Being in Liège yesterday it was a great result for us.
By Walter Broeckx
The trip from the Benelux gooners took us the “hot city”. The stadium is situated next to the river Meuse and looks nice from the outside but the seats reserved for the visitors have never been cleaned since the Euro 2000 championship. So have to take my pants to the cleaners today.
We gave away the two goals Tony predicted in an awful way. Our passes wasn’t up to our usual standard. It took us a while before we could feel the running of the grass and most of our passes where to short or didn’t have the speed on the ball that we normally do.
The way we gave the goals away… was just like in a nightmare. Okay we don’t like to see the ball kicked in the Meuse to much over there but to try a back heal in a game like that in a position like that wasn’t the most clever thing Eduardo could do. The way Eboue miscontrolled and gave the ball to Jovanovic was also not very clever.
I can tell you that after 10 minutes all the England gooners around me knew every Flemish swearword you can find in a book. I tried to wake myself up out of this nightmare but every time I woke up we had the same score line.
The first half we played football which could make you sick at times. A poor young goonergirl had the same opinion and she threw up everything she had eaten since leaving England. It was a rather sour first 30 minutes. You could see the doubt in the players mind, after the two recent defeats, creeping in.
People over here, my colleagues at work that is, were impressed by Bendtner. He worked his socks off and my colleagues over here thought he was far more impressive then Mbokani the Standard centre forward.
And Super Nick, encouraged by the Denmark Gooners, did what he had to do by scoring our first goal and giving us a lifeline. Also Rosicky had a very good game and when you look at him in the stadium his running off the ball is superb but his teammates didn’t noticed him at times when he was in good positions. If there is a God somewhere: please help to keep him fit.
Arsene Wenger had some work in the dressing room at half time and so did we by helping the father of the sick girl to talk to the stewards to clean up the mess so we all could resume play in a better way.
Meanwhile have to say that the home support really made it the ‘hell of sclessin” as it is known in Belgium. Because of the construction of the stadium it is difficult for the away fans to get there atmosphere going. You sit/stand in two separate levels and you don’t hear what the down level is signing so at times I think every level started a chant so it must have looked at times the fans were out of tune, like the players for most of the first half.
Came the second half and Standard parked the bus in front of their goal. We almost started the second half like the first by handing Standard the ball and a good opportunity to score again. Luckily they didn’t. Standard made it very difficult for us. But thanks to the Bendtner’s goal you could feel that we could pull something out of the hat.
The pressure mounted and Standard couldn’t get the ball in our half so Manone almost didn’t have to do anything for most of the game. The second goal was a very strange goal from where we sat. It looked like Song made a save on the line and then it took ages before Vermaelen put it in the net.
We couldn’t see who scored at the time but we really didn’t care for it. It was delirium in our part of the stadium. And you could feel that de Standard fans who had been very impressive until that moment began to wonder if there dream debut in the CL would turn into a nightmare.
From that moment on we gooners knew that if there was going to be a winner it would be Arsenal. And so Eduardo did what we had to do by scoring another strange goal by poaching the ball with his knee past the goalkeeper. I think he was the most relieved man in the ground because it was his mistake that could have cost us dearly.
Standard tried to pull one back but we got the best chances to score another goal.
Meanwhile the away gooners finally out sang the home fans and we dragged our team over the finish line. Actually they did it themselves but it felt we gave them a little hand.
The father of the girl, who was feeling better after the final whistle – what a result can do, gave us a good hug and thanked us for the assistance but being a fan is about team work, in fact we do the same like the players on the pitch: try to work together to get the result.
It was blood, sweat and tears during the game and luckily it was tears of joy at the end.
We all went home feeling happy with the win but we knew it was a narrow escape. Not because of Standard posing that threat going forward but because we made life difficult for ourselves.
According to our Benelux gooners the best player on the pitch was Rosicky, followed by Vermaelen, Gallas and Bendtner. According to my colleagues Rosicky and Bendtner caught the eye.
So a happy gooner coming home at 2 in the morning and still a very happy gooner when the alarm clock woke me up this morning.
I think this game will do the players good. I can imagine that Arsene Wenger will not be to pleased with some things he saw yesterday but we showed character and never gave up and this is the attitude we want to see from our players on the days that we struggle in a game.
A last note to the fans who follow and travel our Gunners all over the world: It has been a great privilege for me to have been with you. Must say that the behaviour of you lot was great and no incidents took place
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