My first game: Cason Sanderson

WTTGT Writer: Cason Sanderson

It was Saturday, 22nd April 2006. The first time I made my way along to Highbury with my best friend and his dad to watch my first ever Arsenal game.

The excitement had been running through my body for days in advance and I had not slept a wink the night before. Dreams of seeing the great Gunner’s players live in action.Players like Bergkamp, Pires and of course Thierry Henry! I could not wait!

Moreover it was the 151st North London derby against the old enemy, so it made the occasion even sweeter. There was an added incentive for us, needing a win to keep our chances of overtaking Spurs into the Champions League spot alive.

Even though I was still young, in fact only 11 years old at the time, I knew that with the Champions League semi-final around the corner against Villarreal we might rest some key players.

I was right. There was no Ljungberg or Bergkamp in the squad, with Cesc and Henry on the bench with the latter to have his moment to come later on. As I stepped out into the streaming sunshine of Highbury, it was packed full with a sea red and cherry around the stadium. There was a sense that since it was to be the last derby at our grand old stadium, we would give the grandest of derby send-offs.

With renditions of “Arsenal ‘till I die” and “If you hate Tottenham stand up,” the atmosphere was electric, but we still got off to a bad start with Tottenham taking the lead due to a clash between Emmanuel Eboué and Gilberto, resulting in Robbie Keane sliding a tap in at the far post.

The first half passed and the start of the second began with chances for both sides, but Arsenal began to dominate with Tottenham looking dangerous on the break.

Then, on the hour mark, Wenger would take off  RVP and Diaby for Cesc and Henry. The adrenaline that went through my body in seeing my heroes, my idol and all time favourite player [Henry] taking the field was immense. Then while hopes of a comeback were dying out, Adebayor muscled past a Spurs player and found Henry tearing into the box. With two pieces of absolute magic, he controlled and then managed to angle a shot into the far corner whilst a defender was on him, and the stadium erupted as it finished 1-1.

You have always got a chance when you have Thierry Henry in your team.

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