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March 2018
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My greatest ever Arsenal game: Arsenal 2 Everton 2

I have enjoyed many an Arsenal game, but this one had one moment which was utterly wonderful.

Rosicky had scored in front of us, the final whistle had gone, and we stood to leave block 99.

I got to the stairway and as is my wont, allowed others to pass before Jane and I could step into the gangway and make our way down and out of the stadium.

Suddenly a man was standing before me.

“Are you Tony Attwood?” he asked.

I admitted that this might be the case.

“I’ve just started reading your book.  Really enjoying it,” he said.

Oh wonder of wonders!  Joy of joy!  You can’t know how great that is.  I mean, I know kind people sometimes write in and say, “Good article Tony,” but for a guy who I don’t know, to have bought the book, picked out my picture from the back of the book, and taken up his time to notice it was me, and say that he was enjoying it, oh that is great.

It may not seem much.  In fact it may seem trivial, but for me it was a knock-out.  Over the years I have written a number of books, but this is the one I adore above all others.   The reviews have been good, and people have been kind about the book,  but it was the sheer surprise of the moment that was so great.  Anyway you can read about the book, and buy it if you so wish (anywhere in the world) by clicking here.

And for the rest of the day… three points to make.

First, the programme.   Big article about Fran Merida, in which he says, “My agent and I are only talking to Arsenal at the moment, though, and nobody else.”   Which rather contradicts all those stories about Fran going to Madrid.  It also makes sense of why he is getting games at the moment.

If that is so, and he does stay, it will be another one of those cases in which ever news media runs a story that is pure fantasy, (and remember they were not saying, he was talking to A Madrid but rather that it was a done deal, he had signed, and was off).

Second, the result today. Of course we all wanted to win and get one point behind the KGB in Fulham.  But it is not the end of the world.  I remember in the unbeaten season that we played Bolton at home and drew 2-2.  They played a time-wasting, foul-based game, and we saw much the same today.  It happens.  The winning of the league won’t be based on that match.  Kick, push, shove, elbow, and then the corners.  “I’ll take the corner, no perhaps not, leave it for someone else, oh no I’m taking it, sorry I thought it was a goalkick, oh I have just hurt my toe, are you taking it, ok right, now can you get in the box, I am not taking this corner until you are in the right places, ref that Arsenal player is not 10 yards way, ok yes, I’ll take it, are we ready, right…”

But it was also fun – the end was great, and there were some real pluses.  Diaby is still improving, Nasri is looking more and more like a controller of games, Traore is really coming good… these are bonuses.  And there was a moment when the season ticket holder next to me screamed for a penalty for handball by an Everton player, and it took me 30 seconds to persuade him that the player in question was their keeper, and he was allowed to handle it.

On the down side, it looks like maybe we have lost Denilson again with the back problem, but let’s hope they get it sorted soon.

Lastly, the snow. Once we got out of my village the journey was straightforward, until we got to our destination – Arnos Grove Underground Station car park – where we got stuck in a snow drift.   Thankfully there were some other Arsenal supporters there who pushed us out, and we found a better place to park.

During the game however, we got snowed upon.  Which is odd because we sit in row 10 in the upper tier, and there is a lot of space between us and the open air.  But it was that sort of swirling snow.

After the game there was snow on the ground all around the Ems.  Now if the reason for not playing Bolton midweek was that it might be unsafe for us to walk around the plaza then it was also dangerous to leave the Ems.  Surely we should all have been locked inside, fed copious amounts of drink, and then flown out by helicopter, what with the ground being slippery.

Instead all we got was the police saying “the pavement has not been gritted” as if that was new.  To the police, my message is, “They don’t grit the pavements.”  In fact, where I live I think they feed the grit to the Wild Beast of Northamptonshire, but that’s another story.

But we ended the day on a high. To the guys at Arnos Grove, thank you for helping us out of the snow drift.  And to the gent who bought a copy of Making the Arsenal, and took the trouble to come and say hello, you made my day.

