Wednesday, 16 February 2011
By Far The Greatest Team......
Oh what a night at the New Highbury! Now that was a proper game of football. That was the beautiful game at it's prettiest. We all woke up this morning and this was the first thought in our minds. Barcelona tonight. Work dragged, kick off seemed an age away. It was a mixture of excitement and dread. We could do this lot. We could lose badly. Story of the season so far?
I got to the ground early. My son and I went to our seats to find a free flag. Manufactured atmosphere? It wasn't needed. Mrs Feverpitch joined us and timed her entrance to 'The Wonder of You.' The place was jumping. Noise like our new house hadn't heard. We started brightly and were all over them but squandered chances. Suddenly Barca decided that enough was enough, took our ball away and refused to let us touch it again that half. They scored twice with one wrongly ruled offside thank goodness. We were being battered. We were feeling what it is like for the Premier League to play us. Let us touch the ball. Their passing was a joy. Pinging it around so easily. Everything stuck to their boots effortlessly. 99% possession and yet we went in only 1-0 down. They had 'done an Arsenal' and not taken their chances. It has cost us in the past. Hope it costs them.
The second half was more even but we were still getting the run around. The crowd were growing tired with little bursts of chants breaking out before dying away. The linesman up our end was keeping us warm. He was useless. Had he shoved his flag up his arse and started a little dance he would've got more decisions right. Thank goodness (again) he missed AA's handball. Good man.
Suddenly we broke and RVP smashed it from a daft angle and Valdes decided saving it on the near post was beyond him. 1-1 and the Grove exploded. Barca were shaken and we all could taste victory. For the second time in a few days we scored a stunning 'Arsenal' goal. Crisp passing cut Barca open while Arshavin salted the wound. 2-1 and I was there.
Tonight was a great, amazing, fantastic night. It's why we are Gooners. Having just beaten the best team in the world we are now the new number 1. That's how it works isn't it? We get to wear the crown and sash for a bit. We may still go out to Barca and there is no shame in that. They are awesome but tonight we were better at never giving in. This team showed enormous heart and spirit. A goal down to Barcelona and you think 'that's it' but the team didn't. Arsene gets stick for his subs but tonight he gambled and his numbers came up. Every player played brilliantly tonight but if I had to single out a player it would have to be Koscielny. He only had Messi to deal with and did it very well. He came of age tonight. He did the number 6 shirt proud. Jack played beyond his years again, Cesc...., RVP.....The whole lot were perfect.
So the best night at the Grove so far by far. The team and the fans gave everything and we have given ourselves a great chance. The Leyton scouts left at half time thinking we were crap. From Barcelona to the Orient. Back down to earth. Until then, be elated, be happy, smile, sleep well. Tomorrow will be as good a day as yesterday for we are Gooners and we are proud.