Familiar scenes? Not really…
My first match review post went missing( I still dont know how), so I had to draft another some minutes ago. The difference between both drafts is that at first I was emotionally-supercharged after the match and ‘poured out’ all my feelings and thoughts on the keyboard, whereas I am a little calm and relaxed now. But that’s by the way.
So after the defeat to the Chavs at Stamford Bridge, all I (and I believe all gooners) heard was how Arsenal have gone another season without a trophy, how we need to sign 5 players to compete and even how Le Boss needs to be sacked. Now after yesterday’s performance, I ask, how out are we now? This season has been the most unpredictable season the Premier League has witnessed, because I still cannot fathom how we are just 3 points adrift first place having lost 6, yes! 6 matches. No team has had it all rosy and even though Arsenal have had 2 chances to get back in the race, you can bet there wont be a 3rd chance. The weekend started on a high with Citeh undertaking a task that no team had succeded in doing at the Bridge for almost 4 years, beating the Chavs and getting 4 goals. It was good to see Bridge get one over his ‘rival’ JT scum and how ironic was it when it turned that Bridgey’s clearance it was that Terry fumbled and gave Tevez a clear run on goal.
We just had to win in the late kick-off to boost our chances and Stoke wasn’t the best of places to go. Stoke had forgotten how to lose, we had to remind them. The game started as a surprise to no one. Stoke did not change their approach and I feel the first half was a game of 2 ‘halves’. The first 20 minutes saw the home team dominate proceedings. They got their reward as early as the 6th minute, and boy, was it familiar? Sidibe won a throw off Gael and Delap did his thing. Sagna should have been manning the far post but instead he came to challenge for the ball. He lost the header and Pugh headed in the second ball at the far post. We had conceded 4 goals from Delap’s missiles in 4 matches. Things continued in this pattern until Arsenal started to get their rhythm but Stoke were closing down quickly forcing Arsenal mistakes. Even the usually infallible Fabregas made stray passes. The first time they refused to close Arsenal was when we got our goal. A throw in the Stoke half went to Cesc, he waited for some seconds, then picked out Nikky B who was sandwiched between Faye and Shawcross. The Dane did well to place his header well under intense pressure. Arsenal got their goal and were on the ascendancy. The game continued this way until the interval.
In the second half, the boys continued from where they left off with some slick passing and blocked shots. Tackles were flying, but one stood out. In the 70th minute, Shawcross planted his studs in Ramsey’s shin and the Welshman went down in great pain. I could see from the reactions of the players how serious the injury was. It was the same reaction at Birmingham around 2 years ago when Dudu broke his leg. The players of both teams couldn’t stand it, Shawcross was sent off without any complaints and Ramsey was stretchered off and taken into an ambulance. The tempo dropped drastically and most heads were down. It should be noted that after Dudu’s injury, a penalty was awarded against us in the 90th minute which crumbled our title bid. Yesterday, the boys were up for it. The tables were turned when Nikky B won a penalty after the ball flicked Pugh outstreched hand. A calm head was needed and up stepped Cesc to right his wrong and slot cooly past Sorensen. It was great to see Cesc dedicate the goal to Ramsey. In the 5th minute of 7 added minutes, Rosicky who was on for Ramsey saw his shot saved, the rebound fell to Cesc who showed maturity and awareness to pass the ball to TV5 when a shot would have been easier. The game was won, and deservedly so. You could see from the celebration what the win meant to the lads.
This win was as bittersweet as they came. I’m ecstatic because of the mental strength and spirit on display, it was really good to see Cesc lead the team in a huddle at the end of the match. Now that’s what captains are made of. But the party as Arsene said was soured by Aaron’s injury. My 2 wishes have been granted, we won, Chelski lost. Take a look at our remaining fixtures and you’ll notice we have a strong chance of bringing the league to N5. Let’s do this for Aaron and for all those who have suffered for this great club for 5 years. We can do this, yes we can!
From wherever you are reading, keep the faith and have fun.
9jabred says so!