A goal, some points, and some youthful foreheads all round.
The last time we spoke, the Arsenal was lying dead on its face, beaten and bruised by Norwich. I had to resort to butchering some Neruda, that’s how bad it was. Unfortunately, the turn of the new week did nothing to cheer our mood and so the wheels were set in motion for a truly dire few days. We were beaten by Schalke, a much better team than Norwich but also sadly a much better team than Arsenal – on the night. The loss itself wasn’t too worrying, coming as it did in the Champions League, thus the damage of two losses in a week was somewhat minimised by the fact it had been spread between two competitions. So, the awfulness was more blanket than concentrated on one endeavour. Like some kind of skin-worsening awfulness serum.
Then came the AGM, which served as the soluble and vomit-inducing asprin fizzing up the stomach of the hungover person we spoke about in that somewhat happier blog a few weeks back. All in all a week to studiously ignore. The two losses on the bounce were unexpected and made everyone very frowny. Even me. I’m a person who Arsenalistically at least HATES to be put in a bad mood. My bloody fingerprints will always be found at the bottom of the well of despair from where I’ve desperately tried (usually successfully) to drag myself back out again. It’s important to remember we all choose – for some reason – to follow football. Thus, it seems stupid that it should be football that so often puts us in a bad mood. And so when you are in a bad mood caused by Arsenal I think it’s always just as important to try to look on the bright side of all the bad things. You don’t want to stay glum forever, do you? Well obviously some people do but really most of us are of a very sunny disposition, so finding positives should come easily.
But it must be said that for the past week I’ve been lying awake in bed at night and finding myself feeling, every time I have thought of Arsenal, like someone has threaded a piece of dental floss into the skin under each eyebrow and has been tightening the ends into a knot that just keeps bringing them closer and closer together. I even considered investing in some Frownies at one point, but then I hunted some down on Google and realised I look enough of a state first thing in the morning without waking up looking like a cast member of Red Dwarf. That’s when I decided it was time to climb out of the well.
By Saturday, I was feeling quite cheerful. Happily, that coincided with our next actual football match, against QPR. Bottom of the league, they were bound to be a walkover, I mean look what we did to Nor- oh… oh… oh, GET THAT DENTAL FLOSS OFF MY FACE, never mind, calm down, this was at home, we were bound to be just fine. I watched this match from a different seat to my usual and was in fact this time in a box. No not a cardboard box or any other kind of storage space, but Indesit’s hospitality box in ‘the North Bank’. A few of us were invited along and given the last Indesit-related event I had gone to had resulted in this, I did not hesitate in accepting.
On to the match and, well, it could have been sponsored by Frownies if I’m going to be completely honest with you. As well as Andre Santos the Rainbow Unicorn exhibiting about as much positional awareness as he has healthy respect for slow and gentle driving speeds, we created few real chances. Still about 74 more than we had against Norwich or even Schalke but nevertheless, it didn’t look like it was going to the high scoring funfest so badly needed by us all. Arsenal looked dangerous but the trouble was, it wasn’t entirely obvious as to whether they were going to be more a danger to QPR or to themselves. If the first half was dull, the second half was a real nerve jangler. I think last season may well have ruined us for match excitement. If we all managed to get through that 3-2 at the Hawthorns, we’re all basically invincible now. But oh, Julio Cesar decided to have a super game of course, and ended up making the joint most saves in the league so far this season. Giroud’s presence was felt in that not all our goal kicks resulted in a QPR attack but it still looked as though we would be heading for a point at most. I can’t imagine the fall out had that happened. They went down to ten men when Mbia chose to mbea complete berk and mkicka Thomas Vermaelen in the mkneea, so outraged was he that he’d found himself upended and the winner of a foul. Cazorla missed an absolute sitter that I knew he’d miss because in spite of being the fluffiest, sexiest, happiest player we have, he… well, he does do that. Had it been Giroud or Ramsey or Gervinho, I’m sure he’d have been hung from the rafters but FORTUNATELY he is otherwise fantastically brilliant and will contribute to our goal tally on numerous occasions this season I’m sure (no sarcasm here by the way… I love Santi, I said this whole Giroud/Rambo thing on Twitter last night and people seemed to think I was criticising Santi and that I really wanted all of their opinions on how bad Ramsey is. I wasn’t. And I didn’t.)
I wonder just how many pre-match conversations included the fact we’d absolutely take a 1-0 win with a scrambled goal the diference between the sides – probably about 93% of all conversations in the Highbury area yesterday morning. Not me, I was so haunted by our lack of creativity in the previous two fixtures that I said to many people that I’d sooner a 5-4 than a 1-0. But hey 1-0 works for me, and having today become officially the stingiest defence in the league, I’m pleased it worked out this way. It started with a Giroud header Cesar SOMEHOW saved and ended with Mikel Arteta attempting to take a bow in front of the North Bank corner before Rambo and Giroud ruined his suaveness… kidding… who could ruin Mikel Arteta’s suaveness?
So in the end we got the three points and everyone’s shoulders fell a few inches further from their earholes on their walk out, but not down into the vicinities of being considered depressed shoulders, no, just vaguely fretting yet temporarily relaxed shoulders. I must thank Kate and all at Indesit for the lovely day enjoyed by my dad and myself (and the other bloggers we met there). It was really nice to see a match from a different part of the ground too, and the fact the goal happened just in front of us was great. Indesit will be running competitions on their Twitter and Facebook pages in the coming weeks, in which you’ll have the chance to win tickets to our matches against both Fulham and Spurs so, you know, get on that one. The competition for the Fulham match starts at 12pm GMT on Twitter tomorrow so have a look if you’re after some tickets (and a warm place to go at half time, oh what a lovely bonus that was).
We’ve got Reading in the Carling Cup next and then some vile team from up north straight after that. That one’s gonna be grim and I don’t think I’m going to like myself at all during that game. But, we can talk about that then. For now we are happy. The performance was not perfect but the three points were ours, and there’s not much more you can ask for going into a run of games we find ourselves going into now.