Smells like… like… could it be… team spirit?!

March 13, 2012 26 Comments by Sian

Arsenal 2 – 1 Newcastle United

‘Arsenal are the first team to have come from behind to go on and win the match in four matches consecutively in Premier League history’.

Saaaaay whaaaaaaaat?

This Arsenal? ‘Just not good enough’ Arsenal? Higgledy piggledy superglued together squad of rubbish Arsenal? The new Arsenal borne of the loins of failed youth and weakened spirit? The Arsenal that was unnecessarily and undeservedly arrogant for too long, who have festered under an ageing French loon and who will never win another trophy ever again, ever, as long as trees have branches and as long as faces have noses?

Well blow me down! What a turn up!

Hehehe. Truly though, what a good night last night was. It was sort of a mixture of the matches we’ve faced previously. Against Tottenham, we went a goal down before we showed any signs of life but were then magnificent for the rest of the match. Against Liverpool we were shite but held on to grab the points at the end with a stunner of a peach from Robin. And against Milan we were excellent throughout and then left devastated when full time came and our mistakes in Italy came back to truly, truly haunt us. Whack those three matches together in a big fat cauldron and whaddya get?

Arsenal 2 – 1 Newcastle United!

Sure it’s a shame it once again took a goal to knock some sense into us, but there is no better way of reacting to going a goal down than to score less than a minute later. And Arteta agrees with me. He phoned me to tell me earlier.

Naaaaah, he didn’t.

We had a few good chances before that Newcastle goal of doom, particularly when Theo Walcott – a man rejuvenated – sliced across a brilliant cross for van Persie, who missed connecting with it by about an inch. That cross, by the way, was brought to life thanks to the head of Bacary Sagna. Did he miss ANY headers yesterday?

Newcastle’s 14th minute opener was aided by Vermaelen, who lost the ball in midfield to Tiote. Ben Arfa’s finish was brilliant, but it still went through two players and a keeper at the near post. Gah! My favourite part about that goal, though, is that we in the stadium had barely finished grumbling before we were level once more. Sky Sports had to hurry back to live action it came so quickly! Once again Theo Walcott and his cross – spectacular in this match – set RvP up beautifully to pull us back in. His finish at the near post was RvP to the core. In that it was left-footed and beautiful, obviously.

From there, we really could have been more goals up. The second half was a bit similar to the second half of the Wolves match, in which we battered the penalty area and got nothing from it. Tomas ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day, except that you’re SO MUCH BETTER THAN A SUMMER’S DAY YOU FLUFFY HAIRED STUNNER’ Rosicky missed a massive chance when he somehow managed to left-footedly put it wide, so wide that it almost became a throw-in, even though he was right in front of goal. Pity, because he was epic yesterday. And I hate the word epic.

Gervinho missed a sitter, Robin whacked it across goal, even Gibbs had a go (not a very good one). Vermaelen then had a header saved brilliantly by Tim Krul. You got the feeling we wanted a goal, to be honest. When it eventually came, in the 95th minute, it was bloody worth it. Funny that it came from a Newcastle throw in up their end, as that’s the kind of thing that happens to us. Funnier still that the goal involved about seven of our players as we went on continuing to prove we are a One Man Team.

Often, when we’re chasing goal, one of the first to step up is Thomas Vermaelen. He’s been a bit wonky lately, but think of times like the Manchester City match where he, the centre half (though he may have been playing left back then, anyway, a DEFENDER) had not one but two shots go very close. It seems like he’s often the first to get to the point of ‘Bugger this, I’ll do it’. He’d been making lots of runs forward before it finally paid off and he could have been caught out of position had we not kept possession. Krul probably didn’t have much hope of saving such a close range shot, but given the saves he’d made earlier in the game, anything was possible.

ENTER MANPILE.

The bench celebrations were as good as the pitch ones. Tommy R and his coat-shrugging sprint, the dancing doctor and the Santos-Wenger hug which has now replaced the Gervinho-Wenger high five in the Chelsea match in my Top Five bench celebrations involving a manager and a player. Unfortunately, it ended a bit ugly (if you’re a Daily Mail reader) and a bit funny (if you’re you or I). Let’s face it, Tim Krul had been time wasting throughout. Not to have a go, even though I hate time-wasting about as much as I hate war, but he was. I hate it when other teams do that and I hate it when we do that.

Who knows what was said but it sounds as though fellow Dutchman RvP said something along the lines of ‘Yeah, time waste now ya muppet!’ Which is fair enough. Were the roles reversed we’d no doubt be going “What a TOOL” at Newcastle’s captain, and rightly so, but the outrage I’ve seen from ‘neutrals’ is simply hysterical. Do you really expect Arsenal fans to be ashamed of this behaviour? A team so long accused of having no bite or oomph, of not being bastardy enough, ashamed of a player giving it a bit of welly and winding up the opposition? Have a laugh.

