We gave a satisfactory account of ourselves against the league leaders Arsenal yesterday – and a better one than against the bottom club Sunderland last week. The two midfielders Scott Parkeer and Steve Sidwell pressed the Arsenal midfield, but Clint Dempsey is still off the pace. Most heartening of all, the Hangeland/ Burn combo in central defence looks to be stopping the leakage of goals.
We hung on for about an hour then the fluidity of Arsenal’s game opened us up for Cazorla to score. Before then we frustrated Arsenal. Sidwell did have a powerful shot well saved and Kacaniklic’s touch let him down after Berbatov put him through. However, once Arsenal upped the pace against our ageing limbs, the defeat was inevitable.
I had predicted beforehand a 2-0 defeat and decided to have a tickle at 13-2, feeling a tad treacherous. It did pay for the ticket and excellent lunch with friends at the North Sea fish restaurant.
The match day experience was not that pleasant without the result. The Arsenal station, where we treated like cattle in the low tunnel, was gruesome; we were frisked rather too aggressively for my tastes and, when paying £35 for my entertainment, I don’t appreciate a steward saying “Open your bag” – does the word please not exist in N4? Though Fulham fans were more to blame, it was impossible to view the game without standing, which led to stewards being called. More good-humoured was the steward in Holloway Road, who said:
“Please cross the road carefully. If you trip and get hit by a car I will have to complete a long form.”