A game of two Arsenals.

January 30, 2012 11 Comments by Sian

With the exception of ‘That’s football’ and ‘Not that kind of player’, there are few footballing clichés more wall-punchingly irritating than ‘A game of two halves’. Unfortunately, it’s time to lock up your walls because yesterday… yesterday was a… oh, ahhhh… a game of t-… a game of two-… nope, nope, can’t even say it. It’s just too annoying.

Perhaps it was instead a game of two Arsenals. I sat with a cracking headache at half time yesterday afternoon (half thanks to Arsenal, half thanks to the invention of gin and tequila), really and truly having a right good panic-up. From my point of view, we’d played quite well in the first half, and were very unlucky to have been two goals down. We’d had more possession, more shots on target and were playing better, as far as I was concerned, than we had done for most of the month. So what in the ever-loving name of sod was going on? In addition to this, their second goal from Darren Bent had gone in at a ridiculously acute angle after a fairly good save from Fabianski. WOULD WE EVER CATCH A BREAK?

At 0-1 down, it was a case of “Keep calm, it’s still doable”. The fact Villa were lucky to be ahead boded well for us. Besides it’s usually better to go behind than ahead in the first half, no? But then when the second went in… well, we all know what we were all thinking. There were boos at half time. Lots of boos.

Somehow managing to access Twitter as we froze in our seats at half time, I was actually taken aback by the fury taking place on my timeline. And that’s saying something. For a football fan, Twitter is never a cuddly place. But this was unprecedented. “This is a huge 45 minutes for Arsene Wenger… I am ashamed to be here… we are a shambles… In Arsene I no longer trust… HAHAHAHAHAHA [OK so I follow the occasional non-Gooner]” It was not a pretty sight. In fact it was like my timeline was booing. For the first time, people were defending people’s right to boo. Which is some bollocks we’ll get to later, but for now let’s continue with half time.

It was a truly blue fifteen minutes. The only thing for it was to applaud the boys back out and hope for the best. Then something magical happened. You know how you normally get a tingling in your Spidey senses that we’re about to balls it up to the max? You can feel the bulge of the wrong net, the roar of the wrong set of people, minutes before it happens? Well, this was opposites day.

Suddenly there was a bit of urgency, a bit of fight, a bit of fire in the belly. I can honestly say that from the moment we kicked off, I thought “We’re going through to the next round”. In as much as it was a collapse courtesy of Aston Villa, it was a comeback courtesy of us. And yes, we had one lucky Theo goal sandwiched between two penalties. Given we’ve had precisely eight hundred and forty seven perfectly legitimate penalty shouts overruled over the past four weeks, it must now be widely accepted that we will never again be awarded another penalty.

Ever.

But that’s fine. A few minutes in when a Per header was blocked on the line by Stephen Ireland, the stadium shook with “YOU LUCKY BASTARDS!!!” Given that Given had already saved an absolute rocket of an effort from Thomas Vermaelen in the first half, and that Theo had squandered our next most realistic chance, and that Given had also managed to avoid a goal by Oxlade-Chamberlain, there was an inkling of “Oh God maybe not…” I mean when was the last time a visiting goalkeeper didn’t make a wonder save at the Emirates?

Anyhow, in the 54th minute the penalty gods were to shrug off their Arsenal-proof noise-cancelling earphones and look up from their newspapers and doughnuts for the first time in SIXTY FOUR YEARS just in time to catch Richard Dunne bringing down Aaron Ramsey in the box.

Robin, who has not had to take a penalty since 2003* (*not true) fired this one home to make the little lifeline we’d been clinging onto in our heads a very real and tangible rope indeed. The best thing was that it actually was a penalty as well. There were arguments as to whether Dunne should have been given his marching orders given it was a second bookable offence by him, but let’s not get carried away here.

Speaking of luck, our second goal courtesy of Theo’s… shoulder, was it? Was one of the dopiest goals you’ll ever see but who here is complaining? Not I. Having leveled the scores, there is always a worry a team will take their foot off the intensity pedal and instead wedge on the stupid handbrake, but yesterday we seemed to have learned something of a lesson. And we were obviously still celebrating opposites day, as KOSCIELNY was brought down by BENT to hand us another penalty. Which RvP slotted home once more.

