Rambo with a strike that will live long in the memory…
For me, supporting Arsenal is like riding a rollercoaster but the difference is that I refuse to get off regardless of how scary it gets. The thrill of winning is so exhilarating that I forget a dismal loss straightaway, even if it is a few days earlier. For example, I was fearful after the Stoke defeat that our season was about to implode but the 4-1 mauling of Galatasaray in the Champions League put the disappointing result at the Britannia to the back of my mind and I could move on. The wonder strike from Aaron Ramsey was on loop in my mind and the horrific thought of being 3-0 down at half time was becoming a distant memory.
I am pleased to report that the team put in another classy performance against Newcastle on Saturday evening and secured the second 4-1 victory in 4 days. Yet Arsenal fans were coming away from the stadium still pessimistic about the future. I kept hearing mumbles of “this won’t last” and they’re probably right but that’s football and there’s absolutely nothing supporters can do apart from cheer on the team. There’s no point worrying about how your defence is going to cope at Anfield the following weekend after witnessing them cruise to a comfortable win. Just enjoy the acute finish from Santi Cazorla and get excited that he is potentially hitting top form again.
Another reason why I’m full of beans is the Champions League draw for the Round of 16. Luck has not been on our side in recent years; drawing Barcelona back-to-back followed by successive ties against Bayern Munich. I was convinced that this year would be no different as we’d finished second in the group again so the likelihood was that we’d face one of Europe’s big 4. I therefore couldn’t believe when we were paired with AS Monaco. Yes, they qualified as group winners so must be decent but it was the tie Arsenal supporters craved as it gives us the best possible chance to progress.
My positive bubble may well burst on Sunday but I just think what’s the harm of being so optimistic. Most of us are strapped in for the long haul so we may as well enjoy the ride.
By Glen Shorey
The team needs our support…
I really like Arsenal but do you really like Arsenal? Or just with trophies? Dennis Bergkamp
As you can imagine, the mood around the Emirates Stadium before the important Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund was one of trepidation and fear. What with the home defeat to Manchester United a few days earlier and the Anderlecht debacle (we let a three goal slip if you didn’t know) in our last European game, people had a right to be less confident. I must admit that I was sure that we would not win and our defence was so leaky that the only way we would get a decent result out of the game would be with a high scoring draw.
However, I have a little something that more than half of our fan base lack. It’s called perspective. I knew that we only needed a point to secure qualification but regardless of whether we got that against Dortmund, Arsenal were only in danger of being eliminated if we lost both our remaining games and Anderlecht won their two matches (unlikely that the Belgian side will win out in Dortmund). I also realised our league position could be a whole lot worse, even after two consecutive defeats. I mean we could be fighting relegation or stuck in the bottom half of the table like Everton.
The Dortmund match was a pleasant surprise as contrary to my pre-match predictions; we cruised to a 2-0 victory with composed finishes from Yaya Sanogo (who broke his duck) and of course Alexis Sanchez. On top of that was a clean sheet, which is always welcome, especially after shipping seven goals in the previous three games. This new found defensive solidarity was not a one off and two 1-0 wins in the Premier League against West Brom and Southampton soon followed. We were now on a run and everything was looking rosy. That was until Stoke sent us home with our tails between our legs on Saturday.
19 seconds. That’s how long it took for Peter Crouch to open the scoring at the Britannia Stadium. A bad start no doubt but with 89 minutes remaining, retrievable to say the least. The players obviously didn’t agree and seemed to give up. They were very fortunate to only be going in 3-0 down at the break. I don’t know what was said in the dressing room but the team were a lot better after the interval. If Alexis had not hit the post (you would normally put your house on him scoring once he has rounded the keeper) and Callum Chambers had not seen red, I’m convinced the match would not have ended 3-2.
Sadly, all them things did happen and we ended up losing. I am still gutted and annoyed at the team for giving Stoke a 3-0 head start before turning up but I still love Arsenal. I am supporter (clues in the name) through thick and thin. It can be frustrating at times but I think Dennis got it right with the above quote. I’m sick and tired of the fair weather fans who only sing when we’re winning and boo or make banners or leave early when things aren’t going well. Please don’t come to matches because you’re not supporters, just glory hunters.
By Glen Shorey