Arsenal took to the field, on what started out as a very beautiful afternoon. Within five minutes they were giving the impresssion of being the better team — in complete control. And why not, everyone of the City mercenaries had previously been at a club that had been tonked by Arsenal at one time or another, add to that, a couple of Arsenal rejects and there should never have been any doubt that Arsenal would appear the more confident and boss the game, and so it was. That is until City scored and then as violently as a see-saw shifts its weight so did confidence slide from one team to another.
I was shocked by the reaction of many people around me, so called Arsenal supporters openly calling for Wenger’s head: the level of ignorance was amazing. My concerns were focused on the fact that we couldn’t even muster a single shot on goal or if Vermaelen’s rasper was in the first half then it was the exception that proved the rule. The most reasoned concerns I heard around me were aimed at Van Persie: nothing was sticking; he couldn’t hold the ball long enough for the rest of the team to join him and to make things worse he has developed an embarrassing habit of falling to the floor as if having been shot by a sniper every time he miscontrols the ball and consequently loses it. I am a big RVP fan but I have my doubts as to whether he is a number nine.
Half time, any one who is familiar with the 12 Pins in Finsbury Park, will know that this is a hard core Arsenal pub and it is not a good idea for two young men from N17 to walk by wearing spud shirts when we are losing. I know the adult in me says that this is wrong but the boyish football fan was very pleased when some Arsenal fans proceeded to pour pints of lager over them while taking out all their frustrations verbally using the kind of colourful language that I am sure you can imagine.
Second half, we were back to playing with the self belief that we had started the game, so much so that we had them pinned back. Opportunities were arriving most memorably to Vermaelen but still the equaliser eluded us.
Enter Rosicky, the forth pint was coming to its end and that was my cue to start getting animated and explode I did when the Czech Republic’s finest took to the field; the additional class that he instantly injected into the game was impressive and as if to stick two fingers up at all those who called for him to be sold while injured; he played a deftly weighted pass to the Boy Wonder enabling him to score his first goal of the season.
This started off as a happy pint, although, contrary to what it might seem I am not a big drinker and am easily affected by alcohol. I am not going to try and defend Denilson but it was noticeable that when he and Song went off we were over run, surely it would have been better to have swapped Doby for Rosicky? Belamy’s goal was met with hatred; Adebayor’s goal was met with stunned disbelief. The upside, if there is one, is that Rosicky got an assist for the first goal and scored the second. He should shortly become a regular starter, along with AK 47 and Nasri there is still a lot to look forward to. I marched out of the pub and cycled home, going through Regents park someone jumped the red light, nearly killing me; he stopped just short, opening his window, I let him have it, the Doby own goal the Adebayor insult, the lot — it all came out; the girl in the Exorcist would have blushed, it wasn’t very grown up behaviour but it did seem to help.