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Thursday, 1 March 2012

All present and correct?

Like old times on Sunday

Have you calmed down yet? Have you lost the moronic smirk from your face? Have you deleted the game from your SkyPlus planner? If the answer to all of the above is "no" then you are very much like me. The fact that the only football this week has been on the international scene has allowed Gooners to bask in their own bit of glory since Sunday afternoon. Watching the game back on TV over and over again you begin to watch the crowd as much as the pitch. The reaction of the Arsenal supporters got more intense with each goal, but I didn't appreciate quite how manic we were until I saw it on the box. When Theo Walcott made it five the noise in the stadium was absolutely deafening, and the euphoria all-encompassing. I remember as a child watching from the East Upper as the North Bank celebrated some goals with such abandon. There was no better sight than a packed North Bank bouncing up and down in celebration. My favourite vision of this (sadly I wasn't at this one - my Dad considered me too young for certain fixtures in those days, which was a symptom of the times and the way violence could erupt I suppose) was after McClair missed his penalty in the FA Cup in 1988 - just look at the North Bank as it sails over the bar by watching this video. The reaction in the stands on Sunday afternoon, as the fifth goal hit the net, was exactly like that. The feeling at times like that is simply indescribable, and anyone whose not been in that situation could never understand it. I suppose it's why we go to football because, one day, we might get to feel that way again. The only feeling in football that is better than that is when you win a trophy. Great stuff.

With a massive game at Anfield on Saturday afternoon it is time, sadly, to move on. The international fixtures don't appear to have done a serious amount of damage to our players. Certainly there has been nothing reported by the Club as yet. Given that Robin Van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen were both reported to have suffered knocks on Sunday it was very disappointing to see them involved for their national sides. We will have to wait for tomorrow, and Arsene's pre-match press conference, for the definitive word but fingers crossed for a clean bill of health. Tomas Rosicky missed the Czech game in Dublin and it would be a blow if he were to miss out after such a great display last weekend.
I watched most of the England game last night and I was not surprised to see Theo Walcott left out. It kind of sums up Stuart Pearce's managerial ability that he would leave out a player on such a high after his second-half performance on Sunday. At least he should be fresh for the game at Anfield.
Before England kicked-off I watched the opening stages of Wales v Costa Rica. I wanted to see a bit of Joel Campbell in action and I certainly wasn't disappointed. Campbell scored a magnificent goal to give his team the win and, by all accounts, was very much the star of the show thereafter. Arsenal signed Campbell last Summer but had to send him to France on loan as he was not granted a work permit. He's been a regular for Levante since he joined them and his goal last night will not have hurt his prospects of gaining employment rights in England if Arsenal decide to re-apply this year. If Campbell's run and finish are anything to go by then Arsene might have unearthed another gem from nowhere. Let's hope so.

I'll be previewing the Liverpool game tomorrow evening. They already have Agger missing from their team, and a doubt over Gerrard. We'll know more about both squads this time tomorrow.


  1. Yes, apologies. I don't know why I wrote Levante - they're not even French.