What a jigsaw of a day !
It has take me a little while to put the jigsaw together – but I have it at last.
Waking up this morning (eventually) the events of all of yesterday, from waking up in the early hours with the fan’s usual nightmare of leaving my match tickets at home, a potter in the garden, the uneventful trip to London, early to the stadium, the gradual slow rise in tension as the kick off approached, the slight tick of adrenaline, nothing more …………………………………… no inkling at all really ……………none …..
Then two and a half hours of emotional, mind bending, throat wrenching, expletive exhausting football. YES FOOTBALL!
And what a semi final it was – by no means anyone’s idea of a classic football encounter. No football connoisseur or coaching guru will have marked yesterday in their book of notable landmarks.
The Pie Eaters controlled, resolute, unimaginative but, as they had proved in their two most recent FAC games against Citeh, never a side to be under-estimated. Don’t ever try to tell lightning how many times it has struck or will strike – lightning is not interested in your opinion or even your statistics.
For Arsenal that bit of hesitation in our passing, a degree of rust in our flow across the park with the ball, the back of the players’ minds exercised by the certainty that for us to win was expected, but to lose would be calamity.
And so the game unfolded. From my eyrie might above the goal I watched, as you all did, the efforts we made to push Wigan, to look for holes, to chase and harry, to find that opening that would bring the goal and settle our collective nerves.
Sanogo worked and worked and worked, then ran some more. The Ox was by far our most effective performer. Aaron tried to bring his energy and some intelligence into the contest, to differentiate between a side who play as we can, and he Championship scufflers.
But it was not to be. An error –or a freak injury – I do not even know now having watched it again on the box last night handed the penalty to Gomez and suddenly the challenge before us took on a steeper tilt, and the clock which had measured the afternoon as a neutral custodian of time now began to menace us.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man – as so often the BFG showed why he has earned 100+ German caps and, having watched the headed finish again on TV, is a much finer footballer than many credit him for.
The final minutes and extra time, flashed by. By then my voice had gone, my mind was going, I had words with a pair behind me who had pressed my button on Sanogo’s alleged shortcomings once too often ( the looks of horror at the row on the fans around us were fair to behold). The players were shot, both sides running on empty tanks, legs barely able to sustain a run over ten yards much less a decent shot.
And so to penalties – my personal horror – I hate penalties – hate them – stemming perhaps from my first ever penalty shoot out in the Heysel. I peered into the abyss, and the abyss peered back.
Fabianski – an individual triumph but a triumph that embodied the collective effort of a team that gave its all on a day when it mattered.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
But go to the FA Cup final
Thanks to Andrew( @anicoll5 ) for today’s wonderful post