The Only Way is Up
In around an hour or so I will leave home with my destination Istanbul. I have gone through the usual process of checking I have packed everything 'important', the passport, flight details, currency, match ticket, phone, chargers, adaptors, hotel details… but unfortunately our first points of the new league season will not be coming with.
Believe me, I was and still am as disappointed as every single Gooner right across the globe after Saturday but now the dust has settled, I am also struggling to remember a game where so much went against us.
Everything was set up for an enjoyable opener after a good pre-season. We certainly started the match looking sharp, strong and ambitious, Despite dominating possession for much of the time after taking the lead, things got worse and worse from the moment Villa's equaliser arrived completely out of the blue.
Being just a fan I can only comment on some of the incidents as they happened. Whether my thoughts are accurate or not is another thing altogether but, like each and every one of us, I do have an opinion.
The first goal for me demonstrates one of the game's 'grey areas'. Firstly, based on the initial incident, the ref had no choice but to give a penalty. He chose however, to play the advantage, based on the fact another attacking player had a fantastic opportunity to score. That player missed the opportunity given to him, surely not the defending team's fault. Once he missed, we know what happened next. I'm not going to argue or complain about the overall decision, but I can't completely be sure I understand that rule!
When Chezz then saved the pen and it bounced up for Villa to score we should really have known then it just wasn't going to be our day.
Player after player seemed to pick up a knock on Saturday too, something we all know can and does happen in football, but so many on one afternoon was incredible.
We all hope refereeing decisions go for you more than against and there will always be that old adage that they even themselves out across the season. You will never get a better example however, how arguably an incorrect decision can dictate the way a result can go.
In my opinion, with half an hour remaining, with no penalty given and with 11 men on the pitch, there is every chance we would have gone on to win. You cannot fault the team's effort and will to win on the day, two or three great chances going begging even when down to 10 men.
All these points are facts but it doesn't take away of course from the massive disappointment that we have lost our opening game.
We have good players and a fine team spirit but as an overall squad we do need to strengthen. You, me and everyone knows that. Let's put our faith in those behind the scenes and see where we are come the end of the month.
Until that time we need to stick together and play our part in picking up some hugely important results.
That starts of course with Wednesday night in Istanbul.
Come on you mighty reds!