Pain for the Arsenal
Wednesday 5th August 2015
The phrase ‘trapped nerve’ sounds painful without even knowing the full extent of its power. Having experienced one in my back a few years ago I knew they were painfully uncomfortable. I also remember being able to ‘handle’ it. More of a constant nagging irritation than completely debilitating. That one eventually went but over the last few weeks I have developed a new version in the left side of my neck. Again this has been irritating but manageable but as of Friday morning I woke up with the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced in my life. I’m not going to claim my pain threshold is any better or worse than anyone else but I genuinely did not know what to do with myself.
A trip to the quacks saw me depart with a sack full of pills designed to ease pain, reduce inflammation, help sleep etc etc, with all the potential side effects thrown in.
Come early Sunday morning I was 2 sleepless nights in and if I’m honest, not looking forward to the day ahead, an altogether crazy situation when it comes to seeing the mighty Arsenal playing at Wembley.
All day was spent fidgeting and moving around just trying to get into a position that eased the pain. Not easy with train travel, the London Underground, walking to and from our National Stadium and enjoying the season’s traditional opener in glorious sunshine all on the agenda!
With this in mind (and probably because I was drugged up to my eyeballs), I don’t remember a huge amount about the build up off the pitch. On entering the stadium however, the massed ranks of Gooners showing their colours is enough to take your mind off any kind of pain however briefly that might be.
Its an old cliché admittedly but I don’t read too much into anything pre-season. And for me that includes the Community Shield. Before a ball was kicked that was my view so just because we have won I am not going to change that. But, as I’ve mentioned before, winning is a great habit, as is keeping our momentum going. And beating that lot from the Russian end of Fulham is always highly satisfactory, especially in recent times when they have become a rival in more than just geographical terms.
I would describe our performance as dangerous when we needed to be, professional and more importantly very disciplined, possibly something we haven’t achieved enough against the top teams in recent years. If Chelsea has gone 1 up, you have to think they would have won the game one-nil. Or is that just me? The fact we went one up and reduced our opponents to just a couple of chances in the whole match is pleasing. And it adds a 3rd piece of ‘minor’ silverware to sit along side the ‘major’ one we picked up back in May.
The Ox has a big big season ahead of him I feel despite still only being 21 years old, something we are all guilty of forgetting. When he is on song he is dangerous, strong and great to watch. His superb strike on Sunday demonstrates just what he is capable of.
A great day out and the famous old octagonal trophy can go back in the cabinet it left just for a few hours on Sunday. A good end to a fine day with Gooner friends despite the ever increasing pain as the day wore on!
Normally a long journey home feels even more lengthy after a defeat. Despite a good day out and another win Sunday’s seemed to take forever. Played 5, Won 5, Drawn 0, Lost 0, 15 goals scored, 1 conceded is almost perfection as far as pre-season goes but it didn’t prevent another sleepless night!
Today is Wednesday and without counting my chickens, dozens of tablets, physio, acupuncture, vibrating machines and careful movement mean it is feeling slightly more bearable today. An improvement I am desperately hoping continues so I am fit and well for our all important opener against West Ham.
The Hammers will arrive having already played 6 games in their season, the Europa League format dictating this kind of ridiculous situation. Being used to each other, a London derby and determined to start their league season positively is enough of a combination to make sure we are ready too.
So buckle up folks, its time be that 12th man once again.
Come on you mighty mighty reds!