Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal
Weâ€™ve waited a long, long time for that. To my mind, weâ€™ve not had a result as fine, and as cathartic, since sinking Barcelona in February. (We did beat Utd 1-0 at home, but that was sandwiched between a thoroughly miserable run of form so Iâ€™m not going to include that). The warm afterglow is in evidence. Itâ€™s a lovely feeling.
I wouldnâ€™t recommend following a game the way I did yesterday, though. Iâ€™ve been away up north for a week and as fate would have it, I set off for the long journey south just after midday. I suppose I shouldnâ€™t have been surprised to discover that Man Utd was taking prime billing on 5 live, but it did leave me in something of a pickle.
The match was live on 5 live Sports Extra but my car radio is rooted firmly in the AM / FM era, so that put the kibosh on that.
So I fired up TuneIn Radio on my iPhone and set the wheels in motion for a hassle-free 3G super-experience. I am with, I should add, O2. I think you can guess whatâ€™s coming next.
As I traversed the county of Lincolnshire – 70 miles of it – I never once had a 3G signal. Not once. O2, hang thy data-less heads in shame. Truly pathetic. Instead, I had to rely on the white dot of doom (somewhere between no G and one G, I would guess), which meant three minutes of buffering, followed by four seconds of commentary, followed by another three minutes of buffering.
It meant I had to guess, in that brief snapshot of service, what was happening based on the noise of the crowd. One particularly lengthy session of buffering, when we were 1-0 down, ended with just nine words from David Pleat before it died again:
â€œSuperb ability to place balls in the onion bag…â€
What did this mean? The crowd sounded agitated, or at least that was my guess, but who had placed a ball in the onion bag (which I took to mean goal, David), or was there some hypothesis going on and in fact, the onion bag was intact? I NEED TO KNOW. DAMN YOU O2. SPEAK ENGLISH DAVID.
In the end, I reached a north-south arterial road and O2 awoke from its dismal slumber to inform me that John Terry had scored a second Chelsea goal and that from an Arsenal perspective, it was entirely preventable. I put on my driving gloves, put my foot down and grimaced.
And then Arsenal exploded. Santos slotted the equaliser, then Walcott squirmed through to thump in a third and I lost the plot. GET IN THEO. There was some fist pumping (Mrs Lower wisely took control of the wheel).
Then a little voice piped up from the back seat.
â€œI LOVE Walcott. Iâ€™m going to kiss him when I see himâ€.
Mata scored an equaliser but it didnâ€™t mata much, for John Terry toppled over and van Persie made it 4-3. YEEEES (fist pumps once again in evidence – Mrs Lower takes control of the wheel again).
A little voice pipes up from the rear seat again.
â€œRight – Iâ€™m going to kiss Walcott AND van Persie nowâ€.
I made it home just in time to actually see the curving, delicious fifth on Sky, making it a trains, planes and automobiles kind of a day. Radio. Smartphone. Radio. Telly. Worth the hassle though.
You see, Arsenal – this is what you have the power to do. You can make or break a weekend. I am still grinning at the vision of van Persie, arms aloft, in front of the visiting gooners. A man who ought to know better is still in seventh heaven. Two little boys are once again hooked on Arsenal.
Worth waiting for.