Friday, 31 May 2013

Favourite Moments of 2012/13 Season (Part 1)

As I have a duel role in the football world of being an Arsenal fan and a season ticket holder at Everton, there will probably be a mix of both teams in my favourite moments of the season. Some Everton games I've been to this season have been terrific and sometimes even match some of the best Arsenal moments of this season.

1. My favourite moment of the season was Arsenal's win over Tottenham in November. Who'd have thought after last February's 5-2 win over them we'd beat them by the exact same score line again the next season? I remember being home alone with the dogs, them sat in front of me staring at me due to my tension. I was, in Layman's terms shitting my pants nervous and couldn't wait for it to be over after a nice comfortable Arsenal win.

Adebayor put Tottenham in front after a sloppy, nervy start from Arsenal. Tottenham were in the ascendancy and Lennon nearly put them 2 up. But then we started to take control a few minutes before Adebayor was sent off. Then we were all over them like a rash and Mertesacker equalised. I jumped up and frightened the hell out of my dogs by screaming 'YES! GET IN YOU BIG FUCKING GERMAN!' Then Podolski put us 2-1 up a few minutes before a great Cazorla run and cross was slid home by Giroud. The stadium was buzzing, I was buzzing, I'd nearly lost my voice already and by now the dogs were in the garden.

3-1 at half-time and Tottenham were down to 10 men. Brilliant. Of course being the paranoid, can always imagine the worst fan that I am, I was still pretty nervous and was dying for us to net a 4th to settle it. And that soon happened on the hour when Cazorla struck in the 4th expertly. I was up celebrating again, punching the air and oddly looking at myself in the mirror as I celebrated. Unfortunately Bale scored out of nowhere to make it 4-2 and sent the ecstasy of all Arsenal fans to nerves and Tottenham actually had a couple of chances. But after a nervy 5 or 10 minute spell, on reflection it was comfortable for us, and the cherry was planted on the delicious chocolate fudge cake (odd mix) when The Ox (you can't call him 'Chamberlain' now, it's 'The Ox') drove forward as only he does best to set up Walcott for the fifth.

It was a great day, I went out walking the dogs and watched the chit-chat afterwards with such glee and had an awesome evening revelling in the much desired North London derby win.

2. Early season Monday night Everton games. Second on the list of my favourite moments was the two cracking night matches back in August and September. Everton played at home to Man Utd on the opening programme of the season on a Monday night and I couldn't wait for it. It was an excellent game played in a great atmosphere with some top football on show. The excitement of the new season starting just budged the adrenalin up a notch as well. Just to be going to games again was great enough, let alone it be against Man Utd and a great game. Plus, we saw David Weir pulling into the car park outside the ground in his mini. If that doesn't get the adrenalin pumped for the start of the season, what does?

Then a few weeks later the second home match of the season was also played on a Monday night. It was also incidentally my first day at university so I was a little nervous about that. Therefore all day I was looking forward to my longest day at university of the week ending so I could get going to Everton v Newcastle, a game lined up quite well as both teams finished close to each other in the table the previous season. Not to mention both teams having a fair bit of attacking excitement in their line-ups.

I was just looking forward to it all day, excited about the game, and had had a successful first day at university. Then before I knew it I was on my way to the game. The first half was a bit one sided but nonetheless entertaining, Baines putting Everton 1 up. The second half was more even after Newcastle made a sub at half-time, bringing Demba Ba on, and they equalised through him pretty quickly. Then it was end to end, Everton looked dangerous, Newcastle counter-attacked dangerously and the game was such a joy to watch- both teams attacking and the game being in the balance. There was a lot of drama in the second half too, Everton controversially having two rightful goals not given- one being when the ball was actually over the line and one being a wrong offside decision. Despite that, after a frantic second half thus far Victor Anichebe slammed the ball in the net at the Glwadys Street End in the 86th minute. However there was more drama to come as nerves in the Everton defence let a long, hoofed ball get to Ba, who again equalised. It was a fabulous game and I even remember the chit-chat on the radio being enjoyable on the way home.

3. AND IT FALLS TO JELAVIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIC!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes my third favourite moment is again an Everton- related moment. It has a bit of Arsenal in there too on the basis it was against Tottenham. This was another game I was really looking forward to. The Christmas holidays were approaching, Arsenal had won the previous day and it's usually a great game when these two meet at Goodison Park. The game was surprisingly lacklustre until the last 15 minutes. Everton were poor, Tottenham were also quite sluggish. Then Clint Dempsey rather fortuitously put the Spuds 1-0 up and Everton just didn't look like scoring in a month of Sundays (as Paul Merson would say). Then all of a sudden Seamus Coleman broke on the right hand side and crossed the ball into to Steven Pienaar who, of all people, headed home. I was so relieved. Tottenham were about to grab an unexpected march on Arsenal and Everton in the top 4 race. I turned to my left and shouted 'SHUT THE FUCK UP' to the nearby Tottenham fans, probably giving Kev next to me a bit of a fright. The mood around the stadium had completely changed and those visiting fans had indeed shut the f up. Then Darron Gibson sent forward a searching ball which Vellios flicked on and Jelavic prodded home. The stadium erupted and it was just such a funny, dramatic moment (and at the expense of the shit side of North London). It was great to be in and amongst that drama and atmosphere. What an ending to a match. I then joined in in the traditional 'all the best' wishes that fans exchange after the last game before Christmas. It always strikes me as a bit strange: 'all the best mate... (until we see you at the next home game in 2 and a half weeks)'.

4. The first half of the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park. That 45 minutes blew my mind, it was the best half of football I've seen in a long time. It was end to end, there were 4 goals, it was evenly contested and the atmosphere was great. The only disappointing aspect of the game was that it faded in the second half. It wasn't dull but it was nowhere near as good as the first half. Liverpool went 2-0 up early on after a nervy start from Everton but then the Toffees stormed back by being level by half-time. I'd been looking forward to it all week and when it arrived it delivered above my excited expectations.

5. Finding out Arsenal had won 3-1 at West Ham whilst in Menorca. I was sitting in a restaurant and noticed that a bar across the street was showing West Ham v Arsenal on live. I could only see it really small so every now and then I went over to check the score. When I went over with suspicions Arsenal had scored, West Ham scored to make it 1-0. Damn deceptive long distance view. However I later found out after leaving the restaurant that Arsenal had equalised and spent the next period of the evening worrying about how were getting on in what I saw as a game we needed to be winning given we'd lost 2-1 to Chelsea the previous week. West Ham had started off really well as well and hadn't lost at home yet so it was lined up as a really tough game. I nervously waited for the texted news from back home about what the final score was.

My Dad received a text telling him what the score was and he revealed it to be in a way that made it obvious Arsenal had won (thanks to late-ish goals from Walcott and Cazorla). I clenched my fists and celebrated, probably looking quite strange to the other few people around that area of Punta Prima. I revelled in the win and watched with delight later that night as I watched the win on Match of the Day.

(Part 2 of my favourite moments to be revealed soon...)

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