Lets be honest, it has been so long since a win at the Library that you kind of reach a stage where you just kind of accept that it is never going to happen again. For me the 5-0 win in the Worthless Cup was sweet, but did not really count partially because the competition is crap and partially because of the team they put out that day. Yet for a few days before this game I actually started to feel confident. That confidence had no science or logic to it, but I just thought that our time had come at last.
Walking up to the ground among all those smug and arrogant faces I hoped my feelings were to be right. Like most people I hate Moan United, but even at the finest there supporters did not appear to be as big a bunch of w***ers as the gooners currently seem to be. I would be interested to know how they can justify putting up their prices from the League game to sit in the same cramped seat, in the same silent stadium watching the same bunch of arrogant twats. I guess an answer might never be forthcoming.
We made the perfect start to take advantage of uncharacteristically sloppy gooner defending after two minutes. Arsenal appealed for offside (there’s a shock!) when the Gronks cross found JT, but the defender had timed his run to perfection to head past Seaman. We danced, we sang, we cheered.
Meanwhile in the Northbank a couple of gooner supporters were certainly seen to have stopped snoring. Maybe our time had come at last. Our control of the game probably lasted though for no more than 5 minutes. However, for all of the possession enjoyed by the reds they created very little until the man with bigger ears than the European Cup decided to take a dive and win a penalty. For the only time in the entire match Paul Scholes dad did the right thing by only showing yellow so at least we were in with a shout.
As he dived superbly to his right to save Henrys penalty our admiration of King Carlo grew by another 10 points.
Sadly all of our good work went to waste when we allowed the gooners to equalise in farcical fashion 10 minutes before the interval. Carlo appeared to have averted danger when he saved from Ljungberg, but Baba made a hash of his clearance (practise kicking with your right foot for flicks sake!)and allowed the lurking European Cup head to scramble home. Arsenal almost took the lead three minutes later when Henry beat Carlo but struck the post. The reprieve was short-lived however when Vieira hoofed the ball forward to Henry who, in my view, rather luckily managed to turn around Cudicini and score. Ranieri managed to confound everyone at the start of the second half when he replaced Zola with Zenden. The names may begin with a Z but there my friends the comparisons end. What was in his mind – if he indeed has one – is anyone’s guess. It was not well received in the clock end though. Second half, we were bloody dreadful. At times it was like watching a pub team after a night on the tiles. Lead ably by the hapless Hasselbaink who looks unable to buy a goal at the moment we looked like we could play for a month without getting anywhere near a goal. We did finally start to wake up though and equalised with eight minutes left. Zenden’s corner caused an outbreak of mass confusion in the Arsenal six-yard box and Lampard got the final touch to score. A very scrappy goal, probably the worst he will ever score, but equally likely to be his most important.
There was still time at the end for Carlo to save us once more from a deflected free kick before we left the ground feeling full of beans. The fact that with the exception of JT, Lumpy and Carlo we were second best for the vast majority of this game mattered little. It was nice to see the yawning faces of the gooners who had woken up just in time to catch the bus home to Suburbia. Please, please, please play better than this in the replay. Another weekend in Cardiff awaits us if only……
TEAM; Cudicini – Melchiot, Gallas, Terry, Babayaro – Gronkjaer (De Lucas 72), Lampard, Petit (Gudjohnsen 72), Morris – Hasselbaink, Zola (Zenden 45).
Subs Not Used: Huth, Evans.