All the stuttering, shaky football we have enjoyed over the last few weeks can finally be forgotten as we relish in the beauty of van ps class. We can't make any claims of us turning the corner - and let's face it, beating a weak sunderland team with an amazing late strike isn't a perfect result - but at least we left the Grove with the points. And that feels good enough for me.
We started the game brilliantly, with sharp incisive passing - Rosicky in particular looked in great from - cutting open the sunderland defence before Robin does what Robin does best and took his chance with infinite ease.
The goal banished any nerves we may have had and the players played with a freedom that we haven't had in months. At one stage the motd commentator said thisistherealarsenal/arsenal are back. We actually looked good for a while. Arteta, Song and the aforementioned Rosicky were running the game from the middle of the park and the link up play with the forwards was top class.
In particular though one player stood out. Van Persie backed up his comments about his commitment to the club by putting in a great, captains display. He oozed class whenever he touched the ball and the
However it just bounced down onto the line and, whilst Sunderland were being battered, there was still only one goal in it.
The shaky signs were still present though, and after an Almunia moment from Szczesny when he charged out like a madman but luckily survived. Then came a petty freekick given for handball or something stupid. And frankly an experienced played like Arteta should know better than giving away those free kicks. As always, we were punished by what an inch perfect free kick. Ex-Gooner Larrson is known for his dead ball skills but this was right out of the top draw.
Shortly after it could have been worse. The team was shaky and all over the place, and the defensive errors started to creep in again. Luckily though, Szczesny was on hand to give us one of the saves of the season throwing himself in front of cattermoles header from 3 yards out. In previous seasons we've had gks that lose us points, but now we have one that's gaining us points and saving us time and time again.
In the second half things looked like they would drift into a bore draw. Rosicky was trying but sunderland stopped any attacking movements with constant fouls.
On came Arshavin and Benayoun and the russian in particular looked back on form. One run involved his skipping past 3/4 players before slipping the snapshot just wide. Sunderland really didn't offer much going forward and the possession was more than 1 sided.
The spotlight eventually fell back on the man who played so well in 1st half. He lacked service at times in 2nd but after letting everyone else have their chance at dangerous freekicks the dutchman finally picked up the ball for himself.
Personally I wasny too confident in his even hitting the target, but then what do I know? Instead Robin struck an equally perfect fk into the right hand side of the net. A goal worthy of winning any game.
Despite an immidiate scare straight after the goal when sland scored an offside goal, we managed to look calm and composed and kept the ball well to close out the game.
Now we can't go and make any assumptions after just one game, and the team will still have a soft core for probably the next few months - especially with Vermaelen, Wilshere and Sagna all out - but getting the win was good, and now we are only 4 points off Liverpool and 3 off Spurs, who have a game in hand. Nothing is impossible, but let's take things one game at a time.