Reading 5-7 Arsenal. And no one ever understood them again.

October 31, 2012 20 Comments by Sian

‘You always see new things in our game. That is why it is never boring.’

Yes, Arsene, but would it be OK if we stopped seeing those new things in our game for just one or two matches maybe? It’s just that, we all have one heart. Mine has been beating constantly for 23 years now. The idea that it hasn’t had a rest since I began is something that bothers me greatly at the best of times. How can something never have a rest, ever? Lights go off at night, bums sit down at lunch time, TVs have a standby… but your heart, it NEVER stops. Ever. So when you factor in the Arsenal-supporting ways of that heart… well, I just don’t know how we have any supporters to have made it past 50, let alone 100. I think I might be a goner by 30.

Let’s first of all be rational, because if another team we don’t like had done last night, we’d no doubt be going ‘Ohhh it’s the Capital One Cup, ohhhh you conceded five goals, ohhhh move on.’ All true. I still don’t like the Capital One Cup at all, I think it’s cursed and I think it’s horrible, and no name changes will ever change that for me. However, had we been slung out of it 4-0 down toReading (or anyone) yesterday, I can barely imagine the fall out. Last week was nasty stuff. It would have got even nastier had half time been full time yesterday. And if you disagree, remember the ramifications on both team and fans in the aftermath of the trophy that wasn’t in 2011. It may be a little blighter you don’t much worry about, but when it goes wrong, it has the potential to wreak havoc. Like an appendix. Or perhaps a tonsil. The Capital One Cup is a tonsil, that’s what I’m trying to say.

Anyway, I missed the first half last night. We had text updates though. They went:

‘Reading 1-0 Arsenal. Jason Roberts!’

‘Reading 2-0 Arsenal OG. We are shit!’

‘Reading 3-0 Arsenal OMG This is worse than shit!’

‘Reading 4-0 Arsenal and it’s getting worse…’

Reading 4-1 Arsenal Walcott HT. Thank God.’

(thanks Mum btw) I wasn’t alone in missing seeing the match either. This here on Poznan In My Pants is great. I made sure to watch all the goals from the first half back though, because usually when we go behind I like to watch the opponents’ happy reactions whose worlds I know are about to come crashing down. Not this time though – been there, done that. Reading, we feel your pain. No, no, we actually DO feel your pain. This time I wanted to see just how awful it had actually got. Turns out, quite! By the time my sister and I got home last night, the second half had commenced and Theo had pulled one back already.

I mean, you know it was really bad because subs Olivier Giroud and Thomas Eisfeld entered the field of play in the 62nd minute. Uncharted territory here for AW. Two minutes after coming on, Giroud – who doesn’t do headers – headed in our second to give us just a teensy tinsy glimmer of hope. At least it looked less shameful from our point of view. At least we weren’t looking like we were playing drunk. At least the deficit was only two goals now. And it looked that way for a long time. We had chances, but so did Reading. Lozza Kozza (who looked well off his game to me, and I’m only going off the second half here), headed in our third in the 89th minute.

“WE NEED KANU!!!” was all I could think as the seconds ticked away. Who else scores late goals for us? Vermaelen does against Newcastle but Vermaelen’s not on the pitch! Four minutes were added and even then we didn’t want to put the equaliser in. There were grumbles about how our fourth eventually went in 90 seconds after what should have been the final whistle – er, my TV screen showed it crossed just gone 95 but whatev. And I despise time-wasting, especially when Arsenal do it (looking at you, Damian), but it looks like for once extra time was actually added onto the extra time, thanks to Simon Church’s replacement of Jason Roberts.

The goal seems to have been credited to Walcott as his shot did cross the line but can you imagine if it hadn’t – or had been judged have not – and Jenkinson hadn’t buried the rebound? Good Lord, imagine. It would have been a good enough second half performance but yet another ‘nearly’, and would have only added to that oh so punchable downtrodden look on the collective Arsenal face we seem to be so ready to wear at times.

