Better, Arsenal. Better.

October 23, 2011 20 Comments by Sian

Arsenal 3-1 Stoke City

When Louise and Alphonse’s boy was born, I’m sure they never ever thought that their son’s life would go on to be so intensely scrutinised, that his achievements would be so well celebrated, that his failures would be so excessively well enjoyed by those not associated with him, and that his words would go on to become enough to fill a book’s worth of quotes.
But 62 years later, Arsene Charles Ernest Wenger has had a life less than ordinary and at present appears to stuck between the crested wave of yesteryear and the build-up to the next wave of success his staunchest supporters know is well within arms reach.

He turned 62 yesterday, just a short time after celebrating his fifteenth year in charge of what has certainly been the club of his life. So, before we get started, I know we’re in a difficult period at the moment, Arsene, but here’s a belated happy birthday to you. You’re stubborn and you’re infuriating and you’ve made some funky decisions over the years but the Arsenal that I know and love is your Arsenal and I can’t imagine what these Gunners that this girl loves would have been without you.

MOVING ON TO THE MATCH.

We’re up to seventh! We’ve won six of our last seven games! Our goal difference is now less than minus five! Crisis? What crisis! Bahahaha. No, really now. I think we all knew that Stoke City was not a match any of us were looking forward to. We beat them narrowly at home last season but went on to lose in a highly embarrassing fashion at the Brittania late on in the campaign and in what was to form part of our descent into sludgy, sludgy, hellish, shit. In that match we had no answer for them, and in our current tightwire-dwelling position, everyone knew it’d take only the slightest prod in the ribs to send us fluttering into the floor like a house of cards.

Thankfully, though, that didn’t happen. The starting line up looked a bit wonky, lacking a flying Dutchman and with a bench not containing a defender of any kind. It was at this point that we hoped Arsene still knew. Because if he didn’t, he’d lost it for realz. Yes, we’d had a mid-week game. Yes, we have another on Tuesday. And yes, RvP most certainly needs to be protected from burn-out. But to rest him against Stoke City? Our bogey team? ARE YOU STILL BIRTHDAY DRUNK, ARSENE?

Anyway, we went ahead in the 27th minute thanks to our number 27 Gervinho – APT! – and Aaron Ramsey’s pass to him before naturally letting them get right back into it just seven minutes later with a Crouch goal from a free kick. Ugh. I’d forgotten he played for them. The goal was an embarrassment, to be honest. I’m writing this pre-Match of the Day, so I’ve not seen it back besides the original incident and a replay on the big screens at the Emirates, but it looked hilarious then and it still seems hilarious now in memory. It looked like Arsenal’s finger may have been hovering over the ‘KABAM POW WEEEEEEEEE BOOOOOOOOOOM’ button once a-bloody-gain.

And, normally, we probably would have done an impression of Peter Kay’s Rich Tea biscuit and gone ‘Eeeeeeeeh no I can’t do it, it’s too hard I give up’ *slump*. But today, we did not. Stoke didn’t really look like they had an awful lot to offer. Obviously they looked dangerous at times, but that was more down to us than them.

We were playing pretty well, but not scoring. Which us unusual for us. We all know that Arsenal subs don’t come on before 70 minutes, so RvP’s introduction to the match (in place of poor Chamakh) in the 66th said it all. He started to change the game immediately, pressuring more than we’d been managing previously.

Six minutes later, Gervinho was vitally important for us again as he assisted RvP’s obligatory goal in the 73rd minute. It wasn’t a pretty goal, but it was a goal and this season, all goals are to be celebrated. Just under ten minutes later and we were celebrating again as RvP poked another home and put the game out of reach (well, out of reach if you’re anyone else. If you’re an Arsenal fan, you’ll still have been feeling sick at 90+3.)

