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A Few Thoughts on the Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa FA Cup 4th Round at the Emirates

January 29, 2012

Very good start for me on 4th round FA Cup day, Full English breakfast and mug of tea. Then I surf the Internet for Arsenal news and check the trains/tubes for travel details. Oh dear! National Express up to its old tricks again and engineering works going on through till end of January, all of February & March on Sunday’s.

So thanks to National Express it was earlier than normal start for my Son and I with a drive down the M11 to Blackhorse Road Tube. Once out at Holloway Road Tube we walked down to the Holloway Road Fish Bar, for Sunday Dinner, not the usual Roast, but hey! This is football, rituals have to be observed. After having our fish & chips it was a walk down Benwell Road to the Emirates Stadium.

When we arrived I stopped to look at my stone “My Love, My Life, My Arsenal” outside the stadium. I gave it a clean and then walked up the stairs and into ground. Went into the lower tier to look around, Cockney’s like to look around, didn’t you know? Son had his photo done with Gunnersaurus,

I saw Gazidis showing some people around on what looked like PR, took a few pictures of S13 warming up and Martin Keown, looking every inch distant relative of the Bale clan and then off to our seat in the upper tier.

The team news was Arsenal had Sagna, Arteta and Henry back for the match, but they were all too be on the Subs bench. Coquelin was back in at right back, with TV5 still at left back. Oxo was once again in from the start and the home crowd seemed well pleased at this. The team was:-

Arsenal: Fabianski, Coquelin, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Henry 89), Ramsey, Song, Rosicky (Arteta 71), Walcott (Sagna 88), Van Persie.

Goals: Van Persie 54 pen, 61 pen, Walcott 57

Attendance: 60,019

Having lost our last three games on the bounce Arsenal started well, taking the game to Villa and on 5 minutes a screaming 25 yarder by TV5 was well saved by Given in the Villa goal. Walcott took a pass from Rosicky, stumbled past two players into the box but could only tamely shot wide when he should have done better. Arsenal seemed to huff and puff, but could not blow the Villa wall down

Then as usual it happened! Just when you felt there was no danger a Villa corner was well worked with Petrov and Keane who crossed for Dunne to get his head to the ball and stick it in the net, 1-0 down and you could sense the belief drop in many of the fans. Conceding  from corners does not go down well the Emirates.

Arsenal then tried to step it up, Rosicky had two attempts in quick succession, Ramsey had a shot, Given was there again, and then Given stopped Oxo’s low shot. Half time was approaching and we were going in 1-0 down. Then a real choker, Ireland put in Bent, whose powerful shot was saved by Fabianski but could only parry it out to his left, where Bent was first to the ball and put Villa 2-0 up with a low shot from a tight angle even with Song making a brave effort to save on the line. Right now the Fabianski haters were starting to make a noise.

Then the ref blows for half time and Arsenal went in to some boos from the crowd 2-0 down, this was not in my plans for today. However, I felt I saw enough in the first half to think we could still get something out of the game. I did not think Villa were worth a 2-0 lead with two shots at goal and just pumping long balls.

One would imagine that words were said, cups were thrown and tea spilt in the dressing room at half time as right from the start of the second half, Arsenal flew out of the traps. An early corner was headed at goal by Mertesacker and Ireland was there was clear off the line.  Sod it!!! Arsenal were starting to find each other with their accurate and quick passing, Villa were chasing shadows, they were being forced back by an Arsenal that looked for once like they wanted it. The crowd sensed this also and started to play their part… “Cooooome ooooon you reeeeeeds”. “Were by faaaar the greatest team, the world has ever seen (though that was pushing it a bit)

Then 9 minutes in to the half, Ramsey was fed by a superb through ball by Song, these are becoming his trademark (he really is good at these) and across comes Dunne to wipe out Ramsey. PENALTY!!! Screams the crowd as one. The ref agrees and points to the spot. Fans all around were now looking towards the referee for Dunne who is already on a yellow to get his deserved second yellow and marching orders to leave the pitch. (I’ve seen super tankers turn quicker than him) however, I think none of us were shocked when the referee bottled it and left Dunne on.

This was a job for Robin Van (he scores when he wants) Persie. The crowd go quiet in anticipation, RVP stands and waits for the referee’s whistle and then steps up to stick the ball to Given’s right and it’s 1-2 and game on…  The crowd were lifted even more and found their FA Cup voices. The noise at the Emirates which was flat in the first half (why do we have a singing section) was now rocking.

Three minutes later and it’s happy days, Theo who had been his frustrating self so far in the match, suddenly gets the ball on the right, from good passing between Coquelin, Ramsey and Rosicky. Walcott is put in by Rosicky, rounds Warnock and tries to flick the ball past Given at the near post who gets a hand to it and the balls rolls to Hutton (your allowed to laugh here), who slams the ball clear, straight back at Theo and the ball flies off Theo and into the Villa net 2-2 we’re back. Arsenal are back!!! Arsenal are back!!! Two goals in three minutes. The crowd are now up for this, recent results and lack of goals at the Emirates, it seemed the crowd were not going to pass up this opportunity to get behind the boys…

Arsenal with the bit between their teeth and Villa looking shell-shocked came forward like the 7th cavalry coming over the hill… My man of the match Laurent Koscielny, collected the ball and with a turn of speed (he is fast this guy) ran towards the Villa goal, entered the Villa box and there was Darren Bent (who doesn’t get booked either) , to catch Kos and bring him down, again the Emirates crowd scream penalty and the ref agrees. Cheers all around from the Arsenal fans.

Robin Van (he scores when he wants) Persie takes the penalty and this time puts the ball to his right for goal number three for Arsenal and his 25th of the season to complete the comeback and at the same time put himself level with the Dutch master  and legend of Arsenal Dennis Bergkamp on 120 goals for “The Arsenal”

Villa were looking down and their following of 5000 at the Clock End were taunted by the sound of “You’re not singing anymore, you’re not singing anymore” which was super loud and rung out round the ground. This was 7 minutes of pure football high. I was going bonkers and looking from outside myself in, I was thinking you need help mate, as I stood next to my Son looking at me as if I were doing the footballing equivalent of Dad dancing at one of his parties.

The rest of the game went by very fast; Villa did not threaten much, more puff than bluster from them, save a header from Gardner that Fabianski got down well to. TH12 was then put through but did not have the legs when I thought he should just shot or chip the keeper in true TH12 stylie…

The ref blew for full time, the crowd (those that were still there and not queuing up for the tube) rose to a great fight back from the lads. Applauded them off and for now recent problems could be put aside, we were through to take the trip up north to face either Sunderland or Boro..

All that was left for me was to cross the Bridge to Arsenal Tube Station,  and make my way home happy with the lads performance on the day.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. MissBlack01 permalink
    January 30, 2012 11:52

    Morning Steve. Liked your match report. Heh to “I was thinking you need help mate, as I stood next to my Son looking at me as if I were doing the footballing equivalent of Dad dancing at one of his parties” He must be used to you doing your snoopy dance by now!

  2. January 30, 2012 20:34

    Enjoyed this HG. Like the little matchday details: if it’s the Fish Bar opposite Drayton Park where we queue up after the games I’ve been there many times!

    And Kos(h) was my man of the match too. A superb performance.

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