Extra time was as ridiculous as anything that has ever been. Chamakh (CHAMAKH) scored our fifth only for the home side to even the scores again through Pogrebnyakakakakak (if Reading fans don’t do the Ulrika-ka-ka-ka-ka-ka thing, they deserved to lose 7-5). And then it was Theo again and then it was Chamakh in a really hilariously Carling Cuppy version of Torres against Barcelona last year. Obviously there’s rather a discrepancy in the level of game between those comparisons but there’s also rather a discrepancy in the level of disgusting disgrace to the game we bring, so I’m going with that.

It was overall just a really stupid match. If you were trying to explain to someone what it’s been like to be an Arsenal fan for the past few years, you’d just hand them a copy of that game. The difference last night was that it ended in happiness for us. How nice to be involved in a crazy game that didn’t end in us metaphorically falling face first into a puddle before being run over by an out of service bus?

It would be great to draw some conclusions from the match, like that maybe the hex we put on ourselves at St. James’s Park in 2010 had now been reversed and that now we’d bookended that particular period of our lives, we can now ‘push on’ like Jack loves and stop being so pathetic. But I fear it unlikely. I doubt we’ll learn from it, and it’s looking pretty dead set that we’ll go out of this competition to a deflected goal in the next round. But it was just wonderful to see a team respond to their circumstances rather than wallow in them for a change.

Maybe that’s a bit harsh and maybe I might be trying to jinx myself a bit (hope dies last and all that), but we’ve seen great performances rendered meaningless by buggering it up the next matchday. And, you know, we still conceded five goals. Admittedly, I don’t think anyone has ever seen a match quite like what we experienced last night. They really did fight themselves out of a tight little corner there. Additionally, the defence wasn’t the defence that will play on Saturday. Nor is the midfield. Nor the attack. Although, I do hope Arsene will look Olivier Giroud’s attitude in last night’s match and see that he is a player who can fight. Much as I’ve been hoping for him to do well, he’s annoyed me by falling over so much and so easily, but his performance yesterday was magnificent. I want him starting against Manchester United, partly because I think he’ll be a big biceppy bullying threat and partly because I just really like the idea of him flattening one of their players, accidentally and charmingly Frenchly of course.

Thomas Eisfeld has long looked like a great prospect based on his reserves performances and did himself no harm yesterday. It would be funny if he ended up being a really important player for us given the hard time he and Arsene were given when he was bought in January.

And Theo. Theo Theo Theo Theo Theo. I was over you. I had said my goodbyes and turned on my heel at the station, wearing my net veil. Your train was departing. Your puppy eyes at the window were doing nothing to wear down my steely resolve. And then you go and do all this. Look, if you’re going to keep doing that you might as well just sign and stay. Just get it over with. But you know, not that bothered. I’ll just leave this pen here. Next to your writing hand. With a spare in case it runs out. Whatever.

And to Chamakh. Fair play dude. He looked hopeless besides the goals, but a striker is… you know… there to do goals, so. Well done, really. Really though I was very happy for him. I wanted so badly for him to score against Coventry. No one will be holding out much hope this is the second coming of Chamakh, but a spot more confidence and proof he actually can kick balls at targets is good news indeed.

Besides that I am cool, calm and collected. It was a great night, but that’s all I’m taking from this. I am of course kidding no one and I now have visions of us leaving all our horrors behind and suddenly becoming the Arsenal we used to be again. Then again, if you can’t start feeling hope and love after a match like last night’s, in an increasingly horrid game with far too much distraction from actual playing time, I think that heart of yours we mentioned earlier might have already upped and left long ago.

20 Comments

  1. martin wengrow
    540 days ago

    Really enjoyed this post. Written with good humour.

    Reply

  2. Zana
    540 days ago

    As you said to me last night, this is the night our luck has changed. You know, we might actually start getting decisions our way, lucky goals, no horse goals vs us, etc etc.

    Great read, even after that, I’m still unsure how that happened.

    Reply

  3. Roland C Rozario
    540 days ago

    A seat/pants-wrenching game!
    An extremely determined Arsenal side …. all round!
    BUT the need to mention the injection of that little Russian Arshavin who ran his socks off.
    Never write anyone off!
    Eisfeld was great in his positioning and displacement of the ball!
    And to all the Gunners it was a fantastic game of Gunners steeleyyyyy, resilience and team play…. Fantastic!
    Lets meet up with the ManUre guys and play your hearts out!

