Firstly – *boilk*
Secondly – how fitting that on the 125th anniversary of the club we pulled out a 1-0 to the Arsenal, a result so synonymous with the club.
Thirdly – the game itself was nothing much to talk about. Everton came and not only parked the bus but turned the bus sideways, then got another bus, attached that bus to the existing bus and then added another bus before placing all the buses in a row well outside the white lines of the parking space.
At 0-0 with 20 minutes to go they showed their ambition by taking off Saha, a striker, and putting on Distin. Clearly they had no interest in three points but wanted to ensure they got at least one. And, to be fair, it wasn’t a bad idea from their point of view. They frustrated us, helped by the fact we didn’t play particularly well and spurned a number of chances.
Ramsey shot just over after a clever turn inside the box, Gervinho was one on one again and failed to score, Theo rolled one across the box and only some last minute defending prevented the goal, but in general we struggled to find our rhythm. It was going to take something like a penalty or a moment of magic to win the game.
Thankfully it was the latter. Alex Song took it on in midfield, clipped a ball over the top for Robin van Persie and the captain’s flying volley started its trajectory outside the post before nestling just inside it. What a brilliant goal, the technique was absolutely world class and it was a goal befitting the occasion. When you think of all the great strikers we’ve seen at this club down the years it was a goal that any of them would have been proud of.
A late strike by some youngster I’d never heard of before and whose name I can’t be arsed to look up right put a few hearts in mouths but it would have been an injustice of epic proportions had they got anything from this game. They didn’t have one ounce of attacking ambition and, frankly, they only got about 25% of what they deserved.
Afterwards, Arsene said:
Overall we created many chances in the first half, and the players were a bit disappointed at half-time that we did not score. In the second half, Everton played deeper and gave us less room, we lacked a bit of team pressure to get them out of position.
And of the captain and goalscorer:
You [the media] will say we are van Persie dependent! Today he got us a goal which was at the moment of the game where we struggled a little bit to create chances. He delivered something special and three important points.
And that is the difference when you’ve got a player of van Persie’s quality. How many times did a single Henry goal win a game for us? Or one from Messi for Barcelona, one from Rooney for United, one from Drogba for Chelsea etc. The man is by far and away the best striker in Europe right now and when we needed him yesterday, he delivered.
The league table is also quite nice looking this morning. We now find ousrselves nestled in the top four. It might only be temporary as Chelsea face Man City tomorrow but considering where we’ve come from and how hard we’ve worked to get there it’s a great place to be and somewhere we need to remain. That will only happen with the same hard work we’ve shown over the last couple of months and even if there was only one moment of quality that one game the way we played ensured that it was decisive.
Beyond that not much else going on apart from the fact I met Pat Rice yesterday, via an Arseblog friend (cheers, Dizzy!) and presented him with a copy of the book. What a legend he is and as nice as you would expect. I managed not to be a bumbling idiot but I guess even if I had been Pat would have made it all right. I also saw Gervinho on my travels and that forehead is even bigger in real life.
It was great also to meet so many folks in The Tollington pre and post game and so many of them have contributed to my hangover this morning. Thank you all (not just the ones who contributed to my hangover).
Which brings me back to my first point – *boilk* – and if you’ll excuse me now I have to go tend to that. Till tomorrow.