Off and Running
Monday 18th August 2014
The fact I enjoy a pint has never been a secret! Having a bit of a fat head on a Monday morning is not necessarily something to be proud of but as I write these thoughts in the quite incredible city of Istanbul I can’t help but reflect on the number of different cities and countries where recovering from such a feeling has been necessary in pursuit of the mighty Gooners!
There is of course a big sense of deja vu given we were here only 12 months ago and surely I can be forgiven for celebrating the fact our first three points of the season are well and truly in the bag.
My Luton airport flight departure time on Sunday meant when I left my house early on Saturday morning I wouldn’t be returning until Wednesday so even for our very first home game of the season my tried and tested routine was a little different to the norm.
We all love the opening day I think but anyone who thought it would be a comfortable victory was a little foolish I feel. Palace had very few players away during the Summer, any Tony Pulis side are difficult to beat (I say that as his departure only happened very near to the game) and the new additions to our squad, 3 if which were in the starting eleven, have all had only a very small amount of time to integrate into the team.
When you do not have the BFG, Olly or Abou in the side we look very small. Talented, but small. Especially when up against a very big Crystal Palace side. We knew we would enjoy plenty of possession but it was crucial we turned that into goals. At some stage our visitors would find themselves with a set piece. And given the nature of the goals we let in pre-season against New York, Benfica and Monaco, that was always going to worry me all the time we hadn’t taken the lead.
Football is incredibly unpredictable and inconsistent however, and just as Palace taking the lead in the manner that they did felt kind of inevitable, the fact we equalised from a similar dead ball situation proves height is not the only important aspect! A crucial goal at a very important time had us all a little bit more upbeat as we enjoyed our half time refreshment.
Patience is important when enjoying so much possession but as the minutes flew by it looked like it wasn’t going to be our day. Deep into injury time however, Rambo tapped home and London N5 erupted with relief as much as joy. Three points from a relatively disjointed performance on the day. That will do.
For me there is nothing remotely enjoyable about flying. Checking in, queues to be physically groped at security, sitting in a departure lounge, crammed into an uncomfortable aeroplane, in flight ‘meals’, turbulence, passport control queues, luggage conveyer belts etc etc really don’t float my boat. The sooner someone invents time travel the better! But it is all part of following our team over land and sea and consequently all that discomfort sees me on the very edge of Europe for Tuesday’s absolutely crucial first leg against Besiktas.
Twice we have been in this part of the world in recent years and both times we achieved excellent results.
More if the same would be perfect please.
Come on you mighty Gunners!