    Reply

  4. @N5_1BU
    540 days ago

    Don’t often comment but just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog. Don’t read many but your stuff is always worth a read.

    Cheers.

    Reply

  5. Dobromir
    540 days ago

    I was watching the game in a pub in Cape Town. Lot’s of Man u and Liverpool fans around these parts. When Walcot scored i turned to one of them, who had previously stated that Arsenal are too ‘soft’ under Wenger and can never fight back into the game and told him ‘This is the start of the comeback’. For some reason i really believed that we’ll see something special in that game. Earlier when we conceded the fourth goal i thought to myself, ‘here’s a chance for us to stage one of the comebacks of all time and with a bit of good fortune we’ll get it’. Because i was convinced that the players will come out fighting for the jersey and that Wenger will demand nothing less of them. That four – nil score line hurt them enough to jolt them into actions and i was calmly expecting it. What joy in the end when it all materialised. Just pure happiness really, no negative emotions thoughout the whole game and in the end, bliss. Thank you Arsenal for giving me one more happy memory to think back to. There have been many over the years, but you learn to apperciate them more with time, and this one is trully special. Gunner for life!

    Reply

  6. UncleK
    540 days ago

    Your piece does justice to the madness on show last night.
    Let’s hope the defence looks a little less like a sieve next time.
    A hugely entertaining read,our Siany.

    Reply

  7. paul
    540 days ago

    A breath of fresh air as far as blogs go. Amusing, insightful and a snapshot of why Arsenal bring so much to the table.
    Trophies are great, memories like this are priceless.
    Exciting, skillful from Reading and Arsenal together with chaotic defending, all played without cynical fouls and cheating. Both teams were fantastic!
    This really was a game that had everything that is positive with the beautiful game including supporters who kept their belief and their sense of humour.

    Reply

  8. Irishgray
    540 days ago

    Amazed is the word I would use to describe how I felt reading about this (I did not get to watch it) via texts and live updates from the BBC. First thing I did this morning was watch the game on Arsenal Player, the away fans were as always brilliant. Even at 4-1 down, all you could hear were the Arsenal Away Boyz. Nonstop right up to the end. Sheer class. And as for the men on the pitch? Take a bow, one and all!! Roll on the Red Mancs, this time I think we are ready :)

    Reply

  9. Tony
    540 days ago

    Great blog! You’ve captured the feelings all true Gooners have -so true about Theo -I still don’t know if I want him to stay, he’s disappointed so much so many times, & then he goes & saves us! OG has shown his true colours – I really feel he will come good – & Eisfeld looks as good as Jack was at that age. It’s a pity it’s too late for Chamakh but he has given too little too often. Looking forward to your next blog.

    Reply

  10. Alex (@WindAFC6)
    540 days ago

    Another great read Sian, it was the most crazy match I’ve ever seen even if you exclude the quality of Chamakh’s 2 goals :P I honestly hope that he’s back to his 2010 Arsenal Form, for some reason I still don’t want to give up on him. I was buzzing all night, buzzing in the morning and I’m still buzzing a little bit as I type this comment, good job on tempering the madness of the match into a sensible blog post with your unique twist on it :) (Puppy Eyes Theo, Gold).

    Reply

  11. FunGunner
    540 days ago

    Hey, Sian. Another corker, thanks.

    “They really did fight themselves out of a tight little corner there.”

    For me, that is the important thing. We’ve had wobbly “second team” performances before but getting themselves out of trouble and turning their individual performances around will forge a bond between them and create belief in players who are either inexperienced or lacking confidence. Best thing that could have happened, in a way.

    And wow, totally agree about Eisfeld, and Theo, damn him. But I still believe he’s off, sadly.

    Reply

    • Irishgray
      539 days ago

      Arsenal Ladies Champions League game tomorrow (not that you would need reminding!). We are spoiled these days with the amount of Arsenal games on, both mens and womens :)

      Also enjoying the fact that Norwich just knocked out the Spuds, Swansea beat Liverpool 3-1 and if thing stay the same at The Bridge, we will be playing Utd coming off a loss. Pretty good that :)

      Reply

      • FunGunner
        539 days ago

        No, too right, I don’t need reminding about the Ladies’ game – but I won’t be able to follow it live because of work. Grrr.

