Yes, I was one of them. Doubting the Gunners would ever score is ridiculous – but the irrational fan in me was starting to believe. Spurned by Nuri Sahin, no deadline day deals and the thought of Spurs doing better business was enough to send even the most sane Gooner over the edge. In the course of two weeks optimism morphed into dour, petulant cynicism.
Thing is, Arsene Wenger had already made his acquisitions – preferring to add the likes of Podolski, Cazorla and Giroud weeks before August 31st. While fans and media types lament the departure of Robin van Persie and Alex Song, Wenger remains steadfast:
“There are still miles in my legs,” he said ahead of Sunday’s English Premier League meeting with Liverpool at Anfield. In life it is like you are going on a mission and it does not cross my mind to finish. You work as long as you can.”
For at least one day this summer’s turmoil was forgotten. Lukas Podolski was immense – scoring on a counter attack in the 31st minute and more importantly, helping Carl Jenkinson stem the tide defensively. Abou Diaby and Mikel Arteta bossed the midfield, though Joe Allen was once again outstanding.Luis Suarez did Suarez type things – his reputation may have sunk him as Howard Webb was reluctant to reward the Uruguayan striker throughout.
For Liverpool a sour day was marred by another Pepe Reina howler. Santi Cazorla’s goal in the 68th minute should’ve been stopped. The goal against Hearts was worse, but at this point it’s looking grim for the Spanish equivalent of Andy Roddick – Casillas, Valdes = Federer, Nadal. Brendan Rodgers honeymoon is effectively over – this is the worst start for Liverpool since 1962-63.
Nuri Sahin’s lack of playing time at Madrid was on full display – removing the ball from one’s foot as soon as possible is not a good sign. For Arsenal, Steve Bould’s influence has been the biggest takeaway three weeks into the season.
— Paolo Bandini (@Paolo_Bandini) September 2, 2012