Ladies and gents, I tell you what, it’s moments like I had on Friday night that tell me how important football still is in my life.
After a year and a half of trying to stay diligent and safe it finally got me… yep, that Covid bastard had me on my back, cold sweating my bollox off for four days, unable to get up, aching from head to toe. It was rough.
Thankfully I had my first jab about five weeks ago, so in the back of my mind I kind of knew I’d be OK.
I guess it was a coincidence, but by Friday evening I was surfacing and all I could think about was Brentford v Arsenal! No, not the kind of spiritually-driven near-death revelation some have, just the simplicity of a live game in a full stadium and the start of the league. And what a brilliant opening weekend it was. I knew the Gunners would struggle, it was obvious. I tweeted it before kickoff.
This was Brentford’s FA Cup final, 74 years in the making, the adrenaline factor alone was always likely to drive an upset.
Arsenal were poor, lacking ambition, creativity, energy. It was an indictment on how far they have fallen from the heady days of Arsene Wenger and Thierry Henry and Tony Adams and company. The result sparked off an immediate trending cry of “Arteta Out”.
I just can’t understand why he was kept on? What has improved? Why are they living with the motto “trust the process?”
They looked worse on Friday than any game I’ve seen them play in the last two years. To top it all, new signing Ben White was shocking, couldn’t win an aerial duel and was dribbled past on a number of occasions… the kid cost £50m!
As a replacement for David Luiz, man this club is in all sorts of trouble. It’s Chelsea next, followed by Manchester City. It’s not implausible to see the Gunners on zero points and a big negative goal average right at the foot of the table by game week four.
I like it, though, not for the many good mates I have in north London who support them, but for the Arsenal Fan TV mob, the social media activists and the youngsters who demonstrate at the Emirates.
It was them who helped force Wenger out, arguably the greatest coach in the history of the game.
They are now simply an embarrassing version of an historically great club.
After the game Michael Owen was waxing about Brentford looking very similar to Leeds when they first came up. I didn’t see that.
Yes it’s a great “family” club, brilliant vibe and all that, but the quality of player definitely isn’t Premier League standard. At times their backline looked totally confused… I hope they do well but they are my favourites for the drop.
I enjoyed watching Arsenal getting stuffed and the brilliant atmosphere that went with it so much that I forgot that I had a potentially life-threatening condition.
It felt like business as usual! Something that really stood out for me was the absence of stoppages, the lack of diving and not a single VAR check!
The ref really let the game flow and that continued the whole weekend. It was so much better than the officiating last season… Thank God!
United were probably the stand-out team for me in the opening set of fixtures. The style and intensity was reminiscent of the great Fergie days… I wonder if the Cape Man Utd fan-base still hate Paul Pogba? What a player! Mind you I’ve always said Bruno Fernandes is overrated and he’s kicked his campaign off with a screamer! It’s gonna be a great season.
Before I sign off, my condolences go out to Mark Byrne’s family. What a special fella he was. Had the great ability to always stick a smile on your face. A true footballing gent. RIP Mark.
As always people (and now I speak with experience) Covid ain’t no joke. Get vaxed, keep your distance, mask-up and wash dem handies. Chat next week.