December 11, 2014

Goal Fest In Istanbul

The Galavanting Gooner
Episode 11:
By Steve Kessel

It turns out Rambo is left footed, if only he had known he could have been banging them in all season.

I sat down to watch Galatasaray vs Arsenal with limited expectations on Tuesday evening.  It was a tough one to predict the line-up.  In recent years, when qualification was secured, the boss would typically throw a bunch of kids out and we would normally lose.  A few cases like this away at Olympiacos come to mind.  But with this game it was not that black and white, I genuinely thought that Anderlecht might beat Dortmund (though I was wrong) and therefore a chance for first place in the group was possible.  This had me feeling that we might field a stronger team than years past.  In reality it was somewhere in the middle.  Was great to see Debuchy back and also the Pole back in the goal.  Poldi got a rare and welcome start and Rambo was starting in the middle.  My biggest concern was Bellerin at right back, but in fairness to the lad he actually had a pretty good game.    

Now, the goals, what great goals, ALL OF THEM.  I do include Sneijder’s superb free kick.  If Szczesny had to be beaten, then I am glad is was by a strike of such high quality.  Getting the Arsenal rolling was a trademark screamer from Poldi.  What a goal and a good assist from Rambo, who, little did we know, was just getting warmed up.  Poldi, really does have the best shooting left foot in the game give him inches of space between the post and keeper and he will power the ball through it with such force you would be a fool to try to stop it.  

Then came a great left footed shot from Rambo showing great composure in the box to slot home.  Even Santi had to be impressed by the ambidextrousness Rambo showed in this game,  'cause his next effort was one we will be talking about for years to come.  Like the boss, when he lined up to strike the ball on the volley with his left, I did think to myself “easy their Rambo, settle down”.  I had just enough time to internally counter my initial thought with “ahh what the hell we are two up” and then BOOM!  The ball left his foot with far more power than I could ever generate hitting a cricket ball with a bat and lasered right into the top corner.  There were a few of us in the pub, many not of the Arsenal persuasion, and literally everyone, after a stunned pause, simultaneously broke into applause.  We all knew we had just witnessed something really special.

Poldi finished off the game with a great individual effort, well individual apart from a composed 1-2 assist from Sanogo.  I have always criticised Poldi for not creating enough chances for himself.  You could always count on him to burry one someone else created, but he rarely fashioned opportunities.  With the aid of that 1-2 with Sanogo he ran past several defenders and calmly slotted in.  I was also impressed how late in the game it was.  For someone who hasn’t played 90 mins for a good while he ran pretty well throughout.  He most definitely did not hurt his chances of getting some more playing time in the Prem.  Let’s see if he makes the field at the weekend.

The game and performance was a welcome pick me up following the horrors of last weekend.  We shouldn’t get too carried away as once again Galatasaray most certainly did not cover themselves in glory.  It was a spineless performance.  What was encouraging though was that although the game dropped off a little with the introduction of three youth team players, we still looked in control.  All of the kids that came on were solid on the big stage and for once it was good to see them get some playing time independent of the expense of a result.  It seems this season that we really haven’t been able to build momentum, let’s hope that this can be a jumping off point.

Newcastle at the weekend, the boys should give them an extra firm handshake at the start for beating those wankers in blue last week.  Let’ hope, however, we can end this Geordie revival with a victory of our own.

Up the Arsenal!!!