To imbibe intoxicating liquor is one of life’s great pleasures. How blessed we are that the universe has seen fit to make a substance that gives so much pleasure with so widely available. It can be produced with very few ingredients. Our colonial chums can fashion a potent spirit with just some corn, some water, some barley and some heat. The range of alcoholic drinks one can enjoy is almost immeasurable. One can make a tipple from almost any organic matter. This wonderful fact means that we can enjoy a delicious pint of stout; water, barley, roast malt extract, hops, and brewer’s yeast. Or a Cosmopolitan; vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed or sweetened lime juice. Then of course there is wine. Ah, wine. A delicious and feisty Claret or indeed a chilled Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Served chilled.
Let us compare some Arsenal matches of recent memory to wines. The 2017 FA Cup final would be a bottle of Champagne. The 2004 game at White Hart Lane to win the league would be something like a Louis Roederer Cristal Methuselah. The combined delights of West Ham v Tottenham and Arsenal v Wigan on the final day of the 2006 season would be a classic Italian Negroni to honour the origins of the famed Lasagne into which an Arsenal-supporting chef may or may not have dropped a log.
Our recent home game against the mighty Bournemouth would be a warm glass of house white. Uninspiring & bland, purchased for a guinea a bottle and sold to you for ten quid a pop. This is what we were served this weekend last. It will get the job done, take the edge off a little, but you’ll be tasting it in your throat for the rest of the day.
When Mr Lewis glanced in his noggin-bobbler on nine minutes I thought for a brief moment that we would put these south coast dandies to the sword. Let us push forward and put five past the buggers! Let Mr. Pepys break his duck from open play! Demolish them and send a message to the rest of the Premier League! We did of course end up sending a message to the rest of the league, and that message was: We don’t really have a plan.
Instead of piling the pressure on and allowing our array of attacking talent the chance to shine we seemed to recoil within ourselves and only a last minute challenge from McDoozy we would have had a fag end dumped in our awful Italian white. Yes, we should have had a penalty when Pepys was tripped by Diego Rico, an incident that proves that VAR stands for Veto Arsenal Regulation. Even computers are biased against us.
We faded like a grandmother walking up a 1:5 gradient in the second half and we cannot even blame tiredness, as there were ten changes from the swashbuckling victory in the week. To not put at least two past a team who haven’t maintained a clean sheet this season is pretty close to unforgivable. One could understand it if it looked like we were trying to grind out a one nil win, but it did not look like that at all. It looked odd, off-kilter, unbalanced, strange… drunk, even. The one saving grace was the performance of young Kanvar Kumar, The Prince, who seems to have improved indubitably this season.
We have now won all of our six home matches against Bournemouth, a record only bested by our performances against the mighty Gainsborough Trinity, of which we won eight out of eight, the last of which was on the 9th of January 1904 when we were in Division Two.
Yes, we go third, but we are just as close to the bottom team as we are to the top. Yes, we have won 17 home Premier League games under Mr. Emery. Since the start of last season, only Liverpool and Manchester City have won more. So why was the reaction when the referee indicated that there were to be five minutes of injury time one of boredom rather than nervousness?
It very much feels as if rather than being in the driving seat we are akin to the child who keeps popping his head forward betwixt mater and pater.