Jan 10th, 2012 by 'holic
You will be used to me doing unorthodox match reports. Well, they’re not reports are they. Call them impressions of what was going on around me if you will. Tonight left a very special impression on me, for more than one reason.
It started, surprisingly given the delayed train from home, with an early drink in the Tollie. It was quiet at four, but slowly the thirsty arrived. What had threatened to be a niggly day was actually becoming very enjoyable.
Off to the ground to meet with the good people from Gunners Gaming, and good people they were indeed, although thankfully they didn’t take any more money off me after the ‘holic pound had been lodged the previous evening. It was duly lost, of course, but in the most glorious of circumstances. I also had the good fortune to hook up with a couple of Daves from Arsenal Addict (aren’t all Arsenal addicts called Dave?) and Martin, an old friend from Goonblog.
I have to say thanks at this point to whoever at the club was responsible for my birthday present. Well, perhaps I should say my first birthday present, given the drama that was about to unfold.
The first-half was probably no different from where I was to what was being witnessed elsewhere in the ground, or on television, or on a stream with a Rumanian commentator. To say we were a little frustrating barely captures the mood. Although we started brightly clear-cut chances were few and far between, then came the inevitable injury to the stand-in full back. Francis Coquelin, who we may have needed in midfield in the coming weeks, having sent Frimpong out on loan, was replaced by young Nico Yennaris.
The second-half was destined to produce a moment that will live long in the memory. It was a ‘look at that, just look at that’ moment, an ‘it’s up for grabs now’ moment, a ‘would you believe it’ moment. I was there the night Thierry Henry returned and scored the only goal of the game. If you want to know who went close, who just missed, who shanked one, then you’ll find all of that elsewhere.
For now, all I can sense is the astonishing feeling that even the Leeds fans experienced when that goal went in. As I walked back to Holloway Road after the game I became aware of a conversation in a thick Yorkshire accent behind me.
“You just fooking knew he would do it, didn’t yer. Can’t argue with that. He is class at the end of the day”
Fair play to you fella. Fair play to your team too. For the second consecutive year Leeds came to the Grove and worked their socks off, but they were as ravaged by injuries as us. At the end of the day our squad side beat their squad side, and that is how it should work, but they contributed to a fascinating evening.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening, in fact.
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