By Brian Perceful
In what turned out to be the match of the season up to this point, our beloved Arsenal fought for and took all three points at an electric Emirates. In what tends to be a rarity amongst matches between top clubs on the table, this one lived up to the hype. Not sure anyone can say they didn’t leave it all on the pitch Sunday.
The first half was a pretty even affair until Martin Atkinson blew his whistle and pointed to the spot against Monreal. Play should have been stopped as Morgan clearly mugs Ozil on the edge of their 18 but instead the break was on and we all know how it ends. If Vardy was anything other than English he would have gotten skewered for that performance. Every time I saw the replay the more pissed off I got. I understand that Nacho didn’t cover himself in glory, but Vardy clearly creates that penalty. I get that any striker would do it. Doesn’t make it right. I’m with Arseblog that this completely runs contrary to the “spirit” of the game. It’s similar to why I couldn’t care less when we play Chelsea with Costa because at some point he will “manufacture” something. I’m over it. Call it what it is. It’s blatant cheating. I had a lot of respect for Vardy and what he’s done this season. He can suck it now.
So we went into half-time clearly deflated. We couldn’t buy a foul all half. The loudest boos of the match were saved for those in charge. It had clearly been a howler up to this point. Not sure what happened in the refs' locker room but good ol’ Marty came out a different person. I almost bet that someone showed him he had gotten duped by Vardy and he was pissed about it. Hell I would be. Almost immediately every call went our way and the cards started flying. And they started accumulating. Before you know it, Danny Simpson gets his walking papers and the tide of the game turns in our favor.
The much maligned Giroud turns provider for Theo as he smartly nods down a header into Theo’s path and unlike so many times, recently, this ball actually ends up in the back of the net. Game on. It took what seemed an enternity for the winner to come. I felt we’ve been owed a dramatic late winner for a while. Scott and I talked post match about how they seem to happen for everyone else, but only happen against us. Not this time. After damn near a year out of the game, Welbeck deftly steers home Ozil’s last second free kick into the bottom corner sliding past Schmeichel. That fact it was set up by a needless challenge was poetic justice. Truly, footy karma was looking out for us.
My MOTM was Giroud. He put in a shift on both ends of the pitch and set up Theo’s equalizer. If it wasn’t for an otherworldly save he would have been on the score sheet. His hold up play was great and he didn’t hide from anything. Still don’t see why this guy gets the stick he does. Oh well…
About Leicester. They can suck it. Not sure I’ve seen a dirtier team since the Orcs of Stoke or the Chavs of Chelsea. Drinkwater should have saw red on his ridiculous challenge on Ramsey. Mahrez tried but didn’t get away with a ridiculous dive. So screw those guys.
Last thing…how about the atmosphere? The Emirates was absolutely rocking. If you were at Slim’s you know it was rocking as well. For a 6am match we had about 30 Gooners there. You could cut the drama on the patio with a knife. When Welbeck’s winner went in the place exploded. It felt like a cup final win. If you slept in you absolutely missed the highlight of the season so far.
Next up is Hull in the Cup. It’s an early one but Slim’s will be open. Be there!
Like a boss.
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