Let's get it out of the way immediately, then. Obviously, the non appearance of Thierry Henry during the opening match of this year's Emirates Cup was a bit of a disappointment yesterday afternoon. However, flowing alcohol and an absolutely beautiful day in north London more than made up for it. Gervinho's impressive first 45 minutes at his new home helped somewhat too.
Gabs and I met up at Kings Cross yesterday afternoon, before heading off to Holloway Road and a new pub for a change- The Herbert Chapman. We had a couple there before heading over to the ground for the first time this season, the PSG- NY Red Bulls match was already in progress. I can't begin to describe how weird it is to see two teams, neither of whom you support, playing on your home ground. Almost as weird as seeing the Arsenal take the field in the new away kit, I think. We sat and watched a bit of the game, before going for a beer. Or, more accurately, a bottle of warm Gaymers cider. I welcome cider to the Arsenal, I think it's a great idea. But, Arsenal, if you're going to have cider available. It's. Got. To. Be. Cold. Okay? Thanks.
We came back and one of the Red Bulls players tucked away a very Thierry Henry like finish- albeit fron the right hand side of the area. This led to a group of their supporters, seated a couple of rows in front of us, breaking into exactly the kind of stereotypical "Woooh, go Red Bulls" chant you'd expect them to. Another sample chant, "New York is red and white" to no discernible tune whatsoever. The French guys behind us seemed to find them just as hilarious as we did and we got chatting to these guys- hello Charles and Yoann, if you're reading. I've never particularly felt the need to revisit France, but I was left wondering whether Paris, rather than New York, might be a more suitable holiday destination next summer.
As the match wound its way to a close, with PSG bringing on players who were apparently part of their third team, Charles and Yoann gave us the lowdown on our recent(ish) arrivals from France. Gervinho will be a big hit, according to them, whilst they also reckon Marouane Chamakh will come good for us- so perhaps we shouldn't write the guy off just yet. Not that I remember him doing anything of note in his 45 minutes on the pitch yesterday afternoon.
Speaking of which, a toliet break later and it was time for the Arsenal to take the field for the first time this summer. The line up was Fabianski; Jenkinson, Traore, Djourou, Koscielny; Frimpong, Wilshere, Nasri; Gervinho, Arshavin and van Persie. Wilshere had a clear penalty claim turned down very early on but, perhaps predictably, it was Robin van Persie who scored the first goal of our home season. Just as a Mexican wave began to break out around the stadium, a Wilshere ball down the line saw Gervinho zoom off after it, as if he had Han Solo and Chewbacca in his cockpit and Han had just given the "Punch it, Chewie!" command.
His cut back was rammed home by Robin van Persie. Happy days.
One nil it was at half-time, with a raft of substitutions made, it was two substitutes who doubled the lead in no time at all. Carlos Vela beat a player, cut inside and was then blocked off. A foul? Probably but Aaron Ramsey wasn't hanging around to ask and buried a first time shot from just outside the box. A great goal.
The combination of sunshine, beer (and warm cider) and a two goal lead made for quite a relaxed vibe around the stadium. Old habit die hard though and, just as the Starburst were being passed around by Gabs friends, Viatri ran through and smashed the ball past Vito Mannone. Turns out Squillaci gave the ball away, so no surprise there then. With minutes a game that was comfortable for Arsenal was level. Djourou went to ground, appearing to slip, the ball bounced off him and Mouche drew the visitors level.
And that was how the game finished. At times, Arsenal played some lovely football, I thought Frimpong looked strong and tidy in central midfield and Carl Jenkinson showed great willingness to get forward and put in some good crosses. Ahead of them, Gervinho showed that he can take players on either side, with pace and knows how to put colleagues into scoring positions, I think we'll enjoy watching him this season. the negatives? You don't need me to tell you really, do you?
No, football's back, the sun was out and let's leave the defensive reinforcements to Arsène Wenger.
Oh, and happy anniversary mum and dad. Love you both.
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