An exceptional performance against Chelsea had Arsenal fans ranting and raving. The Gunners carried that momentum into their Champions League fixture as they hosted Basel, putting the Swiss outfit to the sword as well. Even with just two goals on the scoresheet, Arsene Wenger’s men were worthy of a few more had they not lacked efficiency in front of goal.
Everything was bright and beautiful for Arsenal. What could go wrong?! They are scoring goals, are on a great run of results, and most importantly, they’ve kept three straight cleansheets across three different competitions.
Fast forward a few days, and Arsenal face what would be expected to be a tough meeting with Burnley at Turf Moor. With only two wins from eight competitive fixtures this season, Burnley weren’t favorites, but if we’ve learned anything along the years, these are the ones that Arsenal would normally let slip away, kind of like Stevie G let the title slip away. Your typical banana peel type of match.
Just when you’re starting to believe that the Gunners are finally turning the corner, they’d go to a place like Turf Moor and drop points. You’d then queue the pundits and haters to come out and say: see, same old Arsenal.
A lot of those people who were patiently waiting for the final whistle today will have been silenced with the last kick of the match. It certainly looked like Burnley’s coach bus parked in front of their goal was going to get the job done, holding the high-flying Gunners to a point. To all those people, all I can ask is: how mad are you?!
It’s obvious that Arsenal did struggle today offensively. Unable to find a consistent passing rhythm, the players were getting frustrated, as were the fans, and Arsene Wenger. Le Prof looked stressed as he nervously twisted an elastic band around his fingers. I guess that’s probably safer than having him smashing water bottles on the ground.
His frustrations were evident when Mesut Ozil took a shot from inside the box, and sent it way over. Those elastic bands met the ground. Meanwhile, I was starting to convince myself that yet again, when we’d expect them to keep rolling, they were going to bring us all back to reality.
Shot after shot, I hoped that just one of them would hit what seemed to be approximately 400 legs in front of Heaton’s goal, and find its way into the back of the net.They came close with Alexis’ volley inside the box, but as it bounced back off the advertising board and I celebrated, I quickly sat back down as my wife looked at me from across the house in disbelief. Don’t you dare say it, its not just a game!
Burnley defended for their lives in the final 15 or so minutes. Meanwhile, anger was starting to set in. How the hell was this damn team going to park the bus all match, and manage to get away with a point. They don’t freaken deserve it! This is ridiculous!
Arsenal then started to frustrate me even more, taking short corners. We have #Kostafi in the box, why the hell are we playing short corners? When Mertesacker is in there and he has a two-inch vertical, we play it into the box, but not today? Please explain how that makes sense?
Stoppage time was coming to an end, and as we got that corner kick, which I didn’t realize was a corner, I had lost hope. I had prepared myself to read all the articles about how Arsenal continuously disappoint. But, as Alexis crossed it into the box, everything seemed to go in slow motion.
Theo’s header at the near post… Ox & Koscielny fighting for it at the back post… Did they just fight for it without realizing they were on the same team, and the ball went out?! Oh sh*t, the ball is in the net! Oh my god we just scored!!
All of this happened as my wife walked right by me and sat on the opposite couch. I swear she was trying to tell me something, but I was too busy celebrating and clapping, it’s been about eight hours since that happened, and I still don’t know what she was trying to tell me. But, I guess if it was important, she would have told me again… or maybe she did, but I didn’t hear her?
That goal though! Looked offside, but maybe he wasn’t since it appears Koscielny hits it himself, eventually hitting his arms, and landing in the back of the net. Could it have been called back? Absolutely, but, Arsenal don’t tend to score goals like that, especially match deciding goals that late. Those are the types of goals we’d concede after a struggled performance, adding insult to injury. Not this time people! Damn it felt good to be on the positive side of one of those goals.
Will that be the goal that propels the Gunners to a proper title challenge? Will that rejuvenate their winning spirit and never give up mentality that we’ve seen bits and pieces of? Are pundits going to talk about how lucky Arsenal was, instead of talking about how those are the performances that make champions, like they’ve said about other EPL clubs in the past?
Without answers to those questions, we can only hope that at the end of the season, we look back on this victory and remember it as the turning point that led the Gunners to EPL glory.