Arsenal 3-2 Man United – Is this the moment when Gooners really can start to believe?

Is it time to believe? by Dan Smith

Okay, I been burnt so many times that Arsenal will have to lift the title for me to ever be fully confident that we will be Champions.

Yet there are moments in seasons where you look back on and say that was the moment everyone believed.

A point against Man United wouldn’t have been the end of the world. It certainly wouldn’t have been the consequence of the pressure impacting the players.

It simply would have been a 2-2 draw out of a high-quality encounter.

It would have been, though, two successive home draws, inviting the theory that we don’t have the bench that Man City have to change games.

It would have also meant our lead over the Champions was reduced to three points (with a game in hand).

If we get to March or April and it’s still a tight race, Pep Guardiola’s men have the advantage due to simply knowing how to get over the line.

The Gunners  still with the youngest squad in the division, couldn’t handle the pressure of a top 4 race last season, so it would be asking a lot to ask the majority of the same squad to cope with the expectation of a title race.

That’s why our late goal was celebrated like it was on Sunday.

It maintains our breathing space over the chasing pack, our most likely route to being Champions.

Like Leicester’s triumph,  our mostly likely route to success is to  keep winning and maybe in the end zero pressure is put on us?

I invited Eddie Nketiah to prove me wrong and he continues to do so, but not just with his goals.

He now has a presence about him, like he believes he belongs on this stage .

As he was keeping the ball in the corner, 60-000 were chanting his name. He needed an afternoon like this to feel a part of the furniture.

It’s rare to say this about a left back but Zinchenko has changed so much about the club on off the pitch.

His tactical understanding is world class, knowing when to step into midfield.

If there was one criticism about our attack in the later stages was it became too obvious, players taking the extra touch when it was not needed.

For our third, the Ukrainian didn’t.

How he celebrates is contagious, you would think he’s a lifetime gooner, and not some player who’s only be associated with the club since the summer.

This is one of the few players who in our dressing room knows how to win and as he roared into the North London sky, he knew the significance of that victory and it’s manner.

All I ever wanted was Arsenal to try and be the best version of themselves.

That’s why I said 8th was unacceptable and 5th was not progress.

That’s Liverpool and United now, who in the final parts of the game we simply had pushed back, where our attacks were so constant they buckled, they could only clear to the half way line and we would be back in their faces.

It’s been years since we had this mentality.

I always said comforts can save your life.

I have been in hospital over New Year and yet my one constant when everything else is upside down keeps going.

That’s the beauty of sport, anything can happen, and at times it’s like Shakespeare wrote a play.

Is this the game where we look back on and say that was the moment we believed?

Dan Smith

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62 Comments

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    1. Let’s wait till feb 14 and we will decide. We have been in this position several times before and failed. One injury, one shocking loss, or anything can change momentum very quickly. As for now we are almost sure to be playing in champions league next Yr but for title, it’s too soon to talk about. Yes if we beat city on feb 14, and increase or keep 8 point gap then we can leave journey to top 4 and start our journey to title.

    2. I agree, let’s see if we can beat City or at least hold our own against them before we prais ourselves too much.

      Utd on a good run, spuds and Chelsea have regressed, along with Liverpool, so I think City is the real test of our progression.

      Newcastle is also a tough squad, so if we take points off them and City perhaps we are really a top top contender in the PL.

    3. Aside our outstanding game against city we will still have a game in Hand right?

      Bcos we have now played 19 and city 20,so if we play them it will be arsenal 20, city 21…..meaning we will still have a game in Hand right?

  1. No, this is not the motive or moment that the gunners fans should start believe on the title. We believe in each day, each game on the pitch.
    The gunners believe that we can achieve our goals and objectives. We want to win each game because as more we can win, more we have a chance for the title..

  2. Great season. I completely believe, but life is uncertain and impermanent. Thing’s change. The signing of Leo Trossard was inspired. I would like to see cover as well for Thomas Partey. Can we win it? No doubt….yes, but please, we are vulnerable if Partey gets injured/burned out. I am so proud of this amazing young team. Joy to watch. Zinchenko…you are unbelievable!

