Weren’t We In 17th Place at One Point?
What a week it’s been. We’re in good shape for the last month and a half of the season and it’s hard to think we won’t extend our current seven game winning streak to at least eight, what with QPR coming up on Saturday. Seven games. We’ve come a long way from the depressing depths of the Fall when we reached a low of 17th spot in the league; I certainly wouldn’t have thought we’d climb back up into 3rd back then, but here we are with eight games left and the world ahead of us.
What I like about this team, and it’s taken quite a while for the players to develop this, is the confidence. The players are showing more passion and heart on the pitch than we’ve seen from this group and they’re not about to prove some of the early cynics correct when it comes to Arsenal being a one-man team. In the last month, goals have come from the midfield and back line, while forwards like Walcott have begun pulling their weight (and what a fine goal from Theo this weekend: great control in taking down the lobbed ball from Song and a cool and collected finish into the near corner). It’s true that RvP has been slowing his contribution over the last couple of games, but with the season he’s been having I don’t see any problem with it, since he’s been so crucial to the team finding a top 4 spot in the first place.
The team’s confidence and “mental strength” have been shining in recent weeks and it’s a marvelous thing for fans to witness. No doubt many are thinking about where we would be if we hadn’t lost all our full backs and were forced to play people out of position for a month or two; could that have made the difference between third and something more? It’s hard to tell and, for all we know, the troubles we have gone through and the strength shown by the likes of RvP, Arteta, and Song may have been a wake up to others in the team. There’s something really magical happening at the club right now, something that I still feel is fragile and can break at any moment. I read a stat on twitter that says we’ve tied the longest win steak in the league this season, but Man City is just around the corner and we can’t afford to take the coming weeks lightly. It’s all glass right now.
I missed the last two games due to travel and commitments elsewhere, but caught the highlights and must say my favourite moment from the Everton and Villa games has to be Arteta’s free kick against the latter. In the dying moments of the game he blasted home a magnificent shot that flew past Shay Given and into the top right corner. We all knew the Spaniard has a talent for scoring from free kicks, but have been waiting all season to see it. The wait was worth it, as it was without a doubt the best free kick I’ve seen this season. Kudos to Arteta for that late contribution and for all the hard work he’s done in the midfield, since joining Arsenal.
So, QPR this weekend and a decent chance to take another three points, assuming we can keep the mood, attitude, and will to get the job done. It’s an away game, which is always a little trickier than one would like, but it’s nothing we haven’t successfully dealt with before. Right now it’s a great time to be a gooner and it’s going to slow down at some point, but I for one will do my best to enjoy it this weekend and for as long as possible.