It was a jolly affair all round, and with quite a few unexpecteds.
You’ll know about Eduardo’s contribution: solid, modest, and a couple of chances. It was just good to see him.
But whereas I expected the see an amazing display of through passing from the midfield for Eduardo to run onto, it didn’t happen. Ramsey had a bugger of a game for the most part, and Wilshere and Merida didn’t quite get it right until well into the second half.
Strangely the star of the show was Francis Coquelin, the defensive midfielder who played full back. He was quite exceptional – even more so because he was playing out of position.
Think of a player who was discovered playing in a lower league team in France, and you’ll think of a current full back – Coquelin comes from the same vintage. First time we saw him was in the first of the friendlies and he looked good then. Now he looks even better. You want a defensive midfielder for next season? Here’s one.
The other star – at least in second half – was Fran Merida who finally did make it happen right with a wonderful through pass for the first goal – Cesc eat your heart out.
And then there was Mad Maria of Malta. I’ve no idea if that’s anything remotely like her name, but I used to hear her all the time at Highbury – a one woman chorus with her own chants and shouts of “All together now” which no one ever picks up. You’ll know its her if you hear her – no one else has a voice like hers, and she uniquely sings about the Arsenal Girls (as in “Hello Hello”) and “Go go Arsenal”.
Since we decamped to the Ems I haven’t heard her, even though I wander around the upper tier with my silver membership. But there she was loud and clear last night.
The Mad Maria tag came from a reader on the RedAction news group when I once enquired there if anyone knew about her. Everyone seemed to have heard her, sometime or another.
And Maria – if you are reading – no offence. Your support and determination to cheer on the boys are never in doubt. I just don’t know how you keep it up.
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