Week Twenty Eight – What a difference a game makes
As I’ve said before, the whole reason I write this season diary is to look at how our moods and reactions change over the course of the season, which they do on not just a weekly basis, but by the day, hour, minute and second as well. This week was a perfect example of that.
If you read this column last week you will know I had a bit of a rant about what I felt were people going overboard with the negativity after a week in which we were hammered at Liverpool and drew with Manchester United at home.
I think I’m the only person I know who felt we would beat Liverpool in the FA Cup game that followed. On Twitter for a couple of days before, and in the pub before the game there was barely anyone who felt we would win. Ok, I tend to go into every game thinking that we will win, always have, but I genuinely felt we would win this one.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the lack of confidence in getting a result, I just had a feeling we could pull a result off.
I’ll stop there, as I’m starting to sound like one of those “told you so” cunts that we all love, plus by the time this goes out we would have played two games, and the Liverpool result will be a mere memory, especially dependant on how those two games go (went), of course.
I think the point I’m trying to make is how quickly things can change in football, not that that’s a revolutionary statement at all, of course, but it can still sometimes be overlooked in this day and age of knee-jerk overreaction.
From stressing over what sort of side the boss would put out, worrying the FA Cup (our best/only chance of silverware this season) would be “sacrificed” in favour of being at full strength against Bayern Munich in the Champions League (a competition we can’t possibly win), we’ve gone to a home draw in the quarter finals, dreaming of Wembley, in the space of a few days.
Ok, so nothing’s been won yet, but neither has it been lost, and maybe it goes to show that sometimes it’s best to distance yourself from some of the hyperbolic reaction, leave that to the tabloids and the media, rather than get sucked in by it. There is the real possibility of looking like a bit of a cock if you are not careful.
Going mental at a team lineup that hasn’t even been confirmed, then going mental at a team lineup that hasn’t even played yet, etc, etc. Wait until after the game, then criticise the team, or, if it goes well, or be relieved that you didn’t make a cock of yourself.
Yes, that works both ways, and by the time you read this everything could’ve gone tits up and I’m looking like a cock, but the only happy medium I can think of these days is the old “take each game at a time” adage. Football is certainly more enjoyable that way, surely.
Speaking of enjoyment, the atmosphere for the Liverpool game was fantastic, especially that last five minutes or so, and how refreshing that was after recent times. How refreshing it also was to see Luis Suarez denied a stonewall penalty. That other old adage “what goes around, comes around” coming into play there.
Good, fuck him. Hideous little cunt.
As I write this, the first couple of days of the week have been mostly spent laughing at Scousers crying into their moustaches and shell suits over Howard Webb (who was atrocious for both sides it must be said). Laughing at Scousers is one of my favourite pastimes, as I think it is for most of my generation.
All this has led to an almost serene atmosphere leading up to the Bayern Munich game.
I’m sure the build-up would have been unbearable had we not beat Liverpool, but the FA Cup win has certainly taken a lot of the pressure off of this game for supporters and this, coupled I guess with low expectation levels, has led to a lot of people spending the early part of the week expressing the fact that they aren’t too bothered about the game, as long as we don’t get hammered of course.
It is “not being too bothered” in a zen-like manner though, rather than “fuck this shit”, which is once again a refreshing change.
I’m sure this feeling will change, and by matchday the excitement of a huge game like this is beginning to take over in even the most hardened Euro-sceptics, and there is of course the chance of the serenity turning into outrage should we get hammered.
Like I say – what a difference a game makes!
Indeed, by around 10am on the day of the game the mood has changed from one of indifference to one of fidgety clock-watching as the pre-match tension kicks in. It is still one of anticipation rather than dread in most cases though, and I’m sure the drafts in most peoples’ Twitter accounts are more empty than they would have been if Sunday hadn’t gone as it did.
Arsenal 0 Bayern Munich 2
What a Difference a Penalty Miss, an injury and a Red Card Make
Once the game got underway and we started so well, all feelings of not being too bothered about the result went straight out of the window and the feeling the defeat, once it came, brought was as painful as any other.
The Daily Mirror get to use a headline they have been saving since the Unwashed One made his ridiculous comment though, so at least someone’s happy, with Darren Lewis taking time away from wiping Jose Mourinho’s spunk off of his chin to insist he doesn’t write his own headlines.
The back page headline was as pathetic and childish as it was disgraceful, and although I agree to a point that we shouldn’t give these oxygen thieves the attention their parents obviously never did, I also understand why people get wound up by this shit. They are baiting us, no doubt about that, but I see no problem in calling a cunt a cunt. Call them cunts, don’t buy their papers (does anyone anyway?). Simple.
As far as the game went, you don’t need me to bang on about it do you? I’m sure the experts have broken it all down and sussed it all out already. Mesut Özil’s penalty miss, Kieran Gibbs’ injury, the penalty and subsequent red card changed the face of the game completely. Up until the penalty miss, we were outstanding, and had the Best Team in the History of the Universe on the back foot.
This is something we can take heart from, and along with the battling display in the second half, bodes very well for the rest of the season if we can put the bitter taste of the defeat behind us.
The defeat still hurts, but as we weren’t that bothered about it beforehand I’m sure nobody will be going over the top with their reactions will they? Ahem. Özil will no doubt get plenty of stick in the press, but that’s something we’re all used to now. Problem is, when it comes to us fans there seems to be precious little middle ground. He’s either shit, beyond criticism, or being ruined by Arsene Wenger or something.
That’s the case with more than one player, of course. You should be able to have the opinion that he had a poor game, however the circumstances conspired against him, without being jumped on. You should also be able to criticise a performance without calling him shit, he’s not shit, and if you call him shit you are fucking stupid, to be honest. Anyway, we weren’t too bothered about that game were we?
On to the next one then.
Arsenal 4 Sunderland 1 – Easy
Well, that was as routine as you can get wasn’t it? Great to see Olivier Giroud knocking a couple in, and Tomas Rosicky’s goal, our third, was truly a thing of beauty, evoking memories of Jack Wilshere’s goal against Norwich that caused sales of Kleenex to rocket to an all-time high for one weekend.
Not much more to add about the game really, apart from hoping that the injury worries aren’t too serious, which as I write they don’t seem to be, and we don’t end up with a makeshift back four for the next few weeks. Oh, that would be fun.
A nice quiet end to an up and down week.
The fact that Mesut Ozil was rested for this game didn’t cause as much of a fuss as the red tops had hoped, due to the fact that after all the shit they’ve spouted this week, Arsenal fans had stopped giving any kind of fuck about what they had to say, and common sense prevailed for once.
What goes around comes around eh?
Islington born and bred, Arsenal through and through. Supported the Gunners for all of my 46 years (so far!) through thick and thin.
Clickbait: Life as a Modern Football Fan – released 2019
Currently working on my next book – Over Land and Sea (and Lockdown), Arsenal 20/21 – A Diary of a Season – due for release Summer 2021.
I will back the club I have in my blood to the hilt and I don’t care what you think about that. UTA.
AGAINST MODERN FOOTBALL.