|That looks like a foul.|
The deus ex machina is a literary phenomenon whereby an impossible problem is miraculously solved through the intervention of a deity or through some otherwise inexplicable event. After Norwich went ahead, they sat as deep as they could and found every trifling way they could to fritter away time. Going into that 85th minute, I’m willing to bet the most of us were giving in to despair. This, after all, was to be the game that sees us finally and officially surpass Spurs. And then, not once, but twice in minutes, we scored, and we found a third in stoppage-time. There will be controversy over that first one as Norwich will be sure to feel hard-done by on the penalty against Bassong in the box that led to Arteta’s spot-kick, but there’s little that they can say about the brilliant exchange between the Ox and Giroud or Podolski’s strike. We showed some character, if not poise, at the end, and we claimed a very valuable three points.
Let’s be honest. Norwich is a team that has no business holding us 0-0 for that long, and they certainly shouldn’t go ahead on us in our house, even in their wildest dreams. However, for them to go ahead and defend that lead for nearly thirty minutes, as inconceivable as it should be, came to pass. They earned that lead; we showed little energy or passion for the game except in bits and spurts, and we conceded the kind of goal that has been enough to unravel us in the past. The way we stormed back is just immense, and it has to put fear into our rivals for the 3rd or 4th spots on the table.
Although Norwich will complain about the penalty that led to Arteta’s penalty kick, there’s not a whole lot to say, except that maybe the referee didn’t see enough in it to make the call. However, the side-judge’s job is to notice this kind of thing, and he saw enough to make a call. In the video, you can clearly see that Bassong pulls enough on Giroud’s jersey to stretch the Arsenal badge halfway across Giroud’s chest, and this perhaps gave him enough leverage to make the clearance, not to mention pulling Giroud to the ground. We’ve been victims of some dodgy calls, and we’ve seen our lads take a or dive or two, but I believe I’m objective enough to say that this was a decent call. Bunn almost made the save, and I think karma validates the original call. Had Bunn made the save, this might have been the universe’s way of saying, “that wasn’t a penalty”.
From there, the floodgates seemed to fly open, as Ox assisted Giroud nicely three minutes later, and Podolski nailed it shut with the third in stoppage time. It was wonderful to see the German back on the pitch, and he really could have had a goal a few minutes earlier had it not been for a fingertip save from Bunn, just enough to cause a deflection off the woodwork.
At the end of the day, three points claimed, so I won’t linger on the lackluster 84 minutes or so during which it seemed we’d be dropping two, then three. It was great to see a few tactical substitutions work out—Walcott, Ox, and Podolski were key in changing the tempo and outcome of the game. Let’s sit back, relax, and enjoy the fact that we have a perch at 3rd place, thanks in part to Chelsea and Spurs not playing Prem games. 3rd place. It’s worth letting that tumble around in the mouth a little.