2 goals and a good display. Lovely.
Last night’s match was a very welcome sight; 3 goals, 3 delicious points and, barring a spell of around 4 minutes when West Ham had the lead, mercifully short of reason for concern or palpitations. As if often the case with Arsenal; what should be relatively straight forward invariably turns to nerve-shredding tension and reason to remove enormous clumps of hair in sheer terror. When there’s a quest ahead, it certainly appears that way to those of us who dedicate our spare time to following them. We have 5 games remaining this season, if they all go in a similar fashion to last night’s we might make it out of this season with our sanity in tact.
There’s a lot to talk about other than the very welcome result. Two players – Podolski and Giroud – stood out on the night for varying reasons. I thought I’d use this opportunity to discuss both.
Doesn’t that make me sound a touch self-important? Let’s be honest here; who the f**k am I anyway, other than a tall dandy with a glorious accent prone to covering himself in jam during moments of ill-advised ‘humour’. Often I’ll read through lengthy posts containing opinion and think to myself, “Really? Do you honestly think anyones cares what you have to say?”. I guess the key to blogging is the realisation that we’re all pretty much irrelevant in the grand scheme of things; just simple folk sharing our thoughts to those that might stumble upon them. Continue reading
The Running Kim looked pretty useful.
When the match finished last night, I had a bath. Normally I’m strictly a shower kinda guy. That might sound like the most pointless and inane of admittance, but it is relevant in a way. Amongst other things, Arsenal can cause me to get wound up. When those other things combine with my beloved football team, they create a sort of uber-stress and the notion of soothing bath appealed to me. To cut a tedious story shot; I thoroughly enjoyed it – no candles – and, if you’re currently filled with Arsenal-induced tension, I can highly recommend one. I might even stretch as far as to buy myself a little rubber duckie.
So, onto the game…
For a minute I enjoyed it, the remaining 89 plus time allotted for stoppages was excruciatingly bloody awful. Nerves were apparent all through the team, which is to be expected, but the fear of failure amongst the players was palpable. The sense of Arsenal easing out games that once was a feature of our play has long deserted us. However, I can’t really offer that many excuses for what I saw. Any team with the aspirations we have should be dispatching Swansea with minimal fuss. We shipped and early goal and although we got ourselves into a winning position thanks to a quick double from Podolski and Giroud, the sense that we wouldn’t hold on was overwhelming. Continue reading
Kieran Oxlade-Chamberlain gets his marching orders….
Comfortably the worst part about typing today’s entry is the sense of deja vu I have. When freakish results occur, banishing them as quickly as possible from memory is simple. After all, they’re just one of those things that happens. When an eye-gaugingly bloody awful performance away from home occurs 3 times within the same season, you have to start to ask questions.
Where did it all go wrong?
When you write an Arsenal blog you’re expected to have answers, or to “put a positive spin on what’s occurred”. In other instances, your followership gleefully click on the latest entry to read a lambasting of everything from the team to the manner in which biscuits were distributed as tea is served. I intend to do neither, mainly because gleaning any positives from that result is an impossibility and I’m far too tired of all the hatred and anger to contribute to any of it. All I can offer with any certainty is my feeling of dejection having watched what is unquestionably the worst Arsenal performance of my supporting life. Continue reading
Tim Sherwood displaying what a NLD victory means to the fans.
I shan’t lie to you; sitting through those 90 minutes wasn’t one of the more pleasurable experiences I’ve encountered as an Arsenal fan. Mercifully, for all their ‘heroic’ huffing and puffing, Tottenham Hotspur remain irredeemably bloody hopeless.
In many sectors of the media, yesterday’s performance will be branded as “hanging on” or “backs to the wall”. In all honesty; I can’t say I was especially comfortable throughout, nor was I particularly nervous. I resided in a state of football purgatory where my emotions cancelled each other out, leaving a stark, listless stare on my face as I awaited the jubilation of a confirmed result. When that moment arrived, glorious elation swept over me. There is little that feels as good as beating Tottenham.
