Come on. We’re all at it now. “Of course, I know Arsenal has no chance of actually winning the League this season”, while thinking, “Ohmigod, I can’t help believing they’re going to do it!”
And it’s all Mikel Arteta’s fault – not to mention Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketia, Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Kieran Tierney, Oleg Zinchenko, Gabriel Magalaes, William Saliba, Benjamin White, Aaron Ramsdale. If I leave out ESR, Tomi, Jesus, it’s only that they’re not available at the moment.
Firstly, they’re winning. This is what every supporter desires of their team, but so few of us experience on a sustained basis.
But more. They are playing with such brio, such confidence, such pace, such touch, such control, one feels swept along on this tide of belief.
They go 0-1 down to a soft penalty. No longer do we feel doom and gloom. We are happy that they will solve the problem. And we are proved correct.
A couple of favourite moments from the West Ham encounter: foremost has to be when Saka bullied Declan Rice off the ball, then grabbed it from Odegaard’s toes to instigate the move that led to Martinelli’s goal; another involving Rice, when Martinelli forced a corner off Dawson, and the camera showed a desperate and exhausted Rice trudging back into his penalty area, looking round hopelessly at his inept teammates; everything that Ben White did – this guy is just so cool, so sublime, who one dreamed of being in the school playground, who exudes not giving a shit; everything that Martin Odegaard does, with his eye for a crucial pass and his twinkle toes and his non-stop effort; Gaby terrorising defenders; Eddie’s superb roll of Kehrer and unstoppable shot.
Wow. Torn between ecstasy and waiting for the dream to crash. Is it going to be like this till May? I’m over seventy now, and not sure my heart can keep up, but still I hope so.