        Had a good laugh at the Spuds and the Mancs as well. There seems to be a certain amount of anxiety around the game on Saturday, partly because of Gibbs and Chesney still being out of action, but I say let’s go for it. I would have loved Kos to play because I have a hunch that he has the Skunk’s number, but it’s not going to happen.

        Reply

        • Irishgray
          537 days ago

          Well that game was just awful!! I still do not understand why Ramsey gets the nod over Theo out on the right. I think a good old fashioned 4-4-2 or a 4-1-3-2 would have been better today. With Ramsey starting in the middle and Theo on the right. At least the Spuds lost and the Chavs dropped 2 points. Let’s hope Citeh get done by the W Ham

          Reply

  12. 1NilToTheArsenal
    539 days ago

    This era of unpredictability is far from over. The silver lining to that is that every victory seems a treat.

    Last night was one for the ages and today’s post has done it justice. Too many of us are bemoaning and lamenting that abject 1st half, but you don’t achieve the greatest fight backs in your club’s history unless you’ve dug a deep hole the first place.

    We almost did it last year in the rarified atmosphere of the Champions League and against much more powerful and storied opposition. It wasn’t to be against Milan, but last night even though it’s “only” the League Cup and it was “only” Reading this club managed an important and thoroughly crazy bit of redemption.

    Reply

  13. Daniel
    539 days ago

    Late to the party little bit as Arsene would say, but fantastic summation of a weird, woeful, WTF and then wonderful night.

    Tonsil analogy is really spot on, it’s important to win on all fronts to keep in the habit and keep players from every level within our ranks happy. Training would be pretty awkward with the bigger boys ribbing the littluns for a 4-0 tumping at Reading. So all our organs must be in good nick for it to all be tickidy boo.

    The next round better be a continuation of the attitude we showed from the second half onwards. I don’t wanna get spanked out after that, a bit like we did in the FA Cup last year after Henry’s Leeds goal took us through.

    Long live the spirit of Kanu. He’d have sent the entire pitch for a dumby before walking the ball backwards into the goal with his hands behind his back! :)

    Reply

  14. Gf60
    539 days ago

    Thanks Sian. That blog was almost as much fun as that game…and that was hilarious.
    My heart’s still beating ….just, and I’ve been going mental one way or the other for 65 years of gooner watching…there’s not too much they can do to it, much as they try!

    Reply

  15. Alan
    539 days ago

    Nice, bird.

    Reply

  16. elkieno
    537 days ago

    There us a reason I have this blog as one if 5 favorites, this article is it. Pure class just like or club

    Reply

  17. jeff
    532 days ago

    Wenger has complained that in recent matches he’s not had adequate
    midfield options to replace tired legs, with Cazorla and Wilshere
    respectively exhausted and not able to last 90 minutes. Well our manager
    fed us the line that having pursued Sahin for so long, the reason he
    pulled out was because of Diaby’s and Rosicky’s resurrections and due to
    Coquelin and Frimpong’s emergence. I seem to remember the words ” we
    are more than adequately covered in midfield.” The failure to land Sahin
    was because Real Madrid never wanted to have us exercise the option for
    a permanent move and/ or Wenger decided he didn’t want to pay him as
    much money as was needed, so he has lied to us yet again. As for
    Coquelin, why has he not played more of a part in our last two games? He
    certainly would have been better than that joke Santos ( I presume the
    Board forced Wenger to buy him). He could have come on for Wilshere
    against United and allowed Arteta to move further forward and certainly
    on Tuesday he was needed long before the last minute. Our midfield is
    not big or strong enough and Song’s tackling is being missed, especially
    in the bigger games. Our shaky defence ( “the best in the League”) has
    no protection from our midfield. We still have a fight to get second
    spot in the CL table as first looks gone now. So, if and when we
    qualify, we’ll get one of the big boys again, no doubt. But that’ll be
    ok as so many on here have said in the past “we have to meet them some

    Reply

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