Few would have wagered on Mathieu Flamini being the first goalscorer before the game began, but here we are at half time, and the Frenchman’s strike is so far the difference.
It was a stop start opening to the game, with neither team looking particularly sharp. Tackles were flying in, and play was regularly broken up – both goalkeepers seeing very little action early on.
Both teams looked vulnerable on the counter, but neither team were able to find that final pass.
There was an element of fortune about the goal, but they say you make your own luck. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain drove forward and took a shot from the edge of the box, with Michel Vorm unable to hold onto it. Mathieu Flamini was the man who was somewhat surprisingly on hand to pick up the loose ball, and the forgotten man lashed it over Vorm’s head and into the net from close range.
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It’s his first appearance of the season, and many believed he was finished at the club. He may give the manager something to think about, but he’ll have to do far more than score a goal – even if it is to give us the lead in the North London Derby.