Good morning to you, the oh-so-nearly delirious and astonished reader.
It’s a rare moment when the team warrants extensive praise having gone out of a competition, but this morning they deserve nothing less than that. I thought they were truly magnificent, a credit to both themselves and the shirt. We may have gone out, but we sure as Hell went out with a blaze of glory.
Before the game began, there was a marvellous sense of upbeat belief amongst Gooners. Past months have seen bickering and morbid resignation, but those things are distant memories. Across the various social networking sites and news outlets, the Gooner family (excluding the odd moron) have joined together for the good of the team in beautiful harmony. We all dared to believe the impossible could happen, and it so, so nearly did.
The first half performance was breathtaking; energetic, passionate, technical and fast. From the word go, we hassled Milan for every ball and used the pace of our wide players on a pitch that was of the highest order – no tacky re-turfing of the flanks here. Orchestrating from midfield, Tomas Rosicky was outstanding. Finally, we are seeing the player he really is. First Koscielny thumped in a header, secondly Rosicky finished from the edge of the box and thirdly Robin van Persie slotted home a penalty after The Ox became the filling in a Milan sandwich. 3-0 and the Milan players – and the Ref, who I assume was on their side – we’re visibly bricking themselves.
Alas, all that hard work and superb tempo, perhaps inevitably, began to wane somewhat in the second half. Once glorious chance fell to RvP, but it just wasn’t to be. As the game came to an end, the players looked visibly shattered and Milan began to see more of the ball.
But to offer any criticisms would be churlish. The boys went out there and performed way beyond the expectations of many, and for the briefest of moments, they made an impossible dream look like a very real possibility. They showed the kind of spirit and passion we’ve lacked at times this season, and I’m all the more proud to call myself a Gooner this morning after their exploits.
There’s not much else to say, other than that. If we continue in this vein of form, we’ll make the Champions League spots. We failed to progress, but we press onward with the knowledge that few failures will be as glorious.
Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. Leave a comment below and follow my Twitter account – @_ArmchairGooner.