This was a game made for the neutral. It was full of thrills, mistakes, spills and terrible defending, really terrible defending, but it was also a game so so typical of this current Arsenal team. An Arsenal team which during this pandemic of a season, has taken on the guise of a split personality – you never know what Arsenal team will turn up?
I mean how can this team be so dominant over, and destroy a dangerous Tottenham side managed by a coach whose whole being seems to be designed around giving Arsenal pain and then play the first 30 minutes at the Olympic Stadium as if they’re Fred Karnos Army or the Marx Brothers? The Arsenal defending was, let’s say, madcap!
It was like the infamous 0-4, 4-4 at St James’ Park, only in reverse as this time it was Arsenal who got the madcap defending out of the way early.
Our old mate Jesse Lindgard started the ball rolling with a sharp shot from the edge of the box, the ball faded away from Leno’s outstretched hand but I couldn’t help thinking that he could have reached it. Maybe I’m being harsh but if we really want this club to go somewhere close to where it used to be then I think our goalkeeper has to get to that shot.
The second goal came from a free kick which Antonio bought. I don’t think that it was a foul but hey, everyone dives these days don’t they? 4 or 5 Arsenal players turned their back on the ball and walked away to prepare for the free kick, but Jon Moss allowed the kick to be taken quickly, which I actually don’t mind, and with our players switched off, the kick was taken the ball was soon in our net. Again Leno was suspect but then so was the Arsenal team in general.
It was the type of defending you see, or used to see Pub teams doing on a Sunday morning, but for a team pushing for a European place it was unacceptable. The third came through even more poor defending, this time from a cross and there we were, 3-0 behind with Harpo playing Good Old Arsenal.
At that stage I was thinking to myself, is this going to equal Arsenal’s worst result against West Ham, 6-0 I think in 1946 but then came the fight back.
Chambers started getting forward, Odegaard begun to pull the strings and Lacazette pulled one back. It was later given as an own goal but it was a nice finish regardless. West Ham seemed to collectively shiver and Arsenal gave them a right going over in the last 15 minutes of the first half.
Saka was put through and really should have scored as a succession of near misses fizzed around the Hammers box. We didn’t want the half to end but fortunately the Gunners came out in the same vein for the second half. After some intense pressure Odegaard played the ball out to Chambers who was free down our right hand side and his whipped crossed was fired home for another own goal. Now the joint was jumping.
Backwards and forwards went the attacks. Antonio hit the post and Lacazette had had an earlier effort hooked off of the line. It was crazy and then at last Pepe crossed with his right foot – yeah that’s right his right foot, and Lacazette finally got the goal he deserved with a thumping header.
Still the chances came, it could have been anything, 5-5 or 6-6 it was like a Subbuteto game, you score one and then I’ll score one or you score three, then I’ll score three…
At the end I felt a mixture of disappointment and relief. Disappointment because we could have actually given this West Ham team a good hiding if we’d been switched on and relief because we could have lost, a point therefore is good given how we started.
Arteta looked a bit shell shocked at the end and the players, well, who knows with this madcap Arsenal..?