It is so depressing when you’ve watched your team get thrashed by the enemy and then go home to write it up. I think it is called sadomasochism. We’ll get to the match in a minute, but let us deal with the supporters being given a chance to visit the stadium.
Actually, it will be season ticket holders, and only a few (6,000) will be given a chance to have a visit (those that win a ballot). We (Premium seater holders/ Box holders), on the other hand, will be visiting the stadium, but it will be staggered (to accommodate us all). And we can take a partner with us. I am really looking forward to this, but don’t know when, yet (other than it is in December). While the Season ticket holders will have their chance on the 16th December (I am presuming we will go before the season ticket holders).
Now to the nightmare of Sunday.
My journey started the day before (I stayed the night in Goodmayes) and then left at 10.30 in the morning; caught a bus, train and got to Highbury & Islington station at 11.40.
Went straight to the Emirates and waited for Martin and his dad. Got there and had a chat with the Spurs stewards, and gave my commiserations to them over the sad passing away of Jonathan. Then chatted to John, the senior Spurs Premium/ Hospitality man. Always a joy to talk to him.
I just want to say one thing quickly; Arsenal has a more sensible bag policy than Wembley, which allows you in with a rucksack. Of course, they do their search, but once through then that is that. I have to have a different bag, depending on whether we play away or at home. Anyway… back to the story.
After our chats, Martin, his dad and I made our way into the stadium. Martin kindly offered me a coffee and bun, and we chatted about our way trips to Leicester and Barcelona. We also talked about the Wednesday game against Southampton (they’ve just sacked their manager Mark Hughes) and then waited for the whistle to start the match. I predicted we would win 2-1. And we did get 2-1, but that only lasted until halftime.
What can one say about this match, what does one want to say about it? Pochettino noted that it is because we played too many games within a week. But so did Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and City, and they all won. So that is bollocks. I think it has more to do with team selection than anything else.
We started off slow, got into it and started out-performing them, eventually taking a 2-1 lead, but then the break happened.
You can guess that we were all on a high as we expected to increase our lead. Thumbs up were going all over the place, smiles galore. Break over, and the whistle was blown for the start of the second half. Sadly Arsenal turned up, while we stayed in the dressing room. On top of that, we had a player sent off (can it get any worse?).
Arsenal’s relentless attacking performance to overpower us was a “special” moment, says Unai Emery. His side extended their unbeaten run to 19 matches, moving above us into the top four, with a display that reflected the outstanding work the Spaniard has done since succeeding Arsene Wenger. Despite his satisfaction at beating their arch-rivals in his first north London derby, Emery has challenged his players to continue improving.
Arsenal’s fast start drew early reward when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put them ahead from the spot after Jan Vertonghen’s handball. Yet we were ahead before the break. Eric Dier glanced home Christian Eriksen’s free-kick to equalise, sparking a melee involving players from both sides with his celebrations in front of Arsenal’s fans, before Harry Kane scored from the spot after Rob Holding was penalised for a challenge on Son Heung-min.
Emery introduced Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey at the start of the second half to dramatic effect. The Welshman set up Aubameyang’s finish, and the France striker’s deflected shot beat our goalkeeper from the edge of the area to put Arsenal ahead with 16 minutes left. Lucas Torreira ran clear to wrap up Arsenal’s win, and our misery was complete when Vertonghen was sent off for a foul on Lacazette. And that was that. We lost and went home with our heads hanging down.
Liverpool and City are both fighting for top spot, while we are fighting, along with Chelsea, Arsenal, for the next two places. There is only a point in it between Chelsea and us. Arsenal and ourselves are only separated by goal difference.
I left the stadium and made my way to Highbury & Islington (nearly took a wrong turn). Got to the station and then made my way to Goodmayes. Finally getting there at 5.15pm. Stayed for something to eat and then got home at 8.15 pm. As I had an early start, I went straight to bed.
Now we must pick ourselves up for the next games; Southampton (home), Leicester City (away) and then a trip to Spain to face Barcelona. No big matches in December (from the top six), in the league (apart from Arsenal in the League Cup).
So depressing. Pochettino and Levy need to get together and discuss what next?
I also must mention the two incidents that happened; one was the smoke canister thrown by Arsenal supporters into the Arsenal crowd; that could have severely damaged somebody’s eyes. How did they manage to bring it into the stadium with all that security in the first place? Unless somebody either gave them a nod or didn’t do a proper clothes or bag search. As for the banana skin: that was stupid and with all the cameras around anybody throwing such an item is bound to get caught. Racial abuse is a hot topic and won’t be tolerated in any situation.
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