Arsenal 2 – 0 Dortmund – a match day report.
Blogging, in some ways, is a weird phenomenon. You can be ‘in contact’ with people for years but never actually meet in person. Yet, virtual friendships develop and we get to know each other quite well, even though we often do not even know the real name of the persons we are blogging with on a daily basis.
To then meet two fine Bergkampesque bloggers in person, before and during the match against Dortmund, is special. It makes supporting Arsenal a whole lot more human, if you know what I mean.
Nik, who looks like a mixture of the BFG and Fernando Torres, is based in Germany, not far from Dortmund and has been a Gooner from a very young age. He has written a few posts for the site and has watched the Arse live both in Germany and London. He is in his early twenties and is into sports science, and boy does he know his football.
Terry Mancini Hair Transplant – ‘Terry’ in short – looks like a short-haired, Greek John Travolta, and he has teeth that blind you and could bite through a mahogany table with ease. He has never written a post, but we all know him for both his many very funny anecdotes and his love for Arsenal and Arsene (not just platonic, I fear!). He also really knows his football.
Nik does not know a fellow Gooner in the small town he lives in, whereas Terry, who lives in North-London and has literally split his house in two to live separate from his estranged wife, is totally surrounded by fellow Gooners: two very contrasting ways of supporting Arsenal, whereas I sit somewhere in the middle. However, what unites us all is of course the love for Arsenal.
I drove from Norwich to London wearing the mighty red and white. It was two hours before darkness would set in, but the sun never came out and the sky was deep grey, which made the shirt stand out more. Driving from Norwich – a very small ‘city’ – to the metropolis of London offers the perfect mental preparation for the game. There is nothing between the two places but woods and agricultural land, and about 200km of it. What else can one think about but our beloved team?
Once I got to Cockfosters, I felt ‘at home’ straightaway. The colours of the mighty Arsenal can be seen everywhere, even as early as 5pm. There are smiles on people’s faces and there is a buzz in the air which only an imminent home game can bring about. If you love football, you know what I mean. I was a bit early for meeting Terry and Nik, so walked around Finsbury tube station for a while. All of a sudden I heard a collective, guttural sound and before I know I am confronted by an enormous and very load yellow and black caterpillar. A few thousands of Dortmund fans were making their way to the ground, whilst onlookers were taking pictures of, or filming, the ‘experience’. It was pretty awesome to watch.
Terry, Nik and I met up at the Arsenal shop under the shirt of AR16 and went straight for something to eat and drink. A Turkish restaurant looked clean and tidy enough to suggest we would not end up with an icky belly. There were plenty of fellow Gooners inside and as soon as we entered all the women looked up. For a split second I thought it was me who created those expectant looks, but then I realised it was Terry’s ‘ray of light’ smile that was the babe-magnet.
We had a great chat about footie, Arsenal, life and women and then we walked to the ground. Terry walked with a wobble and made us believe he had a dodgy knee. However, it was clear that he held us back with his rubber-necking and touching up of every woman that walked past us. It was a pleasure to watch the Adonis at work, finding his many Aphrodites in the crowd; and Nik was eagerly making notes of the master’s endeavours.
Thanks to Terry’s dodgy knee, we entered the ground late: too late for both Terry and me to watch the first goal, but young Nik jumped up the stairs, four flights at a time – the BFG would have been proud of him – to just see Sanogo put it away. Good on him.
As soon as we took our seats we realised we were surrounded by both Gooners and BVBers. We sat not far away from the away supporters, and as expected they made a real racket, with a pre-medieval drum and more guttural sounding Dortmund songs. The sound and movement of the away fans were very impressive and it drowned out most Gooners’ singing around us.
The game was good to watch and we played well in the first half. However, it was clear that Dortmund played with their foot off the gas, as it seemed they were not too bothered about the outcome of this game. They hardly pressed as a team and when in possession there was not enough movement in front of the one with the ball to be able to hurt us. The tempo was often low and Cazorla, our playmaker, regularly found himself in space he would normally not get.
I guess the early goal was a tonic for us and sedated further Die Gelb-Schwarzen and then set the scene for the rest of the game. It was good to see Sanogo giving us structure and his hold-up play and passing was good and reminiscent of Giroud. He also had good positional awareness and passed on the ball quickly and often accurately; and more than once he managed to start an attack from receiving the ball with his back towards the goal. He makes it look simple, but yet it is so effective; and the whole team benefited from his game.
We all laughed a bit when Sanogo wasted a good chance to make it 2-0, as his movement and control of the ball looked comical. He still has a lot to learn but he is a very interesting prospect for us: let there be no doubt about it that he is a great talent.
Both Ox and Alexis were active on the wings and the FBs were a great help in making things happen. We won most of these ‘two or three against two or three’ battles on the flanks this time round – a strong contrast with the return game a couple of months ago. Santi, often with time and space, moved the ball round well and was a joy to watch. This would have been a great game for Rosicky, but his time must be up now (unless he is injured). Arteta and Ramsey had been industrious and effective, but were also given an easy time given the lack of pressing and movement by Dortmund.
Dortmund had just a couple of chances and Martinez – totally in bright orange to have a strong presence, which I liked – made an excellent safe at a crucial moment.
During the break, Terry seduced a few more women, leaving Nik and me to analyse the game in peace – good man! 🙂
The second half was more of the same, with Arsenal controlling the game and Dortmund not giving enough to be able to hurt us. The Ox hit the bar with a fine volley just before THE moment of the game. Alexis received the ball, from a very alert Santi, outside Dortmund’s right side of the box: he looked at the goal and placed a brilliant, diagonal, curling shot to the keeper’s left side, leaving him no chance whatsoever: a moment of supreme skill that finished the game off for good.
With a sex god next to me – attracting gorgeous women all around us 😉 – and sexy Alexi on the pitch, what had started as the dullest of days ended up bright and positive. A two nil win – three out of three wins for my Emirates visits this season! – fine company, lessons in the art of seducing the other sex, and a brilliant goal by Alexis….. days don’t become much better than that.
Written by: TotalArsenal.
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