170 mile round trip.   Great fun – just like it should be.

(c) Tony Attwood 2009

31 comments to My greatest ever Arsenal game: Arsenal 2 Everton 2

  • walter

    Well Tony great for you. You can start a fan club maybe ? 😉 Oh well you have one already.

    On the game… well they fought for it and like I mentionned in the other article our midfielders were cought to much in two minds I felt. They didn’t attack as the normally do because they knew Song was not there to give cover like he normally does. Finding the balance will be dificult I think. And now Denilson maybe also out…

    Well we got some consolation from Birmingham off all people….
    Just no more injuries anymore now… and hope Cesc is back and stays fit.

  • IndianGooner

    It was 1 point gained than 2 points lost.. When we went down 2-1 with around 10mins left, I felt it would be difficult to get us back into the game and more so when Denilson fell down.. We would have lost the game last season or the one before that.. But this team meant business and didnt give up.. They fought till the final whistle, got d equaliser and even went for a win!! Just brilliant…

    The team were really trying even though things weren’t going our way. Dudu is truly getting his predatory insticts back to its best and we all will see it very soon… Rosicky took the goal well and made couple of cool chips even though they didnt go where he intended..

    The TV commentator was praising Cahill for stopping the game after Almunia made a great save which allowed us to gain the one point, but when I saw the replay, Cahill was involved in the build-up to the save.. Did he get the thought only after Almunia made a save?? Why didnt he get the thought when he saw Denilson go to the ground??

  • walter

    Some remarks on the Denilson injury. When I have a player on my pitch who just falls to the ground like that it takes about 1/10th of a second before I blow my whistle. That is just the time I need to raise my hand to my mouth. If a player goes down like that unchallenged it is something serious and as a ref you have to stop play immediatly.
    In fact I think he got injured when he had a contact with Neville some 15 minutes earlier in the game. I really hope it is not to serious. We could do without any more injuries.

  • Bootoomee


    I had the same thought when the moronic commentator praised Cahill for fairplay. My thought was “you got to be kidding me!”. Denilson fell without being touched in obvious agony but all Cahill was interested in was going for the 3rd goal. When Almunia saved this and the ball was no more threatening, the referee blew to stop play. It was only then that Cahill put the ball to touch. The blabbering moron made half effort to correct this when resumption of play was done by dropped ball and not throwing.

    I bear no grudge against Cahill, he just wanted his team to win. It’s pathetic, however, when fools like that commentator get paid good money and come up with gibberish that even laymen could dispute.

  • 'holic

    Nice perspective, Tony. Enjoyed that.

  • Hamad

    Tony, did you mean Traore had a good game today. Unlike his recent games, I think he was the worst player today.

  • Getty

    Tony, that was very good point. I had to turn down the volume of Lue maccari and another dimwit sometimes during the game. They are so negative. If we don’t pass the team off the park and beat them 6-0 every weekend Arsenal is not good enough to win the title. But, that was close! Our guys didn’t quit! That’s confidence in yourselves. I was curious to see how the new look midfield worked out. I’m really impressed with Daiby. It was a tough game and Everton probably was still reeling from that 6-1 drubbing I’m sure. May be that’s why they went for the kill when Denilson collapsed right in front of them. I’m also happy for the little Mozart.

  • Paul C.

    Have to disagree with you about Traore. I thought he was absolutely appalling today. Awful. Worst game he has played for us.

    Rosicky also at fault for Everton’s second. We had both central defenders in the Everton box for a corner and Rosicky gave the ball away cheaply. The break was easy for Everton after that.

    Overall I was very pleased with a point today simply because I thoght we played terrible. If we can get a point when playing like that then things are not bad at all.

  • Shishir

    You’re the best!

