Anyone who has followed Arsenal in the recent past knows that the football it plays is a thing of beauty. If you have followed Arsenal long enough, another thing would be plain to you: beauty does not always win.
But beauty did win Saturday at the Reebok. It wasn't the most complete performance. Our team had its harried moments, especially in defence, but but it rode them out to come out on top.
A complete match report is here, so I won't go into details of the game. Three sublime goals it was that put Bolton to the sword, and 3-1 was the final score.
We laid many of our demons to rest with the performance. Can the team mix it in a hostile place like Bolton, with them kicking you for 90 minutes on the pitch, where the fans will bite your legs off given half the chance of it? Yes.
Is it going to get bullied off the ball, so much that it loses its rhythm? No.
Can it get a result away from home? Yes.
Was the Fulham result a one-off? Yes.
Do the players have belief in their abilities as a team to come back strong from a setback? Yes.
Are we really title-challengers this season? Oh yes!
If you really think about it, it really is a kick in the teeth for the "ugly" version of the beautiful game. Bolton's hoofing the ball forward and hard man tactics were effective, and the team was in many a precarious situation either side of the break, but it still held firm. Holding even firmer to the belief that it could score more than it let in.
I really believe the team could score at will in this game. As usual, there we squandered chances, but that's almost a given with the present setup. The team will have to learn to score off of them against tougher oppositionwhen the chances do dry up.
It must be said that, as irresistible as things were going forward, Arsenal is quite vulnerable at the back. Maybe it was just Bolton's physical prescence and their strength in the air, but our team was found wanting every now and then, and that clearly has to be sorted out.
Standout players yesterday: Almunia, Song, Adebayor, Denilson and Walcott. Also, the battler Clichy seems to be OK.
In the end, though, it was a fantastic, battling win for Arsenal. It was a win of character. The boys put mind over matter, knowing that they were the better side, and just well did the job.
They will forget about the jitters at the back and say it was a very satisfying result, many things proven, and it also puts them atop the table for the first time this season.
You could see it meant a lot for the lads, too. And it gets better, who is at the bottom of the table, you ask? Well, who indeed. North London isn't the biggest place in the world, but if you look at the table, you get the feeling there's enough room for about 18 teams between Arsenal and Totscum.
Enjoy your Sunday, lads, and look out for Chelski, Manky Shite game at 1830 in India and that's 1400 in the UK, a draw would be an ideal result, as usual.