By Tony Attwood
Trying to get to Arsenal during a Piccadilly Line strike is fortunately not to hard for us since Blacksheep lives near one of the overground stations on the line into Finsbury Park. But what we did spot which was interesting (if you are a long time Londoner and remember these things), was the fact that many of the relief buses that plied their trade up and down Seven Sisters Road were of the very old stock, that neither of us had seen from before the dawns of time.
These buses were in perfect nick, so much be kept in some vast depository of old bus stock somewhere in the city, just for such moments. It was quite a double take as the first went by – all we needed was a conductor leaning off the on/off platform – which is how I remember them. I presume they’ve now had oyster card machines put on them – tickets printed by a clockwork machine would have been even better.
Anyway, yes there was the strike, and fortunately it didn’t affect us. The Swimmer was half empty (“it must be a very small match” our landlady said) and sitting there with space to spread out was nice. Then we had the pleasure of sitting above the the Arsenal bench – front row in the West Upper. Well, it is actually row four, but the front three rows are taken up by the camera crews and reporters – and we could see what I have always felt – reporters not watching the game but texting on their phones.
Oh yes and we had the fun of watching people trying to drive their car up to the stadium, and then being bemused at finding a barrier across the road and nowhere to go. This is London and a 60,000 seater stadium, and people approach within 200 yards without actually having typed into Google “Where can I park for Arsenal”? Ah well.
I haven’t seen a crowd number – if you have seen it please do write in – but the Brentford end (all the lower tier at the clock end) was sold out, and the lower tier on the other three sides was fairly full. Upstairs less so although around us every seat was taken. £20 for a seat upstairs, £10 upstairs concession, £10 anywhere downstairs.
Anyway, if you ever get a chance to sit in the West upper and look down on the Arsenal technical area it is worth it just to see Emery and his tracksuited assistant (I don’t know who that was – again please do tell if you know.) Emery is 100% of the time on the move pointing, indicating, suggesting – it is non-stop. The amount of nervous energy this guy uses up must be mega. And the assistant is active too, although less so. I think you are only supposed to have one prowler in the tech area, so that is what maybe keeps the second man restrained.
Steve Bould meanwhile sits impassively as he has always done. I wonder if he is just staying this season to ensure there is not problem between players and manager, and then he’ll go.
So, as you may know, we had a pitch invasion after the Brentford goal with quite a few people removed from the ground, after which double levels of stewards were put in place in front of Brentford. Personally I suspect those who ran on the pitch were affected by the full moon in the clear sky to the east, looking like a single extra floodlight, so bright was it. A good view for the aliens I imagine.
And above all, the crowd was enthusiastic and noisy. For all that the stadium was not full, those of us there treated it like any other match, as indeed we should, so the notion of this being played in silence in a half empty stadium is wrong. If you don’t have the chance to get tickets normally you should pick up on a league cup game.
Smith Rowe as an utter, utter genius, an absolute find and will be a total megastar. Let’s hope we can hold onto him. Sky’s report on line gave him 5 out of 10, but that is just so ludicrous that words fail me. As in ” ” (see I told you). Leno is settling down in goal to and Guendouzi plays as constantly at this level as at any other.
Here are a couple of snippets from the interweb thing
“Well played Brentford, if we’d played our first team we could have beaten Arsenal …”
“Arsenal cruised into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a 3-1 win over Brentfordat the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening.”
“Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck became the first Premier League player to score in three different club competitions this season (Premier League, League Cup and Europa League). (Sky)
“last year’s finalists, playing under Unai Emery in the Carabao Cup for the first time, sealed the game in stoppage time when substitute Alexandre Lacazette raced through to fire home.” (That was also sky)
Have you ever thought of being a football writer? It’s not that hard. At least not when you write like that.
The draw for the next round takes place on saturday evening.
- Live match report League cup Arsenal – Brentford : 3-1
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- How much does a club have to spend on transfers to get a trophy?
- Does the team that is top after 14 games usually go on to win the league?
- How the Taliban infiltrated the World Cup and used it to maintain its war on women