Monday, November 05, 2007

Moments of hope from moments of disaster.

Oh readers: pity me. Pity my folly; pity my idiocy.

After a 500 mile journey, I reached the turnstiles of the Grove on Saturday. I reached into my pocket and found the wallet in which I had placed my season ticket.

The wallet was empty.

Panic. Sheer, unadulterated, complete, perfect panic. In retrospect, I probably could have gained entrance to the ground somehow, but as the panic gripped my mind, I was sapped of all clarity, of all rational thought. I thus did the only thing I thought reasonable: I ran to the pub.

Thus, if you saw a young man with a Cesc4 shirt on running the wrong way down the Holloway road at around 12.45, you probably caught a glimpse of Goonerboy during one of his weaker moments.

Anyway. My quick, if idiotic, thinking ensured that I only missed three minutes of the game, which, after a tense opening 45 minutes, finally spluttered into life.

On balance, either time could have deserved the win. United very nearly tactically outplayed us, with Hargreaves and Anderson doing well to break up our normally fluent play, while Rooney and Giggs marauded efficiently before them. Love them or, as you should do, loath them, Rooney and Anderson are very good players.

Yet the fact they didn't win, and the fact we prevented United from seeing out a seemingly certain 2-1 win, is a massive credit to The Arsenal. Few would have bet against United seeing out those last ten minutes, and yet they didn't, a testament to how far we've come this season.

And few players have come further than William Gallas. From a, in some quarters, hate-figure last year, he is finally showing the leadership and defensive skills that make him one of the best central defenders in the world. Melodramatic comments about 'dying' aside, he needs to continue to instil fire into the team if we're to challenge for honours this season.

Hleb put in another blinding performance, whilst Cesc was still excellent, despite the shackles imposed on him by a very congested midfield.

The only real negatives were the middling performances from Adebayor and Eboue, both of which can be partially explained away through the overly negative 4-1-1 formation we started with. Also, Almunia's keeping was brought into question, again. More on that later.

I had hoped for four points from the Liverpool and United games, but 2 will suffice. No defeats, and the manner in which we earned our draws, has surely confirmed our status as title contenders. A beautiful state of affairs, I'm sure you'll agree.

What's more, United are clearly rattled. You only have to see Fergie's ridiculous comments with regard to the referee or our fans, or Hargreaves attack on our 'so-called beautiful football' to see we've rattled their cage. That United have resorted to mind games already, merely emphasises the threat that they feel from us.

So, a draw can sometimes feel like a win, and sometimes a pub can almost feel like a stadium - of sorts. (Thanks to everyone in the Bailey for creating a great atmosphere.) And sometimes, after thinking you're staring catastrophe in the face, things don't turn out too badly after all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

aww i pity you mate. lol what a miss you had. anyway yea totally agree with you...

hmm this comment seems worthless.