Well in footballing terms, that was pretty much a perfect weekend.
Chelsea dropped yet more points, this time at home against Everton, and the Manchester United game against Blackpool was called off. Now we are top of the Premier League table, 2 points above Chelsea and 1 point above United, although they of course have a game in hand.
That is ideal because while it’s a clichÃ© it is always better to have the points on the board. And psychologically this Arsenal team need the confidence of sitting at the top of the table.
But Chelsea’s form is truly staggering at the moment.
They had an unbelievable start to the season, winning their first 5 games and scoring bucketfuls of goals. Now they lie 16th in the form table, having lost 3 and drawn 2 of their last 6 games. I am baffled to why they are struggling so much at the moment.
Has Ancelotti lost the dressing room? Was Ray Wilkins the real mastermind? I thought John Terry’s absence was one of the major factors but he returned yesterday and they still dropped points at home. I never thought I would agree with something Alan Shearer said but last night on Match of the Day he picked up on the fact they looked slow and lethargic. The one thing you could always say about Chelsea was that they are big, strong and direct. Is age catching up with them or is it something else? Who knows.
So with yet another blip Arsenal took advantage. Only just mind.
Arsenal versus Fulham. Before the game, Arsenal were 3rd in the Premier League and 2nd in the form table. Fulham however sat just above the relegation zone and were bottom (yes, bottom) of the form table, failing to win any of their last 6 games. The draw specialists had only won one of their last 12 games.
But in typical Arsenal fashion, we made things extremely difficult for ourselves.
The game ended 2-1 to Arsenal but the scoreline only tells half the story. Mark Hughes proved that while being a massive twat he had actually done his homework and credit where credit is due, he had a game plan to release Kamara early at every opportunity and on another day (a la West Brom and Newcastle) Fulham could have taken all 3 points.
The fact is that with the defeats to West Brom and Newcastle at home this season we’ve given the opposition a blueprint on how to beat us at The Emirates, very much like how teams are taking the game to Chelsea this season and getting results.
But Arsenal showed, as Arsene would put it, fantastic mental strength. They never gave up and while it’s clear that some players need to get their act together, we have someone who is in the form of his life.
It’s not difficult to pick out one player at the moment and that man is Samir Nasri. His form and performances are nothing short of sensational. He’s got 11 goals already this season (8 in the league) and is the star man. His movement, his composure, his passing, his runs, his pace and his finishing are all world class.
Samir Nasri right now, is on a par with players like Freddie and Bobby from the Invincibles season. He has balls, steel and that confidence to do whatever he wants on the pitch. Along with Fabregas, they are probably the only 2 players from the last 5/6 seasons who wouldn’t look out of place in that squad of 2004.
Nasri is a leader on the pitch with his desire and performances. He gives everything and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that without him we wouldn’t be top of the league today. I don’t need to go through the beauty of the goals again, you’ve all seen how special they were. He oozes confidence and that’s why we need to pray for him. All to often a player emerges with performances that are vital to the team (think Van Persie last season, and Eduardo a couple before that) and then we lose them to some kind of injury.
And that’s the only thing I fear for Samir Nasri. He is performing that well you just know with our luck something might happen.
I’ll be praying for him every night before I go to sleep.