    1. Cover for Partey? Yes! But where do you want to get another one of same kind and quality?
      Hopefully his spring injury record doesn’t act up this season, that’s why I feel it’s not over yet.
      I hope Zini stay out of injury room, he will be crucial when and if Partey is not available

  3. Yea
    It’s the time to start to believe
    AW mentioned it at the beginning of the season and we all seems to laugh it off
    Tbh honest I now agree this team has no weakness and is capable of winning the league
    The confidence and character of this lot is on another level, our first 11 is great and now we are adding depth, don’t get me wrong it’s far from over, as I think we still might go through our rough patch but the depth will pull us through imo.

    I think we may need to decide soon on choosing priorities. As for me I’ll rather we focus on epl and uel, players like Partey should not be involved in fa cup competition because we can’t afford to lose him atm, we don’t have a proper cover and then the mad form he is now, no back up can compare

  4. With the millions spent in transfer fees, salaries and training facilities, we had a full strength, their key player was unavailable due to suspension so we should have spanked ’em 8-2, but we didn’t. We won, good! Move on and prepare for the next game.

  5. Dan, hope you are well and recovering.

    I expect to see comments about having “egg on you face” etc etc but who cares? 🍳🍳
    There can be no doubt that MA has stepped up to the mark and has installed the same kind of infectious attitude that unites players and fans.

    I remember the last minute goal we scored against Leicester, the season they won the league, and how that was celebrated… so I don’t see this as a “starting to believe” moment” – more of a “we are hear to stay” moment.

    With the two reported signings to be announced, I have to ask you though :
    Are you still negative regarding the ownership of the kronkies, as I believe they are not getting the praise and recognition that they deserve.

    1. “I expect to see comments about having “egg on you face” etc etc but who cares?”

      I fully intend to remind the Anti Arteta brigade about the egg on their faces..so be prepared..

      1. Your brain is obviously fried and scrambled, you’ve poached someone else’s saying and, if you think a silly little threat like that worries anyone, you’ve had your eggs and chips 🍳🍳🍳

        Now try and add to the discussion like a grown up! &!

      2. Mark2.0, the person who has never made a mistake has never done or achieved anything.
        From what I have seen on this site, the majority want to see the Arsenal being successful. I believe in staying humble, not getting ahead of ourselves and taking one game at a time with half the season still to go..
        The annoying thing for me is pundits, such as Gary Neville, giving no credit for Arsenal under Mikel Arteta for what they have achieved thus far. The number of points achieved and a five point lead with a game in hand over last season’s premiers should not be discounted or understated.

    2. Hi Ken
      A belated happy new year..not sure when stop saying that as it is Feb soon
      Like Ken do hope you are on the mend Dan
      I know you were on the rather cautious side regarding MA to start with
      One of the more happier sides to this campaign is the togetherness he has brought us
      It was never a case of I told you so from my side but a case of I am extremely happy that we are now all pulling in the same direction when as before it was toxic and the club splintered
      As for the Kroenke. Pant for year when it came to running our club but hats off to them and especially josh for putting there money where there mouth is and backing the club and manager
      I always beleived but won’t start dreaming to much until we get to the end of March and then see where we are.
      For now I am loving the moment and loving that winning feeling. Been a long time coming
      Onwards and upwards

  6. The match on Sunday could well prove to be the watershed game of the season when players and fans united fully in belief.The result proved to me for the first time in a decade that our players ,at last, have the mental strength to be genuine title contenders.The fact that they fought back from being down to deservedly win what was an excellent match is confirmation of their inner strength which has been absent from Arsenal for some time.In other words, we are no longer a “soft touch” which will fade away when the going gets tough.With regard to some of your other comments Dan ,let’s be honest here, you ,and many others on this site advocated for getting rid of Arteta whilst others with more water under the bridge were prepared to give him more time to repair the damaged ship.it would be decent if you could acknowledge that you and others, were misguided in your judgement of our “rookie manager”?