Never in doubt.

If you wish to cry and whinge and bawl about the half time result, then you must sing and jump and celebrate at the full time whistle. After all, how many times have we done the very opposite of yesterday? It will probably be healthier for our hearts if we don’t now assume that yesterday might have been a turning point, but it was still nice to end the month of January with a second win.

My personal highlight of yesterday was the return of the Bac. They will continue to try to make humans as good as Bacary, but do you know what? They will keep on failing. The Bac can not be replicated.

So on we march to the fifth round of the FA Cup, where we will face either Middlesbrough or Sunderland away. Both of which are far, so my only prediction ahead of this clash is that someone will post a photo of someone else sound akip on the journey up there. Still, yesterday’s result coupled with the mildly positive injury news that seems to be trickling through lately, and it is not all fog and marshlands and toast without Marmite. Except for the RvP controversy. Not gonna lie to you, it’s elbowy. Not brain rattlingly so, but he has a look before he sticks it out. He’ll be unlucky to receive any kind of punishment from the FA given the things they’ve let go in recent months, but then we’re Arsenal. Also, RvP comes from the Balotelli school of Englishness, so we’ll have to see about that one. That’s all there is to say on the matter, because anything else might make me sound like a hypocrite of Alex McLeish proportions.

Oh yeah and back to the booers. Thankfully, it was eradicated by the second half when our support realised that support means support and not BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, but I still think it would have served us right if the Villa fans had replied to our “You’re not singing any more” song, with “And were you ever, you big fat booing pillocks?” But that doesn’t fit very well into many tunes, so I can see why they didn’t.

But still. Booing is ugly, and it makes you look ugly too. The support in the second half was brilliant. Let’s continue that into Bolton away on Wednesday and hopefully the boys will keep up their end of the bargain too.

11 Comments

  1. ian campbell
    2030 days ago

    fair comment thought Aaron Ramsey got more involved he should be like this more often .

    Reply

  2. Daniel
    2030 days ago

    Wanna say, you have the rare knack of actually making win blogs and lose blogs pretty much as engaging and heart-warming as eachother. Obviously I prefer the win ones because I can relax but the lose ones give me a much needed kick up the backside… I digress.

    I’ve been looking at my tweets from HT yesterday

    1) “Where are you Arsenal?” – I think they read this one. I only wish I got a tweet back on 60 mins “@Arsenal @DanielClancy Here.”

    2) “Just get a goal before 60 and don’t let them get another and we can still do it. Simple as that. #ornot” – WHAT DO I KNOW?

    3) “But can we AT LEAST save the bile until it’s over? ’cause it AIN’T over yet.” COME ONNNNNN!

    The proof is in the pudding as it were. The worrying thing is that peple genuinely gave up on us at 2-0… I’d sooner give up on us at 2-0 UP if I’m honest.

    SO good to have Bac back and other people coming through again too… things COULD be looking up. And two penalties? Unreal.

    Reply

  3. Phill Jones
    2030 days ago

    Agree with you about the BOOING – it is Ugly! I have a friend (although contemplating removing him from my life) who says he is an arsenal fan but he only seems to like it when we lose so he can moan!!

    I cannot understand him moaning and booing, even tho i agree sometime that the team needs changing or a new player here and there..although he thinks everything needs to change – i have told him to go and support west ham and he could then moan all he likes.

    Vermaelen is right saying the club needs to stand together and that means players and Fans, it cannot help hearing people BOO at half time!!! If we showed some true support and that we loved the club no matter what, they might play like they loved the club to!

    Loved the game although i was more than a little hungover myself and don’t really remember exactly what happened till i re watched the highlights this morning at work!

    Reply

  4. 1NilToTheArsenal
    2030 days ago

    A perfect write up of a perfectly needed wtf?-not again!-come-from-behind-(what-us?-Really?)-incredible-match.

