By Tony Attwood
On my drive back home to Northamptonshire after the game, traffic on the M1 all pulled into the right two lanes as on one of the refuge points (there being no hard shoulder any more) a car was totally on fire. Flames rose ten feet or more in the air, and I don’t know about anyone else but the thought passed my mind that the tank could explode.
Maybe petrol tanks are built so they can’t do that, but I was more focused on keepnig as far away from the burning vehicle and not colliding with any other car that was doing the same, than focussing on logical thought.
And that was the second time in the afternoon that logical thought left me. The other was of course when the third Arsenal goal went in, and we all lept to our feet (my seat is upstairs where by and large we sit down), as the feeling swept across us all, we really had knocked in three past the team of which the media is so beloved.
Indeed one of the most sober previews stated in Sports Mole stated, “We say: Arsenal 1-2 Liverpool
“Faced with a team who have scored in each of their last 16 Premier League games against them, Arsenal’s dreams of Premier League glory should suffer another damaging blow, as Virgil van Dijk‘s claim that Klopp’s exit will give Liverpool an “extra boost” is certainly ringing true so far.”
But no, this was not only a stunning Arsenal victory in terms of the result, but one achieved without a centre forward and without expectation. Indeed when that awful own goal went in, we really were left feeling down and out.
And yet at half time the sky was illuminated (see picture above) as if the gods were angry with the score so far. That view from my seat only lasted a couple of minutes (long enough though to get my mobile out and take a couple of shots) but it seemed to symbolise something or other, just as the vehicle fire on my way back home did, and at least by the end of the game we knew what: the sheer determination of Arsenal not to give in to all the nonsense the journalists had been expressing.
And it is not just the league table that looks a little more encouraging, but yes we do have the best defence in the league, although I don’t see too many references to that. Of course we are still five goals behind the leaders, but that can be made up with a few more performances like that yesterday.
Of course I have been at Arsenal for a number of other big moments before – and the one that I normally put top of the list is the final game of the unbeaten season, where we actually went 0-1 down before coming back to crown the entire campaign with a wonderful win.
That final match kept us all in the stadium for an hour or more after the end of the game. With this one many people stayed on beyond the final whistle to celebrate.
And yes I know we ain’t won nothing yet, and realistically we might not, but we saw yesterday that this team is still growing, still has vigour and energy, and with our two wingers back in sublime form, even without a centre forward, there are probably very few teams that can stop the Arsenal.
And yes in terms of the last six games we are still below the likes of the mighty Luton Town, but that win against Liverpool, including giving them a goal through the most catastrophic cock up, shows us all what Arsenal can do.
Of course after the game the Telegraph headline writer could still, even then, not speak positively about Arsenal’s performance, instead offering “Arsenal deliver devastating blow to Liverpool’s title hopes.”
They will go on knocking Arsenal, as with the Guardian’s, “There was a large element of luck to Martinelli’s goal” while failing to note that, “There was a total element of luck in Liverpool’s goal,” but for those of us who had the privilege to be there, this was one to savour for all time. And certainly, I can say for myself, “Savour it I will.”
I have no idea what happened to the people whose car was burning so fiercely by the roadside on the M1; there is nothing about it online. I can only hope everyone involved is ok. But for the media it is always the same. Forget the news: we print what we want.
Now, it is time for us to have a look at just how bad the fouling of Liverpool was through this game as we ponder whether yesterday’s headline How Liverpool commit many more fouls than Arsenal, before getting a card was a real prognostication of just a bit of whimsy.
But for that you must wait a little longer.
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- What takes clubs up and down the league: attack or defence?
- Referee Extremism: the situation in Spain and in England