September is always my best month of the year. Be it an anniversary of the blog, an anniversary of my birth, Enyimba’s unbeaten run or the results Emery’s Gunners have churned out, September offered something to look back and smile about.
From an Arsenal perspective, September 2018 was a good one. The 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday was Arsenal’s 7th consecutive win of the season in all competition. – their longest since October 2016. It was Arsenal’s 5th consecutive Premier League win after losing the first two games of the season to Manchester City and Chelsea.
It looked bleak after those two loses but while the Gunners have not clicked to the perfect gear, they have found ways to get the wins. Despite injury and fitness concerns, Emery have managed his squad through the three competitions so far – Premier League, Europa League and Carabao Cup.
It is a back-to-back clean sheet for the Gunners – one against Everton (2-0) and the recent Watford win. The Gunners always connive to let in a late goal but they have kept their sheets clean in the last two games. Cech the saviour against the Toffees while Leno came in just before half time against Watford.
Leno’s debut didn’t light the skies the way we wanted it. He was decent enough but not “wow-y” enough to lead the “drop Cech” band. He has 2-3 weeks to man the post for the Gunners following Cech’s hamstring injury on Saturday.
Mesut Ozil is on form, Xhaka got a goal, Iwobi is on fire and that Guy Welbeck continues to defy the odds. He is the first Premier League player to score in three different competition this season – despite having over 2 weeks off from the World Cup. Maybe England would have won the World Cup if they had featured him more regularly.
Holding has deputized well for injured Sokratis but Mustafi keeps having scary moments. Will Emery go for a Sokratis-Holding pairing? The Tank is yet to displace Monreal. Will that ever happen? Will Monreal be rested for the Europa travel?
Ramsey and his contract talks was the only sour moment of September. It is believed that he won’t be offered a new contract. His contract expires this season. Will there be a U-turn? Will he leave in January or for free in June? I like Ramsey but life will continue.
Qarabag is next away in the Europa League. Will the Gunners make it 8 in 8?
Back home in Nigeria, Enyimba is the toast of the nation. Saviour of Nigeria’s “two-continental slots”, Enyimba qualified for the quarter finals of the AITEO Cup with 7 points rounding up with an emphatic 5-0 win over J. Atete FC in Gombe. This Enyimba is different. They face Raja Casablanca on Wednesday in the Semi finals of the CAF Confederation Cup.
The Peoples Elephant ran over Rayon Sports in the quarter finals and look set to lift the CAF Confederation for the first time. Hosting the final match in Aba will crown this beautiful run. Football is life here and September has been good so far. When was the last time Enyimba lost a game? July 2018. That should be 9 games unbeaten. Wow.
It is the first day of the new month and Nigeria marks the 58th year since independence. Congratulations to Nigeria. Hopefully we become the giant we have always wanted to be.