Wojciech stands in his penalty box with just a minute gone since kickoff, the goalmouth gaping behind him. He surveys his options. Can I play it short? The Sunderland players, in their red and white stripes, are pushing up, bearing down on his back four. Long it is. He aims for Robin, but the striker loses out, a defender heading it back into the Arsenal half. Wojciech tenses up, readies himself for any possible danger. But the ball falls to Alex, who brings the ball down and under his control with one soft touch. He sidesteps an advancing Sunderland midfielder, and plays it forward to Aaron. A red and white shirt is tight against him, but with one touch he swivels, and with his second plays a perfectly weighted ball in behind the Sunderland back line, having spotted Theo’s diagonal run from the corner of his eye. Theo concentrates, he has to get the first touch right, he does, and with it he is into the box. Robin has dropped deep into midfield, dragging his marker along with him. The other center half is retreating, about to slide the ball away with a last ditch tackle. The ‘keeper stands his ground, his feet stuck in the tall grass. What are my options, Theo thinks. I can curl it into the top corner. I can slide it between his legs. That’s always fun. Or I could beat him at the near post. Theo opens up his body and goes for the far corner with his left foot, just as the defender plows into him. Even as he’s brought down, his eyes follow the ball, and he realizes its too close to the ‘keeper. Sure enough he bats it away, but only into the path of the onrushing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who smashes the rebound into the roof of the net. One-nil to The Arsenal.
That, my friends, is how I expect the Sunderland match to go. An early goal for us. A complete rout. Why? We’ve been creating a lot of chances lately. We did against Villa, we did against Bolton, and we did against Blackburn. Coquelin’s lung bursting performances on the right flank have given Walcott new life. He can now come inside and be more of a threat in the box. On the other flank, The Ox has been immense. He has added real quality to the team, but also, has given the whole attack an injection of much needed confidence.
Against City, Sunderland were poor. Hung on to the nil-nil by sheer luck, and only the carelessness of City’s defenders and the linesman allowed them to score a last gasp winner. When in form, our attack is as good as any in the Premier League, and if the Blackburn game showed anything, we are getting back into form.
(Follow me on twitter: @waleedtahmad)