The main event

February 19, 2014 73 Comments by Sian

Most people seem to feel the same strange way about tonight’s match against Bayern Munich. Last year, we were nothing more than small hobbly kittens caught in very bright headlights, which is largely how we played. Out of the FA Cup and god knows where in the league, I seem to remember it got worse before it got better – but nonetheless we were most definitely not a point off the top going into the home leg. Have we ever been a point off the top since the day this trophy drought began? Probably, but who can be bothered to remember when.

Now though, things are better. They did not seem better this time last week when, fresh off a Scouse pounding, we failed to get very much at all out of a game against the worst Man United side to have ever been. It’ll never cease to amaze me how quickly the boat gets turned upside down.

The Liverpool showing was shameful, but it was quite incredible to see and feel how fast we all were to lose hope of us doing anything of note this season. And then after Liverpool Pt. II, how completely the mood shifted back the other way. I don’t seem to remember it having been quite so higgledy piggledy last season, but maybe it was? In fairness there weren’t really any good days last season, so maybe it was always just absolutely dreadful or only a bit dreadful, which gives a far smaller selection of mood possibilities than this year’s range.

So anyway, back to our feelings. Games like tonight are the best part of football for me. Yes cold nights watching scrappy football are lovely (no they’re not, they’re shit, stop lying to yourself), but nothing really compares to the Champions League. While I fully understand we’re in no shape to win it, and that it shouldn’t be our priority, it’s still one of my favourite parts of Arsenal. The stadium looks beautiful at night and I love the laaaaaasaaaaaaagnaaaaaaaa song. Also, when I’m out running and I’m starting to tire a bit, it’s not the FA Cup final I imagine winning in my head, or even a last minute goal against Norwich to give us the title (though both would be so beautiful please god please god please god). No. It’s a Carl Jenkinson winner in the third minute of injury time against Real Madrid. Hey, don’t bother dreaming if you won’t commit to doing it properly.

So while the Germans steamroll their way into town today, people seem to be mostly excited at seeing us play to Europe again. I’m not really scared of losing because, you know, been there done that and all that jazz, but I’m very excited to see how we play. We may get twatted and be really upset about it but again, you know, been there done that and all that jazz as well.

It’s quite a different prospect, but I can’t remember the last time I felt gloomier going into a match than I did before Liverpool on Sunday. I was certain we were knackered. But then Fabianski had a stormer and it turned out Yaya Sanogo actually still is at Arsenal! And what a performance from him as well. It was of course understandable supporters were a little wary ahead of kick off. Our one main very out of form striker had spent the final few hours before kick off preparing for the game about as helpfully as had the Palace game a few weeks previous, and he is our ONLY HOPE. Well actually it turns out he isn’t, and if he wants to carry on playing silly buggers with chatty birds, he can just sit that scantily clad arse of his down on that bench a little bit longer while he sorts out his wrecked head.

See, this perfectly embodies the flip-flopping of sentiment towards Arsenal this season. Everything is super now, but come this time next week it could easily be in the toilet once more. We’re loving Sanogo and Fabianski and the injuries just don’t seem to matter… until we get smashed tonight then lose to Sunderland at the weekend.

Unless, unless…

It’s been said a number of times this season that the current team seem to have a bit more about them than in previous years and the abomination of a showing at Anfield doesn’t change that. In some ways I don’t want it to end. There seems to be so much hope and promise this year that I’ll be sad when this run of fixtures is over. It’s too exciting to go back to being reliably useless. I’ve got used to being relieved to the point of collapse by May, just seconds away from the season ending in disaster. Had it ended in disaster last year, we wouldn’t be looking forward to tonight at all.

Tonight is a scary prospect, but it’s also the result of all that hard work last year (the catalyst for which, oddly enough, was a Bayern Munich game). All being well, the result of all our hard work this season will come to fruition a little earlier than just next year’s group stage. I like living in this era of hope and possibilities and I don’t want it to ever end.

Enjoy the game and if you’re going, get there early! And if you’re not, get there early in spirit anyway.


