Gallas plus £5 million for Cole: what a superb deal that was!
Arsenal's one nil victory over Chelsea was important for the three points won and the psychological gain for this young team to finally beat their mega-spending opponents after three seasons of draws and defeats. However there are some other points that came to mind when watching the game yesterday.
First William Gallas' headed winning goal underlined the evidence that increases game by game that Arsenal definitely got the better of the deal that saw them gain Gallas and £5 million of Abramovich's money in return for Ashley Cole.
World cup-finalist Gallas is now Arsenal captain and has been fantastic this season in focusing and rallying this young Arsenal team to win and keep winning while being superb at the back in combination with Kolo Toure.
Meanwhile, Cole has not yet settled let alone thrived in the more conservative playing style of Chelsea, has been injury-prone, and has even been the subject of player-rotation with the lesser-talented Wayne Bridge.
The deal looked good at the time for Arsenal which was something to be grateful for after the murkiness that surrounded Chelsea's behaviour in tapping-up Cole - and it has got ever better since.
Second was the absence of the ego-centric, insulting Jose Mourinho - I'm thankful that I did not have to put up with his opinions pre and post-match.
Third is the continued excellent defensive and attacking play of full backs Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna. Aside from their consistency, technique, defensive ability and all round great team-play the thing I really admire about both these guys is their temperament.
I have said this about Clichy ever since his introduction into the Arsenal side - he always looks totally focused and concentrated on the pitch and for me he is a great ambassador for Arsenal football club. I also see similar composed qualities in Sagna - in the heat of battle he is making good decisions and overall is looking assured. It can only be positive for the whole team when your defenders can be trusted.
Finally, seeing RVP, Cesc, Hleb, Adebayor, Rosicky and Flamini all feature yesterday was great in view of the busy Christmas schedule coming up. Having four of these key players missing from the midield/attacking unit did have a predictably marked impact on the creative and attacking dimension of the team so it was reassuring to see the unique Arsenal verve return - albeit a bit rustily - yesterday.
In particular it was great to see the return to Premier League action of the superb RVP after over two months out. He is one of the leaders of this young Arsenal team and his positive influence on the likes of Ade and Cesc cannot be underestimated. His finishing, link-up play, technical ability and character are all fantastic so Arsenal are far the stronger for his return.