Sunday 18th December 2016
Tactically it was extremely obvious what we were going to do this afternoon. In fact it always is. That doesn’t mean I necessarily disagree with them either. Let our hosts have most of the ball, keep our defensive shape well and capitalise when we have dangerous situations on the break. And in the first half we got it spot on.
Even after City equalised as a result of yet another questionable decision, we saw out a period of pressure that inevitably follows a goal.
But just when the opportunity was looking good to perhaps have a spell where we took the game by the scruff of the neck we let in a soft goal and we were facing another away defeat.
And for me if you can’t keep a clean sheet, something that it is becoming increasingly obvious we can’t, our tactic falls down.
Chelsea have scored the same number of goals as us away from home this week. They have 6 points, we have none. It may well be a thin dividing line but it’s a genuine situation that can determine whether you win the league or not I’m afraid, no matter how strong your squad looks.
I try and keep my blog as a kind of ‘diary’ surrounding my life supporting our team home and away rather than a match report. The fact you can pretty much pick up our game ‘live’ by numerous means whether you attend or not means nobody needs to be told what happened anyway!
On that basis I can be guilty sometimes of going off on a bit of a tangent. But having left my house on Thursday afternoon for today’s match (and I have some time before my flight back south) I feel I need something to take my mind off our thoroughly disappointing and frustrating week!
This weekend being around my better half’s birthday is an annual affair (no shit!) so depending where we are playing she pretty much knows if I decide to take her away to celebrate, it will be somewhere that includes accessibility to our fixture.
For the second time in 5 years, Manchester’s stadium built for the Commonwealth Games has played host so once the 4pm on a Sunday kick off was confirmed I made some plans.
Apart from a relatively fleeting visit I have never enjoyed the sights, sounds and hospitality thrown up by the city of Chester. So, with an evening train on Thursday, a cross Cheshire train on Sunday morning and a flight back south this evening all fitting in very nicely that is where I have spent the last couple of days.
The food, wine, beautiful city centre, Christmas market and witnessing a baby elephant no more than a few hours old at Chester Zoo making up the highlights it has been a thoroughly enjoyable weekend (whether that is your thing or not)!
But I feel I should paint the picture of my Saturday and Sunday nights for no other reason that it became so ridiculous it was amusing.
The hotel I booked was one of those that described itself as ’boutique’. And the reviews I read online were more than favourable. Location wise it was fantastic, a few minutes walk from public transport and everything the city had to offer. The rooms were different and quirky, clean and very comfortable. All just perfect I would say.
But being located on one of the main thoroughfares, the weekend nightlife made it a tad noisy!
Picture the scene Friday night…..cracking day out, an awesome bit of dinner, a few drinks and we decided to retire and relax. But outside in the street, being Christmas and a Friday, it was carnage.
Believe me I like a party. But when you don’t want to be invited……
I turned on the TV which drowned it out for a while. But the later it got the louder it got. I thought when I heard ‘Brian, get in your fucking cab’ at 4am followed by considerable laughter and a short period of silence, it was all over.
So I rolled over, closed my eyes and looked forward to some shut eye.
Until at 4.30am I heard ‘beep, beep, beep, beep’ as the the street cleaners arrived! For a full hour they roared, beeped, scrubbed and polished at a noise level that was beyond ridiculous. I’m assuming it was so clean that when the giggling, carol singing Christmas shoppers started arriving about 7am they could eat their fucking breakfast off it!
Anyway…..despite a couple of challenging nights sleep I absolutely loved Chester and will be returning.
As I will to Man City next season.
Because we are Arsenal.
And always will be.
Merry Christmas to all.