Last Saturday marked our annual pilgrimage to the Emirates Stadium to watch Arsenal take on Watford, the team that had unceremoniously dumped them out of the FA Cup only two weeks previously. Sure enough, Arsenal romped home 4-0 victors playing beautiful, expansive football and leaving fans scratching their heads as to how the squad had squandered their chance to reclaim the FA Cup for the third time at the hands of their opponents.
There was a marked change in personnel from the team that lined out against Watford in the Cup with Chambers, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Campbell and Giroud making way for Bellerin, Monreal, Koscielny, Iwobi and Welbeck on Saturday indicating defence had let the side down in the previous tie.
Alexis Sanchez thumped home an early goal after the inital header was saved before Iwobi banged in another, making it 2-0. These early goals proved the difference and Arsenal were in cruise control playing a confident, slick brand of football. Hector Bellerin netted a third early on in the second half before Theo Walcott tapped home having been set up by fellow sub Joel Campbell. Typical Arsenal, when the pressure is off they start playing well.
Before Saturday’s game, Arsenal had dropped 15 points in 14 home games with three home defeats to West Ham, Chelsea and Swansea and three home draws against Liverpool, Spurs and Southampton. As the table currently stands, with Leicester 11 points ahead of Arsenal albeit with an extra game played, Arsenal’s dreams of winning the League are fading fast and it seems the Leicester fairytale might have a happy ending and the priority now for Arsenal must surely to finish above Tottenham.
On a personal note, Saturday’s game was a great game to be at. Who doesn’t enjoy watching their team bang home four goals. The catcalls were second to none, my personal fave was the geezer behind me calling Hector Bellerin a ‘saucy mare’ as he pirouetted past two Watford defenders, ball at his feet, to the delighted wolf whistles of the home fans. The entire stadium was on their feet seven minutes to applaud the legendary David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle onthe fifteenth anniversary of his untimely death. Unfortunately, as soon as the final whistle blew the players left the pitch unlike the West Brom game we were at last year where the players did a lap of the pitch, thanking the fans and Aaron Ramsey’s adorable children had a kick around with their Dad. Cutie patauties.
With the season winding down, it remains to be seen what Arsenal can salvage from the season that was surely set up to be theirs for the taking. Will Arsene see out the remaining year of his contract or will the increasing calls for his retirement be heeded? Only time will tell.
Come on you Gooners. #COYG