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Monday, 6 February 2012

One Snowfall Does Not St. Moritz Make...But It Put A Smile On This Yeti's Phizog

Having created enough chances to have buried the Trotters, during our opening barrage at Bolton, it was depressing to be thawing out, over the course of an arduous return trip from the Reebok, with only a point to show for our goalless efforts (when only three would’ve been good enough!). Perhaps the coach driver was having a laugh at our expense, with his choice of the movie ‘True Grit’ for the return trip.

There was little evidence of this, other than the stuff they spread on the roads in advance of the weekend white-out, as I rocked up to a seriously deflated Emirates on Saturday; where one sensed from the melancholy mood as if our season had slipped so far off the rails, that we Gooners were merely going through the motions from here on in. But then the heinous tragedy in Egypt put twenty-two men kicking a ball into comparatively trivial perspective.

Obviously the transport difficulties on Saturday that necessitated an early kick-off didn’t help, as lunchtime KOs at our gaff are notoriously even more library-like than usual. Then again, in light of the goal-fest that subsequently transpired, perhaps we should be petitioning London Transport to close the Victoria Line before every home match?

However, as we all know, the beautiful game’s greatest allure is its infinite capacity to confound and Saturday’s match proved to be perfectly timed ‘manna from heaven’. With Givet being sent-off, so soon after an impressively composed Oxlade-Chamberlain had put us 3-1 up, all within ten minutes of Pedersen’s precision set-piece equalizer, this seemed to knock the stuffing out of a Blackburn side that was short on sage & onion from the get go. But rarely in recent times have the Gunners managed to translate this sort of an advantage, into such an emphatic scoreline.

Sadly nowadays, not only do we seem to struggle to produce the fast-paced, precision football necessary to dominate possession, but during those periods when we are in control of games, we’re all too often guilty of failing to create sufficient momentum to press home our advantage. Therefore, even if there’s internal strife at Ewood Park that ensured Rovers weren’t really at the races, Saturday’s result proved a timely tonic.

With Walcott firing on all cylinders for once, seemingly feeding off the bristling energy of our latest young prodigy and with Theo and OC terrorizing the Rovers defence on opposite flanks, we witnessed our first glimpse of the sort of havoc these two speed-merchants are capable of wreaking, when in such fine form and operating in tandem (and where hopefully Gervinho’s imminent return might keep both of them on their toes?).

Doubtless perturbed by the problems with the tube, half of those present had already departed prior to the injury-time “after you Claude” courtesy between Henry and Van Persie, which eventually resulted in Titi putting the cherry on top with the last kick of the game, Yet judging by the way we went about the second-half with a “fill yer boots” zest, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was significant that Wenger chose to leave Arshavin sidelined for the entirety of this confidence restoring shindig.

Obviously one snowfall does not St. Moritz make, but having arrived at the ground 90 minutes earlier, pessimistically believing that our season was all over bar the shouting, it made a wonderfully pleasant change to be heading back around for some warming sustenance at Piebury Corner, suddenly believing again that anything is possible. The Gooner consensus seems to feel we should be focusing on a four-way battle for 4th place because of the potentially catastrophic ramifications of failing to secure a Champions League berth. But with the gap between us and Spurs back down to single figures (as I type) and with the comical distraction of Redknapp v The Revenue, I haven’t quite given up hope.

It will be a shame to poop Martin O’Neill’s party, but having finally exorcised the feelings of foreboding, whilst being deprived of all of our full-backs these past couple of months, after Saturday’s intravenous shot of enthusiasm, I can’t wait to head off to Wearside.

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