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Well a lot has happened since my last blog, but the most recent result we’ve had – the win at Manchester City – seems like the best place to start. It goes without saying it was a great win for us. I’m pleased that we came home with three points, which our performance thoroughly deserved. It’s only three points of course, but it felt like there was an added significance to that victory due to the way we played and the opposition.
It was a clinical game from us, and it’s the kind of result you get when everyone on the pitch is in sync. It was a long time coming, and we needed a result like that against a top four team away from home, not only to give the team a boost but also to prove to ourselves we can get results at places like the Etihad. Obviously, people think that it’s been a mental issue that has stopped us getting results away to the likes of Manchester City recently but that’s not the case. I think the win on Sunday has proved a lot of people wrong and we also proved to ourselves that we can have a big say in the Premier League this season.
I have seen a lot of pundits say it was a change in mentality from us. I think there was a pattern in the game where our midfield had less of the ball in dangerous areas, whereas normally we are focused on dominating the game by keeping possession. We controlled the game without having as much possession as we normally do. I think that’s something to learn from and add to our game, rather than feeling we have to control every game by dominating possession.
Obviously we were all delighted with the result, and I’m really pleased for the fans. There’s no doubt in our mind that we can beat teams in the top four, we’ve done it before, and it was great that our travelling supporters got to see us do it at the weekend. If you were up there, I’m sure you enjoyed it, as I’m sure you would have done if you were watching on TV somewhere too!
Sunday was a really good day for Arsenal, but a disappointing day for my other team, the Green Bay Packers… My friends got me into watching the NFL this season, and I’ve got a friend who follows the Packers so I went with them as my team, and I’ve really got into it. I have another mate who is a Chargers fan, so we’ve really enjoyed watching the games and we’ve had a bit of banter flying around amongst ourselves throughout the NFL season. This has been my first season watching it week in, week out, and I’m so into it right now!
We got back late from Manchester on Sunday night I was on a bit of a high from that, and when I got in and turned the TV on I saw my boys were about 17-0 up, so I was thinking ‘we are through to the Super Bowl…! Next thing we knew it had gone to overtime, and then, well, BIG problems! I’ve seen people compare that comeback to the one from Liverpool vs AC Milan in the Champions League Final in 2005, and that’s probably a good comparison. It was an amazing comeback and such great drama, even though I didn’t like the final outcome. It must have been an amazing atmosphere at the stadium and you have to pay credit where it’s due to Seattle for never giving up and reaching the Super Bowl. Even though my team isn’t there I’ll still be watching in a couple of weeks time.
In terms of how the Premier League table is looking, the race for the top four places is just as competitive as ever, and Southampton are proving they aren’t going anywhere. I’m not surprised to see them where they are, they are having a great season, and it’s a similar situation to what we saw with Everton in recent years. Southampton are having a great run, and probably don’t feel any kind of pressure because they aren’t expected to be up there. It’s going to be very interesting in the months to come and it goes without saying we need to be at our best week in week out.
Since my last blog Alexis Sanchez has continued to impress people with his performances and it’s great to see him on such top form. His determination to keep on top of his game is fantastic, and the way he is going he is inspiring all of us in the squad. He’s a big character amongst the group – he’s not quiet by any stretch of the imagination and he’s fitted in very well. He’s learning English really quickly and he’s improved that a lot in a short space of time. He’s one of those characters where he doesn’t really need to speak English to get his point of view across, because he’s got a lot of energy and you know what he’s saying by his expressions and his energy. That energy and passion is quite rare and he’s got loads of it. He is rubbing off on a lot of the players, and his energy is giving us all a big boost. It’s no surprise to me to see him doing so well, and lets hope it continues for as long as possible.
This weekend we turn our attention to the FA Cup, and it’s another opportunity to prove our quality, and hopefully go one step closer to winning another trophy. We know what it’s like to win the FA Cup after what happened last season, and if you ask any of the players in our dressing room if they want to experience that again they’ll all say yes. They all want to keep hold of the Cup so it will be another big test for us this weekend against a Brighton side that would love to cause an upset. We’ll prepare for the game exactly the same as we do for a big Premier League match and show our opponents full respect as ever, and hopefully we’ll come through it ok and get the win we are after.
Thanks for reading my latest blog, and thanks for your support both at home and away, and wherever else you are. I’ll do another one again soon.
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