Monday 6th October 2014
Other than the inevitable feeling of disappointment any fan gets after a defeat I found it difficult to put my finger on exactly how I felt walking back to Fulham Broadway tube station on Sunday afternoon. We had arguably played quite well on the day however, it also felt like our hosts had taken the points relatively comfortably. And that I suppose is the aspect that should worry us most.
A few beers on Saturday night meant the Sunday brunch we enjoyed in Southfields pre-match was very welcome and made for a relaxing few hours before the main event. I am always optimistic going into every game we play but to say I was confident would be probably pushing it a little. I knew we were capable of getting a result but our hosts powerful start to this season and the fact they had a fully fit squad to choose from didn’t have me entering the stadium with the utmost belief.
Talking of which, in a week where ‘flares’ have very much been in the news, who are these so called Arsenal ‘fans’ who insist on taking such items to away games right now? It is not the first time we have seen it and I don’t really get the mentality behind them. On Sunday, someone setting one off in the small, tight concourse of the away end upper tier was not only idiotic and dangerous but caused major knock on problems to those of us outside trying to enter the stadium. Yes, your fellow Gooners and therefore, not that this should be relevant, people who support the same team as you.
In my last piece I was critical of the Galatasaray fans for doing exactly the same on Wednesday night and the fact the authorities have apportioned part of the blame on our great club I still think is disgusting. These items are not very big. What are the stewards supposed to do, strip search?!? But I would be hugely hypocritical if I didn’t express similar feelings about those responsible for Sunday. At one stage, the crush outside got a little bit dangerous. That’s down to whoever you are. So why would they be happy? You might want to think about that next time, if your brain has the ability to do that.
For me there were very few chances in a tightly fault game. When these big moments come along however, it is crucial you take them. Chelsea did that on Sunday and we didn’t. If Jack’s first touch had been better when clean through in the first half the whole game might have been different. If Cahill had been rightly sent off for his two footed, over the top lunge on Alexis, the game might have been different. If any referee at any stage finally recognises the cynical side to the beautiful game too, things might be different. All Mourinho sides down the years have been absolute experts in that (and believe me I am not being critical). All the time referees don’t punish it or don’t understand it, why wouldn’t a manager instruct his players to undertake such measures. Blocking at corners is probably the one most highlighted by the TV pundits but yesterday we saw numerous perfect examples of how to stop a counter attack before it has even started. Cynical fouls and unpunished until it was far too late in the game. We even saw the referee clearly point to the one, two, three, four times one Chelsea player had done this…….but did a card come out? Of course not.
For all this however, despite working extremely hard and enjoying much possession, we came away with what felt like an inevitable defeat. And it’s that inevitability that needs to change in games like this for us to progress.
For now, its the next International break. On this occasion we have players missing from their national sides and hopefully it will give them time to recover before we take on Hull in a couple of weeks time. For all our squad that are travelling the globe however, we wish them good luck and please return fit and well!
Yesterday wasn’t good, as Gooners we all know that. But the season is still young and we need to go forward positively together.