It certainly wasn’t vintage Arsenal. Spurs were given too much to cling too when, but for Chamberlain’s profligacy, we would have had considerable distance between us and them on the scoreboard. Classing the team’s performance as “hanging on” might seem accurate, but it does warrant mentioning that the only two chances to score Spurs managed to get were gifted to them by Szczesny having one of his flappy days. Continue reading
A brave defeat (over two legs). A triumphant exit. A magnificent failure. Those are some of the terms I’m sure people will use to describe Arsenal’s performance and, alas, departure from the Champions League. There can be absolutely no shame attached to falling out of the competition (again) at the knock-out stages against Europe’s elite, but I can’t help but ponder the “what ifs” in retrospect. What if Mesut had buried that penalty. What if we had 11 v 11 for the entirety of both games.
Truthfully, last night was nothing more than a formality. We gave it our best shot, but faced with unsurmountable odds we succumbed to the inevitable. Bayern controlled the game for long periods, as you would expect, but on occasion we ruffled a few feathers and, albeit very briefly, threw the odd cat amongst their pigeons.
Joel laments conceding and, more so, not being in the embrace.
Feels glorious, doesn’t it. That sweeping euphoria of knowing that Arsenal have not let you down and that we will be front and centre when Wembley hosts the semi-finals. Whatever you may think about games other than the final taking place at the national stadium, being able to say, “Arsenal are going to Wembley” has an undeniably mellifluous ring to it.
Yesterday was a great performance when one was needed. Before kick off and up until we took an unassailable 3-1 lead, I couldn’t relax. My stomach churned, I paced and thought of nothing other than the fact there was a game. I often write about that sensation. At times it must come across as complaint when it is anything but. Feeling so on edge, so worried, is a beautiful thing; it means Arsenal are playing in a match that’s important.
And the FA Cup is important. Continue reading
“Yaya, what have I told you about leaning back before you strike the ball?!”
Apologies for the lateness of post again today. You may lay the blame at the door of my future wife this time. Truthfully, I’m glad of the extra time to write today’s entry. There’s a bewildering ocean of opinion out there and without a little time to think for yourself it would be easy to sink to the bottom.
Losing at Stoke is bad enough. Accusations of “roughing us up” and howls of derision aimed toward the dubious penalty award might be justified in some respects, but the bottom line is Arsenal didn’t play well, didn’t create chances and, on the whole, looked lethargic and disinterested. As much as I can understand the need to find an explanation that enables the blame to be put elsewhere, it is absolutely wrong. We can hold responsible no one other than the players that took to the field. Continue reading
Celebrating a magical third.
This may well be the briefest match review you’ll read. Don’t hold it against me; I’m suffering with an astonishing lack of sleep and instead of heading to bed where I should be, I’m taking a few moments to ensure my run of posting every day in 2014 stays intact.
I’ve managed to see as much of the game as possible. Yesterday I worked a 12-hour shift and missed everything of the match as it occurred live – checking Twitter and live scores services whilst serving wedding food is extraordinarily tricky. It also tend to go down rather poorly with those expecting you to actually be performing the tasks you’ve been assigned. You’d think it was obvious where my priorities lie…
In order to keep things short, here’s a handy bullet-point list of a few things I managed to glean whilst checking around for footage of the game:
Last night was a game of “what if?”.
What if Mesut Ozil scored the penalty? What even the referee had used a little lenience and shown Szczesny yellow instead of red? What if we’d been able to compete with Bayern Munich with an equal amount of players? What if Arjen Robben wasn’t such a monumental disgrace of a footballer?
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to excuse our loss and claim that any of the above would have made a difference. I’d have simply preferred to see the manner in which the game played out if the aforementioned didn’t occur. Bayern were very worthy winners over 90 minutes. They have a team of exceptional players and looked very impressive in possession of the ball. You couldn’t help but be impressed – aside from Robben that is, who writhed around and irritated as he always does, and even appeared to spit on Bacary Sagna at one point. Continue reading
Having played Streetfighter 2, Olivier shared his love for M.Bison…
Geeezzz. That wasn’t the tonic I’d hoped for.
Moving forward, drawing against Manchester United isn’t catastrophic; the world won’t implode and the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse aren’t waiting atop a hill to charge at the unsuspecting. Things will move one from here. However, I can’t help but think it was all a touch anticlimactic.
With a resounding defeat haunting us, we went into the game with an air of nerves and unrest hanging over the team and the fans. It showed in the performance. I struggle to recall another game between the two teams where neither looked eager to press forward for the win. United came with a parked bus and the hope to sneak it on the counter. Arsenal looked more concerned with not making mistakes than taking a risk going forward. Continue reading