Being an Arsenal supporter did several things to me these last couple of weeks. After Fulham, I was disappointed with the overall team play but glad that nothing stupid happened and that the Arsenal took the three points. And then United won the league on Monday and I didn’t feel much like even at least typing up my notes, let alone contemplating what was to be discussed in the coming days with what was to be both the return of the Dutch Skunk and the “honor guard” for the champions. It was galling that subject would be most of the discussion both on the Twitter and the blogs I read, but such is life. So I didn’t want to write. But then I realized that I do love both football and Arsenal and I needed to get it out. I attempted to define my thoughts/feelings for those of you who care to read them and was at a loss. So I sought out the dictionary to help me as I was at a loss for actual definitions, I just had words.
Abject: (adjective) Contemptible, miserable, base-spirited.
I don’t want to have a whine but #ffs. That was the most listless and boring game against 10 men I can remember. It was a harsh red on Steve Sidwell, who I’ve always liked, regardless of his not making the grade with us, and Arsenal should have had the game by the (insert whatever swear-word-emboldened adjective here) once he was sent off. And they didn’t. What they did do was make a mockery of the space that they had created prior to that in getting off to a good, possession based/attack absorbing start. So I wanted four or five goals at this point and this is what I got:
- According to ESPN commentator Ian Darke, Tomas Rosicky is “generally excellent” in the 32nd minute. I’ve been saying this for weeks; get on the bandwagon. I would gloat more if I thought anyone cared what I think.
- The Ref (all respect, it’s not a fun job) was horridly inconsistent the entire game. Bless the assistant Sian Massey whom I only name check because there is something about nothing I’m going to say to get me in trouble.
- Once there was a man advantage the team went to sleep. I have three tick marks on when they almost got beat on the break. As the manager likes to say, they “applied the handbreak.”
- It was a good goal for Per Mertesacker and he and Laurent Koscielny have played off each other excellently, so there is some poetic justice there if I understand the concept correctly. The Janet Jackson/Tupac movie may have messed that up a little. Beyond that, I have very little positive to say about the first half.
- The first 15 minutes of the second half were, well, drab. (Drab: (adjective) dull; cheerless; lacking in spirit) I think the highlight for me was when Bacary Sanga actually got a half-decent cross into the box, as this has happened rarely this season.
- Fulham collapsed their shape well in the second half and that made the rest of the game a slog. I thought Philippe Senderos had an excellent game, but then you always present well for your ex. Or at least you hope you do. Sad for him that he couldn’t cut it at Arsenal, events and others conspired against him but I still think at some point he may come good. I was hoping for the “last-15 magic” Arsenal have pulled out to make the game comfortable a couple of times this year but is was not to be.
- I don’t think Olivier Giroud would have been sent off if not for the Sidwell red. No complaints, it was sloppy and indicative of what I viewed as the overall issue in not finishing the game off. Not sure what we do in his absence, guess we have to trust the manager.
- Lukas Poldoski doesn’t look fit for a sub, let alone a starter. I hope it is the rumored ankle injury that’s limiting him and that he can get it taken care of over the summer and come back as the 100-plus cap striker we bought.
So those were my game notes. I scribbled several times that we have, HAVE to beat ManU. My friend Big Tall Greg called me and asked me about the game. I said I didn’t want them celebrating on our pitch and he reminded me that if they won the Monday game, they would be. And that apprehension is what has taken this article two weeks to get written. So on to the main event.
Manchester United (H):
Bereft: (adjective) Deprived, lost.
I hate a man I have never met. That man’s name is Robin van Persie. My father’s name is Robin, so I don’t say that casually or without an understanding of what hate means (hate: (adjective) to dislike intensely or passionately). I wish him no personal ill-will but his behavior was abhorrent whether it was him or by proxy. One good season in seven and he ups the stakes and moves to what is arguably our biggest rival in the modern era? F#@k that guy. Ca$hley Cole actually may be on that list as well but same type of move in retrospect. I imagine that Spurs fans feel the same way about Sol Cambell as Gooners do about either of those guys. I only mention that because I don’t care.
The point is that as supporters of a football club, there are reasons you support that club. Maybe it’s the way they play or how they conduct themselves on and off the pitch, or they all wear the sleeve length the captain decides on. It’s different for everyone, but loyalty to the club is something we all have regardless of who we support. Getting dumped is never fun and grudges are going to be held. Well, that and maybe the fact that my Ex of fiv years coming to town on the same weekend almost seemed so insanely appropriate that I just tried to take it all in. I know from processing it that I don’t really hate her, just the absence. I guess I feel the same way about RVP. So, that rant over…
- After the honor guard, which was a bit…eh, I was glad that the all of the Arsenal players looked like they could hardly be arsed. I saw a photo of Ryan Giggs giving Aaron Ramsey a thumbs up and Ramsey looked like he wanted to punch him. I can live with that.
- Could not have asked for a better start to the game. So what if Theo was possibly offsides, as they say, that’s just how the ball bounces. He hasn’t done that as consistently as he should based on his obvious talent but let me be the first to not blame that on him signing a fat new contract.
- Tomas Rosicky had another excellent game. Pressing high, getting stuck in, vision in passing. He is obviously not fully fit but had a similar impact tail end of last season when he was fully healthy and could play 90 minutes. Hopefully a full preseason will allow him to compete with Jack Wilshere for that spot in midfield next year. In my opinion, competition hurts no one on any team. Ramsey’s tackling was spot on as well and all things considered, the midfield looks fairly solid right now.
- I have a great deal of dislike for Patrice Evra and he seems to turn the douche dial up to 11 anytime United and Arsenal have played in the last several years. In his defense, at least he’s not a turncoat/traitorous merc Dutchman…
Which brings me to the penalty/goal. They had definitely had been coming back into the game in the 10 minutes preceding it but Sanga just lost the plot. It was a poor giveaway, but unless you’re in the red haze (which is possible, believe me) you never hack someone down like that if you know and/or intend to give up a penalty. I don’t think he has that much faith in Wojciech Szczesny. And so “the boy who screamed” took it. And scored. And he didn’t celebrate. (Which is another whole crock of shite, but I digress) And I threw the remote. And at that point I literally stopped watching the game. I got out the computer and started messing around with iTunes. I didn’t care about the game anymore. I was over it, the final dagger was sunk. Time to move on. There are others out there for us to admire and put on pedestals. And then degrade when they leave. It’s kind of like the cycle of life and eventually you personally get over it.
But that’s the point, it isn’t about me, it’s about Arsenal Football Club. They breath and survive and will long survive after that carpet bagging bastard has hung up his boots. Even with taking only one point, they still sit fourth in the table with the remaining three fixtures winnable* if complacency doesn’t set in. So in the words of someone “LETS DO THIS”
And just remember, gooners…
A CANNON BEATS A CHICKEN EVERY TIME!!!
COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!
* Editor’s note—as the editor, I’m way late getting this out. I got a new job at a newspaper and I was tired on Friday. Anyway, Arsenal beat QPR yesterday 1-0 so there are just two games left: at home against Wigan Athletic and away against Newcastle United. My bad, Will.