Anyone at Fulham who was in the away end singing ‘We’ve got our Arsenal back’ would have felt that tingle. Been years since I felt like that. Certainly will be one of my favourite moments of the season.
Are we back though? What does it actually mean?
For me, it’s two things, pride and togetherness.
That was The Arsenal I fell in love with. The Arsenal who I felt proud of, regardless. Being with people, different from me, but together with them for the most important thing in the world for 90 minutes. An Arsenal who fought, a team that no one fancied playing and a club whose rich history and standards would always shine through.
Versus Blackpool I sat in the West Stand for the first time, near the bench. Unai was on his feet the whole game. Stamping his feet, looking angry at times, and gave Guendouzi a glare I’ve seen before by George. It made me smile.
I spent the week worrying about the Liverpool game. It wasn’t the losing, it was more the fear of the disappointment that maybe it has all been a honeymoon period, maybe I had been kidding myself? I needn’t have worried. We did everything we needed to do. Started fast and with intent and played for 90 minutes. We matched them in every area. You know you’ve had a good day when Klopp, with 10 mins to go was happy with the draw. We have gaps, we have areas to improve, but we are further forward than I thought if I’m honest. It seems Unai certainly does know.
A good manager gets the best out of what he’s got. Players, who I would inwardly groan at when I heard their name called out, now have become a sense of relief for me when they start. Iwobi is the main example, how he has been transformed in such little time is astounding. Solid, offensive, tough and playing with the confidence he’s always needed. Wonderful to see.
The biggest impact has been, we have become a team. No superstars, no one man carrying the team. A proper team of hard working grafters, led by a man who won’t accept anything less. Players who will stick their foot in and will recover a lost pass.
It’s so nice to talk about football again and not the business or the board. This is what we’ve got back, a common purpose, a passion and an excitement for every game.
We will have some moments of despair, but I’m very confident we will pick ourselves straight up. Anything less with not be acceptable to Mr Emery. No shame in losing when you’ve left everything on the pitch.
Results are what matters in football, but for our team, who were so damaged and fractured we need to repair first and build some strength again.
Yes, we have our Arsenal back.