Plus it was good to see that even though RvP has grown up and taken on his captainly/fatherly duties amazingly well, has reigned in his spiky streak and has become all in all a stand up guy… he’s still a WUM with the grin of a five year old. Love that. Love that almost as much as Koscielny once again being the fight diffuser and Vermaelen taking on the role of bodyguard at the end of the match. Check out these GIFs 1 & 2 sent by @cristina0ana on Twitter. Not gonna lie, I’ve watched them a lot. A lot, a lot.

Gary Neville… oh God I’m referencing Gary Neville… said at the end of the match that emphatic wins are brilliant, but last-minute wins are infinitely better for the team’s spirit. And it’s true – we could have put one of those many earlier chances away and strolled into full time going “Yeeha baby, bring it man, peace and love, peace and love”. As it was we skidded in on our knees in the final minute of extra time going “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!”

Also, I have to mention Cesc. He was there last night too. Didn’t make a fuss of it, but to post a photo of the Emirates at half time (which just goes to show, he really is superhuman). It obviously caused uproar among the fans who care about him so little that they can’t stop talking about him, but I’m glad he was there. Partly because I love him and because I stand by all of this still entirely, and I know he still loves the Arse… but also partly in a kind of ‘Ha. See. Told ya. We can do this’ kind of way. We may end up trophyless once again this season, but this current team has started to show signs of the stuff we seem to have been missing a lot longer than any silverware. Finally. And it is really good to see.

 

26 Comments

  1. NatDK
    1933 days ago

    Take a bow, Miss Mac. Top stuff.

    And “WAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!” indeed! I’m pretty sure that’s the noise I made after Verm scored, joined with a little dance.

    Reply

    • Sian
      1927 days ago

      Thanks doll :)

      Reply

  2. Daniel
    1933 days ago

    When the ball was up our end for that last minute before we scored, I was ready to grit my teeth and call a draw a draw… then when we got the ball and started galloping forward I got that feeling where you just need every pass to go right… because it’s the last minute and ANY false move and it’s probably game over… your nerves are suddenly jangling… then you see in the corner of your eye that mountain of a man Tommy V galloping like a man possessed (by an Arsenal supporting psychopath/maniac) and you think “OK, really, don’t fuck thid up now, we may get caught out!” (as you pointed out). And the rest is history.

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate how your blog makes me smile and giggle like a wally. Even though I’m at work, bored and brainless, somehow you have the knack of making me smile good and proper.

    “…as long as trees have branches and as long as faces have noses?”

    Ahhhhhhhh. That’s the stuff.

    ps. Tommy caught that bottle in that gif like it was NUTTIN’.

    Reply

    • Sian
      1927 days ago

      We’ve texted, tweeted, and drew some things since, but nevertheless, love this comment! Also, Tommy V caught the water bottle in exactly the same style post-Norwich. So cool it hurts.

      Reply

  3. vaders_grandfather
    1933 days ago

    Good Evening Everyone,

    I have read, digested and smiled at every tweet, blog and match report over the last eighteen hours.

    It’s as if Shakespeare himself is writing the script.

    I wish I had something original and witty to write, but alas I am still recovering from kicking my coffee table in celebration last night.

    Arsenal!
    Arsenal FC!
    They’re by far the greatest team the world has ever seen!

    Apart from Mr. Wenger receiving all the plaudits, I would like to thank Mr. Rice and all the support staff for giving The Arsenal family something to strut about in the street.

    Forever together, wherever we are.
    For we are The Arsenal.

    That is all.

    Reply

    • Treez
      1933 days ago

      Made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! I may need to quote you…

      Reply

      • vaders_grandfather
        1933 days ago

        Good Evening Treez,

        It would be my pleasure.

        Goodnight.

        Reply

    • 1NilToTheArsenal
      1933 days ago

      Don’t think anyone can say it better than that. At least not without a few more pints…

      Reply

      • Sian
        1927 days ago

        Hahaha!

        Reply

    • FunGunner
      1933 days ago

      Good to remind us that Arsenal is a team undertaking with the coaching staff as well.

      Reply

      • vaders_grandfather
        1932 days ago

        It seems that to me, the medical team really seem to have pulled their socks up as the conditioning of the team also seems to have moved up a gear.

        Also, could we be seeing a move back to The Arsenal being the fittest team in the League? I remember a few years ago, that this was one of The Arsenal’s calling cards so to speak.

        As we have seen over the last few games, we are seriously running teams into the ground. I suppose the fact that we only play once a week allows us to run around like spring chickens. All of our attacking options, have pace and a terrier like ability to chase the ball.

        It seems that Mr. Wenger has unleashed the dogs of war.

