Monday 31st January 2011
In every season you get games like Sunday's. When they come along you just have to somehow get a win, move on and forget about them. With a Fifth-Round spot in the bag I think that is pretty much exactly how the day panned out.
Complacency is a word used a lot in our sport and us fans are as guilty as anyone on that front. I haven't spoken to one Gooner either before or after yesterday's affair that didn't feel we pretty much needed to just turn up to win. Consequently, I feel, the atmosphere was pretty flat until late in the game. With that in mind, there is always a chance things could get very difficult.
To be honest, without playing particularly brilliantly I felt we were pretty much in control for the majority of the first half. A couple of dangerous crosses aside our visitors didn't really threaten and once Nicky's opener hit the back of the net I was confident we would go on to win the game relatively comfortably.
Come half-time however, we had a whole different ball game on our hands. With Sami limping off holding that area of his leg where we all know the injury and Seb seeing red late in the half, it was only that crucial one-goal lead that could be classed as a positive.
We have to put our hands up and admit our visitors very much deserved their equaiser when it arrived. Manuel had made a couple of crucial saves and more than one effort had whistled just past the post. Just when it looked like we might have weathered the storm it was one each.
With ten men and a bouyant opponent threatening to cause a major FA Cup upset, we really needed to dig deep. Whatever way you analyse the match, we have to take some credit for doing just that. If we had been watching another team live on the TV that is how we would have described it so trying to avoid how ultra-critical we tend to be of our own team, I feel we can be pleased with our reaction on the day.
Although from my vantage point in the ground our penalty looked like a stonewaller, it was described as 'controversial' by the radio station I listened to on the way home. Having seen it on the TV now for me Nicky was definitely pulled down by his marker but it was an incident that can sometimes not go your way.
Cesc buried the penalty of course and whether we were a tad fortunate or not we were in the hat after a difficult day for many reasons.
The remainder of the day's entertainment made it an altogether thoroughly successful Sunday. A cracking draw away to Leyton Orient was first on the agenda before watching the events unfold at Craven Cottage.
I heard our friends from up the road copied our annual idea of taking a boat along the Thames to West London. I trust they enjoyed that more than the match!
No time to rest as we face a tough league game at home to Everton tomorrow night. We need to keep our current momentum going and do everything in our power to take the three points!
Come on you mighty reds!
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