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Mist and tears in my eyes

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By Walter Broeckx

Oh the joy of the internet.  I don’t know what it is but for the first time in a long time I had to see the game on a  very misty computer screen. So maybe sometimes I could be wrong when my imagination had to take over when I couldn’t see what really  was going on.

I think Phil had the team selection spot on.  After a few minutes in the game I got a feeling that something was wrong (apart from the hazy people running around). Our passing wasn’t up to the tempo we have seen the week before. And I had the impression that the pitch was very bumpy. Maybe it was just the weather conditions but it sure didn’t suit our game.  Chances were rare but this was the same for both teams. Sunderland defended in numbers and tried to get us on the counter. Arsenal tried to pass their way to a goal chance but we didn’t create much. A first half to forget quickly.

In the second half Arsenal again tried to pass their way to the goal but on the other hand we had to be careful because Sunderland was very good at coming first at the loose ball. Szczesny had to make some vital saves in this game and showed he still is our number one. Nice to see him earn his money this time.

On to the pivotal moments in the game. The substitution of a rather quiet Oxlade-Chamberlain by Thierry Henry. Only this week the captain has said that Oxlade-Chamberlain will have such games. He worked hard, tried to do his best but it just didn’t happen completely for him. There is nothing wrong with this. As this will make him stronger in the future and it also shows how difficult it is to produce your best week in week out. He worked hard and this is the one thing you should do when on the field when things don’t go your way. Come to think of it: how much influence will the bumpy pitch have had on his performance?

Henry came on for what is going to be his last PL game for Arsenal. A prophecy entered my mind: Thierry would score a goal.

Per Mertesacker going through  his ankle and Aston Villa scoring from this. I immediately feared the worst when the big German suddenly went to the floor. No way Sunderland would have scored from that situation with Sagna first intercepting the ball giving it to Per who jumped over the ball to play a simple pass to Szczesny. His injury opened the way to the Sunderland goal. A very unfortunate way to concede a goal. We should hope and pray that Per will not be too seriously injured and can come back very soon.  Arsenal 1-0 down with some 20 minutes to go. There are better situations in front of you being the away team at Sunderland who has been the team with the best results in the last games of all the teams in the EPL!

The manager acted and put Song at centre back and brought Ramsey on in midfield. The much maligned young Welshman by some fans who have taken on him silenced them up with a low shot that went in after touching both goal posts with the keeper well beaten. Like I said in my Ramsey article: just support this Arsenal legend in the making and shut up about him when he has a lesser game. He is still very young and this happens to all the players. Thanks Aaron for this strike and for the goal that put us level.

I must say that from the moment we conceded that unlucky goal we seemed to open a new can of energy. And when we scored the equaliser it was only one team that was going for the win, The Arsenal. Sunderland on the counter, the Arsenal with the pressure and possession.

With just a few minutes to go Wenger brought on Arshavin. I don’t know if our away supporters booed him (I really hope they didn’t) like some of ours did when he was brought on against United last month.  And after a few attempts Arshavin delivered a delightful cross and who better than the one and only Thierry Henry to find at the finish.

I must admit that I saw the ball ending up in the net after a blue dressed person putting it there. But by no means I did know who it was. Oh that misty internet connection. But then the image became clearer and they showed the one and only King Henry running towards the Gooners behind the Sunderland goal.  Was it really Henry who had scored? Yes it was.

Sometimes you see a film about sports and then the ultimate here scores the winning points/goal at the end of the film and they lived happily after that.  I mostly then start shrugging my shoulders and think: yeah, whatever, how predictable.  But this was for real. I saw it happening (be it in a misty way) with my own eyes.

This was a fairytale ending. This was better than the best thought over script. He scored the winning goal in his first game against Leeds. He scored the last goal in what looks to be his last appearing at the Emirates. And then he scored the winning goal in his last minutes in the EPL. Come on, would you have believed this to happen at the start of January? One could have dreamed about it, but this was just beyond everything one could have dreamed.

I must admit that the images on my screen became even more misty after that. But the mist was in my eyes this time. Football and Arsenal bring me (and I guess this goes for most of us) high and low emotions. This was so beautiful for me I felt tears in my eyes.  I didn’t cry, because men don’t cry, but this was a close that I can get to crying without actually crying.

I have witnessed a moment in the Arsenal history that probably will stay with us who have seen it forever. And even just thinking of it fills me with such a deep joy that one can only get from the Arsenal. One more game to go for Thierry Henry. Well why don’t we make the dream even prettier? Could it happen? Never say never, that is something we should have learned all these years with Thierry Henry. I really think he will fall asleep this night with a very, very, very big smile on his face. So will I, Thierry, so will I.

