In a journey that saw 2 aeroplanes, 2 buses, 2 trains and 2 tubes it was a tired but emotional Junior whose first reaction when he took his seat was 'WOW'. Courtesy of a kind Awimber our seats saw us behind the goal we were defending for the first half which to be honest was mostly Arsenal possession, pretty patterns but no penetration.
Strangely with all the ball Arsenal saw it was through the break-away that we looked most likely. Breaking away after a Reading free-kick, Alex to Fred,one-two with Gallas,fine save by Hahnemann.
Quite hard to see from where we were sitting but the groans from the crowd intimated that Fab, played in by the Beast, contrived to enter the miss of the season contest. All in all a first half that was typical of most home games this season, all ifs and nearlys.
The second half saw us push with a lot more purpose and after an hour finally our passing and movement paid off. A superb run from Gael took him into the box where he was dumped to the ground by Bikey. As much a peno as Fred's at Blackburn imo. Up stepped Gilberto to slot us 1-0 up.
We should have doubled our lead after a cracking ball from Cesc put Theo in on Hahnemann but the keeper came out quickly and smothered the danger.
The fast maturing Denilson slide the Beast in to notch his first league goal,a goal he richly deserved and game over. Erm except this is Arsenal, with the game over and 5 minutes on the clock Fab made a better job of turning the ball into the net albeit the wrong end and the 2-1 ahead nerves went into overdrive. 3 minutes to go and Sidwell fires in what is surely the equaliser but Jens got down well at his near post to avert the danger. The final whistle was welcomed by the home crowd and our run of defeats was ended. Just.
Out of the mouths of babes and all that, when Junior was asked what he thought of the game he simply said "Should have scored more". Indeed.
Lehmann - 7 - Great save to earn us the 3 points. Nice hair.
Djourou - 6 - Seemed somewhat subdued and nervous. Nice boots.
Gallas - 7 - Solid and a calming influence on yet another make-shift defence.
Gilberto - 8 - Cool penalty goal, handled ½ litre and the other bloke admirably. Man of the match.
Ljungberg - 6 - The elder statesman of the team and the only person I know that has a J as the second letter of his surname. Apart from Djourou like.
Cesc - 5 - Missed a sitter,scored an own goal, all in all not a great day for our young Catalan. Nice teeth.
Denilson - 6 - Growing with each passing game. Luckily we play the passing game.
Hleb - 5 - Quiet and ineffective. Perhaps there were too many gingers on the pitch.
Baptista - 7 - One in the eye for the boo-boys. He'll make a centre forward for this club, of that I have no doubt. Maybe.
Walcott - 6 - Taken off his customary wing the young lad played well without pulling any trees up. Vote the Green Party
Diaby for Fred - 7 - My word but this chap is showing signs he can be a damned fine midfielder.
Ali for Theo - 6 - Nice name.
Big Phil - 4 - Oh dear. Nice booking.