February 4th: vs. Blackburn Rovers, 7-1. A sound thumping, a tremendous show of power and skill and beauty, a harbinger of the exciting potential that we possess as a team. Up until this point, we'd been struggling a bit in the league, what with a string of injuries to our defense and three unfortunate losses and a draw in January, but this resounding win reminded us of who we are and what we're capable of. Also, it was really fun to watch. Seven goals?! Awesome.
February 11th: vs. Sunderland, 2-1. It's always a difficult match, away to Sunderland, in that they play a very rough and tumble, physical sort of football, and their home pitch is not very well maintained, and they play with determination and grit. It was a tough match, but we fought through til the end, and secured a positive result. Theirry Henry secured a vital victory with a late winning goal, and although it was a grind and took a bitter toll (we lost Per Mertesacker to a freak injury), it showed that we could fight through til the end and win in challenging circumstances. We came from behind after going down a goal in the 70th minute, and displayed a mettle that we'd been previously lacking.
February 26th: vs. Tottenham, 5-2. And this was, we think, the turning point in the season. Tottenham Hotspurs are our North London rival, and this particular fixture is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. This match was remarkable in that Spurs went up two goals in the first forty minutes, and it was looking fairly bleak for us. But then we dug deep, reached way down into the depths of our souls, and found the resolve we'd always known we had. We scored two goals to draw even in the last five minutes of the first half, the first a powerful header by Sagna, the second a beautiful curling shot from Van Persie. We then went ahead six minutes into the second half and never looked back. Two more from Theo Walcott would make an emphatic statement that we were not to be underestimated, and that we are, and always will be, the dominant team in North London. Brilliant. Superb. Wonderful. Jubilant. Joyful. And that doesn't even come close to capturing it. Bloody Brilliant, indeed.
March 3rd: vs. Liverpool, 2-1. Another thrilling come-from-behind victory, even though admittedly Liverpool was the better side, creating more chances and playing better football on the whole. But we kept fighting til the very end, never giving up, and grinding out another success with a tremendous last minute Van Persie volley. Perhaps Liverpool should have scored three or four, but they've had great difficulty scoring goals this year, and in the end we persevered and secured a massive win. Sometimes the better team loses, and we've been on the receiving end of that unfortunate circumstance far too many times. So it was nice to benefit from the twist of fate, not least because Liverpool features Luis Suarez, one of the most vile human beings to ever play the sport of football. Karma? We think not, but it's terribly satisfying to see someone so awful lose to a team so wonderful.
March 12th: vs. Newcastle, 2-1. Again, a last gasp of a goal and yet another come-from-behind victory in stoppage time with a shocking winner from Vermaelen, our rock-solid central defender. Previously in the match, Newcastle went ahead with a terrific strike, but less than a minute later we equalized on a bit of magic from (who else) Robin Van Persie. And again, we fought hard until the very dying embers of the match, and proved ourselves to be unrelenting. It was a highly deserved win, and that made it four matches in a row in which we'd come from a losing position to win, a feat that's never been done before. Now we're showing our true colors.
March 21st: vs. Everton, 1-0. We showed our fortitude yet again with a hard-fought win over a tenacious side, and with Tim Howard (the US National Team's starting goalkeeper) playing for Everton, it's never a foregone conclusion at Goodison Park. Another Thomas Vermaelen goal, another grind, another victory. And with this win, we rose above Tottenham to move into Third Place in the league. We should explain that Spurs had been playing excellent football all year, and in January it was beginning to look as though we might finish below them in the table for the first time in seventeen years. It was being said that Spurs were fielding the best team in fifty years (!) and we were floundering about with the worst team in two decades, and yet, and yet... we thrashed them 5-2 and then closed a ten point gap in a just over a month. And we did with heart, spirit, determination, and True Grit. We are The Arsenal.
March 24th: vs. Aston Villa, 3-0. Admittedly, not a terribly challenging match, as Villa has been playing shite football all season and never really tested us, but still. Seven wins in a row is seven wins in a row. And it is awfully fun to win. Notably, the last four goals we've scored at Everton and against Villa were scored by four different players, none of whom are named Robin Van Persie. This is important because RVP carried us through the early part of the season, as seemingly the only player we had that could put the ball in the net, and when darkness crept in from the fringes and doubt shrouded our thinking, he kept hope alive. So it's heartening to see the team effort paying dividends as a variety of players score goals.
So now, hopefully, we can continue our excellent run of form. The point here is that we play with conviction and with the belief that we can win, against all odds, with our backs to the wall, in the darkest hour, no matter what the conditions may be. When we play to the best of our ability, we can go toe-to-toe with any team in the world, and it all comes down to one thing: Heart. We play with a Stout Heart, and we absolutely believe in ourselves. 'Tis a wonderful world, and winsome indeed to witness such winning ways.
It is Indeed Glorious to be a Gooner. C'mon Arsenal!!