Thursday 6th April 2017
Apart from major signal problems somewhere near Putney giving me a decision to make as whether to get home after 4am or part with some cash for a basic hotel room grossly overpriced due to it being school half term week…….I thoroughly enjoyed last night. The feel good factor was back. And it seems a long old time since we have been able to say that!
Although the streets around London N5 were hardly what you would call ‘full of tension’ there was absolutely no doubt it felt like a must win game. Looking at the top 7, if you disregard the top 2 it looks pretty much like the other 5 are battling for the other 2 Champions League spots. There will be lots of twists and turns I’m sure but consistency will be the winner.
Those of us lucky enough to attend every home game are well aware there are often quite a lot of spare seats dotted around our stadium. And with all games selling out the vast majority can only be season ticket holders who have not attended. It shouldn’t but that situation bugs me a little. And probably not as much as those Gooners out there who have been unable to get a ticket for what is a ‘sold out’ fixture.
The club have introduced ‘Ticket Exchange’ where season ticket holders can sell their seat for a game they cannot attend by registering it online. But the fact remains many don’t do this. Some forget I guess and many others are ‘owned’ by businesses or affluent individuals where it genuinely doesn’t really matter to them if they are used or not. Others of course, simply can’t be bothered.
Only my opinion admittedly but I think the club should go one step further. I believe if a season ticket seat is not used for let’s say 80% of matches (or at least advertised through Ticket Exchange) the club should reserve the right to take that season ticket back for the following season. The technology to administer this is certainly in place. But, the cynic in me can’t help but suggest the club are not too bothered whether there is a bum on that seat or not as it has already been paid for. I certainly believe it could go some way to providing the solution to filling those empty seats more often.
Anyway, I digress…..and the atmosphere on Wednesday night was pretty good to be honest. Everyone (bar a very small minority) pulling in the same direction in support of the team. And it was a team that put in a good performance on the night. Sitting here thinking about it in fact, I am struggling to think of any individual who didn’t have a good night. Mesut was back to his purring best, Theo looked very dangerous throughout and our under fire defence pretty much snuffed out anything The Hammers could offer. Emi Martinez dealt with the few things he needed to with ease and I was particularly pleased both with and for Gabriel. I don’t think I am talking out of line by saying he hasn’t been a fan’s favourite since he arrived but I thought he was excellent in the second half on Sunday against Man City and was arguably the best player on the park last night.
We could and should have been leading at half time but more importantly for me, we hadn’t conceded.
The way we started the second period suggested it would only be a matter of time before we took the lead but once we did there was definitely an element of relief mixed in with those usual post goal emotions. And the superb flowing move leading to Theo doubling our lead felt like the brakes in our play were finally being released. Some of our attacking football in the latter stages in fact, was as good as any we have played for a long time.
Olly’s cracking 3rd gave a more realistic look to the scoreline given our overall domination, especially in the 2nd period and coupled with each of the 4 teams around us all dropping points this midweek it was a thoroughly satisfying package.
Something for me to think about in my depressing and expensive hotel room a few hours later!!
The first of two weekends off come next. Not because we haven’t got a game. But TV have decided to give us 2 of those Monday night affairs. I’m not too disappointed if I’m honest. Unless something goes totally wrong I am always going to attend our fixture whatever date or time it is. And Monday night games give me a whole weekend to enjoy something away from the beautiful game. And with a promising weather forecast that is exactly what I intend to do.
Crystal Palace are always well and truly up for it when we play them. As are any side managed by Mr Allardyce. So I expect an extremely tough encounter at Selhurst Park. We know we are capable of coming away with three points. But we need to be right on our game if we are to do just that.
Enjoy the weekend folks, see you south of the river on Monday.