Good morning Positive Arsenal fans,
Let me get the grudging congratulations out of the way first to our opponents last night. Over two legs we encountered a team of the highest quality. If it was destined to be our largest ever defeat in the Champions League and at the Emirates we were ruthlessly despatched by a team likely to feature in the final of the competition, at least.
Of the game ? We were very good for 54 minutes. Not ‘good’ in a clinging-on, denying Bayern by the skin of our teeth kind of way but playing fast, creative football. Our first half performance was not down to one or two exceptional performances by Arsenal players, but a genuine team effort, front to back. A special word of praise however for young Hector. Not quite been in top form for a few weeks but best player on the pitch in the opening 45. We opened up the Germans on four occasions. Manuel Neuer, fine keeper that he is, seems oddly accident prone at the Emirates. Had more then one of those chances been put away then “what if …. ?”. Against a team of Bayern’s quality to fail to convert half chances into goals is surely the path to defeat. And so it proved.
Now we reach the 54th minute, and a gentleman who the mainstream media tell me goes by the name of Charalambos Kalogeropoulos. The official burst into the footballing limelight in a most unexpected fashion. Now I do not know about you but the goal line assistant, an invention of Sepp Blatter in his relentless battle against technology, has not much featured in my football watching. I do not understand what they do, or are supposed to do, and because we see and hear so very little of them I suspect they are a vague about it themselves. See no evil, speak no evil et cetera.
Nevertheless the man insisted that the referee convert a yellow card, to a red card. And if I live to be a very old person I will not understand why. Ruined the contest, sank any conceivable chance of recovery on our part, and caused me to drink far more red wine than I would normally do on a Tuesday night. At least my wounds are self inflicted.
At 1-1 in truth I’d say the game was just about done, and would have been done, even with 11v11. A man advantage and our balloon punctured the final 35 minutes saw our lads dismembered in a professional, relentless fashion.
Could we have put ten men behind the ball and battled for a more respectable 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 ? Would my work this morning have been easier had the defeat been of smaller proportion ? I dunno. And to be honest I don’t care. We play as we play.
Right then, enough of this wallowing in self pity. I spy a FA Cup quarter final on Saturday against Lincoln, who I can never recall seeing before in the flesh. I shall be there, making a noise, enjoying the game. And then there is the little matter of 12 Premier League games, amongst which are some tasty contests.
It is not all bad – enjoy your Wednesdays.