4,000 Goals vs Blackburn, Lancashire

Cesc and Rosicky

Okay, it wasn’t quite that many… but if the game had gone long enough we might have gotten there eventually. And if we had, Cesc would have probably assisted on 3,990 of them. I would be a vain writer indeed to think that I could come up with some kind of superlative or plaudit that I haven’t already read in the hours since the match. So I may as well repeat them… but, hopefully, in a different order. A goal and four assists is an incredible tally. Even more incredible is that in six league matches this season he has now recorded 4 goals and 8 assists. That is absolutely insane.

Was it, as The Sun wrote, the best game of his Arsenal career? It very may well have been. But it wasn’t the most important and he stated that clearly after the match when he said it was “just another game in the race to the title.” A captain leads by example and there can be no doubt about whether or not his teammates have faith in him or about his commitment to the club following that emphatic celebration that surely made every Gooner smile as widely as they have in awhile.

Thierry HenryAfter a 1-nil win over Almeria yesterday, Thierry Henry was in London to see his daughter and they made their way to the Emirates where he came onto the pitch before kickoff to a standing ovation. What he witnessed was an Arsenal team as devastating in attack on the day as any that Henry ever played in. The fact that Robinson had a good enough performance to earn a call-up by Capello despite conceding six goals says it all concerning Arsenal’s attack.

Big Sam wants to whine about the foul that was not given on Dunn but Arsenal had a far less questionable penalty not given as well on Gallas in the dying minutes. His team conceded the lead twice, what makes him think they would have held it a third time especially considering the way we were playing?

Do I have to mention the defense at this point? I guess so. The writer doing the Guardian minute-by-minute said that if you can score six who cares if you let in two. I wouldn’t go quite that far. For me, even though Vermaelen lost the header, the first goal is down to Mannone’s positioning. He got himself caught in no-man’s land. Either come for it or stick the line, he did neither and paid the price. The second came from a deflection though at the end of a break in which Arsenal should not have been caught short-handed. The one statistic that is a bit worrying is that out of 38 attempted clearances we failed on 18 of them. We also lost half our tackles on the day.

In all the coronations of Cesc, Rosicky’s first league start seems a bit obscured. He had a fantastic match and already looks very sharp. His link-up play with Cesc was superb and the cross he delivered to Cesc from the outside of his boot was just sublime. I could go on for another 2000 words with words like these but you’ve all seen the match. Add to that the scoring returns by Bendtner and Walcott and you have the perfect way to go into an international break.

Cesc and the badge

Funnily, you don’t hear anyone even mentioning Adebayor now that the club has scored 24 goals in its first 7 league matches. And you don’t hear anyone bemoaning the loss of Toure when you have Vermaelen, not only defending well, but also scoring 5 goals in his first 11 matches with the club.

Pundits were quick to write Arsenal off after the two Manchester defeats, and they will probably now try to deny that they had. But you cannot write this side off.

Will the defense get exposed against the other big 4 sides? Possibly. Can Arsenal continue to score goals at this pace? Probably not. But there is clearly something special here; a bubble just waiting to burst.

I believed the side was on-track after the 2007/08 season despite the disappointing finish. However, dealing with those unexpected key departures meant another short adjustment period would be inevitable and that was last season.

Now, with almost everyone healthy, the new formation in full swing, and a strong spirit and confidence running through the side, anyone who says Arsenal can’t challenge for the title are fools. Plain and simple.