Trying to sleep Friday into Saturday was tougher than trying to convince Arsene Wenger to spend some money during the transfer window. Knowing that one of the most important North London Derby’s was just hours away, I tossed and turned, eventually giving up. The iPad was put to use, as I watched a number of videos on YouTube, prepping myself for a big match a Sh*t Hart Lane.
What could we expect from an Arsenal squad that looks defeated and lacking confidence, away to Spu*s who we all hate oh so god damn much!?! I hate them, I hate their fans, I hate their stupid logo… I hate everything about them. That’s normal right?
Knowing that Petr Cech is out for an extended period was concerning, but prior to the former Chelsea goalkeeper joining the Gunners, Ospina had proven that he can be counted on, and he sure as hell made his presence felt today.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Elneny and Coquelin side by side in the center of the park, allowing Ramsey to roam forward. We all know he isn’t the most disciplined, so it was up to Elneny and Coq to protect the back four.
The first 45 minutes went somewhat as expected. Arsenal gave Spu*s possession, as they looked to exploit their North London rivals on the counter-attack. Danny Welbeck was the perfect option for that game plan, and he put in a fantastic performance. He dropped into the midfield to receive the ball, he got in behind the defenders, he offered an outlet out wide, and was fantastically patient on the ball before passing across the box to Bellerin, resulting in Arsenal’s first goal. Since his return from injury, we certainly couldn’t have asked for more of him. He’s doing what we all have wished Walcott would do consistently.
With the second half starting, I propped my iPad up against the wall behind the sink in the bathroom, as I brushed my teeth. I had about 20 minutes to get to footy training with the young lads, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to miss a minute of this match. As I ran around the house with my iPad, my wife couldn’t help but to shake her head.
On the way, I had the match streaming on my phone as I listened to the audio, occasionally peeking over if I came to a stop. Don’t worry, I’m a cautious and safe driver, until Coq decided he was going to make a completely stupid tackle on Harry Kane, who was very quiet up until then. Already on a yellow, why the hell would you dive into that tackle? Why!?
He knew right away that he had made a mistake, and it didn’t take long for Spu*s to capitalize.
At this point I was sitting in the parking lot watching the match on my phone, waiting as long as I could before heading into training. To my frustration, Mertesacker decided he was going to just watch the ball roll out of bounds, allowing Dele Alli to get there before him, and you all know what happened after that!
Wanting to toss my phone out the window and run it over 100 times in frustration, I kept it together, and headed into training with phone in pocket and volume loud enough so I could hear the commentary.
We took the pitch, and I had the young lads stretch longer than they normally would. I had to kill off about 20 minutes so I could somewhat keep an eye on the match. Alright kids, go ahead and give me 20 laps… I’m just kidding, I didn’t make them do that, but had I known they were going to be collectively so poor during training, 20 laps would have been a deserved punishment.
As they prepared to stretch, Alexis snuck in behind the defenders, slotting home their second goal. I was trying to not be so obvious, but I couldn’t help but celebrate, although I was very composed. At least I thought I was. A knee slide across the field is composed right?
Alright kids, time for a simple 1v2 drill. I’ll stand in goal, as I keep my phone in my pocket listening to the commentary.
Arlo White raised his voice, I grabbed my phone and saw the replay of an Eric Dier foul which merited his second yellow and subsequent red. Michael Oliver didn’t reach into his pocket, meanwhile I wasn’t paying attention and took a well struck shot off the chest. Adding to that, one of the kids who was standing next to the goal heard Arlo’s soothing voice, and I was caught. Who’s winning coach…?
I ignored him acting as if I had no idea what he was talking about. Get out there and play some defense kid, don’t worry about the voices coming out of my pants.
That sending off would have really changed the match, and who knows, maybe I would have done another knee slide across the pitch, but that didn’t happen. One point didn’t seem all that bad considering we were down 2-1 away from home and with 10-men. With arguably their best squad in the last 20 years, up a man for 35 or so minutes, and the lead, poor Spu*s still couldn’t pull it off.
Needless to say, what I knew would be a tense morning, turned into one hell of a roller coaster ride. Supporting Arsenal is not healthy for my blood pressure, but I guess it could always be worst.