I had to miss the second half of yesterday's match against Newcastle, due to time changes and work. So while SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS (EVERYBODY) was happening, I was muddling through rush hour traffic. About two minutes from my house I finally got a text from a Gooner friend of mine that just said, "Think Tottenham are getting worried yet?" So that's how I found out Thomas Vermaelen had iced Newcastle.
Now that I've shared an almost completely meaningless (but fun!) personal anecdote, on to the news! The headline refers both to the Vermaelen goal and this news amalgamation. It's multi-layered!
Arsene Wenger and the Independent called Arsenal's performance "relentless," as chance after chance was created, and the squad scored a goal 54 seconds after Newcastle's and one in the 95th minute. I am inclined to agree. Additionally the report makes mention of Theo Walcott and Thomas Vermaelen commenting on their faith that they can catch Tottenham Hotspur, now a slim one point ahead of the Gunners. No, they did not shout "OMAR COMIN" in unison, as unfortunate as that is.
The manager also said (before the game, but still) that last year the squad learned the value of avoiding complacency, something that he claims the team did not realize last year as they fell from a title battle to just-barely-in-the-Champions-League. I choose to blame last year's captain, because I can.
Speaking of captains, according to the Guardian's Amy Lawrence, Robin van Persie is a good one. In fact, our best since Patrick Vieira (who I believe is currently in some kind of stasis, because he definitely doesn't work for Manchester City). To sum her thesis up in a sentence:
In his actions, his equalising goal and his at times overwrought emotions as he displayed contempt for the time-wasting of Tim Krul, he set the tone which has summed up his team of late. They are not prepared to be pushovers any more.
Also, I'd like to mention that the pictures of van Persie troll-facing Krul are some of my favorite pictures ever. Just when you think he can't get any better, Robin scores an instant equalizer and sends the opposing goalkeeper into a blind rage, without almost killing someone like Joey Barton is known to do. Just perfect.
Arseblog has the best possible title, which is part of the reason I went with the one I did. I just can't compete. He also almost perfectly sums up the past three-four weeks, which I will quote parts of (but you should probably also read the whole thing):
It just shows you the margins in this game. For all the chances we made we could be sitting here this morning bemoaning a lack of composure in our finishing and wondering where two points had gone. That we’re not is a testament to the new found spirit of this team. It’s almost unrecognisable from the one that suffered that defeat in Milan and the one a few days later at Sunderland.
It’s like those defeats and performances were like a slap in the face and a kick up the arse at the same time, because since then the results have been outstanding. ..Last night, finishing aside, we dominated Newcastle, the same way we dominated Milan and Sp*rs before them. And having the determination and drive to keep going right until the final whistle, to take a chance and run the length of the pitch after 94 energy sapping minutes, is what made the difference in the end.
Chary of 7amkickoff was at the match, and reports that our home fans are awesome again, which is nice. I would like to point out that this all started from the first whistle of the Spurs game, and hasn't let up since, whether ahead, level or behind. The support pre-dates the performances, in other words. Are they related? Probably. DON'T QUESTION IT, OKAY?
And finally, Kenny Daglish thinks Wenger should be charged for claiming that Luis Suarez dived for Liverpool's penalty the first weekend of March. I'd laugh at him, but knowing Arsene's luck with governing bodies, it'll probably actually happen. On the other hand the FA is part of a massive anti-Liverpool conspiracy, the endgame of which is the restoration of Everton to their rightful place in Europe, or something else insane like that, so maybe I'm wrong.