  • neutral fan

    i had a bad dream last night, gallas n vermalean being injured and arsenal fans screaming for strikers……

  • arsenaly

    good article tony… thats how the game was exactly….. good percpective to the game…. we did not do bad, but they also played good and credit to them… this was a comment i placed in a different blog that had a different vibe in it……

    “• good ratings…. good match… good fight from both teams…..good for english football !!!!…… a message to arsenal fans… please support… get behind the team, arsene has a better view than us, inside the club and on the pitch… lets try and see that view and get behind the team till may and then lets start with all the smart tactical speculative talk and even blame wenger(as some of you do), but for now. please get behind the team… we can do it !!!!!!!!!…………………. thats the message that should echo accross arsenal forums ‘ get behind the team’… come on you gunners
    from an african-arab Gunner”

  • kipsha

    isn’t this fair Denilson went down without actual conatactyet the ref could only stare and let it go.anyway we had a bad day just like Manyoo who had to rely on an on was important to have a point cos we really played bad.this happens to every team.even Chelski had their downfall.Keep it up gunners.

  • Armin

    What a glorious day for D&G bde.

    What I sow in this game is young team with guts able to fight with physically superior team (lets not lie to ourselves Everton is muscular as much as Chelsea is). But what I noticed is (correct me if I am wrong) absolutely double standards from ref. It was insane to let players be such rough on this weather and its miracle we got only two injured players (so far).
    As someone who played hockey (at the time) Nevil’s start on Denilson wasn’t “legal”, even in hockey.

  • Lenny

    Good post as usual Tony. You may be suprised to know what a faithful readership you have here in Uganda-credit to your blog and its sense of humour.As regards yesterday’s game, a couple of observations: Song really is good and his absence was so very obvious for all to see. You have been very kind regarding Traore, who did not have a very good game yesterday. Almunia constantly fills me with trepidation whenever the ball is in the area. Otherwise a point salvaged is i suppose better than none at all.

  • walter

    After a bad night sleep I came to the conclusion that Everton really had something to prove afther the humiliation they got in august. They wanted to show that they werent that bad.
    If you take the starting line then: Arshavin-RVP-Bendtner and in midfield Denilson-Song-Cesc and yesterday only 2 left of those.

    But the one on the field tried and fought for it and that is wat one have to do if things don’t work out. Yes this was one of our worst games against a team that had something to prove, but I’m pretty sure that last season we would have lost this game. Now we managed to save a point.

  • walter

    About the incident in which I think Denilson got his injury: this wasn’t a penalty but it was a foul. Denilson had the bal on his chest hight and Neville flew in with his foot high. He first played the ball but as he came in like that hit Denilson.
    Should have been indirect free kick for dangerous play. But refs usually don’t blow these things.
    A few minutes before the ref gafe an indirect free kick agains Gallas for a high foot when the defender came diving in in the back of Gallas who’s foot was raised. Also the ref got this wrong. The Everton player endangered himself and Gallas couldn’t see that the player behind him can in with his head. I think the foot of Gallas who played the ball wasn’t as high as the foot from Neville against Denilson, yet the ref gave nothing. So the ref was wrong again.

    Not blaming the ref for the loss of points but he had some serious faults from a refs point of view.
    He also let a lot of tackles from behind go through without punishment. In yesterdays conditions you have to be more strict in applying the rules.

  • don't believe the hype

    Walter, I thought the referee was weak and inconsistent in the game. I also thought he got the extra time wrong. There was a lot of time wasting by Everton and a few injuries including the apparently serious injury to Denilson, yet he only added 5 minutes? He even stopped the game in extra time for more injuries, but did not add any more after that.

  • Marc

    Couple of points about yesterday.

    This constant claim that we have a small squad. We had seven players missing yesterday including our 2 main players to play the CF role and two left backs. In Cesc and RVP we also had probably our two best attacking players missing.

    The Denilson injury. I’ve supported the move this season of playing on until the ref stops the game. As Tony often comments teams like “Fall down and hold your head” Villa have made this a necessary requirement because of the amount of time wasting that has crept into the game. However Arsenal were behind, what benefit would Arsenal get by time wasting? This sort of situation is why Ref’s get so much stick. Just a complete lack of common sense.

