Thanks for coming
As we hit the quarter of an hour to go mark the blue seats started appearing in the away sections. Each misplaced pass or over hit cross from a red shirt brought another clutch of disappointed and dissatisfied away fans to their feet and towards the exits. By the end there were barely enough to rehearse a chorus of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” even if they’d felt like serenading the few of their ‘heroes’ who made it over to them at the end to say “thanks for your delusional behaviour in trying to pretend you like this rubbish”.
We weren’t treated to that particular epic piece of Schadenfreude but no matter as the previous ninety minutes was more than satisfactory both as entertainment and a source of pride.
The first half…
…was generally even though if either Dele or Eriksen had been able to force the ball home from point blank range then the way the Gooners folded once we did eventually take the lead, it was only a crossbar’s width that kept that first period from being painted in a very different light.
Ramsey provided the only shot that Hugo had to deal with which he did superbly. Our skipper’s contribution to this stellar season should never be overlooked. As an aside, most Gooners dislike Ramsey as far as I know and whilst he’s more Barnsley than Barcelona I’d much rather have him in my side than the expensive, work shy flitting butterflies occupying the rest of the midfield positions – Xhaka, £30 million? I’d rather have Sissoko!
Arsenal provided much less of an early menace than any of Southampton, Bournemouth or Watford have at WHL lately and as those teams were thrust aside, so after the break were the hapless Gooners.
The second half…
…was one way traffic. Firstly Alli and then Eriksen were allowed to tip toe into the penalty area, and through the tulips that count as the Arse defence, before Dele swept home Cech’s parry from Eriksen’s close range shot. As “we’ve got Alli”, echoed around the stadium Victor Wanyama, almost from the restart, robbed a dithering Xhaka and gave Kane the chance to run at Gabriel. He stuck out a foot and Michael Oliver did the right & proper thing. Harry’s penalty was ruthless and it was a goal each for the current poster boys.
We were now rampant, on the field and in the stands. As the noise rolled down from terraces, each crescendo was matched on the field as Cech performed his Catherine Wheel impression in goal.
Sanchez’s inability to tell the difference between parts of his body continued as he ran away patting his chest after clearly blocking a Son cross in the box with raised arms. Oliver this time was unmoved.
The scoreline remained unchanged but there was no fight back to deal with. Arsenal were rank. Heads bowed, leaderless, rudderless and apparently accepting defeat well before time was called.
Pochettino was in the luxurious position of being to bring on Dembélé to help see the game out but such was the imperiousness of Dier and Wanyama, it was really only a safety measure. As well as those two, Vertonghen, Alderweireld and Son were particularly outstanding I thought. Trippier deserves special mention given that he was up against their only vaguely dangerous player.
And finally, the smug conclusion
Beating the Scum has become commonplace since Rose and Bale broke the hoodoo back in 2010 but this was a kick up the arse delivered with an extra degree of confidence. Once we’d got our foot in the door, there was no way they were slamming it shut again.
So much to be proud of.
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