Stoke were dead and buried. After the match I had more than one non-Arsenal fan ask me why Arsenal were celebrating a win over poor little Stoke. Well folks, in case you’d been snoozing the past couple of months, we’re not exactly running away with the damn title here. We’ve struggled so far. We shouldn’t have been, but we have. I do love how everyone talks of Arsenal’s hopelessness smilingly until they beat a ‘lower’ team, which is when all the comments of ’BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE TWATTED THEM ANYWAY, YOU’RE ARSENAL, WHAT ARE YOU CELEBRATING FOOOOOOOOOOLS?!?!?!’ We’re nothing until we win, which is when we’re not allowed to be proud of our achievements, because they mean nothing as they should have been accepted as standard anyway, even though up until then no one thought we could achieve against anyone. What a microcosmic symptom of society.

I’m rambling like a hyperactive child on speed, so moving on. In addition to this last point, we’ve not had the easiest of rides against Stoke in recent seasons. If hatred fueled matches, we’d flatten them no problem, but sadly it doesn’t. Today their threat went off when Delap’s triceps went off. Ha.

Special mentions go to Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny who were consistently good. After a quiet period also, Mikel Arteta seems to be coming good again. I’m not sure who won man of the match, but I’d probably have given it to Gervinho. And there’s no doubting the impression RvP and Arshavin made when they came on. It was still far from a perfect performance, but it was better. And better is the only way to go.

So anyway, three more points and another boost for the confidence ahead of next weekend’s trip to Stamford Bridge. Drogba will also be suspended for that match after being given his marching orders today against QPR, so that’s one less guaranteed brace against us.

And to all the ‘One man team’ brigade – oh, fucking do one. Yes, our reliance on Robin is slightly concerning given he is one man with especially skinny legs, but every team has its star. Until this summer, we had Cesc. Before that, we had Thierry. No doubt do others need to start sharing the load, but he’s our captain and our only real striker out there at the moment. EVERY team goes through phases of relying on someone. There will come a time when its someone else. But for now, let’s just celebrate the fact we have someone quite so fantastic as the Robster. What a stunner he is.

It’s a pity that our win was overshadowed by Manchester City’s thumping of Manchester United, but it was a good warning (because we needed one) that we should be quivering in our boots ahead of our match against them, and it’s good to know we’re not the only ones capable of getting bollocked at Old Trafford.

But in London, it was a happy weekend. So, happy birthday, AW. Happy 15th in charge. Happy 100th match, the Emirates. And happy 25th in 26, Robin.

20 Comments

  1. fancy john
    2075 days ago

    it was a good bathday present to us the fans in nigeria and the world

    Reply

  2. Tricia
    2075 days ago

    I love your blog so much! Always entertaining and spot on. So glad with this result. Let’s hope we can keep this going.

    Reply

  3. rizal
    2075 days ago

    What do you mean that our win were overshadow by the Manchescter derby ? if you ask me I would look at it as icing on the cake :) just think again about evra proud & boastful after our recent game against them….. I am sure you will :) tooo.

    Reply

  4. Icent
    2075 days ago

    Nycpost dear,already looking 4wd 2 30/30 4 captain vantastic

    Reply

  5. RedandDread
    2075 days ago

    Well said Girlie!!

    Reply

  6. 1NilToTheArsenal
    2075 days ago

    Really enjoyed the beginning of today’s blog. A worthy salute to our manager and our club. Well done.

    A great day all around – picking up the W on day when Chelsea implode and the Manchester Derby produces the most improbable result since…nah, I won’t ever again bring up that game.

    Koscielny and Ramsey were equally MOTM for me. The Welshman was particularly impressive given today’s opponents.

    THIS is the Arsenal with which we are all so much more familiar. 63% possession. Our keeper looking positively lonely at our end. And the rich form of a certain Dutchman once again bagging us all 3 points.

    Reply

  7. Sheik Abdullah
    2075 days ago

    I believe the gunners still spend too much time threading passes in the third half.Against Man City it could be disastrous.Indeed if an Arsenal attack breaks down,it will be the perfect opportunity for counter attacking teams.
    Next stop Chelsea.The gunners have the perfect opportunity to make a statement of intent.Seize it.

    Reply

  8. irishgary
    2075 days ago

    Sian – Great post and one which wasn’t eaten by the big scary hungry WordPress monster. Nice little tribute to AW as well, kudos! Now if only the Spuds had not scored a winner right at the end it would have been a perfect day of football. Nice to have you back regularly Sian, long may it continue :) COYG!!!

