“There’s so much fight in this team and it showed today. We dug deep and got the result we needed … It’s not easy to play like that, especially against a team like Liverpool … It was tough, you have to concentrate all game. It’s nice to defend like that asa as defender and keep a clean sheet. “
By Tony Attwood
Liverpool, as we well know, always play with 12 men at home. We’ve been told it so many thousand times it hardly needs repeating: the Liverpool crowd is the 12th man. In fact we could say that it was actually the 13th given the way the referee was playing, and maybe the 14th given that Arsenal had a man sent off. but let’s leave it at 12. I don’t want to overplay this.
And Arsenal certainly did have 10 men, as we had the inevitable sending off at the field of anne, but even so got a superb draw.
But even the media couldn’t really deal with Arsenal in yet another semi-final as the Guardian offered us a 12 man starting 11 (Martinelli being listed twice).
Was it divine intervention against a club that counts being at home as having a 12th man, given the way referees behave at Anfield? Certainly the Liverpool 12 failed abjectly to do anything against the Arsenal 10.
As Paul Merson said at the end of the game, everyone put a shift in, saying that Arsenal were outstanding. I am not sure that he is right in saying that Liverpool made it easy, since Liverpool pulled every trick in the book, and still couldn’t make it work. But I take the point.
It is of course a bad night for the media with TV ending the game saying “many people would not have expected this”, but the reality was that it was the TV coverage that did not expect it to happen this way. Those of us who watch Arsenal, had an idea.
In fact for the TV coverage this was an utter and total disaster. They set it up for a Liverpool win, with the excuses afterwards on the TV discussion the fact that football players no longer think for themselves. Doh!
What we certainly had was no discussion of the fact that Liverpool had the most extraordinary event of more false positive Covid test results than seen anywhere else in the country at any time through the whole year. But still, that’s what they do.
Indeed I think there was even one more strange comment in which the commentary team started quoting Pulis with admiration. I was so amazed I stopped making notes.
At the end Ben White said, “There’s so much fight in this team and it showed today. We dug deep and got the result we needed … It’s not easy to play like that, especially against a team like Liverpool … It was tough, you have to concentrate all game. It’s nice to defend like that as a defender and keep a clean sheet.”
It was pretty good stuff – indeed to be fair better than I dared hope. I’m lucky, I have a ticket for what should have been the first leg but is now the second leg. And I’ll bet that result tonight gives the team quite a boost for whatever match we have this weekend.
Mindless gibberish of the night: commentary post match with some Liverpudlian commentator: “More often than not they go down to ten men.” Arsenal have had two red cards this season in the league – the same as six other teams.
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