39 comments to Mist and tears in my eyes

  • bc

    I cannot believe that a club like ours cannot convince a club like that one across the pond that we need henry more than them henry meeds us more than he needs them and that their football is really a womans sport over there. no disrespect to the usa but epl is where he wants to be not the mls. we can see it wenger can see it even stevie wonder can bloody see it. what wpuld it really cost to keep him here till the middle of may. just throw them a few mill and a few youngsters on loan in return. i am sure that afobe park or chamakh would jump at the chance of 3 months in america. we give them 3m and a player or 2 on loan and everyone should be happy. if i am right they have just lost a centre back as well so how about squillaci or miquel and park or afobe. how about all 4 and they can keep squillaci and park with us getting thierry full time. it may be just the signing to keep rvp at the club

  • Mandy dodd

    I hope Henry will come back to the club in some role or another, what a class act.
    As for bumpy pitches, yes they caused us a few problems today and at other times, but not just us, even barca seem to have been suffering from this problem.

  • DaVinci

    Question to the pundits and all those that claim to have all the stats. In the history of the EPL, how many times has a ball hit BOTH sides of the post and then go in? Be informed that this is not a trick question.

  • Dino

    How about that for subs that won us the game that Mr Lost it made , no criticism to that how about some credits ..?!!!

  • Waleed

    That can of energy is called Aaron Ramsey

  • GunZ BlaziN

    henry never stops performing miracles, like that saying “form is temporary and class is permanent”, boy does henry have it in abundance.

    The pitch was very bad due to the weather conditions and it made it very hard for our lads to play their free flowing football, the main thing is we really needed them points and we got them.

    Thiery henry you are an amazing player and we the arsenal fans will always respect and love you for everything you have done for arsenal.

  • Arvind

    AW is a tactical fool who can never get it right and Arshavin should have not been on the pitch. Etc. Yes. Obviously. One…more…time..

  • I’ve got to hand it to you Walter, you got it right. Through all those patchy periods, you stood firm, remained optimistic and now we’re in fourth place, but we’ve been here before. one only hopes it’ll last this time.

    And that exactly, is where the point is, for most of us, our confidence in the team is shaky and it should never have gotten to this. This is the only thing that the fans crave. We should be fighting for the title not in a dogfight for fourth place(granted there are some elite contestants in that dogfight).

    Let me also reiterate that most of us do not criticise Aaron Ramsey, what we said was that he neeeded a break as he was becoming less productive, maybe even complacent, and you saw what that break did to him.

    Come On You Gunners!

  • nicky

    What Henry has taught us, during his short stay, that to win matches a team has to employ at least one clinical finisher. We have them on paper but they must now deliver on the field of play. Guys like Walcott, Arshavin, Chamakh and Gervinho must join Van Persie in emulating a legend who paid us a quick visit just to remind us how to finish.
    As my Gran (who cleans at the Emirates) often says “Now be told”.

  • FinnGooner

    Walter great article. sadly I didn’t find strea you watch but ones that has good picture but they stopped and jumped ahead little or froze for minutes. So I kept looking for one that would work most of the match and missed both Arsenal goals as stream froze just before it. Luckily my commentary stream on Arsenal player didn’t froze.

    @bc there is that little thing called RESPECT that Arsenal have. Thierry Henry has contract and is captain of NYRB and we respect that contract. They say they would like to get their captain back and we let them. Arsenal won’t use that 2 more week option either. Also about lending them players would these players you named want to move to USA or could they even get work permits in time?

  • FinnGooner

    Oh and as Walter mentioned King Henry the film will have it’s perfect and real ending and it will not need changing like movie “Goal 2” where Henry scored beautiful goal but film crew and David Beckham needed to return to Santiago Bernabéu Stadium to film few more goals (As Arsenal had refused to play that match according script, in movie the match ended 3-2 to Real).

  • Check this interesting fact.

    Ramsey scores, someone dies.
    Vs United Bin, Laden dies
    Vs Tottenscum, Steve Jobs dies
    Vs Marseilles, Ghadaffi dies
    Vs Sunderland, Whitney dies.

    Hmmm! I’ll be on the lookout next time.

  • Dec

    How about a real fairytale ending for Thierry by bagging a couple of goals against Milan on Wednesday? Full credit to Arsene for making it possible.
    What a genius we have in charge at Arsenal.
    Alleze le Boss.

  • marcus

    Out of interest, what is all the fuss about Saurez and Dalgleish?

    Since when Ferguson’s mouth opens it tends to remind me of a forked tongued serpent, and when the Media start piling into someone as on, I smell the stench of self-righteous dung, can someone please fill me in on the whole story so far?

