This was a reaffirming and exhilarating win over Udinese. The pall, the gloom, the self doubt that had dogged the club since the Paleolithic era was lifted and now Arsenal go into the group stage with a sense of momentum. Did we hear a great huge sigh of collective relief? Here in the Stadio Friuli were born heroes that did not wear the name Fabregas, Nasri, or Green Lantern.
All hail Gervinho: For he of the broad forehead jinked and jived all over the field and his endeavour and cut back found Robin Van Persie for the equalizer. I would like to play Purple Haze right now.
All hail Carl Jenkinson: For he all of 19 years old and thrown into the cauldron of fire for his baptism came out smelling sweet as he neutralized all those with Italian sounding last names and the non- Italian sounding last names.
All hail Emmanuel Frimpong: For he off the ripped abs and sliding tackles set a tone in the first half he would eat Friulian babies for breakfast and set aside their feet for tambourines to be used in his jive band. See Gervinho.
All hail Theo Walcott: For he of that 4.2 second 50 metre burst that ate real estate and outwitted Samir Handanovic, the Slovenian goalie who claims Paul the Octopus as one of his many tentacled brethren.
All hail Wojciech Szczęsny: For he stopped the wiliest striker in the Serie and arguably in the world with a save that saved thousands, nay, millions, I say millions of Arsenal lives from cardiac arrest. A pivotal moment in science that could call for the Nobel Prize in medicine or is it peace? Desmond Tutu move over.
All hail Alexander Song: For he of the crab feet and even crabbier disposition not letting daylight pass between his feet and that of Arsenal. He prevented the Udinese midfield from doing any more damage while he snapped at their ankles all evening.
All hail Robin Van Persie: For he of the eternal left foot finally found a pass to his liking and stopped the Udinese uprising. The odds say he'll score are tremendous if you give him the right opportunities. Gervinho to VP's left is the eternal feedback machine that should be played over and over again.
All hail Bakary Sagna: For he of the right disposition had to play left. And he did a great job because Gervinho is no defender. Lovely cameo and hopefully Wenger does the right thing and gets quality cover for Gibbs.
All hail Thomas Vermaelen: For he gave away a penalty kick which made Szczesny look so good. But seriously, he was the real captain (clue Biffy Clyro) and he rose to the task rendering Udinese midgets or were they dwarfs? Sort it out Steve Coogan and Co.
All hail Johan Djourou: For he was a strong injury concern. But Djourou was responsible for forming the last line of defense that Di Natale found hard to breech on a number of instances.
All hail Aaron Ramsey: For it is hard to play in the recently vacated shoes of a near legend like Cesc Fabregas. But Ramsey has not been found lacking in desire. He can only get better as he hones his finesse and vision.
All hail Tomas Rosicky: For the first time in a long time one can say the Czech midfielder put his energy, a quality he's never lacked, into serious purpose. He was not lightweight.
All the players stepped up. The desired results will come when Arsenal strings together such displays. And in a sign Wenger never cheered when they scored. No double clutched fists pumping up. In fact, the celebrations were subdued as he exhorted them to concentrate on the rest of the minutes to bring home the victory. There have been too many false dawns in the past. Much work needs to be done. Tomorrow is the draw for the group stage and hopefully Arsenal catch a break. For the moment we savour a sweet, sweet moment. A toast and one of many to Gooners everywhere in the world. Drink well, my friends!!