I’m writing this from Newark Airport, the only place in America that doesn’t have arctic like air conditioning temperatures. The evening started so well, I bought a sausage wrapped in cheese that looked like a post Kavos 98 unprotected sex incident… then it descended into a disgraceful 2 hour delay.
Apologies for the late post, I spent the whole of the Bayern game stuck on a plane yesterday waiting for the news bulletin the fly in.
I wasn’t surprised. I wondered how I’d feel not being a part of it and just finding out the result. At first, I shrugged my shoulders. The reality of last night is that we never had a chance of overturning such a heavy defeat against such a brilliant team in the first leg. The starting line up was ok, but let’s be honest, that starting 11 was never going to be enough to take on a Bayern side who have 5 gears they’re always in complete control of.
The good news Arsenal train kept rolling as our kids made it through to the semi final of the FA Cup. They beat Everton 3-1 at the Emirates. I totally forgot to mention it yesterday… I wanted to go, it sounded like a good game to all those who did make the trip down there.
I didn’t catch any of the highlights, but Jack Jebb scored a penalty and a nailed a freekick… with a goal from Akpom.
The Arsenal fan base make me smile. We beat Everton in clinical fashion having previously despatched of Spurs and Liverpool. The draw happens and with inevitable predictability, we earn a draw against Manchester City… who were playing Wigan at home.
Bonjourno people @aldo_doel here, late and worse for wear but with a warm fuzzy feeling in my belly after a comprehensive win yesterday and a place in the FA cup semi final booked courtesy of Arsene Wenger and his band of travelling wilberrys.
Mind you reading back my tweets at half time, it didn’t feel that comprehensive. And that’s not just because of my predilection for despair. Despite dominating for most of the first half we found ourselves level pegging at half time. While the Toffee’s goal felt like a sucker punch, we had failed to take our chances, especially from our 9718 corners… woahhhhh there. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me try and maintain some semblance of chronological structure to this brain fart otherwise we’ll all be lost.
So the sun was blazing at the Ems yesterday, really gorgeous weather, as opposed to the cold bucket of piss that God has been throwing on us for the last few weeks (if you don’t live in the UK you might not know it but there’s been a bit of flooding here). The warm weather, coupled with the FA cup feely thing made for a great atmosphere, lots of standing, lots of singing. One chap even tried to run onto the pitch after getting reprimanded by the stewards for standing on his chair. Unfortunately he was too slow and failed to even get over the barrier before being collared #massivepitchinvasionfail
Arsene went for perhaps his strongest line up with the exception of Sanogo up front and Vermillllllion filling in for the injured Koscielny. After the shit sandwich that was Stoke away we really needed to see a reaction from the team and, thankfully, we did.
Everyone looked fired up and, playing against a very good Everton team, the game was played at a high tempo. We definitely had the making of them in the first half, creating chance after chance and winning corner after cursed corner. Our opening came early on. After some good pressing a slip from an Everton player left space for Santi to move into. His perfectly weighted pass found Mesut who didn’t have to break stride and passed the ball into the net like he literally could not give a fuck. A lovely goal which showed how ruthless football is at the highest level: one mistake and BAM.
After that we continued to press Everton well. Gibbs and Sagna were being given lots of space down the flanks. Unfortunately Bac’s crossing was a bit meh. And while Gibbs was linking up with Ozil well, it was the Ox and Cazorla who were really the stand out players. Chamberlain looking like he had smoked some Heisenberg-grade PCP and, along with Ross Barkeley, had his settings on cheat mode. Seriously both those guys were immense yesterday, playing at twice the speed of the rest of the players on the pitch and seeming to be everywhere at once.
Nevertheless, despite the dominance we did look vulnerable to Everton’s pace on the counter and it was a decisive break from Barkeley that led to the equaliser. He must have run the whole length of the pitch, tracked by Ozil and Flamini the whole way but for some reason neither willing to put in a tackle or block the cross (yes I know Flam was on a yellow but still). Sagna saw Mirallas’s run too late and just couldn’t catch him as he burst into the box and got on the end of Barkeley’s cross. The ball fell to Lukaku who had a tap in. Looking back at it, I don’t think Flamini or Sagna were at fault but perhaps Per, who let Lukaku go when he should have tracked him.
Despite the scoreline the second half felt like a much more even match, with Everton enjoying lots of possession. I commented at half time that I thought Arsene needed to sling Sanogo for Oli G (God its tough being right so often). While the young postman is a good understudy and a very good talent considering his age and experience, he wasn’t quite doing it in terms of link-up play, probably because he was marshalled excellently by Distin (who is so so quality). But without that focal point the team found its play broke down too many times.
Also bravo to the manager for making the substitution a whole 10 minutes before the FIFA mandated 70 min mark. In all seriousness, people are crowing about the fact that Arsene made an early substitution as evidence of his tactical flexibility. Well yes it is evidence on this occasion, but what about all the other times when the game was crying out for a change but AW refused to budge? (Man Utd at home springs to mind).