  • Mahdain

    @walter can you help translate this interview and what actually vermaelen says? some journos are already taking it out of context by saying he said he is fed up http://www.sporza.be/cm/sporza/voetbal/buitenland/Engeland/120211_Vermaelen_linksachter

  • bob

    bc,
    At the risk of complexity: You know it’s business, so talk actual business – instead of dissing women and slating a side (NYRB) that actually needs to flourish if football is to gain the sorely needed traction that it needs in the States. Please don’t unload our non-clinical dross on NY, when we’ve got a few more at AFC who could develop there. In fact, a good AFC/NYRB connection – via TH – could do both sides a world of good (did you notice Bolton’s new NYRB defenseman who could slot in right now with PM injured); as well as raise AFC’s profile and support here in NY where I’m smiling at being able to see TH on his eventual return. That said, I’d rather he stayed at AFC where my heart is, than come to NY where my butt is. But before you go on so tribally about breaking contracts, let’s not forget this-fast how it felt when Cesc broke his and our hearts. And, finally, perhaps to try and redeem myself in your eyes (too late I know, but…), I endorse your point that TH’s staying on with us could add incentive, but even more the clinicality that holding 4th place would require, to keep RvP with us – to me, the most important consideration of all. So, to that end, cheers.

  • bob

    Mahdain,
    Would you offer a link or two to where jornos are misusing the TV interview? (Of course no English jorno would ever think of doing such a nasty thing. 🙂 )

  • bob

    nicky,
    Sadly, and with all due respect to you, I really don’t think that any of that group (perhaps with the exception of [out-of-position] Arshavin in his moment) can emulate or approximate TH’s or RvP’s clinicality as a finisher. We missed the clinicality boat in the last two x-fer windows; let alone (and so recklessly) forgoing a viable Plan B in case of injury to our captain and best man.

  • Mahdain

    im wasking walter to translate it because i know some people who actually know the language said he is not fed up rather frustrated..now why would they try to twist the words? oh yeah its the english media

  • Mahdain

    *asking and that link was the original source of the interview

  • bob

    Mahdain,
    Many thanks for the link. You’re right to ask Walter for his translation of the TV interview. Does Sky pretend to have done the interview themselves with TV in English, in your estimation? (TV does well in English, as you’ve doubtless heard at times on Arsenal Player.)

  • bob

    p.s. Sorry Mahdain,
    Well, yes, I looked again: Sky does quote The People as its source (but very much in passing and does Appear to have directly interviewed TV).

  • Kentetsu

    Walter is not the only one around here who speaks Dutch (Flemish). As he might be reffing his own game at the moment, let me give you a translation.

    “I do it to help the team. I had to fill up the left back position, because both our left backs – Santos and Gibbs – are out. It’s a pity, but I can’t change anything about it.”

    “I don’t think I’m a bad left back, but rarely am I satisfied after a match.”

    “I want to play at my best level and I cannot do that as a left-back. I developed into a central defender. It remains frustrating.”

  • bob

    Mahdain,
    I had another thought on this:
    TV being played out of position has diminised his perceived brilliance in the eyes of those choosing the Belgian captain and it just happened and has really hurt his pride and pissed him off. He understandably would be angry with the situation at Arsenal which has led to this. And I think, injuries aside, the being played out of position factor is an unexamined practice at AFC which may well have been affecting a fair number of our starters. I hardly can say with any assuredness, but, reasons aside, could it be that we have underestimated the toll that being played out of position has taken on the otherwise expected performances of any number of our starting players??? (chamakh, arshavin, etc. etc.)

  • Kentetsu

    In other words, what Vermaelen is frustrated about is the fact that he cannot get the maximum out of his ability when playing as a left back. But given the unfortunate circumstances with Santos and Gibbs both injured, he gives his best for the team as a left back.

  • bob

    Kentetsu,
    …and that has just cost him the edge for the Belgian Captaincy to Vincent Kompany at ManShitty. If the quote is accurate, his pride is hurt, and he’s pissed off.

  • bob

    Walter,
    And once our King is gone, where is the second clinical touch going to come from? RvP didn’t have it today, and Thierry did, or else, two points dropped and jeopardy to 4th place. Yes the cup is half full; but it’s also half empty.

  • Kentetsu

    From the Wikepedia page of Vincent Kompany:

    “On 10 November 2011, a day before the friendly against Romania, Georges Leekens [manager of Belgian team] named Vincent Kompany as the Belgium captain, succeeding Thomas Vermaelen.”

    Considering the fact that in the two months prior to 10 November Vermaelen had played the grand total of 93 minutes in the EPL – both Santos and Gibbs had played more in the same period – together with the fact that he hardly played at all during the 2010/11 season, I do not think it has anything to do with Vermaelen playing out of position. It is more down to the fact that he had not consistently played in any position for over a year. Add to that that Kompany has become one of the best central defenders in the EPL, and you can understand why the decision was made.

