Wednesday, October 28

Diamanti geezer

West Ham 2 Arsenal 2

In Ken’s Café Jo, clearly enlivened by the earthy Whitstable air, is comparing West Ham to sex, saying it’s all foreplay and no climax. Hmm. Maybe it’s because I said we lacked penetration in the box…

Meanwhile a gentleman of the press is saying that Roy Keane has banned laughter at the Ipswich training ground — something we’ve achieved just through our start to the season. Nigel arrives and says that if we win 3-0 and Bolton lose then we go out of the bottom four, but if we lose 10-0 we have the same goal difference as Hull. Then Carol shouts at him for not saying ‘please’ when he asks for sugar, leaving our Statto suitably chastened.

Spector is in at right-back for Faubert and Franco replaces Diamanti. We almost concede in the first minute, but for the next 15 look up for a derby, Cole is fast and threatening and Collison has a goal disallowed for offside.

“We haven’t done badly so far,” I say, just as Sagna crosses and Robert Green inexplicably palms it on to Van Persie’s boot to make it 1-0 to the Arsenal. “Mystic May strikes again,” says Nigel.

Matt says that Lisa has found a web feed where she can watch the game live, but it’s a bit pixelated

Arsenal win a corner and Gallas outjumps a static Ilunga to head home.
“We’re definitely looking a bit pixelated,” I tell Matt. “Does Lisa see lots of blurred claret and blue shapes chasing white shadows?”

It looks like we’re on for a morale-sapping drubbing at home. Arsenal haven’t even got their passing game together yet and we’ve gifted them two goals. Franco isn’t doing much, Green’s confidence has gone and Ilunga can’t find his form.

Nigel reads out Zola’s programme notes. “He says ‘We just need to focus and avoid the little mistakes’.”

“It’s the big mistakes we have a problem with,” quips Matt.

CQ sends Nigel a text saying “At least it won’t be 10-0”. Humiliatingly the Arsenal fans interrupt their anti-Adebayor chants to sing about how quiet it is as Upton Park.

At half time we discuss if we could beat a beachball. We conclude that we’d outpass it before shooting wildly at it and watching the ball rebound into our own net. We predict the full-time scores and most of the lads suggest three or four-nil to the Arsenal, although out of perverse hope I opt for 3-2 to West Ham as my kids go to school opposite the Emirates and I don’t want to have to explain a 5-0 home defeat.

Fabregas goes close and there’s only one possible winner. Zola brings on Diamanti and Hines for Franco and the jaded-looking Noble after 54 and 56 minutes. It’s a brave move to bring on strikers rather than try to keep the score down, but surely too late.

The shaven-headed and heavily-tattooed Diamanti has opted for the Dicksy geezerish look and thankfully for us, appears angry at being dropped. His first action is a fantastic reverse pass to Ilunga that the full back ruins with a poor cross. Then he shoots from distance. It’s wide but he’s trying to make things happen. Hines and Cole combine for Cole to volley wide. At last we’re having a go at Arsenal.

Hines runs at the Arsenal defence and wins a somewhat lucky free kick. Diamanti chips the ball beautifully over the wall, Mannone saves but palms the ball back towards the goal for Carlton Cole to head home. Yes! 1-2.

Suddenly we have new belief. The crowd is noisy again and there’s Bubbles and “Come on you Irons!” echoing around the stadium. Diamanti is at last looking like a £6 million player in the hole behind Cole and Hines.

Parker runs at the Arsenal defence and is surely brought down in the box but the ref says play on. But then Song hacks at Cole’s ankles and the big man goes down and YES! A penalty to West Ham.

We pray the Diamanti geezer’s not going to chip it again, but this time he blasts the ball home to cause raptures among the claret and blue hordes. You thought you had won you were wrong! Take that Wenger! You’re not singing anymore! WHO ARE YER! WHO ARE YER!

But the ref still tries to lose it for us, Fabregas brings down Parker who handballs as he falls. It’s a second booking and a ridiculous dismissal. Ten men with six minutes left. Come on You Irons… Don’t blow it now. Please. Think of my children, dear God, and Wrighty’s ads and George Graham’s bung and Wenger refusing to shake Pards’ hand.

Deep into added time they cross and sod it Van Persie heads into the net but no, Green produces a stupendous save with his lags, making amends for his earlier blunder. Kovac comes on to waste a few more seconds.

The whistle blows, Jeremy Nicholas plays Twist and Shout and it feels like a victory. We’ve taken a point from one of the big four and it might just be the turning point of our season.

1 comment:

kokorako said...

See, you say please and you get results. The good always comes back (even to west ham).