Arsene Wenger was allegedly seen loading briefcase after briefcase of unmarked bills into each of the Blackburn players’ cars at precisely noon today in every time zone.
The 7-1 home exhibition match between Arsenal and Blackburn in the early kickoff Saturday contained everything anyone could ask for in a match. (In that sentence, “anyone” should probably read, “any Arsenal supporter.”) If only we could play Blackburn every match. Scratch that. The first meeting this past fall was one of the lowest moments of the season. Perhaps some cosmic invoice has finally been paid. Who knows, but it really was like a give-‘em-what-they-want-type performance. We needed it. But there’s a long way to go yet before we’re exactly sitting pretty.
To backtrack, the checklist for the most enjoyable viewing experience:
- Attacking play
- Total Domination in Possession, and not just lame side-passes, either
- Hatrick from an Arsenal striker considered one of the world’s best: Robin van Persie
- First Premier League goal by Arsenal teen rising talent, subsequently doubled by said Arsenal teen rising talent: Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
- Outside goal from experienced, cool-headed midfielder and solid summer transfer signing: Mikel Arteta
- First Premier League goal in five years for Arsenal’s all-time highest goal scorer: Thierr–OK, the point has been made
And yet, it’s not as if the month of January didn’t happen. Or August and September at the beginning of the campaign.
Essentially Arsenal finds itself back at the beginning of the season. Granted, being on the right end of a 7-1 demolition will definitely lift spirits, but corners get turned over a period of time, a several-game arc—not just one match. I don’t think anyone’s going to let anyone off the hook quite yet. Not Wenger, not Walcott (who provided some excellent assists), not Arshavin. If wondering, Arshavin helped his cause by not playing today.
Tomorrow’s results and those of Monday will put today’s in context, to see if we did actually make up any ground with regard to Chelsea, Liverpool and/or Newcastle. We are tenuously in fifth again, but could easily be right back in seventh.
Anyhow, up next: matches in the FA Cup, Arsenal’s best chance at a trophy, as well as the two legs against AC Milan in the Champions League and then Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle in the league. The month span between February 11 and March 12 could go so many different directions. A return to form makes one cautiously optimistic, but the track ahead could be roller-coastery, so we’ll see how the twists turn.
But it was awesome to see, wasn’t it? Especially at home. (Meaning the home stadium, of course. Not simply the comfort of my couch.)
Excellent for Oxlade-Chamberlain. What a way to start his scoring career in the Premier League.
87% Pass Accuracy 73%
68% Possession 32%
19 Shots 5
8 On Target 2
Arsenal fixtures ahead:
February 11 Sunderland v Arsenal Premier League
February 15 AC Milan v Arsenal Champions League (Round of 16)
February 18 Sunderland/Middlesbrough v Arsenal FA Cup (Round 5)
February 26 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur Premier League
March 3 Liverpool v Arsenal Premier League
March 6 Arsenal v AC Milan Champions League (Round of 16)
March 12 Arsenal v Newcastle United Premier League