As we left the living room looking like a tornado had ripped through Hamleys and strolled towards New Highbury a day late due to the tube workers extra day off we were full of great expectation. Results around us had been festive and we could make 4th our own. The recovery from a disastrous start would be nearing completion. Get top 4 and push on. The bare minimum for a club like The Arsenal.
Things started well. We were busy. Full of possession which soon led to a swift move and Gervinho one on one with the Wolves keeper. He spun, looked like he may have fluffed it before facing the right way and finding the net. He needed that goal. His bottle seemed to have left him of late but he took that well and proved a lot to himself. The first half continued with lots of the ball at our boots without any real chances. We were missing the pace of Theo who'd overdone it on the Quality Street. Wolves were being opened up out wide. Theo would've ripped them. The Ox was on the bench. Only a matter of time? As the half went on we started to pass the ball backwards more and more. "Szczesny's unmarked" came one call. "Get it fucking forward" was another!
Then it happened. An unnecessary corner was softly dealt with. The shot wasn't closed down and an opportunist header was just out of Szczesny's reach. Unlucky? Maybe. Shambolic? Probably.
The second half was all one way. In that respect we did nothing wrong. We dominated. We had chances. Hennessy joined the enormous list of keepers who have their best game ever. They went down to 10. We did the same by bringing on Chamakh. The Ox was saved for another day. I maybe putting my faith in a untested child but I just felt he could worry Wolves. Chamakh wouldn't worry sheep. Yet we may not be having this conversation if a professional footballer could kick a ball straight. Following a kurfuffle on the right the ball fell to Rosicky. He was in the D on the edge of the box. The goal gaped. Hennessy was out of position. Rosicky made contact and cleverly bent the ball a good few yards wide of the left hand post. Maybe he thought the ref, Attwell, who has awarded goals for balls going yards wide before, would allow it. Sadly not. Little Mozart finished that like a great big Jedward.
And the ref! I've refereed games before and I appreciate how hard it can be (and 9 year olds cry if you send them off) but surely a man who has been fast tracked has to have some control of the game. He made odd decisions left, right and centre. Give him his due he is consistently shite week in week out. Check out his wiki page for his growing list of cock ups. My favourite yesterday was a little one. We had a free kick just outside their box. Arteta and RVP lined up to take it. Attwell, in his wisdom, stood in front of our captain and gestured to Arteta to get on with it. RVP had to manhandle the ref out of the way before he could run at it himself. The ref, in a premiership game, was in the way at a free kick. Magnificent!
Let the boos ring out this Christmas! Not for the first time this season the team left to the bass tones of frustrated punters. I didn't boo but I left furious. The awful opening to our season means that every point we drop is magnified (and the spuds doing so well makes it even worse.) We had an opportunity yesterday and we blew it. You can blame it on the referee, you can blame it on Hennessy, you can blame it on Rosicky, you can blame it on the boogie if you like but the bottom line is we got the ball in the net once. That's as many times as 16th placed relegation threatened Wolves and if we have ambition it's just not good enough. We've obviously done incredibly well to haul ourselves up to 5th which makes these results so frustrating. We have no room for "Just one of those days" anymore. That luxury went months ago.