|You & Me Both!|
email to: londonN5@gmail.com
|You & Me Both!|
(feel free to jump to the Irish Examiner's edited version, should it prove preferable to my overly loquacious load of old waffle below:
with me having procrastinated so long over posting this week's missive, to the point where it's already somewhat outdated, I assure you I won't take offence :-)
It amused me that on the same day that I spent the princely sum of 64 quid for a seat in the oxygen-starved environs, right up in the gods at Camp Nou for our Champions League encounter with Barca in March, my precious, highly-prized Bournemouth ticket also turned up in the post.
I doubt there can be much more of a contrast in top flight footie, between our trips to Camp Nou and the Cherries humble home at Dean Court, but with us never having had the pleasure of playing there before (at least not as far as I can recall...which admittedly isn't particularly far!!), ironically, tickets for the Arsenal end, for our rare seaside outing to the South Coast, are likely to prove far harder to come by than a seat at yet another glamorous clash with the Catalan Galacticos.
Obviously it would've been preferable if our date down in Bournemouth had fallen amidst warmer climes, closer to the end of the campaign. I can't envisage any Gooners, other than the odd, alcohol-fuelled lunatic, paddling in the sea come 7th February, at least not without a heatwave between now and then, whereas a Spring outing to the seaside might've proven far more alluring.
Nevertheless, with away fans receiving some 1500 from the mere 12,000 seats available at Dean Court, Bournemouth was always going to be this season's hottest ticket. Presumably the vast majority of tickets went to those of us on the away scheme, but someone was telling me that there was a ridiculous threshold of SIXTY away match credits required for anyone not on the scheme who wanted to apply. Between the away scheme and I believe the box holders' (unfair?) entitlement to eight tickets for every away game, I wonder if any Bournemouth tickets actually made it into the hands of anyone else? As the same Gooner pointed out, away match credits are counted over a two season period and without checking previous fixture lists, sixty away games sounds like an impossible target!
Meanwhile, with home games against Chelsea and Southampton to come before then (along with our FA Cup date with Burnley), the match itself might prove no less crucial, when you consider the succession of far more daunting looking awaydays to follow.
But then with the table being so tight and most teams only two wins away from the top and two defeats away from being drawn into the dogfight at the bottom, every game has acquired a "must win" aura.
With Stoke having taken points from some of our competitors at the Britannia, folk have been trying to put a positive spin on Sunday's draw. From my perspective this point would've been far more acceptable, if we'd managed to hang on to all three at Anfield, as a four point haul, from two of the season's more awkward awaydays would be a perfectly respectable tally.
In any other season, a mere two points from these two outings would certainly not be perceived as title challenging form, but then mercifully this is definitely not "any other season" and should everyone continue on their current inconsistent path, our failure to convert awayday points into three might not prove too calamitous come the reckoning in May.
Moreover it might be considered a marvel that we managed to come away from the Potteries unbeaten because any side would suffer under the weight of such significant absentees as Özil, Alexis, Cazorla and Coquelin, not to mention our catalogue of long-term casualties in the likes of Wilshere, Welbeck and Rosicky.
However, with each passing week, there's an increasing sense that someone is about to grab the Premiership box-seat and begin to run with it and I can't help but feel that the first team to do so, will be the eventual champions and I really don't want us to be left amongst the clutch of clubs trying to play catch up. That's the main reason I was disappointed on Sunday because if the likes of Silva and Aguero are beginning to find their mojo, Man City might not gift us many more opportunities to establish a cushion.
Frankly our form of late has been so uninspiring that it's astounding we've not been knocked off our top spot perch. I'm not much of a gamer but I'm counting on the possibility that the return of Alexis and Özil will add the sort of sparkle that will enable us to push the turbo-boost button before Man City. Preferably starting on Sunday!
|Neanderthals' indignation at Aaron having the temerity|
to have his leg shattered by Shawcross!
|Who's bright idea was the green kit?|
|Joel or Hector MOTM?|
|"1-0 to the Arsenal"|
|Sleeper cell, or deserved payday|
& a dreadlock holiday