With a dash of gloom hanging over the Emirates after their lackluster performance against QPR, Arsenal were poised for an uphill battle against the title contenders, but with Silva out, things were NOT going to be easy for Manchester City. As the first half rolled out, we saw an Arsenal side that looked re-energized and ready to take on the Blue Moon head-on, attacking the ball and maintaining possession throughout. City soon became a threat, but not while the “inspired” behavior of Balotelli came to light. How the ref failed to see Mario’s stud-y challenge against Alex Song blows my mind, but whatever. Arsenal had one good chance from a Van Persie header that collided with the Verminator during the first half, but aside from that, both teams held each other to 0-0 by the end. Both Benayoun and Rosicky rode the midfield battle well, and our back four were solid as rock. From my point of view, Arsenal looked to be the better side…
The second half did see City rile themselves up a bit, but Pizarro was not as helpful as Mancini had expected. Na$ri was worthless and all his boos were well deserved in my opinion. Tevez and Aguero lacked their usual bite and Arsenal continued to dominate the midfield, with Song breaking up the plays and Arteta winning more balls than my fingers and toes could count. Our mess up with Theo, Yossi and Verminator not being able to shoot right in front of the box was an absolute howler, while Van Persie’s hitting of the woodwork and Benayoun’s low shot were all excitingly frustrating to watch, but were all indicative that we were on the verge of scoring.
And then the 87th minute rolled forth, with City claiming possession. Arteta bolts through and steals it away from Pizarro and streaks towards the box. He looks around, says “FUCK IT,” cranks his leg back and lets out a bolt of blue lighting twenty-five yards out that was so sudden that it left both Lescott and Hart in the destitute rubble and dust of pure failure. The Emirates erupted in triumph as our teams arms were splayed up high while Arteta gave the fans a showing of his “jelly” belly. And the cherry on top of the icing? Us Gooners mocked the Blue Moon outright by replicating their infamous “Poznan.” How fucking great is that?
So yes, Ramsey blew out his potential game sealer, and the ref FINALLY gave Mario a well deserved red, but nothing was more deserved than our victory over a side whose every move seemed blessed by England’s wayward football punditry. After being beaten by an Arsenal side who began the season as “relegation fodder” and “a club in crisis,” we have finally proven that we are side with immense quality. Arteta’s sheer determination throughout the match has now proven that he is now a diehard Gunner’ (and not the “panic buy” that many have initially thought) and the impressive workrate of older players like Song, Benayoun and Rosicky should provide more storied inspiration for our young Guns, including Ox, Ramsey, Frimpong, Ryo and Coquelin. Our match against Wolves this Wednesday will be hard fought, and we will be missing Koscielny at this venue, but let’s hope Djourou can continue with his good performance from last time and we can snatch away another three points. Cheers to us fellow Gooners, and most of all, cheers to the tarnished title hopes of City, thanks to Mikel Arteta!