By Phil Gregory
So, how do you write an article following up on that then? Clearly those were a three points that we should’ve been taking home, especially after a generally excellent first half performance.
I’m not going to dissect the game as frankly, you can read that on any Arsenal blog and having been at the game, I haven’t had the benefit of numerous TV replays on some of the goals. Bloody Blackburn don’t even show replays of the away side’s goals, the tykes. I will say however that I was mystified at how Yakubu got half a yard for their first goal, as it certainly looks like the Yak has been well fed this summer, to adapt the fairly common chant. Koscielny’s own goal was unfortunate, with the real error the missed tackle out on our left flank in the build up to the goal.
For me, the most concerning thing was how we seemed to play within ourselves in the second half. There was plenty of zip in the passing during the first 45 minutes, with passes incisive and possession maintained for long periods of the game. Yet after the break that all seemed to change. The ball was given away much more and the tempo seemed slower, almost as if the players were apprehensive. Perhaps it was nerves after Blackburn drew level again but whatever the cause it is a real Achilles’ heel for this side.
Anyway, let’s not be damning for the entire of this article. As a game to attend, it was a cracker, you can’t ask for more than seven goals even if more of them were in our net than I would’ve liked. Even the journey to and from the station was fairly easy, I had a lift to the game and offered one to a nice lad called Rodney who I got chatting to at the station. The journey back was a little more testing, as life is when your car battery is flat thanks to the driver leaving the headlights on. Thankfully, the nice fella from the AA was fairly prompt, and I got the train home with but a minute to spare, thus avoiding an hour long wait for the next one. That brings me to home, where the good lady is proving her ability to waste more time in the bathroom than Paul Robinson can on a goal kick before we head out for a pint. And so I blog.
There was however, one major negative point to the Blackburn experience that has not yet been mentioned. While Tony’s catering experiences at the Emirates haven’t been the best recently (though mildly amusing to read about!) I hope he never has to suffer the shambles that is Ewood Park. A mere four tills for the masses seeking half time grub, the queues took forever and I missed the first five minutes of the second half stuck waiting for service. Normally I wouldn’t be that bothered for food, but I was absolutely starved by that point, having not eaten pre-match. Given that, it wasn’t ideal that they’d completely sold out of all types of pie, hotdog and sausage roll by the time we got there, meaning I had to settle for a bar of Dairy Milk. I mean, I appreciate Blackburn is a club with an enormous “commercial operation”, but you’d think that a club run by a cooked chicken supplier would ensure there was adequate food to be sold at half time. Several punters in the queue behind me speculated that by the looks of things, Yakubu had burgled the store room, which would go some way to explaining the shortage.
I will however like to make a mention about my fellow away fans at the game. Whilst the crowd seemed as nervous as the players late in the second half and the songs died down just as the team really needed them, there were no “anti-Arsenal” chants about spending money or booing. Only One Arsen Wenger even got a run out in the first half, and it was great to see unity amongst the fan base, who stayed behind at fulltime behind to applaud the players for their efforts. Great work away Gunners, hopefully I can be so positive about the home support when I trek down to the Emirates for Bolton next weekend.
Anyway, that’ll have to do for now. It’s not the result we’d have wanted, but them’s the breaks. Chin up Gooners, stay behind your team and keep the faith.