Football is not a matter of life or death, it is more important than that

August 09/10

Wins against Celtic (twice), away at Everton and at home to Portsmouth made this a good month and a good start to this season. Equally the loss the them up north, went some way to reinforcing the feeling that this season we are better and that this season could see us really improve on the performances of the last few years.

The Highlights: The highlight for me personally, it was the win at Everton, I love the away game at Everton, always have, and to go there and score six, play as well as we did was a real plus. Celtic away was also good, and Arshavin’s goal up north was special.

However as I sit back and think about this month of the season, perhaps the real highlight has to have been the way we have played as a team. It really looks like the whole squad is as one, that collectively this group are happier, that they are really working for each other and that they really do believe in each other.

One highlight, or maybe a silver lining to a cloud, has to be the sight of Arsene, stood in the middle of the manc’s, arms stretched out, looking like the king of the castle and ruler of all in front of him, after he was sent off. That was a magic moment. Very funny.  

Player of the month: For me, as I am sure it would be the same for any Gooner there are a number of candidates for this award. Thomas Vermaelen is a sure contender, he has mad e a superb contribution and has added a real presence to our backline, Arshavin has looked a real superstar and scored one wonderful goal, Gallas has been considerable improved and been a real leader, and anyone of them could be our player of the month, I even thought to myself that perhaps it should be a collective result because the teamness of Arsenal so far this season, but no, for me, the one outstanding player of the month has to be Alex Song.

There has been a lot of talk about Alex Song, is he strong enough, could or should he be a centre half rather than a midfielder, and is he good enough to be the key figure, and this month, after coming on a lot last season, for me he has shown a real drive. He is the power in that fluid central midfield. He is the “water-carrier”, and he has had a superb start to the season. He is working so hard, his running is non-stop, he is hard in the tackle, his positioning is vital for the rest to play, and he is the sort of player that we will only really notice when he is not there. Just like Gilberto, Alex is becoming someone that we may only truly appreciate if he was not there, and that would be a shame. I certainly hope he his with us for a very long time because I am starting to really believe that he could be the key to allowing the flair to play and play well.     

Overall: It has been a fairly good start to the season, the team is playing well, it is playing as a team and the collective is now easily greater that the individual parts. For me, every player looks to be playing better than they did last season. But it is the team, the spirit, the collective energy, the work off the ball, and the work without the ball that has been greatly improved.

© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.