Arsenal v Norwich- Mediocre play with a fairy tale finish

Entering the Emirates stadium on Saturday 13th April, I’m sure like me, all the other fans were positive that it was going to be an easy win for the Gunners, resulting in us finally hitting the third place spot; the highest we would have been all season. As well as this, we would be saving our pride a little bit by going above other London teams; Chelsea, and our derby team, Tottenham Hotspur.

I would be lying if I said the atmosphere was overly amazing and as my Dad described, “It’s pretty sad when you enter a football stadium and get embarrassed chanting for your team,” which was unfortunately pretty true at the Emirates. We were nonetheless through and through Gooners and more than happy to chant for and support our team.

After spending a ridiculous £11 on a portion of average chips and two beers – which we necked before entering the stadium, we took our seats ready to watch the Arsenal take victory. Before we started, I whispered to my Dad, “watch, we are going to go 1-0 down and then win 3-1; I’m telling you,” and that was my honest prediction; you can check the betting slips I placed last Tuesday if you don’t believe me!

We were immediately bemused as to why Walcott wasn’t playing from the start, seeing as we had been waiting for him to recover from an injury for a while, and he was now fit. My Dad also has a liking to Podolski and was unhappy that he too was only on the bench. After some slightly above average playing from us in the first ten or so minutes, the match quickly became boring and dull, with minimal chances, or should I say oomph from either side. And with Gervinho giving away the ball left, right and centre with constant messy passes and clumsy tackles, I wondered why he was still on the pitch.

After a very boring first half, the whistle was blown and us Gooners began to get irritated by the lack of skill the Arsenal team were showing, with minimal chances and nowhere near enough possession. Maybe we wouldn’t make it to third place? I better take down that cocky Facebook status I put up earlier…

It was time for the second half, and after downing that second beer I knew my bladder wouldn’t hold out for too much longer. 56th minute, and I had to go. Probably good timing and all as I missed our pathetic attempt at defending a Norwich free kick, seeing Turner head the ball straight into the bottom corner of the net. I did ensure my Dad when I returned however not to worry, as I predicted us to go 1-0 at first did I not? I still had hope!

That beautiful moment arrived in the 58th minute where Wenger finally made a decent decision to make some substitutions. Well took him long enough with the less than average performance we had shown for almost an hour. Wilshere and Gervinho off, Walcott and Podolski on, we prayed for some sort of improvement. After Podolski missed two easy chances, we were reaching the end of our tethers. “Why have you chosen today of all matches to have an off day?!” Saying this, Walcott’s speed had made us look slightly more intimidating, but still not good enough.

The 80th minute had arrived and Oxlade-Chamberlain substituted Sagna. I had certainly lost all hope in my prediction ever coming true (and me winning any money). Again though, with the youngens’ speed and skill, some change was hopefully upon us.

The 82nd minute saw a corner taken, and after Giroud (who had also been playing very averagely) was tugged by Kamara, a penalty was awarded to the Arsenal. Oh my God, there was still hope! Arteta took it, and aiming to the right, planted the ball straight into the back of the net in the 85th minute! The goalie even went the right way, but we must just be too good for him, ey?

Sitting on the edge of our seats, in the 88th minute we jumped and screamed for joy when the Ox ran forward to force the ball towards Giroud and Bassong. Giroud fortunately won the battle, taking Arsenal 2-1 up and currently winning the war!

Six minutes extra time were decided on, understandably after the amounts of subs, fouls, cards and injuries, and all I wanted was that one last goal to fully secure us as winners and boost my female football ego as I would of therefore predicted correctly. And low and behold, the 92nd minute arrived and Podolski finally redeemed himself for his earlier missed chances by shooting the ball low into the bottom corner after Walcott practically handed him the opportunity on a plate.

Four more minutes pass and the final whistle is blown. I was bemused and amazed at how quickly this failing game turned around, explaining it as a fairy tale ending to some mediocre playing by Arsenal. Our three subs made the world of difference, especially the Ox , who produced great speed and promising chances for the other players.

Third spot is now ours, and with the season coming to an end soon, we hope to try and keep it that way. After all, there is only room for one club in London to be the best, and it sure as hell ain’t gonna be Spurs…

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