Not one for the archives, that, though it did of course spawn â€“ in print, online and on the radio â€“ numerous “A. Song for Europe” headlines. Hard to compete with, and certainly better than my previous tentative attempts at “Eboue from Ivoryâ€¦. something something something Highbury”.
Anyway, it was an odd game alright, won by a questionable penalty with three minutes to go. Now I have always been under the impression that it takes a lot to rile the Swiss, but judging by the hail of bits and bobs raining down on the pitch after that decision, they were not best pleased.
Like I say, it was 50:50, but they surely can’t complain much â€“ because they did at the time â€“ about the red card awarded to Deumi for a professional foul on van Persie. That was 95:5 if you ask me, and the referee got it right. Then there was their ‘goal’ from the free kick â€“ perfectly acceptable so perhaps 5:95. (There was indeed another disallowed goal â€“ but I contrived to miss it so I canâ€™t comment). In all, two harsh decisions and one correct one, though the best moment of the night has to be the yellow card for the Thun player who suggested the referee might require a trip to Specsavers. Referees sometimes have such a high opinion of themselves, and this one was no different. The affront of having the piss taken out of him was all too much â€“ out came the yellow. Diddums.
It was a fairly lacklustre affair in all, though we broke a couple of records by competing in it â€“ first time we’ve won the first five group games, and 70 European appearances for Henry, beating the previous record of 69 held by Spunky Dave.
All eyes, I suppose, were on the freshest faces, notably Eboue and Song, and the former had an impressive evening, especially when going forward. I donâ€™t think that Alexandre Song Billong (to use his pedigree name) was as bad as SenÃµr Arseblogger did, but at 17 and as raw as a steak tartare, he’s not the answer in the more pressurised Premier League and European games. One for the future, perhaps.
Of, and of course, there was the change midway through the second half when Lauren went left-back, which must be one of the only times â€“ if not the only one â€“ he’s been asked to play there. If ever we needed further proof that Wenger doesn’t trust our man Cygan at lef-back, you need to look no further than that to find it.
Still, Real Madrid next round. Maybe.