For the first time this season, Arsenal are on a winning streak of more than three games in all competitions. So far in this stop start campaign; we have tended to win two matches (once we managed three on the bounce) and then either scrape a disappointing draw at home or be brought back down to earth with a bump by losing away. I have to admit that, although I am blindly optimistic when it comes to football, I did deep down still believe that we stood no chance at the Etihad. Our record against the top teams in recent years has been horrendous so I had nothing to fill me with positivity. Going to the Champions, scoring a couple of goals and keeping a clean sheet would be nigh on impossible
Somehow Arsenal managed just that and even a diehard Manchester City fan could admit we fully deserved the three points. It was a complete performance and one I haven’t seen from my beloved team for years. Even in the FA Cup last year, we still let in two and it took a while to warm up so it wasn’t perfection. Against Manchester City, every player bar none put in a shift from kick off right through to the final whistle and I was immensely proud of them all. Of course, a special mention must go to Santi Cazorla who demonstrated his class with a goal, assist and man of the match performance but yet again I was left speechless by the dominance of Francis Coquelin.
I can almost say for certain that the result would have been very different had the young Frenchman not played the full 90 minutes up at the Etihad. The way that Coquelin acts as a wall for the Arsenal defence is very similar to the job Nemanja Matic does for Chelsea. I know it sounds absurd because a month ago, Arsene Wenger was probably looking to ship the 24 year old out permanently but he has transformed into a player that the team can really not be without. This was proved on Sunday at Brighton. We won 3-2 so it doesn’t really matter in the end but the two goals we did concede could have easily been avoided simply by having the Coq in front of Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal as opposed to Mathieu Flamini
I have said it before but I will repeat the point as more people may agree with me now. Life is looking very rosy indeed for Arsenal supporters. Our team is through to the 5th Round of the FA Cup where we have been drawn against Middlesbrough at home (not easy as they knocked out City but preferable to a tricky away tie). We have gathered a bit of momentum in the league and there is no reason why this should stop. If we continue winning and other results go our way, we could quietly climb up the table. Then there is the Champions League which will be returning soon. That is three competitions we are still alive and kicking in. Whatever happens, I can guarantee that the next few months will be exciting.
Whether I’ll be crying tears of joy or sorrow is yet to be seen.
By Glen Shorey