It is easy to take for granted, after all it is now almost ten seasons in a row of qualification for the knock out phase of the Champions League, what a fantastic record, it's just the cherry on top that Arsene is after now. No one really expected Alkmaar to pose much of a threat and this proved to be the case.
Clichy was out with what I suspect is a stress fracture of a pars interarticularis in his spine, it is common for this to be present on both sides of the vertebra and this is the case for Gael as his previous stress fracture was on the other side at the same level. Sagna was rested, Manuel remained in goal, while Samir Nasri started his first game following his return from injury as part of the front three.
The football was slick and cut Alkmaar to ribbons, Andrei Arshavin seemed to be at the heart of everything, the movement and pace was simply too much for the dutch champions to cope with. The first goal from Cesc saw some pretty dodgy keeping but it was still a fairly decent effort from the skipper. The second goal was Nasri at his best, recieving the ball and turning neatly in one movement, he created space for himself and buried the finish low into the bottom corner, top class stuff. The slick passing and interplay for the third and fourth was awesome, two lovely finishes as well from Cesc and Diaby. Manuel was done by an excellent bit of trickery with the eyes for the Alkmaar goal, predicting the centre Manuel was completely undone as the ball was fired past him at his near post.
Overall job done again, it would be nice to tie things up with a win against Liege in the next game. It is heartening to see the team clicking together so nicely, we are defending far better than we have for a while, Vermaelen is not only an excellent aggressive defender but he is also a great leader on the pitch. Gibbs now has a great chance to cement himself into the starting eleven. The young midfield are growing together, Song is looking a force to be reckoned with, Cesc has been finding top form again over the last month, while the unfairly maligned Diaby does appear to be improving and improving his decision making, Up front the abundance of talent is frankly incredible, last night we had Bendtner, Walcott and Vela not even involved for various reasons, but we still had so many options to choose from. If we can keep things going through the grim winter months I will seriously fancy our chances come May.