Well it wasn’t quite the thrashing I had envisaged, but as Arse 2 Mouse points out, it’s a near as dammit to a thwacking as we were ever going to get under the circumstances. And, it being the first time we had won at home in the league by three clear goals since 22nd January, it’s cause for some whooping and – if you’ll allow me – a spot of hollering too.
The situation wasn’t quite so amenable at half-time though. In fact, our quintet of miserable season ticketers was laying thick and hard into yet another stodgy, one-paced and lacklustre half of football as we supped our half-time beer (£3.90p – marginally better value than the £2.20p they charged me earlier for a bottle of water minus its plastic top. Those plastic tops are dangerous, don’t you know).
It was a turgid first half. Maybe Wenger overheard our sharp words though, for as we were wending our way back to our seats Robin van Persie scored. I confess: Yesterday, I was one of those people we all love to hate who couldn’t be arsed to get back to his seat in time for the kick-off. In my defence, the only remedy for the tortuous first half was beer.
And then the second half happened. van Persie’s 99th Arsenal goal ennervated Arsenal and off they went. Theo – described via text as a ‘fart in a storm’ in the first half – put on his jet boots and caused all manner of mayhem. Suddenly, where we had laboured on the edge of the D in the first half, in the second we were breaking at pace, stretching Bolton, and we looked properly menacing. OK, Theo should have scored, but he did set up van Persie’s 100th Arsenal goal, was hauled down to make it 11 v 10 and generally terrified on the flanks. It was interesting to see though that when put through one-on-one, his first reaction was to look left to see who he could pass it to. A little bit more ruthlessness wouldn’t have gone awry, but it’s harsh to blame him for an otherwise excellent second half. And let’s be frank, he’s not the only one who’s been struggling for confidence.
Song finished it off with a fine finish, and that was that. A comfortable home win, three goals, a clean sheet, and as refreshing a 45 minutes as you could have asked for. Hats off to van Persie for reaching 100 Arsenal goals – 17th highest, as he pointed out. What a terrific player he is.