    Many Gooners have complained about our dearth of luck, and I’m sure some of the self-same will be also be complaining that we won because of luck.

    Duh! The great NY Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez said “I’d rather be lucky than good” which is a perfectly acceptable sentiment especially when you’re as good as he was, and as good as we (can, sometimes possibly) be.

    If we can make anything of this, and manage to carry any leftover momentum into the next few matches, we will regain our form just in time for the run-in.

    The Bac is back, can the Arsenal be far behind?

    COYG (forever)…

    1NTTA

    Reply

  5. crazeemunky
    2030 days ago

    may i just say i absolutely adore the due diligence you place on obtaining accurate statistics :p top post :D

    Reply

  6. UncleK
    2030 days ago

    Great blog,Siany! I was trying to guess the half time score from
    the body language as I passed the 12 Pins…Could have been 0-5
    judging by the glum smokers outside.
    All hail the Comeback Kids.
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY for tomorrow,by the way.

    Reply

  7. Alan
    2030 days ago

    Happy blog time at last. Thanks, boys, for giving Siany a Birthday win. And a big Happy Birthday to Siany for tomorrow from me too.

    Reply

  8. Alex
    2029 days ago

    “It was a truly blue fifteen minutes. The only thing for it was to applaud the boys back out and hope for the best.”

    I missed the first 16 minutes (was accommodating little brother on PS3) and so I missed the Tommy V Thunderbolt that Given surely must of scorched his hands saving that lil’ bit of nature but from the corner I had a sickly feeling in the pit of my stomach that we were gonna concede for their 1st goal and I was right. Their 2nd goal was more eedisbelief on the counter, ‘No,you’re 4 defenders up, handle it ffs!’

    At Half Time I was pretty demoralised, doesn’t help when you see people like Piers Morgan on Twitter saying ‘Job Switch between Wenger & Mourinho’ but I knuckled down for the 2nd half, pulled off my robe, and pulled on my Home Shirt, keeping the faith that we could come back. And we did :D

    Good blog Sian, COYG! Let’s do in Bolton tomorrow as we should.

    Reply

  9. Gabi
    2029 days ago

    Hahaha brilliant birthday blog Sian! Sooo glad the boys pulled their collective butts together and remembered who they were and what they represented at half-time. Captain man Perfect must have given one hell of a call to arms in that dressing room!

    Won’t lie, I thought we were in pretty dire straights at HT, but that bloody optimist in me never QUITE allowed me to give up a little glimmer of hope. And you’re right – as soon as we kicked off, but especially after our first goal, I just KNEW we were gonna do it. And we bloody well did! :D moments like this are why I watch football.

    Reply

  10. vaders_grandfather
    2029 days ago

    Good Morning Sian and fellow readers,

    I was in the office (on a Sunday at 19h00) and had to watch the game on a stream.

    Needless to say, when The Arsenal scored, I was jumping up and down on my boss’s desk.

    I felt bad at half time because I muttered various sentences taught to me by a anglo-french sailor a few years ago and wondered if The Arsenal would even come out of the dressing room for the second half.

    I’ve never been so happy to eat my hat, socks and one shoe.

    As fantastic as the comeback was, I think the one secret Mr. Wenger needs instill into the team is one of consistancy. Will The Arsenal come out all guns blazing against Bolton? I bloody well hope so.

    I would also like to point out that I never thought Laurent would make such a fantastic makeshift wing back. Solid as a centre back but my; I thought i was tripping on LSD when I saw him charging into the box. Perhaps a tactic Mr. Wenger has been working on with the players?

    I hope you a have a fantastic birthday Sian, and may you recieve the shoes of your dreams. Or a suntan, whichever comes first.

    Reply

  11. Alan Cowie
    2029 days ago

    my Arsenal homeshirt sleeves turned pink in the wash on Sunday.
    The day was looking ominous … Thankfully the arsenal performed a miracle in the 2nd half. Now i need a miracle for my shirt. :)

    Loving the blog.

    Reply

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