  • don't believe the hype

    Marc it’s even worse when you consider players have died of heart attacks on the pitch. How did the ref or the Everton players know it was not that serious?

  • wesco

    Honesty i stand to be corrected but am beginning to think that some referees in the premiership have a certain mindset about arsenal, because severally this season i have seen so many obvious decisions go against arsenal, while the referee looked the other way. its only takes a matter of seconds for a life to be lost and saved and the the referee has a duty to ensure that there is a quick response to any dangerous events on the field of play.The referee deliberately allow play to go on even when a player life is in danger, i have seen in some matches this season where arsenal were denied a penalty deliberately by referee. to borrow from sir Alex world, u might need to use an axed to get a penalty or get a player sent off, i think that was the case against Everton and several other matches this season.. the referee need to search their soul and be fair to everybody,meanwhile the team has grown mentally and physically and they now have a good fighting spirit,up GUNNERS.

  • Frichie

    In defence of Traore, he did struggle a bit. but i dont think he was getting any calls from Almunia, which is common problem the defence have with a GK. and then Traore also wasnt getting support from Diaby enough. During one play, Traore was up against three on the left and no one came to help out.

  • don't believe the hype

    That’s true Frichie, even Vermaelen was not helping him out today. In fact the whole team were under-par so it’s very unfair to pick out one or two as some blogs are doing.

  • walter

    My first fear when I saw Denilson going down was in fact a heart attack. He passed out that was clear to see but the ref did nothing. shame on him.

    I watched the Birmingham game and there they gave 6 (six) minutes extra SAF-time. And as far as I can recall nothing had happened over there.

    5 minutes really was not much added on in our case. “It was a disgrace for the players on the pitch.” 😉

  • gerald

    i still think that we should have foreseen their gameplan and we should have countered it and won. Ofcourse by the end of the game it looked like 1 point gained but by the end of the season we may be looking at this game as 2 points lost.

  • But Gerald I would come back to the point in the article – even in the unbeaten season we had games like this, playing with our best ever team.

    I sit behind the goal which Everton attacked in the first half, and they were incredibly strong and powerful in their approach – far more so than you normally see in a game. Everyone was pushing up and standing within an inch or so of an Arsenal player. A very very powerful start.

    It is a gamble of course, because they could have been caught at the back, as we were, and if they had not scored when they did (which allowed them to pull off) they would have got very tired.

    They took a gamble, knowing they were playing against a new formation, and it paid off in terms of getting one point.

    It happens.

  • Fem Dee

    Sincerely guys, I knew Everton is a robust team that had recently started playing well and that had a big reason to come hard at us after the 6-1 drubbing. I knew we were without Song for the first time and without Cesc and van Persie still. Yet, I hoped we would find a way to win. I think replacing Ramsey with Rosicky was a bad call; lucky, it didn’t lose us the game. Lucky for Rosicky too he got to score the equalizer (that put his player rating for the game at -10+10 = 0 (smile)).

    I think it is positive for Ramsey that one can consider his replacement (by Rosicky) a bad call. I think it is positive for the club that at 1-2, they found a way to make it 2-2 and could have made it 3-2 despite playing a very robust team like Everton. The boyz are, indeed, growing.

    I agree that Neville’s attack on Denilson looked like a foul to me and, if it happened in the penalty box, a penalty. More so, in view of the referee’s call on Gallas. I was also surprised the referee allowed the game to go on when Denilson crumbled to the floor under his nose!

    Since I have been reading this blog, my private fears that EPL referees tend to be harsh on Arsenal have found fellow-travelers, including Walter, a certified referee! I am still not sure if it is not mutual justification for a persecution complex among a people already predisposed to such a feeling or if there is something there.

    Even if there is something there, can it be established? Can something be done about it? These questions are relevant because, the referees might just cost Arsenal the season and the football pundits would be the last to give our cry of “we wuz robbed” any play whatsoever. The time to raise the issues and make the noises may be now and on such howlers as the referee’s of last Saturday.