  1. Vijay
    1340 days ago

    Whatever happens tonight, gooners keep your heads high


    • Paula
      1135 days ago

      I have just spent a very enjoyable half hour rndiaeg and re-reading this wonderful website. I urge all future visitors to click on every link, drink it all in, and enjoy the magic: be spellbound by the lucid explanations; be enthralled by the examples.When can we have a sequel? I do hope the creators of this site will make us a guide to commas and hyphens. I’m going to stay here until they do.


  2. TonyB
    1340 days ago

    Great blog Sian, as always.


  3. Adebimpey
    1340 days ago

    up arsenal ! i believe in my club.


  4. Treez
    1340 days ago

    …’scantily clad arse’ … laughing my very well clad arse off!
    Great blog – thanks.


  5. Northbank Lew
    1340 days ago

    Already there….in spirit. In reality it’s down the local with some fellow W4 Gooners, and nary a German in sight (didn’t spot any towels earlier!).

    Good to see you back Sian – always worthwhile !!


  6. JV Mauer
    1338 days ago

    Welcome back! Reading this after the fact, but there’s still reason for hope and optimism. At this time last year, we needed to get three goals and managed two in Munchen. The same result this year will get us into extra time, and who knows what will happen then. It’s all still to play for, and we’re still in with a shout.


  7. Alan
    1338 days ago

    She’s back – and about time too. Nice piece. Just don’t leave it so long next time.


  8. Alex
    1336 days ago

    Got to agree with Alan Sian, you don’t know what you’re doing to us with the lengthy waits between blog posts :P

    Was great to see you again yesterday & to see The Arsenal in resurgent form after Wednesday’s game, our resilience after a bad result this season gives me much pride :)

    Now onwards to Mordor to crush the Orcs next Saturday!


  9. Robert Gaspar Majestic
    1325 days ago

    Ever since I become a soccer fanatic Arsenal is one of the teams I always follow. Whatever happens in the match I will still be a huge Arsenal fan. I’ll support them all through out the season.


  10. Dawleylad
    1321 days ago

    Highbury was the first ground I ever went to, the atmosphere in European nights was fantastic.



    • Florian
      1135 days ago

      Fake Morran’s patches in all the prepor places too. Real Morran has a certain loook in her eye – watch out they don’t start fighting!!


    • Madiha
      973 days ago

      Hooray for hats! And I totally agree with the pro-boy vote, with the caevat that if he gets cowboy, superhero, and pirate stuff (and let’s through in ninja gear for good measure), then I think the girl needs them, too. I may be biased by my own daughter–Gwendolyn was a ninja last Halloween and a pirate the year before that and loves nothing better than donning a cape and saving the world on any given afternoon. :-) Are you putting these up on your etsy store? I know some kids (mine and others) who would completely dig these. I love, love, love these dolls.


    • Charlene
      932 days ago

      Ooh, definitely “Chocolate”–LOVE that movie so much I tgauht it as an example of magic realism in an intro lit class. Maybe I was stretching it a little. :-) And thanks to both of you, M. and E.–I like these dollies, too. I think I could make an infinite number of them. Do you two moms of boys think I should make a boy version?


    • Gretta
      902 days ago

      You’re so right Sian. You know what I think I’ll do? I’ll make the costume stuff add ons, so they fit both the girl dolls and the boy dolls. I’ve had a pirtae-girl here, too. :-) Yup–they’re going in the shop. Jane is there already, and Kate will join her when I’ve made her a bag to go into.


  11. Feng
    1237 days ago

    If Cesc comes back, will you too?


  12. Aliya
    1218 days ago

    When are you coming back? :(


    • Klaryce
      1134 days ago

      - Your studio looks amzaing Gareth, you should be very proud of what you have achieved in such a short time, Im looking forward to catching up again soon and of course seeing some studio portraits real soon.Jules & SueFebruary 12, 2010 10:34 am


  13. Alan
    1198 days ago

    Siany. Badly need you to dive head-first into the lake of optimism that has engulfed the Arsenal in the last few days. WHERE ARE YOU?


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