Jack’s back and I love Olivier.
Happy days are here again. Kinda. After a(n*) horrendous few weeks of awful, in which things were dire and performances were badly atrocious and also quite horrifically ghastly, we appear to have at least momentarily risen from the soiled graves of abyssish crap, and risen to the skies of hope and promise once more.
Ah Arsenal, what a harsh slavedriver of the heart you are. We enjoyed our annual 5-2 win over the neighbours at the weekend, of course. It wasn’t quite as enjoyable as last year, what with the portions of “OH MY GOD WHAT ARE WE DOINNNNNNG???” that still managed to pepper our display (but of course!), but a 5-2 win over anyone is always fun, particularly in a match you feel so sick about beforehand that you have to actually take to your seat earlier than usual just to keep yourself from hitting the deck. That said, I personally felt OK generally ahead of the match. I’d not felt OK for weeks –most certainly a massive factor in our win.
Anyway, the dismissal of Adebayor, a chump I’d like to just dismiss in general really, certainly helped us out some, along of course with some goals spread brilliantly across five different members of our team. A nice Saturday, so it was, a very nice Saturday. I’m not sure it’ll be quite the league catalyst the same fixture could have been considered to have been last year, but it got us more points while taking points off another team in the league. And is that, friends, not the name of the game?
Then yesterday our match with Montpellier would decide our European fate, which was obviously for us to continue in Europe, because Europe loves us and we’ve been excellent Europe dwellers for the past thirteen years consecutively or something. There are other hopefuls unwelcome in the warm yet ever so slightly sweaty bosom of European football. And to those I say ha ha ha. And ha ha ha ha ha ha. Because ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. It’s just so very, very funny. Continue to throw cash at the fair maiden, and she will give you affection indeed, but you will not win her heart. You think you gotta keep her iced, you don’t. You think she’s gonna spend your cash, she won’t. She doesn’t want to drive your Benz. And you needn’t be offering her your floss either, Roberto** – she has her own. You see, even if you were broke, European qualification don’t cost a thing.
Or it might, and that might have been J. Lo rather than the Champions League, who can tell any more? But the Per and the Santi of it is, we’re through and once again the richies are struggling. Hee!
I watched the match yesterday from the East Stand (is it called that these days?), having been invited into the Champions Club with Heineken pre-match. As well as getting both a wristband AND a lanyard and food, we got to meet the surprisingly tall Pat Rice who was exactly like you’d expect Pat Rice to be, except taller (yes I look like an ill ghost in that photo, I had a bad work day). When Tom Watt asked him who he thought was going to be victorious last night, he replied “It’s always Arsenal for me.” Awww. I should have had that as my blog URL. Pat would have never packed up his teeth in his old kit bag and flappy-ran off to Manc. Oh well, too late now. There were a lot of suits around, but normal fans too and we were sat quite close to the Montpellier fans. Normally away fans irritate me, but their spontaneous phantom goal celebrations were very funny.
Anyway, in spite of a slightly wobbly start, we didn’t look in too much danger of conceding at any point. It was like in the days early season where we kept, like, two entire clean sheets. We had the best chances too, a Koscielny header smashed into the bar and nearly a brilliant moment for Mertesacker. And that was just the defence!
Though Podolski’s was probably a contender for our goal of the season thus far, my match highlight was Jack’s opener. It meant so much to him and not just ‘because he’s a Gooner innit’ but because he’s spent best part of 18 months not doing the thing he was clearly born to do. Until he gets an autobiography out (probs in say a year?), no one except those who’ve been similarly sidelined will be able to understand exactly how hard the past year or so has been for him. There must have been moments where he wondered whether he’d ever be back, and surely a worry as to whether others would give up hope. But he came back and no one gave up hope and yesterday he played his first 90 minutes for us. I’m so glad he’s ours!***
Poldi’s golden goaldie was beautiful, finished like only Lukas can. I read in the programme a stat that Lukas’s shooting accuracy in Europe this season has been 100%. It now must be slightly less as he had a few goes last night, but his one-touch strike assisted by Giroud is definitely one for the tournament highlights reel.
Finally, let’s all bask in the glow of all the sudden Giroud love. Though it does seem to be mostly the men commenting on how handsome he is, I know that as a female with working eyes it’s easy to suggest I would be slightly biased toward liking him because of all the face – but he’s giving us so much more to love at the moment. From day one, he’s worked his massive socks off. His first few shots went a bit awry and suddenly he was a waste of money who had never done it on a bigger stage than Ligue 1.
But last night he was man of the match with two assists. He may not be as flashy as the likes of other good strikers we may have had until recently, but he does seem to bring more than HE did in other ways. I’m not sure I remember van Persie being all that great at set piece defending, for example. Olivier, on the other hand, seems to be our main corner defender. He looks like the kind of player who will do anything to be useful in the team. He won’t sulk if he’s not getting service and the amount of assists he’s had in only 10 or 11 starts speaks for itself. He’s a striker who looks around and sees team mates in better positions than he and chooses to pass to them rather than have a go and miss himself. A scar of the ghost of Stoke miss, perhaps? Also, there now seems to be somewhat of a point to those pointless goal kicks we do – he actually wins headers! Keep doing what you’re doing, Oli G, you are fast becoming a favourite.
Finally, I’d like to thank Joe at We Are Social, and Heineken, for inviting my sister and I along to the match. It was a brilliant experience to go along with a brilliant result for the Arsenal. Heineken, obviously Champions League sponsors, are doing football-related ticket competitions etcetera, so follow them on the old Twitters if you’re over 18. We’ve still got to look at Olympiacos away to worry about finishing first in the group but to be honest, at this stage, anyone you get is going to be difficult no matter where you end up. We’re through, y’all!
~ ~ ~
*treat H as a consonant or a vowel, on which side of that fence do YOU sit, dear reader?)
** what is a floss please.
*** for now.