    1. Can he and others not change their views ,this “I told you I was right “talk is boring now ,and quite frankly childish .
      We are at last all behind the team and manager ,to keep bringing up the past is just stirring and looking for arguments when there is absolutely no need for it .

    2. In Dan Smith’s case, it wasn’t just mistrust in a “rookie manager”. He repeatedly called Arteta “the cheap choice” in his continous efforts to throw dirt on both manager and the Kroenke’s.
      At least that looks like being put on hold for a while, although he hasnt found room to acknowledge, what is behind our success.

      1. Anders.
        He was the cheap choice but who cares now
        If he left he won’t be cheap any more
        As I said too Ken earlier.
        No one should be saying I told you so who backed MA from the start
        It’s a case he has won over people who were cautious to start with.
        With his tactics, which at times were strange , the spending on certain players.
        He has pulled us all together and given us belief again
        A feeling that has been missing for a decade or more
        We have a shot at the title in Jan. When was the last time we beleived we could do that. By December we are normally sweating on trying to get in to 4th place

        1. No.
          The point is he was the right choice.
          Cheap is a degrading label invented by Dan Smith as part of his agenda to discredit.
          You may or may not have had the opinion, that Arteta wasn’t up for the job. That is only fair, and I wouldn’t have complained if he had been sacked early on last season.
          But to label people like that is downright bad behaviour.

          1. I was always behind MA and have had more than a few discussions with Dan, Dan, Ken and co to justify that but that was then and this is now and it seems everybody is on board
            Up until most recently a few TruGoon, Chapo were still of the opinion of MA out. Hopefully they have changed there views and that is what has been nice to see. Change of opinions.
            Lets not get to disillusioned with ourselves as MA was cheap compared to a lot of other managers out there at the time.
            We questioned the managers pay increase last season but he is earning that right now
            We are still in the process and probably ahead of time and may long g it continue

          2. I have to agree. He was a carefully considered option and those who say he was the “cheap” option really don’t know what they are talking about.
            It is is also worth noting that those of us who felt that Arteta could do well with the right kind of support were labelled apologists and worse.
            As for the insults directed at Arteta some were downright disgraceful
            It is also completely false to claim that people were being cautious. There was a steady stream of negative, cynical articles aimed at discrediting a young manager trying to rebuild a squad whilst remaining competitive.
            A number of commentators were far to ready to overlook the fact that in the last few years we have had some very strong teams in the PL with world class managers and very strong squads whereas Arsenal required a substantial overhaul. All we heard were sound bites like “5th is unacceptable”.

            1. David being David per usual.
              Have you ever actually posted a comment(never seen one ) that talks about the team ,transfer rumours or just Arsenal in general without amounting to old comments that are in the past that you love to bring up in .
              Forgive me if I’ve missed (at least one )but ffs give it a rest mate .

          3. No he was the cheap choice and I rightly pointed out him failing when he finished 8th, 8th and 5 th
            And I will stand by that
            Always maintained I have zero issue if he proves me wrong this season

            1. Not bad you reckon yourself qualified to dismiss the choice as not done according to, what was best for the club.
              Especially as it has proven to be exactly that.
              Your notion shows a lack of understanding how much work was neccessary to get us to where we are now.

