Well wow that was a tense final game wasn’t it?
All gooners, myself included woke up yesterday even more nervous than the day before.
So much to lose, we did not want fourth, no way in hell would fifth be acceptable but leading up to the game these were all possible outcomes.
The news that Clint Dempsey was definitely out of the game against Spurs and not a hoax meant even more we had to do the job ourselves.
Robin Van Persie was still on course to achieve another record; one more goal would equal the record 31 goals in a 38 game season. Would we accept RVP getting the record and finishing fourth? Erm no thanks.
Onto the game and in typical Arsenal fashion it was not a straightforward affair. We tried our best to recreate the Norwich game .
It almost seemed a jinx that if Yossi scored early for us in the game we would eventually be 2-1 down.
And so it went, great perseverance from Yossi to close down the Fraudster impersonating a goalkeeper led to an easy tap in to take the lead. News had filtered through just before that Spurs had taken the lead. It was important to get that goal so the nerves didn’t get to players if they get wind of the score from white hart lane.
So much for keeping it simple West Brom were level within 6 minutes and to be honest it was an injustice the goal stood. Shane long was clearly offside. Decisions like this can have such repercussions on a team and Mike Jones was a lucky man that the final result worked in Arsenals favour. Just look at the goals Bolton conceded against Stoke to see how a referee error can cost you.
I can only put the second goal down to nerves as Graham Dorrans slotted in easily to put West Brom 2-1 up. Oh dear one of those days again? Please God no.
Luckily for us our 12th man wasn’t having any of it. Step forward Mr Marton Fulop. Now the commentator reminded us a million times during the game this was Fulop’s debut for West Brom . To be honest this means nothing, he was not a 17 year old rookie, this is a full international and has played in England for the best part of 8 years. Best stat of all is he was on Spurs books for a number of years, sent out on loan constantly while he was there I can only assume he wanted to dish out some payback to Spurs
Right on cue when we were struggling to get our rhythm Andre Santos lashed in a desperate shot after a West Brom player was robbed of the ball just outside the area. A good shot on target indeed; but a bread and butter shot for a half decent keeper. Mr Fulop proceeded to palm the ball in at his near post.
Good times, this was the game changer for me. A vital goal early enough in the game for us to push on and hopefully win now. Fulop was inspiring the Arsenal players, he certainly inspired me as he looked to make a mistake every time he was near the ball.
We needed to win this as Spurs seemed to be comfortable against a Dempsey-less Fulham. Half time finished at 2-2. Not a complete disaster, we had a whole half to reorganise, Wenger had a chance in the interval to drill into the players that they needed to switch on and focus.
Second half we came out more determined, Theo came on at the break for Rosicky, I presume in the hope of causing West Brom to have more to think about from both wings. Gervihno was a threat constantly but had one of those games where every time he worked a good position he messed it up.
The important thing is by working these positions is West Brom had to adjust to ensure his threat was nullified Theo on the other wing would give them even more food for thought.
Eventually we nudged ahead in the game, that man Fulop was again sticking two fingers up at Spurs. From a corner swung in by Van Persie the keeper managed to connect with a punch. The punch to my amusement went in the opposite direction you would expect (behind him) and spun just enough for Koscielny to poke in the winner.
An absolutely amazing goal due to the sheer comedy value and the importance in our quest for third place. The rest of the game was a nervy affair, Arsenal don’t do comfortable. A fourth goal would have settled everything. We managed a few breaks here and there but a fourth goal wasn’t coming. We needed to maintain the discipline and focus to see this out. An absolutely terrific last-ditch tackle from Gibbs towards the end of the game typified how much we wanted to keep this. Arsene was pictured on the touch-line showing as much nerves as us fans. The 5 minutes of injury time wasn’t easy on our heart rates but eventually the final whistle went and the game was won. St Totteringham day finally!!
Normality resumed, Spurs below us confirmed. A Great day all round, the tension finally gone. If I ever see Fulop in the street I will shake that man by the hand. He would probably somehow mess that up.
Even given the events in Manchester my only focus was on the Arsenal. Everything else was and still is irrelevant. My only concern is the Arsenal.
Enjoy your day people. I certainly will.