Everyone knows what it’s like. You’re trying to get somewhere and you’re stuck behind an old Ford Escort, driven by a man with glasses like Junior Soprano with his wife, who can barely see above the dashboard sitting beside him sucking a Werther’s Original.
That was Arsenal against Aston Villa, according to Mikel Arteta. Ok, he wasn’t quite as evocative with his imagery, but he says the two cup defeats led to a much more cautious Arsenal performance.
Quoted in the Mirror, he says, “We were nervous because we had absolutely to win. We twice hit the wall in one week. When you drive a car and you hit first time and have an accident at 100mph you say, ‘OK, we go again.’
“But when you hit it again three days later you will drive a little bit more cautiously and that’s exactly how it is. Confidence is our best friend and lack of confidence is our worst enemy. Both of them are very fragile.
But the vice-captain was happy with the spirit shown in the end which was enough to gain a crucial three points.
“We are ready for a fight and we are ready to fight for the football we love to play.
“We were focused and determined, and even when it was 1-1 and with not a long time to go, I couldn’t see anybody with their head down and giving up. The team kept going until the last minute.”
The Spaniard also praised his countryman, Santi Cazorla, whose two goals won the day for the Gunners.
“He helped the team to earn the points today. He was outstanding – his overall play as well. He was involved in many areas of the pitch today and he’s a top player. He’s played almost every game and is probably the only one.
“The way he plays, he takes a lot of knocks and plays a demanding game physically as well. To adapt to the Premier League in his first year and do what he’s doing, I think we have to clap him. He deserves that.”
I don’t think there’d be too many this morning who wouldn’t give Santi the clap. We can think of no higher compliment.