  7. Told y’all many times that Nketiah must’ve had learned a lot from Lacazette, Aubameyang and Jesus. Now Martinelli and Nelson will learn from Trossard, as long as Trossard won’t get forced to play on the right wing as Willian was

    Luckily, Kroenke’s decision to keep Arteta and Edu wasn’t affected by the negativities from the media, the pundits and the fans who couldn’t see the duo’s potentials. Apparently Kroenke understands football more than those so-called football experts

    Having said that, Arsenal have collected seven points from playing against Newcastle, Spurs and Man United. Because of that, I believe our worse scenario this season will be the second place finish, if Nketiah, Saka, Partey, Magalhaes and Saliba don’t get injured

    We could lose the games against Man City and drop to the fourth place, but hopefully there will be no unconstructive and viral negativities again if that happens. Our players and coaches seem strong mentally, but they’ll surely get disheartened if they receive the backlash twice in one season

    1. @Gai. If Arteta gets his tactics right we wouldn’t lose twice to City. I don’t really see City beating Arsenal over two legs especially at the Emirate. They narrowly beat our naive team 2:1 last season with the help of a penalty. Arsenal are much improved this season. It’s about the team showing believe and playing their game with confidence. If Jesus is back, he and Zichenko would want to prove a point against City. MCity beating Arsenal twice over two legs won’t happen mark my word.

      1. Yeah, maybe we’ll lose in FA Cup and draw against them in EPL

        Hopefully Arsenal will field their fringe and squad rotation players against Man City in FA Cup, because we need to focus on the leagues. I don’t think Jesus will be fit to play against Man City in EPL, so I hope Nketiah will be available for that game

      2. 👍Man City even with Haarland are n t as daunting a proposition as last season, particularly defensively. Arsenal has improved considerably, with a stable fit midfield and defence (with formation options available).

  8. I believe we have the ability to win, but City are still favourites for me.

    We have been unbelievable in the league all season, and apart from Haaland, City have been average (by their standards) yet are only 5pts behind.

    If they do get their act together, they’ll catch us.

    1. The narrative that City have been average is only partly true. They have been brilliant at times. They just have not been as consistent as they have sometimes been before.
      It is worth noting that for them to catch us will not only be down to them. It will require us to lose form as well.

    1. We have already recovered 3 lost points at old trafford. The two points lost to Southampton we will pick them up from home and we will go and beat Newcastle on their lands. The second part of the season will be difficult for all teams. Let’s go game by game

  9. The gaffer is the real deal and to win this classic into Furggie time with the old master on hand getting the perfect bird eye view just leaves me in dream land.

    Am still bruised by that 8 : 2 drubbing so please understand, I still remember Ferggie telling the press Coquelin the kid was completely out of his depth.
    I remember he telling the press again after he ended the invincibles run, That he gets the feeling if he didn’t stop Arsenal no one else will.

    Am thousands of miles away but can just imagine the atmosphere,
    These last two victories only strengthen my resolve, whoever catch us shall surely win.

  10. So going from 8th to 5th wasn’t progress in your eyes. Last time I checked it meant moving up 3 places. Considering where we were after the first 3 games, it was great progress, with a group of young players !.

    As Grandad said, us older fans have more patience. We been there, seen it and have got the tee shirt. Patience is a virtue.

  11. Hope you are feeling better Dan.

    Don’t really understand why you don’t think last season’s 5th place finish was progress.

    Putting aside the fact we went from 8th to 5th (a fairly concrete indicator of progress), the patterns we played at times last year, the harsh lessons learnt from ultimately missing out on CL, the improvement in several players including ESR, Saka and Martinelli, the shedding of some high-priced players who didn’t fit with the system, have all in my view contributed to our success this year. That’s progress in my book.

    Let me ask it another way – do you think the huge steps we are taking this year would have been possible without last year? Could we have made this jump on the back of the 2020-21 team? I don’t think so.

  12. I hope that you are on the mend, Dan and thank you for managing to make contributions to JA from your hospital bed.

    The last 3 years have been an interesting ride under Arteta. Whether it was the act of trying to get his message across with the types of players that he inherited, or being at the helm of a massive club whilst on a learning curve that caused the bumps, I don’t know. A mixture of both probably.