  • bob

    Kentetsu,
    Nice work – your point well taken on that score. But he’s still playing out of position, so it’s down to whether he is being accurately quoted about being fed up, or frustrated, or neither. With Gibbs slated to return this week, TV will be back in position, for now, and we shall all hope for Gibbs holding his own. I still think that out of position is something to look at in a broader way than TV only, and it could be having a cumulative impact on the desired clinicality (RvP excepted of course) that’s been missing.

  • bob

    Kentetsu,
    Ok, I just saw your translation from Flemish (above). So TV did not say “fed up” in Flemish, but rather “frustrating,” you say. Indeed, there’s a big difference. Let’s hope he maintains that distinction, he’s a rock and pillar.

  • Mahdain

    that confirms it then english media are pathetic…but we all knew that didnt we? i saw somewhere wenger said even before all our left backs were injured that vermaelen hates playing at LB and i think the only reason he is playing him there is that there is no other person to do so.. but i dont think you can say verm hasnt been giving it his all if there is one thing that describe vermaelen better then its commitment and pure passion..he is a rock and a real leader

  • WalterBroeckx

    If you give me a bit of time I will translate the original interview which was published in the “Gazet Van Antwerpen” from saturday 11/02/2012 in the printed version. But it is a rather long interview so will take some time.

    I have the paper version in front of me as it is a newspaper I get at home for the moment

  • Just a personal note: I was in Bangkok airport at about 5pm UK time (I think it was about 1am Bangkok time, but I really can’t be sure) waiting for a plane connection when my mobile buzzed, and then again, and again… It was Walter telling me in the most excited terms about Henry’s winner, and almost at the same instant, my chum Ian giving me more details… I leaped up and said yes, and this guy in front of me in the queue who looked the spitting image of Patrick Vieira looked at me quizzically.

    I apologised, and explained myself, and he leaped up in the air and shouted his excitement too, and the whole thing spread down the queue.

    The whole 747 was buzzing with the story for the next 13 hours or whatever it was as we flew back to Heathrow.

    Thanks Walter, thanks Ian. Great to get news like that.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Great to have you back at home Tony!! Welcome!!

  • Gord

    @DaVinci

    I don’t have data on double post deflections for any league. I have witnessed another double post deflection, so it is something that can happen. I’ve also played goal, and all a person can really do is pray. There is too big a change in trajectory on that first deflection, and the chance of a second deflection is very small, so if you play the odds, there is nothing to do. Either on the first deflection it is in for a goal or it bounced out. If you played for the initial shot coming in, your hands and arms may be close to the post (and maybe a little behind the line if you were on the line), in which case there is a chance the deflection will see the ball bounce of your hands/arms and hopefully out. But generally speaking, the area a goaltender plays is shaped like a bean. If the shot is coming from well off (outside the penalty box), you would be well off your line, and hence it is only if you miss it, that it can take that first deflection. And you are too out of position to play a possible second deflection.

  • nicky

    Tony,
    You don’t say what sort of flight you had back to LHR. This suggests to me that the Captain and First Officer were NOT fans of football or Arsenal….otherwise there might have been a few unusual manoevres coming in to land.

  • FinnGooner

    Welcome back Tony. Was that some kind of Arsenal-flight? 😉

  • Rhys Jaggar

    ‘Per Mertesacker going through his ankle and Aston Villa scoring from this. I immediately feared the worst when the big German suddenly went to the floor.’

    Really?! We all have these ‘journalists moments’!

    Arsenal’s performance was worthy of far more praise than the 7-1 the week before. They had to really dig in, fight and play right to the end, which they got their reward for.

    Arsenal have always had the gifted players but have had to work harder on the graft, grind and toughing it out side.

    So Arsenal fans should praise them all the more when they win showing those qualities.

    They could do with combining the two skill sets in their next home game, playing against the supremely out of form, poorly organised, poorly managed and disgracefully performing side from up the road. Adebayor will have no desire to perform like he did against Newcastle, that team will have no interest in staying in the title race and Brad Friedel still has another 20 years to win a title winners’ medal. The manager would rather be sacked for finishing 5th than earning his club a ‘transfer fee’, Scott Parker was secretly wanting Mikel Arteta’s shirt and Kyle Walker has no need to impress his manager as he is already a nailed-on certainty to go to the Euros in the summer.

    There is of course a chance to play themselves into suitable form in the San Siro and on a return to the Stadium of Lightweight Texans. I believe Szczeseny has been looking forward to denying Mr Berlusconi a return to the big time for a few months now……