  • don't believe the hype

    Fem Dee, you weren’t watching the same game I was. Ramsey struggled from the start. It’s only Rosicky’s lack of match fitness that prevented him starting the game. It wasn’t luck that Rosicky scored he had an earlier chance taken off his head. He used all his experience to get himself into position and that ball was going in the back of the net deflection or no.

  • Fem and Don’t – I have a feeling you are both right, up to a point.

    What I saw Wenger do with that substitution was change the format, by taking Ramsey off and putting Nasri in the middle of midfield.

    But I am becoming more and more convinced that one sees different games from different places. I sit behind the goal, as I have mentioned, so I see issues like Nasri’s position after the substitution.

    Watching on TV one sees totally different things.

    From where I watched I saw Traore make some good tackles, and clear the lines well in the first half – but I didn’t see much of him in the second, because the Arsenal attack was in front of me. I guess it looked utterly different on TV (although it is also possible that my teeth were chattering too much and I actually wasn’t watching properly at all).

    Mind you, my mate Roger and I used to sit next to each other at Highbury and we always saw totally different games – especially when Dixon and Parlour were playing.

    One of the joys of football.

    And a final thing. I was half watching Angloa v Mali tonight, and then turned off at 4-2 in order to watch Wallander on BBC1. Utterly amazing and incredible production. 90 minutes later went to the internet and found Mali scored two more in injury time!!!

    Quite extraordinary, as they used to say on Match of the Day.

    Good night. It’s snowing in my village again. Hopefully will be able to get to work tomorrow. (For non-English readers, you should know, after 0.5cm of snow, the entire country falls apart, all production stops, schools close, equipment breaks down, roads become blocked…

    Make Arsene Wenger minister of transport that’s what I say.

  • walter

    Well Tony the same over here. As we are not used to much snow we face the same problems.
    I remember last year when I left my home at 6.15am and I have to take 2 busses to work. At 11.30 I was halfway and still waiting for my next connection for over 2 hours. When the bus that could bring me back in the direction of my house came first I just went home and phoned my boss to tell him I went home. The distance I have to cover is some 40 km or some 25 miles. So not really to the end of the world…

    So if Wenger has made transport running over there, just sent him over will you.

  • Hartwick89

    My thoughts albeit several days later and of course watching via streams is….I thought that Fellaini was a thug! I felt he perpetuated an aggressive style that put me off from the starting whistle. If anyone has the video you can see his eyes on the man rather than the ball throughout the match. Another obvious visual was how many tackles and fouls Ramsay endured within the first ten minutes. I felt the referee should have shown caution after the second foul put on Ramsay. I was pissed that other than Diaby who smashed that bastage with silly hair; my only complaint with our side is we needed to respond to their brutal tactics. As for Traore well all who think he played badly you have to ask yourself who was he marking? Donavan! This is a well seasoned professional who has had rest and he was more than a hand full. I am surprised by reading some of the posts that no tribute was payed to his performance. I am not sure what Wenger meant by his statements that Everton was more dangerous than we were today…But I have to think if you read in between the lines he noticed a tactical plan from Everton that focused on Donavan and was at the expense of Traoure. Nonetheless you would have to give good grades to Traore who conceded none to Everton’s best player of the match. So Tony I agree with your depiction of Traore. After all lets look at the experience level 7 years the difference. Traoure 20 and Donavan 27. I hasten to think of a match-up between the two when Armande is 27! As for who was more deserving of the win? Well my friends Arsenal of course! A mere slip up in the beginning min. of the game from of an unlikely head from the shortest man on the pitch to a screwy counter attack in which that scrapy S. African luckily scores c’mon man! I don’t know what Wenger was on about and Moyes is just lucky we decided we would play in that otherwise PP match. The advantage was always going to go to the worst team in that weather..But I think Wenger made a decision to play for fear of fixture pile up. And, I have to say Win, Lose or Draw it was the correct one. You will see.

  • I like your article