Arsenal 2-0 West Ham
Back in the Emirates, we all tumbled together, in full voice, to see if this team could snatch a moment in the top four at the third time we asked.
The matches continue despite the deteriorating Covid situation, but the memory of the West Ham match in March 2020 – the last before football was suspended – is still fairly fresh. It is impossible to know if things will go on, and if we are at another crossroads.
I was typically cautious beforehand and went for a score in my forwards league, but even though it was difficult, we were really worth the win. Fourth! For a while!
I would not say Arteta’s reign was feast and famine, for some of the victories were scarce feasts, but our contradictions lead me to go all Jekyll and Hyde in our general direction.
Last night, however, was one of those games where you could see exactly how we improved and how we could hit a road on the table. It was high energy, personified by the ubiquitous Saka and a hell of a performance by Lacazette. As for Martinelli: honestly, I get tired of just looking at him. In this uncontrollable form he must be so hard to play against.
I’m not too bad about the Aubameyang situation as things happen in football. That Arteta has the full support of the club tells you everything you need to know. But what does interest me is the way unexpected events can subtly turn things into football. One door closes, another opens: sometimes it takes an injury, or a suspension, or something unplanned for someone to come in and shine, or for a team to find another corner, so i’m watching the whole situation more curiously than anything else.
The door definitely opened for Martinelli, where it seemed to have been closed for a while. Who else would benefit from this public struggle?
Back to the game. We were high energy, fast pressure and forward movement, but it was not surprising that West Ham kept us largely at a distance in the first half. They are where they are for a reason: very sturdy, careful with possession and strong on the counter.
Martinelli broke the deadlock with a beautiful finish, and where was I? Walk down the hallway to my seat, behind some tall guys. I missed it. I know, I hate myself too. But it reminded me that I was on the north bank of old. No matter where I positioned myself, the tallest man in North London would move in front of me at 14:58 and I would spend most of the match studying his collar.
I did see the Lacazette punishment, you’ll be glad to hear. It was a clear penalty kick, but I bet Lacazette is persona non grata with a lot of opposition supporters. He is an expert at getting the most out of every challenge (even if, as I say, this one was fair). I guess I would not like him either if he played for another team.
Smith Rowe concluded it with a delightful maze run and a finish that was nonchalantly clinical. I love a goal where the goalkeeper can not even arsd to dive. In. Do not even bother.
(Yes, I saw this purpose in person.)
And that was it. It was a lot of fun and two good wins in a row buried the frustrations of Utd and Everton, as these things tend to do.
+1 GD too. Cozy times.