By Walter Broeckx
Finally back to football. After our good match at Goodison Park where we rather comfortably won 0-2 we have been deprived of real football for some 14 days. The international break didn’t cause any casualties so far as we know so we can hope that all the players are back and in good health to start the final part of the season.
The match against Watford is the first of the final dash to the finish line of the PL season. The margin for errors is very thin now. In fact there is hardly any error margin over. The number of “errors” we have seen made over the season has cost us a lot of points. As we now approach the end of the season we will see once again that the “it evens out” is not going to happen. If so we should start to benefit from some 10 game changing incidents in our favour in each match.
As Andrew has shown, there is a deficit that we face in wrong important decisions. A negative of 85 wrong important decisions going against us so far in the 30 matches we played… Around 3 per match… Amazing and frustrating. So as we only have 8 matches left… we should get some 10 major incidents each match decided in our favour… Yeah right… as if this will happen…
One thing is for sure: it doesn’t even out. And never has since we have been reviewing the referees. Not even in the season when referees who supported other clubs did the reviewing. In fact the bias they found was even bigger than in the season we only used Arsenal supporting referees. But that detail is often ignored or forgotten by those who want the blame laid at Wenger’s door.
But as this is the final sprint to the finish line it will be important for all the players to play at their best. And try to overcome the usual referee bullshit we get served each match.
Still a few players out with injuries but some of them will be returning next week in order to help us further. Cech and Ramsey amongst them. And who knows maybe Jack Wilshere will be knocking in the goal of the season in the coming weeks.
This match is also a match that I will be attending together with a bus full of members of the Arsenal Belgium supporters club. Even my wife will be with us for her second visit to the Emirates. Let us hope it is as good and successful as the first visit last year when we beat Aston Villa with 5-0.
The trip will be long and we might be close to the 24 hours travelling time in total at the end of the day. The shuttle trains being full resulted in us having to take the boat to England and this of course adds to the travel time.
But this is no complaint. No it is in fact a feeling of joy that surrounds me on such occasions. As I still think it is a privilege to be able to come to the Emirates and see Arsenal play in the flesh. We are lucky to live near England so that we can make it in one day. Others are not that lucky.
I only hope that we will have enough time to see Tony and the other Untold writers before the match. After the match it will be back on the bus as soon as possible again in order to try to catch the boat back to the continent. So no time after the match and that is always a pity I think.
Organising trips to Arsenal is also a bit stressful when you are the chairman of a supporters club. You are and feel responsible and only when you are at the stadium in time one can start to relax a bit. Will everyone be in time on the meeting points for the bus? Will the boat be in time? Will we have enough time to make it to the stadium? Will we all have enough time to eat something? These are all questions that I don’t have in hand myself but that can impact the journey itself. And when you are being the responsible of the supporters club it brings some extra stress.
But hopefully that stress will be relieved once the match has started and our Gunners will produce a top performance to compensate for the stress.
And I hope that as we are with a lot of people who make their first trip to the Emirates they will have that same WOW experience as we all had when we first saw and entered the Emirates stadium.
As we are within 24 hours of our trip the last checklists are made and checked. And double checked. Are the tickets in my travel bag? Heaven forbid I would forget them…. That would be mighty embarrassing. Has the parking permit already arrived from Arsenal? Damned it didn’t … oh why are they always so late with these… Hurry up will you….
But as most of the time, things will all be in place when we leave our home in the early, early morning to start the long trip to London and to The Arsenal.
Even at my age where one should be a bit moderate and experienced but still I can’t help the feeling of excitement that rises each time in the days (make that weeks) before I come to the Arsenal. Luckily I still get that excitement because otherwise it wouldn’t be worth the trouble I guess.
Come on Father Time, hurry up a bit and let it be Saturday morning quickly so we can hop on the bus to the Emirates. See you in London and let us hope for a great match from The Arsenal.
PS: Because of my travels there will be no match report from me shortly after the match. As the grand master Johan Cruyff said: every advantage has a disadvantage. Or was it the other way round…
- 1 April 1998: Arsène Wenger won Premier Manager of the Month award, the first Arsenal manager ever to do so since it was set up in August 1993. Alan Ball won it when with Man C in 1995 and George Graham with Leeds in 1997.
- “His games would result in suspension and retraining in virtually every other League.” Arsenal v Watford 2 April 2016; Match Officials.
- The rampage against reality and why having a nice stadium matters
- Gary Neville’s experience should teach everyone lessons but of course it won’t.
- What is illicit chanting? Uefa in its eternal muddle.