There’s no doubt that Arsenal’s 5-2 win over Spurs on Saturday was inspiring, entertaining, and much-needed. However, it should also be kept in proper context. Yes, it was well deserved, but let’s not forget the fact that Spurs came out at the opening whistle like a house on fire. William Gallas put the ball in the net soon after and thankfully for Gunners fans it was called offside. Emmanuel Adebayor was well onside though when he made it 1-0 after just 10 minutes and it looked like it might be a long day for the Arsenal.
Adebayor let his emotions get the best of him eight minutes later when he was sent off with a straight red card for his reckless challenge on Santi Cazorla. As soon as the ex-Gunner was sent off, Arsenal picked up the pace while Spurs stopped playing and the rest was probably inevitable. Like last year’s 5-2 home pasting of Spurs, this match could kick start the Gunners season, but it can’t be taken for granted. The entire club needs to work hard to keep the spirits high and the momentum going.
Slamming five goals past Spurs is reason enough for Arsenal supporters to celebrate at any time, but the club needs to be careful that it isn’t brought crashing back to earth in its next contest, which will take place on Wed. Nov. 21 with a home match against Montpellier in a Champions League showdown. Arsenal definitely isn’t through to the next round of the tournament yet and this is going to be a huge test. Also, it doesn’t change the fact that Arsenal is still sitting in sixth place in the Premier League table and is a full nine points back of unbeaten Manchester City, the reigning champions.
Fourth place is likely a more realistic goal this season and that’s definitely within reach as the Gunners are just four points behind West Brom and five adrift of third-place Chelsea. Most of the results went in Arsenal’s favour over the weekend since Man United lost 1-0 at Norwich while Chelsea were being beaten 2-1 by West Brom and fifth-place Everton were busy losing 2-1 at Reading.
Arsenal has away games coming up with Aston Villa and Everton and will need to earn maximum points to keep their position in the table or improve on it. But while Arsenal had the advantage of playing against 10 men against Spurs the team should still be given credit for its performance. When Gareth Bale made the score 4-2 with 20 minutes still to play Arsenal didn’t wilt and Theo Walcott added another insurance goal just before the final whistle put an end to the match.
Of course, at 4-2, many fans were afraid Arsenal may suffer another complete collapse against Spurs as they have in the best, but thankfully it didn’t materialize. The win should give the squad some valuable confidence heading into Wednesday’s game. Last year’s 5-2 win over Spurs in February actually spurred Arsenal on to a third-place finish and manager Arsene Wenger is hoping the victory will have the same affect again this season.
The team can’t rest on its laurels though as it still needs to work hard on defending. It would also help if the Theo Walcott contract situation could be put to rest one way or the other in the near future. Wenger recently came out and send the 23-year-old England international and Arsenal’s leading scorer won’t be sold in the upcoming transfer window this January. The manager stated that Walcott will be kept even if it means losing him for nothing once his contract runs out at the end of the current season.
Walcott of course, still may prefer to play as a central striker somewhere else and should have enough suitors to keep him happy. However, letting him go for free would be a bit of a waste considering the club should be able to command a pretty decent fee for him. After a steady stream of players have left the Emirates over the past few years it would signify a serious problem if Walcott followed suit. He’s proved to be a valuable member of the squad and his age is certainly a bonus since he could become a legitimate star when he realizes his full potential. In my mind, the team is definitely a lot stronger with him than without him at this point.