If anyone doubted that, then this past weekend’s games would have set them right. On one hand, you had Chelsea’s superb goals from Lampard and Mata, which must surely be considered when discussing the goal of the season so far.
On the other hand, we had Podolski’s freekick getting a fateful flick off Geoff Cameron’s boot, before flying past the wrong-footed Begovic. We all know which of those goals ultimately earned any points.
When confronted with the ‘lucky’ tag, football fans then try to bring out the ‘we deserved it’ card. And could you argue with an Arsenal fan for doing that this time around?
We absolutely peppered the Stoke goal, and it was Begovic putting up a one-man show for the majority of the game. It was always going to take something special or lucky to beat him and to be frank, I’ll take any goal that comes our way these days.
Still, I thought we did excellently throughout the game. We were untroubled by Stoke throughout the game, and I don’t quite remember Sczcesny having to make a key save. What a relief it was to go 90 minutes without any defensive hiccup!
Eyes were also on our new man Monreal. Wenger pointed out that ‘there’s no better culture shock than Stoke when you come from Spain’. True, but it was probably best that Nacho got the tamer ‘away’ version of the Potters, as compared to the harsher one you normally meet at the Brittania.
Our Spanish leftback was understandably cautious, but he looks to have settled in quickly to his new surroundings. Strangely, our players seemed reluctant to pass him the ball early on, but Nacho got a lot more involved as the game wore on. Maybe his fellow countryman Santi had a word with the rest at halftime!
Our new Spaniard was joined by a returning Spaniard, and it was good to see Arteta back in the groove. He really is the oil that makes the midfield engine tick, and it seemed like he was never away. Plus, the Ox had one of his most influential games in recent weeks, which makes it difficult to find any negative points from this win.
The league leaders are giving every team a weekly lesson on grinding out results, and that’s precisely what we have to do for the rest of the season. It’s going to be an almighty scrap for third and fourth spot, and we’re going to need every goal and point we can get, even those earned by a fortunate deflection.
I started this article with a footballing truth, so I’ll end with one as well: Winning the league isn’t about being the ultimate best team; it’s about doing just enough to be better than your opponents every given week.
We won’t win the league this year, and we aren’t quite the ultimate best team. But I’ll settle for doing just enough to edge the opponent from now till the end of the season. We managed it for Stoke, so
here’s to another 14 more.
Come on you Gunners!
Aaron has been an Arsenal fan since the mid 90's, and is currently a member of Arsenal Singapore, the official Arsenal supporters' club in Singapore. He is also a passionate Lions supporter, and he still dreams of seeing Singapore compete in the World Cup someday.