Sunday, March 21

TOP OF THE LEAGUE WITH TEN MEN – A PRETTY GOOD DAYS WORK

Our match days always start with a long trek up the M4 and the mood in the car depends on what we think of our chances.  Me and the other half don’t always agree here so it can be quite tense but today the sun was shining and a win against West Ham seemed a good possibility.

Last time we played the Hammers we let a 2-0 lead at half time go and ended up drawing 2-2.  We had to win today,
a) boost our moral higher, 
b) prove the doubters wrong, 
c) get back to the top of the table. 

 Come on The Arsenal!

The start was promising.  Song back from suspension and Fabregas back from injury and from the off you could see we were going to have a good game.  The boys played smoothly, passing the ball around and despite West Ham getting a touch Song grabbed it back again in an impressive display of skill and agility.  In less than six minutes we had our first goal from Denilson aided by Bendtner.  The atmosphere was ecstatic. 

Our defending was a dream, Sol Campbell (always a Gooner in my humble opinion), played brilliantly mashing them up and hooking the ball out from under their feet time after time.  They didn’t stand a chance of getting one in the net with him around.  Over and over again we saw Sol, Eboue, Vermalen and Clichy shut them down.  Clichy was on top form and seemed to be in just the right spot every time he was needed.  We just wanted one more goal before the whistle blew to round of the first half nicely.  

Come on The Arsenal!

In the 44th minute the ref gave Vermaelen a straight red card and turned the game upside down.  The action was around the goal at our end but when it happened the ref was half way up the pitch.  He was so far away I wondered how the hell he could see anything at all but he came running all the way down and pulled the red card straight out.  We were down to 10 men and the fans went wild with anger.  Stuff the Hammers though.  Almunia saved the resulting penalty with ease and set us all off jumping for joy and chants of  

‘Who are ‘ya?’  

We sang the Red Army praises with renewed gusto.  Wenger was having a right go at the ref as they all walked off the pitch and I hope he appeals that one. 

Good news during half time!  The announcement that

“Aaron Ramsey is walking without crutches.”
  
Loads of banter and speculation about our next three matches without Vermaelen, he’s been such a strong player on our side lately so we’re worried about him being away from the team.  My feeling?  My gut instinct is always optimistic unless the situation is dire and I don’t think we’re too badly off at the moment.  So we’ll miss him for sure but we can manage to keep our form.  We found out later it’s a one match ban.  So, not as bad as we feared but the red card still seems totally unfair.

The rain was bucketing down when the second half got underway and I have to admit I thought we’d lost some spirit.  Song had moved to the back and when we got the ball we seemed to be making hard work of it although our defending was still brilliant especially considering we were down to ten men. 
 
Come on The Arsenal!

We had a couple of free kicks around their goal but they came to nothing, not even close.  The chance of a second goal seemed remote and the chance they may score seemed greater than ever.  

Come on The Arsenal, we need another goal!

It all changed when Arsene sent on Diaby for Bendtner and later on Sagna for Nasri.  Eboue started causing problems down the right hand side and the boys got their Mojo back. 

Come on Arsenal!

The ref seemed to be at odds with himself as if he realised he’d made a mistake with the red card so now he was being extra careful.  This led to a hilarious moment when Diaby was fouled and the ref appeared not to notice.  Diaby with arms spread wide dramatically pleaded for a foul and the ref gave a free kick.  We all roared with laughter but it isn’t the way a referee should be making decisions is it?

Cole nearly scored for the Hammers but luckily for us it bounced off the post.  Phew!  Finally we got a penalty for a handball and Fabregas slotted it in beautifully.  After that we knew the win was safely in the bag.  We went back down the M4 with a smile on our faces.  I didn’t get my predicted 3-0 win but what the hell! 
 
Top of the league with ten men - not a bad days work!   

Guesty by Ann Patey.

2 comments:

Jane said...

well done ann. you should be proud of yourself. can't say i understand it all but it was a great and easy read and i think i have learnt something. jane xx

Sarah Duncan said...

Great post Ann, even for someone who hasn't a clue who or what, it was v clear throughout. A beautiful career beckons!

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