    I believed in Arteta I saw a passionate and steely individual which largely kept me going when progress was patchy. 8th wasn’t acceptable but we had a leading manager in UE, lower down the league at the point when MA was appointed and didn’t look to be going upwards any time soon. Arteta won the FA Cup which I don’t think should be underestimated, he didn’t lose the dressing room which was very important to me and gave the heave-ho to those who were not on the same page. The same can be said of Ten Hag as he got shot of Ronaldo as no player is bigger than the club and there have been a couple or so at Arsenal who thought they were. I can’t think of one of the new look Arsenal that have the wrong attitude.

    It is a very exciting time to be an Arsenal supporter and to see all the planning of the last 3 years coming together – giving us a storming season so far. I reiterate my view that Arteta has more to prove in terms of achieving elite level status but he is heading in the right direction.

    As for those who thought that Arteta wasn’t up to it after a short spell at the helm are probably keeping their powder dry until he fails in the future so they can dish out an ‘I told you so’ and those who were really toxic at least don’t contribute their vitriol anymore. It is all rather sad imo that as Arsenal supporters that a topic can bring out the worst in human nature, but as human beings, we are all capable of this kind of reaction.

    1. I was one of the Arteta out brigade and I will fully acknowledge that I was truly wrong. Whatever happens between now and the end of the season we fans have had a fantastic few months and we all should get behind the team no matter what happens. I’m 61 but age doesn’t always make you right and my apologies to our manager

      1. Perry
        It really isn’t about having to apologise. I got a bit worried 15 months or so ago about if there was going to be a reversal of fortunes.
        If we all recall, the choices available on the managerial front were limited. Names were bandied about but what happened was the Board and owner believing in their man and supporting him
        So, so many posters expected to click their fingers and everything would be alright. Many things needed to change and it took a while to re-balance.
        I’m in my mid 60’s and no longer expect anything very much.

      2. Let me guess sue ,you’re favourite record is …. A Broken one .
        You’re whole post is a plethora of condescending nonsense of wishing Dan well then coming back to the whole “I told you so “ridiculous comment who let’s be honest was aimed at Dan himself and a host of other supporters .
        Seems the older generation on JA ,while pretending to have more knowledge about football still have not learned some basic life skills with their continually childish behaviour trying to start arguments,when we should all be happy about where we are .
        Cringe …..

        1. For what it’s worth, I was not being condescending to Dan Smith and I am entitled to answer his article as I see fit. I certainly don’t wish him ill for God’s sake, and why you feel the need to stick up for him is beyond me as he is more than bright enough to answer for himself if he wants

    2. Well said sue
      We live for the moment and moment is red and white right now and may it long continue
      As for the toxic brigade. I think a lot believe now and the ones who don’t…who cares what they think 🤔

  13. Here is something I noticed about this game.

    When Ferguson was United manager a new phrase was added to the football lexicon

    “Fergie Time”

    This came about because United, when down by a goal or tying the game, in the final 10 to 12 minutes, would attack and pin the opposition in and around their own Penalty area. They were incessant with their attacking, and often scored that goal they sought (sometimes in extra or Fergie time).

    ARSENAL did exactly the same in this game!!!

    We snatched the initiative, with ten minutes to go) and inflicted a Fergie Time win on United!!

    I think this simple action we took really showed the difference between Arteta and Ten Hag

  14. Dan Smith: It is common knowledge that Zinchenko has been an Arsenal fan since his youth. His passion is no accident. I disagree with your claim that the 5th place made by the team did not represent progress. Mikel Arteta has transformed the entire modus operandi of the club despite all the doubt and hatred and vitriol, and I look forward to his getting the appropriate credit in due course.

    As far as right now – I think the home game against Manchester City will be the true determination of where we may end the season. If we are able to get 3 or 4 points out of 6 in the two games, I believe Arsenal will win. Manchester City will soon concentrate more on the Champions League.

    Onwards and Upwards!

  15. I thought love was only true in fairy tales
    Meant for someone else but not for me
    Love was out to get me
    That’s the way it seemed
    Disappointment haunted all of my dreams
    Then I saw her face, now I’m a believer
    Not a trace of doubt in my mind
    I’m in love
    I’m a believer, I couldn’t leave her if I tried

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