    Reply

  9. Elfa
    2075 days ago

    Loved the blog, touchy stuff about Wenger at the start serves as a needed reminder to us of how lucky we are to have him.

    I’d like to make two additional points to the ones you’ve already raised:
    a) Whatever can be said of Stoke in previous years, now they’re not only OUR bogey team. So far this season they’ve won against Liverpool and managed draws against Manchester United and Chelsea. So really, who can say “just Stoke”?

    b) About Arsenal being a one man team. I think it’s very fashionable nonsense. It’s a popular game of the media to bring out our negatives. Really, how can they say this? Especially today with Gervinho scoring one and assisting on two. It’s insulting to his efforts. Also, aside from being our star at the moment, RVP happens to be deployed as a lone striker most of the time. I don’t think it’s unfair to expect a striker in that position to be the top goalscorer for his team.

    Reply

  10. gunnie
    2075 days ago

    lovely blog! watched the game in holland on tv, very happy in the end!

    Reply

  11. irishgray
    2075 days ago

    Just finished watching the Utd-City game. AHAHAHA!! No sympathy WHAT SO EVER! And that was their first team? I can’t wait to get back at Utd in January. COYG!!

    Reply

  12. Gache D
    2075 days ago

    Amaazin blog n for the match clearly there was a big improvement and am sure as the ARSENAL FAMILY WE WILL RISE UP!!

    Reply

  13. Daniel
    2075 days ago

    Great bloggy! Better Arsenal!

    I think Gervinho (rightly your man of the match!) deserves more headlines for yesterday than RVP – OK, RVP obvs deserves lots of credit for coming on and scoring two – but one goal and two assists was brilliant from our hairband brainiac. He really watched Van’s runs and movement and found him cool and brilliantly on both occasions… I think if it were the other way round, RVP would still be getting the plaudits though. But you hang in there Gerv, the cult hero of yesterday’s game!

    “We’ll take a draw from here.” – sorry about that on 92 mins, not my proudest moment as I know I was feeling similar but if you don’t laugh you’ll cry is my theory on all things capitulaion now ;)

    Reply

  14. Ferhan
    2075 days ago

    Good blog as always! I especially agree with your sentiments towards the ‘One man team’ critics. Yes RvP changed the game, but other players played their part too – Gervinho (reminds me of Overmars with his mazy runs down the wing), Ramsey, Arteta and Koscielny, to name but a few. It’d be nice if we had more scoring options but they’ll come during the season I’m sure.

    Reply

  15. Alex
    2074 days ago

    Yours is the blog I search out in the hours after the match result, win lose or draw, because I know its going to be quality, and your bit on Arsene is the perfect example.

    On the match, you’ve pretty much summed up my thoughts and feelings in about 1.5 to 2k characters so plaudits to you Ms Sian.

    Bolton at home(again), I was there when we beat them last month & I’ll be at the Emirates today, cheering our lads on from the Clock End :)

    COYG!

    Reply

  16. UncleK
    2074 days ago

    Nice piece about AW,Sian.Good blog too.Only saw sunday goals on
    postage stamp size window,so can’t really comment on quality of football
    or movement off the ball etc.but it’s good to get back to winning ways.
    See you at Ems later

    Reply

  17. Irishgray
    2073 days ago

    Sian – Just finished reading your piece on the Arsenal Collective memory bank, very cute :) ” I wasn’t even wearing red!” – too funny that. Let’s hope the Young Guns come out blazing tonight as I just want 1 game where I can sit back and admire the team I have followed for almost 30 years, without having to worry and bite my nails for the last half hour. Surely that is not too much to ask, is it? COYG!!

    Reply

  18. Alan
    2073 days ago

    Nice words about AW, Siany. I can’t imagine Arsenal without him, although one day I know it has to happen. Good win against the Ugs (and good win for the boys last night).

    Reply

  19. Irishgray
    2069 days ago

    Just a quick message to Sian’s Dad. Can you PLEEEEEEEEASE get her to write a new blog!? We are all waiting…………………Chelsea suck :)

    Reply

    • Sian
      2068 days ago

      You asked, I did. Its up!

      Reply

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