Monday 2nd February 2015
David Ospina is keeping his place between the sticks right now, not for any other reason than he hasn’t done anything wrong since he has come in. In fact he has oozed confidence, something that can only breed similar for all those in front of him. I have to agree with Paul Lambert when he said his Villa side were still in the game until Mesut doubled our lead but let’s be honest here, that was only because, one good save from our Columbian aside, we were not already the three of four goals up our attacking play deserved. The game should have been long over before our keeper saved Villa’s only serious attempt on goal until deep into injury time when we were five goals up.
We can’t do anything else but be confident we can score goals in any game. That aspect has never been questioned for many years now. On that basis it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out if we can get our defending right, or certainly the balance between the two sides of the game correct, we have every chance of competing at the very very highest level. Slowly but surely, for many many reasons, we seem to be heading in the right direction.
Lunchtime kick-offs are never ideal, especially if you have enjoyed Saturday night to the full and/or have a lengthy journey to the match. Having been in excellent form since our poor performance on New Years day however, any time or journey to see us play seems full of anticipation. And Sunday morning was no different.
My journey was fairly smooth…..apart from one particular aspect I feel I must reveal, even if its relevance to football is a little bit distant!
Travelling is something I quite enjoy and have done for a long time. The miles we put in to follow our team would be all the more difficult if that wasn’t the case. I am also a massive fan of music, a subject that is definitely my biggest passion away from the beautiful game. And I like eating too! Especially out at establishments from kebab shops to those with Michelin Starred chefs knocking up my tucker. But, I’m totally convinced the three don’t mix. Stay with me on this…..!
For most home games, when I get on the Piccadilly Line I have 14 stops until I reach my destination. On Sunday I managed to get a seat (something I was very grateful for after a ‘moving heavy furniture’ incident recently had made something scream in my lower back) and I settled down to relax for the 25 minutes or so until I got off. Or I would have if it wasn’t for the gentleman sitting next to me listening to his choice of music at a level where even with his earphones on my whole journey would be accompanied by the sound of someone constantly bashing tracing paper with a spoon! Not only that but a student opposite (the badge on his sweater allowing me to be so confident in my accuracy) was munching away on a bag of sushi. Not that offensive on first reflection but the smell was more pungent than the inside of my shinpads after a game involving extra time! I’m sure you get the picture. And no, they didn’t get off before my stop. 25 minutes of uncomfortable, irritating, nauseating torture.
Out into the relative fresh air of Gillespie Road it was very apparent it was going to be a cold old afternoon. Something that only some good pre-match refreshment, banter, plenty of clothes and a thumping good performance can make you forget.
And boy did we get that combination right.
Reflecting on the game as a whole it is very difficult to find any faults to the team or the performance of any individual player. Our defensive shape was fantastic throughout and when the opportunities arose we looked extremely dangerous and powerful going forward. Mesut took many of the plaudits and he certainly put in a fine performance but I felt the Coq was magnificent once again and the improvement and confidence of Hector Bellerin so early in his Gooner career was a joy to behold. Theo is getting closer and closer to the levels he reached before his serious injury too, another extremely positive aspect to take from our afternoon’s work.
Overall then, nothing but extremely satisfying as we look forward to heading down the Seven Sisters Road this coming Saturday for another lunchtime kick-off.
We have to be confident we are capable of coming away with a positive result, our current form suggests we can be nothing else. But our hosts will be feeling exactly the same. For me it changes nothing. This fixture is the most unpredictable on the calendar and always will be. Form goes totally out of the window.
Lets make the usual noise we always do at the Lane and be safe people.
Come on you mighty reds!