For our match against the Pool today we set a new stadium record of 60,110 and according to today's matchday programme we are currently averaging the sixth highest crowd in Europe. Our match showed a couple of changes as Flamini replaced the injured Rosicky and Almunia was in for Lehmann, we also had what are probably our first choice fullbacks on show in Eboue and Clichy.
After the minutes silence to commemorate Armistice Day we sat back to enjoy the match and it was an all action affair. It was a good match to watch, the most enjoyable I've seen at our new home from all points of view as both teams attempted to play football the way you'd prefer to see it. Liverpool defended when they had to but they didn't come to park an entire team on their sixteen-yard line (I really will go metric one day).
Arsenal kicked off towards the designated Clock End and Kolo played our first loose ball. The only foot wrong he made for the entire match. Van Persie netted early but he was awarded a yellow card for handball as he controlled on his way through, there were not too many protests so I assume it was. WE were looking good as the fans got in their first chant of ‘One Arsene Wenger'. Alonso took out Flamini from behind but there was no card. Robin to Cesc who nearly wriggled his way through. Kuyt who looks a very useful and tidy player fouled Gallas but it wasn't spotted. In fact referee Clattenburg who is balding quicker than Poll can flash cards let a lot of things go today and played a lot of advantages. Hleb pot shot saved. A great block by Kolo was followed up and Kuyt netted, only to be ruled offside, which he clearly was.
This was a good game in a Stadium that now has the central band of the concrete covered with red on which is advertised Arsenal.com and interspersed with a cannon. Good move ended with Flamini, crap cross by Gerrard who was pretty anonymous on their wide right, Kuyt shot straight at Almunia. Liverpool corner wasted by Gonzalez. Interesting to see that large swathes of the Scousers and Arsenal fans adjacent to them were standing throughout while the RedAction section were being asked to sit.
Another fine Arsenal move killed off by a poor cross, but we were starting to control the game even though a Scouse attack required Bill to tidy things up at the back. Eboue tackled from behind, but no free kick. Hleb on the right and jinking about before cutting inside made a reverse pass to Cesc on a run who laid off a peachy cross for Flamini who netted whilst just about laying horizontal. An unlikely scorer but 1-0 to the Arsenal and probably deserved. Mathieu celebrated by leaping over the hordings and sharing his joy with crowd and duly got himself a yellow card. Rules are rules, but crap rules should be ditched.
Liverpool kicked off the second half towards their own fans and a good cross by Gonzalez was held by Almunia, in truth one of the few things he had to do throughout the match. Wild shot from Gerrard. Kolo ploughs forward. Hleb to Cesc to henry but Reina cut it out well. Foul throw by Eboue! Kolo on a run through, collected a great ball from Van Persie and stroked it home just like a centre forward to make it 2-0. Boy was he pleased with that, and so were we.
A Liverpool free kick wide-right, which Hyypia headed over from Gerrard's ball in, close but no cigar. Alonso hauled down Flamini and play was waved on as Alonso got away without being show a card once again. A bad foul by Carragher on Van Persie and it had to be a second yellow but wasn't, total bottle job by Clattenburg. Pennant replaced Gonzalez to chants of ‘Arsenal reject'. Almunia out early to clear well. A stirring Clichy solo was eventually thwarted. A Van Persie shot was saved and a Liverpool shot was deflected over for a corner. Alonso took out Kolo with studs straight down the shins and play was waved on, although after Kolo told Clattenburg what he thought Alonso's long overdue booking at long last happened.
Crouch replaced by Bellamy, the beanpole had done little wrong and had had little or no support from his colleagues. Clattenburg got in the way of the ball yet again and managed to injure himself in the process. He required treatment, as much for his battered ego as anything else because he sure looked a prat. Great tackle on Pennant by Clichy. Cesc to Robin who went down in their box. Pennant took out Flamini with a rather vicious looking tackle and was carded. Henry of all people stopped a Bellamy break. Great acrobatics by Eboue just to keep a ball in play. Cesc won a corner following some more fine play by the home team. Van Persie's corner kick was met with a Gallas header and it was 3-0. Their marking was pitiful because replays showed it to be a totally free header.
Arsenal were now in piss take mode as Hleb was caught offside and the Gooners had resorted to the ‘Sign on, sign on' song. Bellamy looked to have pulled a goal back but was ruled offside. Van Persie received huge applause as Adebayor replaced him. Almost immediately Adebayor found himself clean through with a one on one against Reina but took too much time and so wasted the chance to make it four. Three minutes added time but it was over long before the ninety minutes.
A comprehensive victory and what turned out to be a very enjoyable day's football. Well played Reading, great stuff Arsenal.