No Spot Fine
Monday 28th November 2016
Penalties are so game changing the officials should be absolutely 100% sure when awarding one. And to this day, even with at the very least 3 colleagues helping them to reach the correct conclusion, I’m not convinced they are. Fortunately yesterday’s ridiculous decision didn’t prove costly in the end but just because we came away with the three points it doesn’t change my view. There were 3 or 4 potential penalty shouts and for me they were all debatable. And in my opinion if that is the case they should not be awarded. Goals are hard enough to come by and prevent without them being given away by a referee!
From a personal point of view Sunday was always likely to be something very special. I mentioned in my previous ramblings that a fellow Gooner reached 50 recently and although I have pretty much been lucky enough to visit every single part of our stadium at least once I had never experienced the whole executive box matchday offerings.
Saturday saw the celebratory party visit Camden for a few beers, a sports bar in Leicester Square where we witnessed our invincible record remaining intact for another season, a quite fantastic meal in nearby Brewer Street before concluding back at our hotel in the very heart of London. A fine way to start before the bit everyone had been seriously looking forward to on Sunday.
Even though I’d heard great things about the experience I cannot possibly praise it high enough. A noon start with drinks and top quality food started a theme that was to continue right through to 6pm, well after the game finished. The service was absolutely first class, the fare was of an equal quality, Charlie George turning up to present the birthday cake and Perry Groves popping in for an entertaining chat all made up a package that was nothing less than outstanding. Arsenal Football Club putting together something that is absolutely top class. Words that have gone together with our fantastic club throughout their history and continue to do so in the very different football world of today.
A massive thanks to Glen for inviting me along, I’m very grateful, it was a spectacular day.
There is still no doubt anything other than a win would have put a bit of a dampener on everything of course and although it definitely couldn’t be described as ‘plain sailing’, on the pitch our team duly obliged.
We started the game pretty well I thought and although our opener was very much handed to us on a plate, the goal probably went with the performance early on. Bournemouth are a good footballing side and have been for a number of seasons now so it was no shock that possession was relatively equally shared. But The Cherries hadn’t really looked like scoring as we kept our shape well. That was of course until the referee decided a shoulder to shoulder collision warranted giving our opponents a chance to level the scores.
In the few minutes after the penalty Bournemouth had their best spell and could and possibly should have taken the lead. The half time whistle probably came at a good time for us as a result and my confidence I had before a ball was kicked that we were capable of taking all three points certainly hadn’t waned at the break.
Our second half performance was considerably better I felt and we dominated for long periods. Apart from a debatable penalty shout when the ball struck Nacho’s hand, The Cherries had very limited opportunities to score and Theo and Alexis made sure we came away with the three points we all craved after our recent run of drawn games.
Normally my departure from any game is pretty swift, especially those played at home. So watching the players leave the pitch and the stadium slowly empty is not something I see that regularly. Watching it from such a fantastic vantage point was also quite something. Whilst we continue our post match routines, players are on the pitch ‘warming down’, the small army of ground staff are already tending and mowing the pitch in preparation for our next outing and the ground slowly closes down after another successful day.
That ‘next outing’ is this coming Wednesday of course as we take on another south coast team in the shape of Southampton with the prize a League Cup Semi Final place for the winners. Last season saw the Saints’ performances rewarded with a European adventure this year but we don’t need that evidence to know we always find them a tough opponent. Squad rotation may well be evident for both sides given the amount of games we both have played in recent weeks but I’ve no doubt it will be an evenly contested cup tie whoever is on the pitch.
And like in every game we are capable of winning if we put in a performance.
Come on you Gunners!