Feed on this.
Arsenal 1 – 0 Manchester City
Such a strange season, this. It’s been billed (many times) as the worst season for Arsenal Football Club in the history of French managers, of Arsenal Football Club, of football in general, and of history itself. Truly. When the ancestors of yesteryear decided to start writing things down, thus creating history, they had in the back of their minds the tale of a little team up in North London. “Mwahahaha,” they chortled into their bushy bushy beards, their monocles popping out of their papery eye folds as they chattered. “Worst team in history, they will say! Power shifts, they will exclaim! Broken crests will litter the newspapers of our children’s futures, and headlines shall be twattersome! Ohhhh, what fun we have today created in this day, the day in which ‘history’ began!”
So what is odd to me is that in spite of the fact the movie poster for this season was “Come! Come watch the deserted ship be pants as its abandoned captain steers hopelessly against the tide screaming ‘Sacre bleu we are in the merde!’… it has somehow made me fonder of the Club than I have ever felt in all my (twenty-three) years. Perhaps the lowered expectation has helped. Perhaps the fact the chastened players kept their heads down, slightly embarrassed as we went through the worst of it, accepting our faults were part of their doing. (part of… PART of.)
Perhaps it is thanks to days like yesterday. OK, so last weekend was pants to the max. When two vertebrae in your team’s spine both have a crapper of a day, it’s difficult to stand up straight and go on to take anything from the game, but I guess we were unlikely to finish the season without dropping any points at all. In my head, I set us a little target before kick off at Anfield a few weeks back. You’ll be pleased to know we are still on track to meet our target. We’re allowed a small hiccup, but nothing bigger than a hiccup is allowed. Burping will be frowned upon.
Anyway, the result away at QPR had to be put to one side as we faced the hand that feeds us on Sunday afternoon. Manchester United had already beaten last week’s victors QPR earlier on and so City’s tails could have been very down or very up before kick off at the Emirates. Regardless, we had to not care about City. I don’t personally give a crap who wins the league, because neither of the Manchesters winning it will shake off the Chelsea, the Tottenham and the Newcastle currently clawing their ways up our back with their scabby little ogre fingers. We had to just play, play well, and hope that it would be enough to nick three points and a bit of breathing space in third.
And what a game it was! In keeping with today’s theme of ‘pants’, I think it’s fair to say City were largely ‘pants,’ but sadly our greatness yesterday seems to have been overshadowed by the supposed ‘Crisis’ at City and the antics of some berk with a really daft barnet. Contrary to the delightful Sun’s player ratings this morning, I thought Yossi Benayoun was fairly fantastic throughout, glaring miss in front of goal aside. They called him ‘lightweight in every sense of the word’ but that is wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. He, Rosicky, Arteta and Song were as tenacious as little nipping puppies throughout the entire match. City created basically nothing, while we had absolutely no luck whatsoever.
Scoring Scoring Robin was denied by the back of Thomas Vermaelen’s head – which, frankly, just goes to show how incredible Thomas Vermaelen is, in my opinion. Van Persie has been unstoppable this season. Put Tommy in front of him, however, and he’s stoppable from point blank range. You jeal, Liverpool? That’s four games and no goal for our Robin now, incidentally… luxury player.
We should have been a man up when Mario Balotelli decided he had beef with Alex Song’s knee. I thought it was too high up to have been a leg breaker but then realised it was high enough to have bent his leg backwards. Then I tasted my lunch again. I’ve never understood the fascination with that tool. He’s a talented player, for sure, but all this ‘Word is, Mario’s been popping into primary schools and teaching kids their nine times table using just an apple and a piece of string’ tosh has been boring bollocks for a long time now. Blaming him for yesterday though is a bit harsh. He was a loose cannon yesterday, but his teammates hardly set the world alight.
Anyway, back to us and Robin hit the post and had a goal disallowed in the second half. Shortly after, Walcott, Vermaelen AND Benayoun ALL had the opportunity to put us ahead but somehow managed not to. Thomas’s shot skittered across goal, while Yossi’s went wayward. I truly don’t understand how it stayed out. We had to wait until the 87th minute to finally put us one step ahead of them and it came from the best looking Spaniard we know. As Mr. Arseblog said this morning, it was reminiscent of Bac’s goal versus the Spuds with its palpable air of ‘Oh sweet baby JESUS, let me have a go you useless spanners!’ And have a go he did. For a team often afraid to whack it from outside the area, he didn’t half put his foot through it as it sailed in to Joe Hart’s left. Fina-bloody-lly.
Our fans began to ‘Poznan’ (shittest celebration of all the celebrations, by the way) as I screamed to all who’d listen (no one) “THEY MIGHT STILL EQUALISE!” But in fairness, I was wrong and it really didn’t look like they were ever going to score. It was an absolutely one hundred per cent deserved victory and the sweetest scoreline of them all. Of course, Aaron Ramsey could have doubled it just a few minutes later had he not gone for the drop goal instead, but the most important part of that miss is that it didn’t really matter. Had that happened at 0-0, I’m sure he’d have needed security. Largely from his captain.
It was another great day to be had in the season of doom and gloom. I honestly don’t care that we helped United out by winning or that we’ve probably kept Samir ‘I couldn’t possibly be part of the problem here’ Nasri’s trophy hunt going for one more season. I wasn’t even that bothered by seeing my leader Patrick Vieira wearing a City crest. Yesterday was a brilliant victory from a team of fellas who’ve managed to keep the light shining in spite of the fact the lightbulb has been covered in layer upon layer of horse shit from day one. Still six matches to go, but if we manage to finish third having limped in to fourth last year and having lost three of our best players to different teams and/or injury over the summer, it would be the best day yet in a season of unexpectedly bloody amazing days. And sooooo funny as well.
Finally, I think the crowd helped a bit yesterday. The players had 90% of it down anyway, but that little vocal push seemed to help as well. This time last season our fans were at war with the players. Now we’re sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. What a difference a year makes.