Unusually, after a victory over one of the top 4 teams, we have been rejoicing in the superlatives being showered on Arsenal and it is even sweeter that the vanquished team was the Spuds. The cockerel from The Seven Sisters Road has been silenced for a while and left once again to sit and stare at their empty trophy cabinet in gloom.
I have read all of the excellent articles on Gunners Town and the one by Dave Seager relating to the impact of Mustafi at CB, particularly interested me. I have been criticising Mustafi lately and as recently as two days before the City game I suggested that as a right sided CB he was too prone to rampaging up field with the ball while Bellerin joined him. That left a huge gap which was consistently exploited by many teams, of which a lot of them are inferior to us. I was not alone in waiting with trepidation for the visit of the crowing cockerel from down the road.
I was dumbfounded when Wenger put him in the centre of our back three and then I marvelled at the way he controlled his performance so skilfully, not only in the way that he snuffed out Kane but in how he ensured that he was never far away from either of his two other companions. It ensured that our leaky defence was sealed and with Bellerin and The Tank equally disciplined, Spurs advances were largely ineffective. That efficiency left Xhaka and Ramsey free to press them in their own part of the pitch.
From all of this it may be said that Mustafi could have been Man of The Match, as indeed could Kos or Ramsey and many pundits did indeed pick one or other of them. In my view however, good as they were, the reason I would not nominate any of them was down to one man, Mezut Ozil.
He picked up on his performances for the German National team in the way that he owned the mid-field. He covered every blade of grass and he was defending in his own penalty box one minute and dissecting Spurs defence the next, with a touch a surgeon, would have been proud of, such was his control of the game. We had no weaknesses. On match of the day Alan Shearer said it was a perfect performance and he highlighted examples of situations when a Spurs player received the ball and immediately found three Gunners snapping at him. It was incredible that all of the weaknesses that have been rife in our performances were left behind and the beauty and intensity of our football was a joy to behold.
I could refer to the queries other people are making that why can`t they play like that every week? But I won`t go into that. However he did it; Wenger produced a team which was fired up, fully motivated and clearly carrying out a plan which worked to perfection. All Gooners must now have reason to view the rest of the season with some optimism. If that performance was not a “Flash in the pan” we have nothing to fear from any team in the Premiership. Bring it on Man City!
As a conclusion, I cannot close without remarking on the support of the fans on Saturday. Unfortunately, I had to watch the game on TV and it was spectacular to hear the Arsenal roar at last. Our 11 players were more than capable of winning the match but that roar gave them an extra man. If Wenger has found a golden key to unlock that kind of performance regularly, I for one would be glad to see him complete his two year extension to his contract. What a joy to think that the cleft between the fans could be instantly healed.
A sophisticated, articulate Arsenal Man of Mystery. Aged 70 and a bit.