At about 2 O'clock, as I sat on a bench in a beautiful, peaceful National Trust garden while the kids ran to find clues that would result in an Easter Egg prize, I was suddenly washed by regret that a family holiday had taken precedence over The Arsenal. The weather had been beautiful and I hadn't given it a second thought until now. The jealously I felt for the strangers in our seats betrayed the happiness on the faces of the chocolate filled children.
Three egg hunts and a picnic later we were home and relying on the Ipad to deliver us the game. The roast lamb was put in and we huddled together around the Wifi driven screen. I felt uncharacteristically optimistic about the game. It's unlike me. I tend to expect the worst and enjoy the nice surprise but I really felt we could do this. Despite their extraordinary spending and squad of 134 players I'm sure we are better than them. They are an expensive collection with a floppy manager while we are a team.
The first half proved my point. How we went in 0-0 is any one's guess. Man C were done but we just couldn't worry the net. We beat Hart but TV, with horror in his eyes, cleared it. The living room rose and sank. As the players headed for the tunnel Balotelli sat, ignored, in their path to make sure all saw him. He shouldn't have had the chance. He could've had two red cards in that half. The tackle on Song was an utter disgrace. The lowest of the low leg breaker and if the FA don't punish him for that then they are more pathetic than we all know they are.
The first half was a good half for us and it was a worry we weren't winning. You could just see these bastards run up the other end and nick one. They did try a bit harder but there were no heart in mouth moments for us. They were as poor a team as we've seen at The Grove. If ever there was a game we should win this was it. RVP hit the post. Theo, TV and Yossi somehow trickled and tickled the ball wide. It looked like one of those days. Frustration and desperation crept in until some more sloppy play from them led to the ball at Arteta's feet. He surged towards the North Bank. Lescott stood to admire. From distance he unleashed another thunderbolt past England's number 1 to continue his run, lifting his shirt, and sending the stadium and a family on holiday into jumping joy. The crowd doing 'the Poznan' was a punchline nearly as delicious as the man who goes to the barbers and asks for 'a bellend' finally receiving a red card.
That was a deserved win against a small club with money. A rag bag collective that have been found out. When we are good we look very good and with a better summer things could be very very good. If the club have ambitions and convey them to the captain I think he will stay. We've had some very bad times this season. We've had all that Wenger out nonsense and some abject performances yet they have pulled themselves up to 3rd. For so long top four looked unlikely. Now 3rd is ours to lose. We've failed to build on potential in the past and I pray these mistakes won't be repeated again this summer.
A great performance for the strangers to enjoy topped off with a celebratory Easter roast. A good day. Up the Gunners.