On Sunday afternoon, Thierry Henry returned to north London for the first time since the last time he was here. The legend was, understandably, greeted with a good deal more affection than that afforded our players at the end of a 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls. A result that, horror of horrors, handed the Americans a trophy. Our trophy. Is there no land these pesky Americans will not conquer?
Of course, Thierry being Thierry, he played a key role in the Red Bulls late equaliser, sliding the ball onto whoever it was that crossed the ball for poor Kyle Bartley to divert into Wojciech Szczesny's goal. It felt like the first time the Americans, never mind Thierry, had been in our penalty area. It felt strangely familiar, like deja-vu all over again. You know what I'm talking about, right? That odd, slightly buzzy feeling as see your former hero, you rise to acclaim him. You clap, and you cheer him, for all you're worth and then- out of nothing- he goes and sticks a dagger right in your eye. You know, like Eduardo did to us last year, when his winning goal for Shakhtar effectively sent us on a collision course with Barcelona?
Some gratitude, that. But then, that's what's what the great and the good do in this game of ours. Let's face it, as we return to the events of the weekend, we watched Thierry produce his dagger out of thin air often enough whilst in our red and white (and other colour permutations) between 1999 and 2007. Sometimes it happens and it hurts, because it's important- as Eduardo's moment was- but sometimes it's just not worth the emotion.
And I think that was the case on Sunday. I might have missed out on seeing Thierry in the flesh but it's not like it would have been my first viewing of the legend in the flesh. I think that, in going on Saturday, I watched the better game- there were times when it (imagine!)felt like a football match. Sunday's match, such was the Red Bulls unwillingness to attack, even in a friendly, resembled nothing more than a 90 minute attack against defence training exercise. And the crowd greeted it as such, at least until the final whistle.
So, let's get this straight. A *cough* 60,000 crowd turn up to watch a pre season friendly. Apart from a couple of pointless "Stand up if you hate Tottenham" chants, they behave as though it is a friendly throughout the match, devoting their energy to a far bigger Mexican wave than the one that graced Saturday. And little else. Why? Because it is a friendly. So far, so fair enough. But then booing at the end of this friendly?
I've read the article and the large amount of comments on this site agreeing that it's okay to boo, because you need to let the manager and board know that what ended last season and what you've seen this summer isn't good enough. This presupposes that the manager and board are sitting on their arses, counting money. Our money (well, some of ours). How dare you make that presumption? Unless you are privy to Arsenal board meetings, and I'm guessing that... ooh a good 99.9% of reading this are not, where do you get your balls raising your voices only to give the Arsenal the thumbs down? You. Are. Supposed. To. Be. Supporters.
The clue is in the name.
I'm not saying that I'm happy with how the summer's gone. I would like us to have sold Nasri (and Cesc if his heart is really not in it, but not for what Barca have offered so far) and signed a replacement. I would like us to have improved matters at the back and got rid of our dead wood (can we just take them all out the back and shoot them?), but there are still 11 days till the season begins, another 4 weeks for potential transfer activity. If the Online Gooner and Arsenal News Review are right, things are going to be improved by the end of the week, as a matter of fact. Yes, it seems as though deals are about to be concluded for Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill- although, Arsenal being Arsenal, I'll believe it when I see it. Would it make you happy though? Or would you simply mumble something about Benzema before sloping off to bang your head against a wall, the black wall that your bed sits against?
Not to end on a whinge, or talk of potential signings, I would like to say that I thought Benik Afobe showed considerable promise on Sunday afternoon. Qualified with the obvious rider that he was taking part in a pre season friendly, I thought he showed some good touches, awareness and wasn't scared to take opponents on. Perhaps not ready for much beyond potential Carling Cup action, but definitely, maybe, one for the future.
Now I've done it, haven't I...?
You know where to find me: http://twitter.com/rockthecasbah77
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