Anyway the change did prove decisive, with the addition of Giroud giving the team’s play more fluidity. The Ox was at the heart of things again as he linked up well with Mesut and burst into the box like Usain Bolt. Luckily he was up against the only dislikeable Everton player, Gaz Baz, who while effective, looks like he should be playing for a pub team. Anyway the lumbering ghost-faced, foulathon was too slow for the Ox and brought him down with a little kick.
Thankfully Arteta was back on penalty taking duties and dispatched the pen with ease. Unfortunately it had to be retaken because Olivier bolted too soon (sorry). Was the ref right to call it back? Probably, but its still frustrating. As for Oli well yes it’s idiotic but to be fair the mistake came from his over-enthusiasm which is much nicer to see than Gallas sitting sulkily on his arse on the halfway line. Luckily Miki kept his head and went the other way, burying the ball in the top corner.
After that Everton tired and left themselves exposed as they pushed up trying to find an equaliser. This is when Wengerball comes into its own and with the addition of Rosicky in place of the Ox we were able to dismantle them fairly easily.
The third came after nice link up play between TR and Bac who found himself on the by-line with yonks to pick out a pass to Oli. The big man’s movement was very good to make the space and he did really well to steer the cross into the net.
The cherry on top was Oli’s second. Cazorla, still buzzing like a little bee in the 87th minute dispossessed an Everton player, broke forward and released Rosicky who played a gorgeous through ball to Mesut who played an even gorgeouser – and I mean Adriana Lima gorgeous – no look pass to Oli who passed it into an open goal. A great way to round off a great day, as they say… hey hey.
Crisis, what crisis? Our very own raumdeuter (look it up) was scintillating yesterday, scoring, assisting, pre-assisting, looking like he doesn’t care while all the while making the whole team better. That no-look pass for Oli’s second is what £42m buys you, clinical and perfectly weighted.
My only regret is that we do not have an Ozil song yet, or at least I haven’t heard one. I think “Ozil Wonderland” was tried but really we need one soon as I need an outlet to express my inappropriate love for him.
Played very well yesterday, does anyone know what’s happening with the contract? Most of the smoke around this story seems to be that he’s off but then his fit wife makes all kind of pro-Arsenal comments which confuse me.
Also what’s the Sagna song? I thought of “Threeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, Bacary Sagna” to the tune of Free Nelson Mandela. Any takers?
The Ox and Barkley
Well England’s future looks secure based on the performance of these two yesterday (At least until successive Engerland managers coach any skill and technique out of their game). Both have bags of explosive power and pace and completely dominated the game for their respective teams. Wouldn’t you love Barkley in an Arsenal shirt; a real box-to-box midfielder with goals in him as well. Also a general note on Everton, it is very difficult not to like them. They are a classy club with good players and a great manager. I would be more than happy for them to finish second in everything behind us.
Gay Gooners Banner
I’ve been meaning to comment on this for a while, especially after hearing a few comments about the banner some which are, quite frankly, embarrassing. I mean seriously are we living in the 1950s?
We should be fighting to stamp out any prejudice towards our gay brothers and sisters in the stadium, in the same way people fought and are still fighting to stamp out prejudice against black and other players from ethnic minorities. It’s all part of the same struggle. If you were disgusted seeing Ballotelli crying because he was having bananas thrown at him, you should feel equally bad about someone feeling they can’t support their football team because of their sexual orientation.
I think the banner is fantastic. My only problem with it is its too small. Paint the whole stadium in the rainbow flag or sign up “attitude” magazine as a kit sponsor. That way being “gay” and liking/playing football will no longer be a “thing” to be mocked or scorned.
Played a blinder yesterday. Team selection was right, substitutions were right and the team were fired up from the start. We took apart a very good Everton team. Can we recover in the league and go on to win the FA cup? Christ I hope so, but having slightly rested Giroud and Ozil. With Ox and Cazorla finding form and with Ramsey coming back you’ve got to fancy us for something this year don’t you? Please say you do?
Onwards and Upwards
So Arsenal have booked themselves a day out at Wembley (albeit a semi, but they’re alright aren’t they?? (more innuendo, sorry)). The draw is today at 4pm. Still in it are: Hull City or Sunderland; Sheffield United or Charlton Athletic; Manchester City or Wigan Athletic.
Pray to the footballing gods for Wigan to turn over City then you’d have to fancy our chances as the rest of those teams are fairly average. Having said that, given our luck in cup draws this year we are almost guaranteed to draw City away (Well done to bergkamplegend for spotting this deliberate mistake. Of course it won’t be City away as we will be playing at Wembley, as I have mentioned about 8 times already in this post). If we do then I say bring it on, we’ve already beaten Liverpool, Spuds and Everton, we’ve got a good thing going here.
Right that’s me done. Have a great day and enjoy the sunshine! Follow me on twitter @aldo_doel