By Avenell Dave
Would you rather score the only goal of the game a few minutes from the end or a few minutes after kick off?
That was the question our resident veteran Samuel Mowbray put to me after the game on Saturday and it stuck with me as I journeyed home on the Victoria Line later that evening.
In all honesty, I think I’d rather score early and, while never being able to totally relax, at least it would give us something to defend rather than chase the game as we had to do.
Was there a single Addict at the stadium on Saturday who did not suffer from the stress, the excitement, the anxiety and ultimately the jubilation that came from a game we could have had wrapped up in the first half an hour?
It’s fair to say that Cesc had a stinker by his own high standards and while Denilson’s sub-standard display was nothing out of the ordinary, it’s always going to be conspicuous when Cesc plays as badly as he did.
In some ways, I’m relieved that he was injured, even though the problems with his hamstrings continue to cause concern.
Samir Nasri has become a fine player, using the rejection from France’s World Cup squad to focus his efforts and show the sort of form we hoped to see when he first arrived.
But there is something about the penetrative runs and passes that we have come to expect from Cesc that makes him invaluable to the team.
When he’s not on form (which is rare, I know), we need someone else to step up and even though the winning goal against West Ham was purely the product of Gael Clichy – last assist in the Premier League against West Ham in 2008, thanks to #Orbinho for the stat – we need more creativity.
That’s where Jack Wilshere comes in. The teenager signed a new deal today that should tie him long term to the club - good news for us and for Jack himself.
Many Addicts think already that he is the new Cesc and will take over when the Spaniard returns to his homeland, but with reports of Barca looking at other targets, it may well be that we have Cesc for longer than we initially thought.
And who better to learn from than Cesc?
But the fact is that Jack already looks like a world class player, someone it’s hard not to over-hype given his vision, tenacity and determination to make an impression in every game rather than just make up the numbers.
And how much more difficult would it be for opponents if they had to contend with two playmakers capable of devastating passing and creativity?
Jack will have learnt a lesson after his ban, even though it’s good to see a smaller player willing to dish it out, and hopefully he will stay just on the right side of the officials without going too far the other way.
How different would Saturday’s game been if Jack had started as well? We’ll never know of course.
But it says so much about the youngster that he has become such an integral part of the Arsenal machine.
If and when Aaron Ramsey comes back from his injury strongly and hopefully without the niggles that Abou Diaby and Eduardo suffered after similar spells on the sidelines, we’ll have one hell of a midfield to call upon.
Keep it real, Addicts.