What a great day, a day that sent me through a whole gamut of emotions, starting with goose bumps when the stadium first came into sight, pride as I saw how the Arsenalisation had progressed (Gazidis, not having the pesky irritant of the transfer market to distract him has obviously been able to focus on this during the summer). We now have photos of all the Arsenal captains, large murals of Cesc, the stands have been renamed; I now sit in the West Stand, we no longer have that dirge of an Elvis song to listen to as the players come out but best of all we have the clock back.
The club tried to turn this into a historical moment by letting fire works off as they announced its return; the fire works were a bit tame but the atmosphere that it created was up there with some of the best I have experienced at the Emirates so much so that I must confess it brought a few man tears to my eyes and if that wasn’t enough emotion for one grown man to cope with the players then took to the field wearing a proper Arsenal kit…..happy days.
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect opposition for our first home game of the season. Blackpool not only failed to park the proverbial bus but they foolishly tried to play football, the result being a six-nil mauling which sent them and their vocal supporters packing back up the motor way, tails between their legs while at the same time sending our confidence into orbit.
Wenger must be delighted; every single player got exactly what he needed from the game whether it be fitness, minutes on the pitch, scoring goals or the boost of confidence that comes from simply doing your job properly.
There were no stragglers in the Arsenal team everyone put in a shift, although, there was one who went beyond the call of duty, beyond what we have come to expect of him: Walcott put in a performance to silence his critics such as me, a performance to make us proud, a performance that easily justifies the award of Man of the Match.
The cynic in me still wants to see him prove that he can shine against more reputable defences before being totally convinced but as the saying goes “you can only beat the team that is put in front of you” and today Theo tormented anyone who went near him, scoring a hat trick along the way and setting up so many chances for others it was hard to keep count, although, three gilt edged gems for Chamakh, which he missed, remain in mind.
Arsenal took to the field in the confident knowledge that they were superior in every department to Blackpool and a comfortable win being the only acceptable outcome. Within minutes of the start slick Wengerball was on display which quickly led to the first goal; some superb inter play between Chamakh, Rosicky and Arshavin who rolled the ball to Theo to side foot home with power, the pressure was off and the teams settled into their expected roles.
Blackpool tried to make a fist of it coming close shortly after when they sent in a high ball to the far post which was met by one of their players who should have brought the score level. I do not expect Blackburn to be so generous next week.
Still, there was a game to be won; well, a game of sorts, as any resemblance to a competitive match was snuffed out when Chamakh was brought down in the box resulting in a penalty and a red card which reduced Blackburn to ten men. Arshavin dispatched it with ease but what gave me the biggest thrill of this goal was that he actually celebrated. I pay good money to watch the games and I want to enjoy the goal scoring experience as much as possible and someone putting their finger on their lips as if to signify silence does not do it for me, I’m a jump in the air kind of guy and I want our players to do the same.
Where was I, ah yes Theo’s second, our third, now this was class, one of my biggest criticisms of Theo is that he cannot operate in tight spaces, well that went out the window when he swivelled to score this gem.
Half time came and beer was dutifully drunk, out came the good guys for the second half and just when it looked like we might have a player to moan about up pops Diaby to half volley a very well taken forth.
Theo shortly after got his third from yet more great interplay and a very cool finish. Five nil up on the first home game of the season and you may ask how much fun can one set of supporters have in an afternoon, a darn sight more is the answer to that as Arsenal prepared to bring on Fabrégas and Van Persie, there was a moment of humour as Blackpool seemed to be doing anything they could to avoid the ball going out of play which would have enabled the change but eventually, of course, it did and on came our two World Cup finalists to a humongous reception.
It was difficult to top this but in an attempt to do so someone came up with the novel idea of scoring a goal from a corner, what I hear you say, Arsenal don’t do that, well they did yesterday, a beautifully flighted ball from Van Persie which was powerfully headed home by Chamakh. This went some way to make up for his earlier misses, although, this wasn’t a day to start pointing fingers but there is no doubt that the goal was an important confidence booster for him.
Six nil and a fine day was had by all. This only leaves one outstanding question: which knickers did Peaches choose to wear to the game? We won didn’t we; the answer is obviously the old lucky ones (clean of course).