Bonjour mes Positivistas,
A slightly rocky path in our Premier League form safely negotiated yesterday, and three points safely in the basket. My impression was of a thorough performance by us, plenty of sweat and concentration on our part. There was the occasional flash of quality, such as Mesut’s through ball to Joel to tidily finish*, but we did not run through our full repertoire. Could it be perhaps, with a big game not far away on Wednesday, we played just a notch down from top gear in order to preserve a little energy ? Perhaps the final half an hour in Piraeus will provide the answer to that !
Who done well ?
Mesut ran the show and while watching from Row 2 by the edge of the corner box I could see nothing of the ‘big picture’ of the match it did give me the chance to see how skilful the player is, how difficult to dispossess, even along the very narrow edge of the pitch. Time and again the German would wriggle through and away from the opposition, retain the ball and place the pass. I thought Nacho had a good game and in the past few games has much more of an attacking threat, with no obvious decline in his defensive concentration. Flamini I thought did well in the middle alongside Aaron, and allowed the Welshman free rein in the final third. Aaron slightly unlucky to get only one goal yesterday. Another day it could have been three.
And no match review would be complete without a word for the Arsenal fans “go-to scapegoat” (I stole that in case you wondered) Olivier Giroud. Against three centre backs Olivier was in for a hard afternoon. He’s up, he’s down, but he never hides.
On other against a Sunlun side that had come with a BIG GREEN bus plan, and to be fair to whose plan worked pretty well. They came for a point, the extent of Fat Sam’s horizon. Fair enough they are never going to out-football us at the Ems or at the SoL. Five at the back, four across midfield backed up by a 7’ goal keepers was always going to pose us problems but we negotiated the obstacles well. What the hour long TV replay I watched last night on Sky did not show was the long periods when we retained the ball and pulled the visitors backwards and forwards. I heard some total nonsense about “Sunderland were superb”. No they weren’t. “Superb” in the context of Sunderland’s possible performance yesterday would have been clinging on to the 89th minute at 0-0, and then scoring a breakaway goal. They had a plan, tried to execute it. It did not work.
Now, you know me. You know I am not a man ever given to exaggeration or hyperbole. But in the course of yesterday I was part of, indeed fully experienced, what it must be like to suffer from the psychological condition I often natter on about “dysphoria”. You may recall that is a condition in which the sufferer feels a constant state of dissatisfaction, irritability and disappointment, irrespective of the objective circumstances they may find themselves in. I have also highlighted the probability that professional football, and club teams, provided a focus for people of this type to congregate, physically and through social media. Well yesterday, at the front of Block 4 at the Ems I found myself immersed in what appeared to be a mass rally of committed of dysphorics !
I have sat next to and around some shite Arsenal fans. At one of the scale there are a small minority who appear off their heads with their abuse of our players and manager. They suffer from acute and possible incurable dysphoria. At the other end there are the “tutters”, the “groaners”, the “off-for-an-early-half-time-drink-with-30-minutes-gone” brigade. These are milder cases, treatable in most cases but dangerous if allowed to cross contaminate and develop new strains of pessimism and collective misery.
Well the front few rows of Block Four is, without any doubt on my part, the worse epidemic of the condition I have come across. Not one good word to say all afternoon, not one positive syllable.
So Block Four at the Emirates I award you the Joel Campbell Trophy for your Outstanding Contribution to Football Supporting in 2015. Wear it with Pride.
Enjoy your Sunday !
* the header photo courtesy of the Independent of Joel’s composed finish.