09 November 2005

Hoosier At Highbury: Part I

Just a quick post to mention that I'm back from London. I'll give a full account of my overall experiences on the weekend, but I'll give a quick recap now, and comment a bit on the games.

In short, it was an amazing trip.

London itself was a great experience. I did several touristy things, and had a great time with it. But really the highlights were the Arsenal trips. The Arsenal America attendees (and the UK-based supporters) were just fantastic. The club did a great job of taking care of us, and really went out of their way to treat us well. And of course the matches were fantastic. Just a few comments on those:

Arsenal 3-0 Sparta Prague
A great match for the Gunners. After 15 minutes, I think nobody (including Sparta) had any doubts about who would win the match. Arsenal maintained pressure throughout the game, and it was clear that goals were inevitable. Thierry Henry's goal was a thing of beauty, though it's difficult to understand how Sparta could leave him unmarked. Then when he went off for Robin van Persie, the young Gunner took over the game, scoring two fine goals. The second was mostly due to some excellent work from Emmanuel Eboue, and it was good to see him making an impact too. All in all, a fine win.

Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland
Another good win of course, and one that had some doubts due to the club's recent indifferent form in the Prem. But Sunderland were simply overmatched; I applaud their willingness to attack but it left them horribly exposed. Any worries that the fans had about Arsenal's league form were quickly expelled when van Persie scored on 12 minutes, chesting down Sol Campbell's long diagonal ball and firing a rocket into the net. He was also involved in the second, with an audacious flick on a Robert Pires pass that set Lauren free down the right; Lauren's cross was perfect and Henry slotted home easily. Sunderland kept challenging, and were rewarded with a slightly dodgy corner, followed by a scrappy rebound goal that found Jens Lehmann's five-hole. The crowd were suddenly restless, but were set back at ease when Henry found the goal seven minutes later, sent through by Cesc Fabregas.

Suffice to say, I was very happy with the team. It's more difficult to comment on individual performances from within the ground (at least when you're seated ten rows or so from the pitch). But I'll also add a later post on my thoughts on how the team's doing now, also on the weekend.

Only problem is, now I'm incredibly eager to get back. It was a ton of fun, and I'm eager to see another match, as soon as possible.

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