Three Minutes, Three Goals, Three Points
Sunday 21st September 2014
Travelling home from the West Midlands yesterday evening my fellow away Gooners and I listened to ‘radio 5 live’ as do many thousands of football fans all over the country. I like to hear the results, the brief match reports and interviews with all those involved. Listening to those describing our fine victory however, you would think we had just won away at Chatham Town!
Please correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t this a Villa side that won at Anfield last week, a team unbeaten in their first four games sitting proudly in 2nd spot? Were we not going into the game off the back of a rightly criticised poor performance out in Germany just a few days ago? Was it not being reported in some quarters that we were going into the game under considerable pressure?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to go completely over the top but I also refuse to accept that wasn’t an excellent, powerful, controlled and thoroughly professional performance in a potentially extremely difficult game.
Rarely will you get to enjoy a better Balti than in the West Midlands and being rather partial to this particular culinary option our pre-match time in the area was too good an opportunity to turn down. My choice of a chicken aloo balti with 3 roti was right up there with the best I’ve tasted and awesome value at a fiver.
Such cuisine creates a thirst of course so a couple of jars were enjoyed to ‘put the fire out’ before we made our way into Villa Park, definitely one of those stadia we have not only visited more than most but one with so many fantastic memories (and 1 or 2 bad ones too).
Looking resplendent in our awesome yellow away kit the number of attacking options we have right now was demonstrated by the fact we had Alexis, Jack, Poldi and Tommy Rosicky on the bench! Villa Park seems rarely full to the brim these days but the fact it wasn’t far off it yesterday demonstrates the locals’ optimism. The scene was set then for a tough afternoon.
Much has been said in the various match reports about how well Villa played in in the opening exchanges. I think I must have been at a different game! We controlled possession without really threatening but I do remember one shot from distance that Chezz comfortably saved and Villa’s only chance of the whole game when our big Pole made a fantastic stop from an unchallenged far post header……so I guess that is what they are referring to.
Our game is all about that combination of passing, patience and picking the right times to make that telling contribution in the final third and pulling all the strings yesterday was the quite magnificent Mesut Ozil. Nobody can argue that he won the World Cup playing wide left but surely on yesterday’s showing his best position is that much talked about number 10 role. He totally ran the show all afternoon.
The transmission from patient ball retention to quick, incisive and completely destructive passing was so evident in our opening goal. Mesut calmly slotted home and the travelling Gooner army went ballistic. Get in!
No sooner had we dusted ourselves down when he turned provider for DW and our big new striker opened his account with aplomb. Cue total and utter carnage!
I’d like to maybe talk about something else between our goals but with a little over 3 minutes between when Mesut slotted home our lead being trebled I can’t really offer you anything! Needless to say amongst the considerable jostling and enjoyment we also all looked at one another with a small amount of disbelief.
At half time I remember saying I’d be quite happy if the second half was the most boring I’d ever witnessed. And to be fair, in the way we were so professional, there really wasn’t much that happened. Perfect.
So an awesome day out in Birmingham and on getting back I celebrated well into the early hours before my thoughts turn to the first of this season’s two roads to Wembley and Tuesday night’s home game against high flying Southampton.
Don’t forget Gooners, the media have told us these away games at the likes of Aston Villa, West Ham and Leicester are easy, a stroll in the park. Just ask Liverpool and Man Utd this weekend.
Victoria Concordia Crescit