I typed up almost a whole post. Firefox crashes and I’ve lost it. Feels like the story of this match actually. Looked for all the world that we were going to take all three points, but at the end of the day, after all the hard-work, we’re left with a measly point. Unbelievable.
Oh wait, there it is! Phew! If only I could say the same thing about those three points…
I am starting this post, even though the game is still on, so I have no idea how this post will end. 73 minutes gone, still nil-nil. To be honest, we should be like 3-0 up, if not for those goalposts, ridiculous! Someone said on twitter that City should buy them. Would NOT actually be surprised if that happened!
But anyway, back to the game, nil-nil, 15 minutes to go, and I’m really starting to feel the nerves. The starting XI was:
Sagna – Djourou – Koscielny – Clichy
Wilshere – Song
Walcott– Cesc – Nasri
No changes until the 70th minute, Arshavin coming on for Theo, who’d done really well. Even had the chance to open the scoring, but new Manchester City target, aka the woodwork, denied him. He did seem a tad offside, but the flag stayed down!
80 minutes gone now, still no goals.
The match, especially the first half, was completely dominated by us (Wilshere just got subbed on 81 minutes, for Nikky B). From the get-go, we were on top, Robin almost opening the scoring after a Wilshere cross, but the ball only just evaded him. We continued in that vein, although City did have a chance or two of their own, but Fabianski might have well not have been in goal.
We were doing well in the final third in the first half, but not so much in the second, or maybe City simply improved defensively, but it is a very frustrating match to watch. It’s going exactly how it went in this same fixture last season at the Emirates, defence v attack, with defence winning. Maddening! It should be the other way round, shouldn’t it? City have been ultra-defensive, and it would be an injustice if they won, or even drew this game.
Oh no, Sagna might be off here! Actually, it’s Zabaleta who’s off! I thought Sagna headbutted Zabaleta, or rather they both headbutted each other, although it wasn’t really a headbutt, mainly a light coming together of heads. BOTH players have been sent off, actually. A bit of a nothingness, really, but if anyone deserved a Red, it’s Sagna.
After all that drama, we’re into injury-time. 4 minutes of it, but only 2 left now. The game’s been really scrappy last few minutes, and it does look like it’ll be yet another 0-0 draw at the Emirates between us. A shame really, as we’ve deserved to win both games. We’ve got a free-kick now, outside the box, and in truth, it’s likely to be the last kick of the game. Come on, Robin! Great effort, but straight down Hart’s throat.
And that goes the whistle.
Well, if it’s any consolation, Chelsea have just lost. To Wolves. An own-goal, too. Doesn’t get much better. Except at the moment, there aren’t in the title race. Sp*rs lost too, 2-1 to Everton, but that does not make this result any easier to take. Need to remind myself that we actually did not lose, but I’m sure City’ll feel as if they won. Well, they should, because I don’t think they deserved anything from the game!
Regarding our performance, we did everything we could possibly have done, except put the ball in the back of the net. Joe Hart was busy all through, and a couple of great saves kept his team in it. It did look like it’d be one of those days where it just wouldn’t work out for us, and it turned out to be so. Can’t blame any of the players, it was just bad luck. Van Persie played all game, and he showed some great touches and is definitely regaining his sharpness. Cesc played well as usual, Jack was brilliant, everyone was doing well, it just looked for all the world that we would win. Very gutting.
I can’t really say much about the defence, seeing as it was barely troubled! But positive signs. Djourou was assured, Koscielny was so comfortable, he even made the odd drive forward! It was a good defensive performance, given the circumstances, the only blot on the copybook being Sagna’s Red card. Petulant stuff.
Ofcourse, the title race isn’t over for us, but it’s beginning to look like it’s out of our hands. 4 points behind Manchester United, having played a game more. But then again, they only need to go on a bad run like Chelsea, and it’s all looking good. No need to give up just yet, we just need better luck. And we don’t need to play against 10-men-behind-the-ball-City anymore this season!
I’ll leave you with what Arsene had to say (I’m off to stew some more!):
“We faced 80% of the game playing against 10 men in the final third, so it was very difficult. We are frustrated, but I’m proud of my team individually and collectively. It’s more of a positive 0-0 than a negative one.”
It’s not over until…