to match Manchester City physically for the first half, worked tremendously. Sure Denilson, Song, Fabregas and Djourou were booked before the clock hit forty minutes but we were, thankfully for once, still in the game at that point. How many times have we come out with a softly softly approach and found ourselves a goal down at half time? This time we were aggressive and yet functional. The beautiful play can come in spurts, it needn’t be the way to start a tough match away from home. All in all a fine performance. Come on you gooners!!!!!