It was my birthday dinner today with Friends and Family and it was the only positive of a very upsetting day this weekend. I went up to Birmingham on Friday and was up nice and early for the game. Our "reserved" parking space was rudely taken by Mr. Doug Ellis of Aston Villa and we had to park about an mile away from the stadium. And after a 10 minute walk to the stadium we were somewhat aggrieved to find out that we weren't allowed in because we were wearing denim and had to go back to the car to get changed... a really annoying start to the day and a glimpse into what was in store for today.
We eventually got in, had lunch and finally the game kick offed.
What happened was one of the worst games I've witnessed. And I don't hold anything against the Arsenal team for the performance. The one major thing that happened was the Eduardo injury and it's something that we never got over and obviously lingered with the team for the entire game. We were shocked, Cesc in particular was taken aback in a way in which I have never seen a player effected.
“I think this guy should never play football again. What’s he doing on the pitch?” fumed Wenger. “The injury is the result of a very bad tackle that is not forgivable. The first diagnosis is that the injury is very bad. He appears to have broken his shin and his fibula.
“I’ve gone along with the idea for a long time that to stop Arsenal, you have to kick Arsenal. I knew that was coming for a long time now.
“The season is over for him and it’s very, very bad. More than the season is over.”
The injury was the most horrific injury I have ever seen in my life. I agree with Arsene’s sentiments and it’s crazy. I’ve seen the injury several times now on YouTube and various other sources and it’s worse every time I’ve seen it. I just can’t get over it. Eduardo’s skin, leg and ankle have been broken and it’s just criminal to witness to see what happened.
Okay, enough about the injury, it’s 4am and I’m still in shock.
The game carried on and it was a weird game – I couldn’t forget what happened to Eduardo and I doubt the players could either. James McFadden played well today and was a continual menace to our team. He “won” the free kick, and realistically that should have never have been. But it was a good free kick and before we knew it Birmingham were 1-0 up. Alumnia wasn’t really to blame – most people thought he should of saved it – but I think it was a good free kick and in all adversity Birmingham were 1-0 up. We had nothing, we couldn’t concentrate and half time at 1-0 was inevitable.
The second half started, and whatever Arsene said got to the team. We came out all guns blazing and within about 15 mins, 1-0 turned into 2-1. Theo Wallcott, who I said would be our star man, scored two goals, one which was a poachers goal and the other which showed his true class.
We have chances galore to wrap it up but we just couldn’t find the 3rd goal and even though we have a stone cold penalty turned down with 5 mins to go, we really should have seen the game out. However, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, we conceded a penalty – Flamini lost the ball and Clichy made a brash challenge. Our three points turned into one point.
I’m still in shock now and it’s been a crazy day.
Arsene said: “It affected us one hundred per cent in the first half but we also have to look at ourselves,” he continued.“We should have killed the game off earlier and scored the third goal. We didn’t do that.”
I have spent the last few hours reviewing the game and what’s happened, and I can’t get over it.
A press release from Birmingham City reads:
“The club are saddened that such a fantastic game of football has been marred by a serious injury sustained to Arsenal player Eduardo.
“But Martin Taylor is adamant there was no malicious intent in the tackle and he is deeply upset by the extent of Eduardo’s injury.
“Having reviewed the incident, this (no malicious intent) is clearly the case.
“The club and Martin Taylor would like to send their very best wishes to the player for a speedy recovery.”
All in all, I think I need to get some sleep and reflect on this in the morning. Arsene has more grace than me and he retracted his statement today in a statement on the Arsenal website.
“It was a highly emotional afternoon and we were all shocked by the injury to Eduardo,” said Wenger.“On reflection, I feel that my comments about Martin Taylor were excessive. I said what I did immediately after the game in the heat of the moment.”
Okay, more tomorrow, I think I’ve said enough today.