Very late post-Fulham/pre-City blog.
Sorry for the lateness of this blog, but if you read the very short post I put up last night, you’ll see why it is. There have been tributes aplenty since the news that Wales manager Gary Speed had passed away. I’m not sure I could do any better than the things that have already been written (from the BBC’s Dan Walker to former team-mate Robbie Savage to our own boss), plus it always seems a little strange hearing someone discuss someone they’d never really dedicated much time to before, after their passing. So, I won’t, but to extend once again many thoughts to his wife and boys and everyone who knew and loved him as a player, manager, friend, supporter and man. And it is obvious that an enormous amount of people did, which says more in itself than any written tribute would.
On to the Arsenal. I’ll keep it short as it was now almost two days ago, but it was a bit of a flat match at the Ems on Saturday. Expected, of course, after the brilliance of midweek and the ensuing celebrations, but to come away with only a point from a home match against Fulham, was a little disappointing. I don’t really think the dummy-spitting reaction from some was quite warranted, but where would we be without a bit of a fuss? We had about 142 chances, but none of them came home to roost. In fact, it ended up being a defender who scored our goal. And their goal. Thomas Vermaelen was uncharacteristically wobbly in giving Fulham their lead in the 65th minute with a trickled in shot that left Szczesny staring. It was about as close as Fulham got to goal all afternoon, so it was good to know that Arsenal can still pull the crazy out of the bag when things are getting a little too boringly good.
However, Thomas was to redeem himself in the 82nd minute by equalising for us and in doing so, sparing our blushes. It didn’t really spare him any blushes though, having faced it in from a Walcott cross as he did and ending up with a bright red boat race that was probably left fizzing for the rest of the day. I remember seeing or hearing someone (perhaps it was on Twitter?) saying something in the defence of a particular player wrongly blamed for the draw, along the lines of “I don’t see any of you blaming Vermaelen”. Now, I’m failing to see how the 1-1 draw was his fault. Yes, he scored an own goal. But then it took him less than 20 minutes to make up for it by equalising and doing the thing the other nine outfield players had failed to do all afternoon. If only others playing a stinker were to put as much effort into rectifying their mistakes.
Anyway, like I said, it was a frustrating and annoying match and one that really highlighted how tired some of our players look. We’re still unbeaten in ten though and, best of all, NOVEMBER OF DOOM IS ALMOST OVER. Of course we’ve still got to get past Manchester Spondoolies tomorrow night in the quarter final of the Carling Cup, which will be a slight hurdle. They played Liverpool last night, so have very little time in which to prepare themselves for this year’s Emirates test (read my matchblog from the last time they snoozed us all into a draw last time)… however, given they have about 296 first team players, I doubt this will be a problem for them. I’m sure this year’s display, in spite of being in a different competition, will be completely different to last year’s, so I doubt it’ll be a dull encounter. Hopefully some of our first team players will be rested. I know everyone wants a trophy, but the Carling Cup is still on my grudge list at the moment, so I personally see no harm in saving legs for more important matches. Of course, we do have Olympiacos coming up, and we could technically play the under 9s in that one, so the first team will get their rest eventually. I just think some of them looked on Saturday like they needed one now.
That’s about it. Told you it’d be short. Overall we should still be feeling very positive about the team. They look a lot more like a team than they have for a while, and I still really LIKE them as well as loving them. Oh by the way, did you see Cesc’s tweets this morning? He is reading Fever Pitch. There were a lot of Arsenal fans a bit miffed about this, and about the fact he’s still talking about us, but I love it. We had to endure years of “HE’S GOING HOME HE’S GOING HOME HE’S GOING HOME” talk, so the fact the fans of his new, frumpy club are seeing almost exclusively tweets about hair and Arsenal these days, is really quite funny to me. What can we say? Once our Club’s got you, it’s got you for good.
See you after City.