It is fair to say that I wasn’t surprised at Santi running the game against Reading. He is a top class player who could get into any of the top sides in Europe. His stats match up against any player doing the same job and our little wizard tops the pile.
What did make me teeter upon the edge of disbelief was how well Gervinho performed. He showed us once again how good he can be if he just keeps his confidence high. When he is in this form he can terrorise any defender with his pace and dribbling ability. Gervinho performs a critical role in this side as he is one of the few players in our squad (Jack, Gervinho, Rosicky, Diaby and Santi) that can carry the ball past players and turn a defensive action into an attacking action in a few short strides. As we saw against Reading for Giroud’s goal, Gervinho waited in space for the ball to break and used his pace intelligently, waiting for Giroud to join him before hitting a simple, yet well paced pass across the turf allowing Giroud to hit it plumb, first time and leather it into the back of the net. On this form Gervinho looks every inch the player we hoped he could be.
Giroud deserves a lot of credit too, his selfless work-rate, solid defensive work on set-pieces and his goal against Reading deserves much credit. He is much more than just a tank up front and I hope fans are seeing what I see. A rather handsome Frenchman, with a specific set of qualities and a massive heart. He works his guts out every game and he deserves his goals and plaudits (when he gets them) because he earns them every game. He isn’t a RvP, Messi, Ronaldo or a Rooney but he is extremely good at what he does and he deserves credit for that because he isn’t a cart-horse. In truth he has had a greater impact this season than Podolski – who would have said that at the start of the season?
Before this game I wanted the three points, regardless of how we got them and I really wanted us to win well for Abou. I hope he is seeing all of the support for him and it is helping him deal with another setback in his career. It must be heart-breaking to want to do something so badly, get close enough every time to touch your dreams and then have them taken away from you for another few months of treatment and fitness work. Being honest, Diaby didn’t get into football to run laps or work on sprints. He got into football because he loves the competition of the game, the thrill of stepping out on the pitch at the start of the game and being the one everyone looks to when the game needs to change for the better. When he was 5 years old, I bet he never dreamed of being a physiotherapists top customer. That is what the guy is getting right now and it’s terrible, so get well soon Abou – the fans are behind you.
In terms of the race for a top four spot, results were positive, Chelski dropped points in a season described as “Super” by the erudite Rafa Benitez, the crazy buffoon that he is and that helped us creep closer to the top. The teams around us have some tough fixtures and top four is within our grasp if we continue performing at this level. Will we deserve top four? If we can stay at this level of consistency and win our game until the end of the season then I can hardly see why not.
If for nothing else, us fans need something. Top four isn’t a trophy but St. Totteringham’s day, the day we ensure that we finish ahead of Spurs is always a welcome arrival in any Gooner’s calendar so lets keep fighting, because it is there if we want it.