Rome Sweet Rome

In Uncategorized on March 12, 2009 by Highbury N5 Editor

Temperament and poise won over resurgence and impetus tonight.

We weren’t exactly playing dream football and after extra time we had succumbed to a 1-0 deadlock. Penalties beckoned and Arsene Wenger’s red & white army managed to hold their nerves long enough to defeat Roma 6 -7 on penalties.

It was an off the cuff route to the quarter-finals – but when the Tonetto shot went over the bar, who cared?

As expected, Le boss opted for the same eleven that started against Roma at home and right from the word get go and to their credit, Roma were inevitably at much buoy from first kick and it took The Arsenal only 10 minutes to concede. Totti swept a low cross into the penalty area with Toure and Gallas awkwardly missing out on a clearance. As a result, the ball rolled to Juan at the far post who fired past Almunia to make it 1 – 0 to the home side. The advantage that Arsenal was carrying to this tie was all but level now. We look relatively shaken up, and this point onwards the Italians looked to initiate a drubbing or something thereabouts from there on in.

A couple of weak chances were quickly over-shadowed by Roma’s exploits at the other end as Almunia was called into action twice – first punching out Motta’s effort from close range and then having to parry Taddei’s follow-up to the previous effort wide. On the stroke of half-time, Clichy tackled Motta in the box but to Arsenal’s pardon, the extensive penalty appeal, was waved off.

Nothing changed in the second half either. We were under the same bombardment with arsenal offering very little in terms of reciprocation. The Beast, Julio Baptista, nearly turned home a cross followed by Totti who tried testing Almunia’s poise from further yards out. A change was needed if we were to spruce things up, Eboue made way for Theo Walcott and five minutes later, Eduardo was brought into the mix at the expense of Bendtner but nothing seemed to give way.

The match headed into extra time and Roma still looked very much in charge. So into extra time it went, Arsenal caught a couple of glimpses on goal when Robin van Persie dumped a volley onto Denilson’s cut back well over and then Theo Walcott shot on target with his weaker foot after a swift turn into the box and still nothing seemed to give way.

The tie was headed into Penalties and a question of Arsenal resilience and mental strength came into effect, an experience that this new breed of Arsenal had never before expeienced.

The last time we were in a similar position was during the FA cup final of 2005 where, although we triumphed,  had the old-hands of Vieira and company to settle matters. Now I need not tell you how agonizing this whole affair was, it was edge-of-the-seat drama and the tension wasinsane. One by one the players walked the plank, with good luck messages from their team-mates the final words in their ears as they made the 50 odd yards walk towards the penalty spot to either return a hero or a villain. Eduardo was the first to take the spot kick but Doni seemed to be aware of his intentions and made the save, the crowd erupted into cheers, jumping off their seats, voicing their approvals urging Roma to take advantage. David Pizarro then stepped up and scored, so did RVP. Along came Mirko Vucinic, fluffing a chip and sending the ball straight into Almunia’s loving arms.

We were back in it and this is where you could sense a dramatic ending to tonight’s game was inevitable. On the game went, one after the other until sudden death, with Arsenal 7-6 in front when Abou Diaby’s scuffed effort scurried past Roma’s keeper. Tension began to escalate for Roma supporters as Max Tonetto walked towards the penalty spot. He turned too soon, as did Almunia who was wary of his intentions, but the Roma midfielder shot well over the bar. We had done it as unbelievable as it seemed.

The lads went wild, caught in hysteria, first running straight to Almunia and burying him and then it was the turn of the traveling supporters, a 3,500 crowd, running along, hugging anything that moved as the backroom staff chased them around on this magnificent night.

We can surely not be called “kids” anymore, not after tonight. Not after showing immense resolve. Not after ending the dreams of Francesco Totti’s Roma. Perhaps, now this is the result that will be the resurrection of Arsenal F.C, the Golden Generation that Le Boss has promised to deliver. I sure hope so. We’ve waited far too long.

Finally, here’s a Get Well Soon to the Arsenal supporter who was stabbed by “fans” of Roma. Such behavior in intolerable and ruins the beautiful game of football. 

In conclusion, a  massive Thank You is in order for the 3,500 home supporters who were far more audible than the home support.

Enjoy the victory and have a magnificent week ahead. We deserve it.

Come on you Goooonnnneeerrrrsssssss.

Tas van Danya.

5 Responses to “Rome Sweet Rome”

  1. well i m from India… i woke up till 4 am in the morning to watch the entire match live… it was amazing feeling… i loved it… GO GUNNERS!!!! we can win CL……….

  2. Great game, Nail bitting stuff. would of liked a more secure victory but its good to see the lads step up and get the result despite being down.

    Also, I thought Alunia was brilliant. I think this is just the boost he needs to get his rep up amoung his defenders and lets hope we can get that defense organized and solid again with a strong keeper behind them.

    lets hope for a lucky draw next friday and some un-lucky ones for our rivals, and we have an excellent chance of being the first London club to bring it home!

  3. My God, I hate penalties even though we won, they suck ass!

  4. excellent post, it doesn’t matter how we get there as long as we do. It really is, Roma’s players were more experienced in age but that didn’t matter in the end. Our boys can only get better and now they have a quarter final to show for this!

    Have written a blog post myself sorta comparing the Cl to the Prem..would be nice to see what you guys make of it.

  5. i sat down at home to watch the match not letting my siblings watch their favourite teams play with the confidence of scoring at least 2 goals and not conceding any,so you could imagine the anxiety. i was so tensed up esp since i was the only gooner watching all others are man utd’s barca’s and liverpool’s. it was one match i loved the ending but hated the 120mins. for once in 5years luck is ours. UP GUNNERS

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