        Reply

    • Sian
      1927 days ago

      *wells up a bit*

      Reply

  4. jgrant85
    1933 days ago

    one of the few games I saw in a pub this season. I was pretty calm throughout but screamed like a Sian when we scored. Already thought game was a draw. O me of little faith

    Reply

    • Sian
      1927 days ago

      “like a Sian”… brilliant :)

      Reply

  5. Alex
    1933 days ago

    You (your blog) and the Arsenal are symbiotic it seems Ms Sian, for better and for worse, and its been for better for a long time now :)

    “Enter Manpile”, I probably would of shed a tear of joy at our team spirit if I watched the game live (title put a huge smile on this Nirvana fan’s face :D )

    Forward Arsenal, Forward to Goodison Park! Do us proud again & again.

    Reply

    • Sian
      1927 days ago

      Thanks Alex! x

      Reply

  6. Alan
    1933 days ago

    Marvellous, bird. As good as a last minute goal.

    Reply

  7. The Waffle Mafia
    1933 days ago

    I love that Vermaelan got the winner after his miscue set up their goal. Remember, he did the same thing against Fulham in November when he had an own goal and then tied it late with a great header. However, that night he didn’t sprint like a madmen from center field to score it and there wasn’t an amazing celebration following the strike. Honestly, it feels like it happened in a completely different season and not just 5 months ago.

    You mentioned team camaraderie, and it’s shown in all four comebacks and the win against Milan. Even after Koscielny’s own goal against Liverpool, the team worked to pick him up and it showed because he had a rather fine game. The boys really do seem to like one another, and it’s fantastic to see. I love this team so much.

    Reply

    • Sian
      1927 days ago

      Me too :) Yeah, Vermaelen is certainly one for righting his wrongs, and also the first to get fed up of everyone else’s inability to score!

      Reply

  8. Kevin U.
    1933 days ago

    EXACTLY. GRIT has been too long gone from our beloved Gunners’ backbone, and now they have it and then some!

    Reply

  9. FunGunner
    1933 days ago

    Fantastic stuff, Sian. Nodded all the way through, laughedc my head off. I started copying and pasting the bits which I particularly loved or made me laugh and then soon realised I might as well quote the whole article!

    Reply

  10. FunGunner
    1933 days ago

    Having said that, this phrase deserves a special mention: Tomas ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day, except that you’re SO MUCH BETTER THAN A SUMMER’S DAY YOU FLUFFY HAIRED STUNNER’ Rosicky

    Reply

  11. El Greco
    1932 days ago

    Hey, Sian, thanks for painting another beautiful canvas, with the last stroke of your brush inspired by Verlaelen.

    And here’s a thought:
    You know how football is riddled with superstition, right? You know, managers, players and fans have a way of behaving on match days, a way in which to tempt the Gods in favour of their team come kick-off. Well, I wouldn’t say that I fell into that catagory cause, hell, it’s irrarional, and superstition is for the simple minded…rigtht?
    So here’s a confession…
    After we got caned by AC Milan and bundled out of the FA Cup, both games of which I recorded and never watched – I mean, after our perfornance, who would want to watch and hurt? So, when it came to the Tottenham game, not only did I not watch it live, I did not hit the record button either. And guess what?….
    Well, just for kicks I did the same with the Liverpool game and the same against the return game with AC Miilan. Now I’m getting a little paranoid. I mean, there can’t be any link to our team’s perfornance and my SkyHD box…right?
    So I decidec the hell with all this mumbo jumbo lark, and set the recorder for the game against Newcastle since I wasn’t gonna be in to watch it live anyway. Whilst out I heard the Arse had beaten Newcastle in injury time – brilliant!
    Equally good was dispelling the crazy notion that recording the game brought bad luck to the Arse.
    And here’s the scary bit. When I got home I discovered that my wife had, unintentially, stopped the recording way before the end of the game………………

    Reply

    • Sian
      1927 days ago

      OK THAT is scary!!

      Reply

  12. elkieno
    1932 days ago

    Yes! I subscribe to the superstitions too unfortunately. I have an Arsenal wrist sweatband u know the ones tennis players wear? Well I have to, have to wear it to bed if playing 4am etc kick offs. I record everthing I can regardless which I am happy now that it’s not my superstition. If I awake for the game I still wear it all day from when ever I remember to put it on. I have 2 of them just in case I can’t find one, but I do prefer my original one as it’s dirty and been thru the wars, but I won’t wash it and mrs hates it haha.
    Anyway I was on way to work for the NUTD game and keeping updated with arseblog which I like. But with 120sec left of injury time and 1-1 it looked like, but I still thought we can do it. Anyway the train went over the harbor bridge (Sydney) whete all coverage konks out so I had to wait mid-refresh until I could leave the train station in the city. So I had no idea we had won it already until a mate texted me with the auld ‘comon you rip roaring gunners’ 2-1 yeeeharrr!!!
    No don’t I let out a hard YEEESSS!!! Then I excitedly but slowly took off my sweat band and kissed it before putting it away till we get to Goodison!!!

    Reply

    • Sian
      1927 days ago

      You look after that wristband, you look after it well ;)

      Reply

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