Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Arsenal undo Celtic knot

Down to the Emirates for the tie given the unlikely subtitle "The Battle of Britain" by the souvenir floggers. With Arsenal two up from the away leg, it needed a Celtic goal in the first 20 mins, which was in the event never on the cards. Celtic turned up in an away strip of fluorescent green and black hoops, giving them the look more of a swarm of radioactive insects than a Champions League worthy football club. Like radioactive insects, they worked hard but were more or less put to the sword by Arsenal's sharper interplay. Eduardo missed a couple of sitters and got what looked from the other side of the ground like a soft penalty, and which apparently was a blatant dive. When he took the penalty you knew he was going to be cool, but he was so cool the goalie had practically packed up and gone home before he bothered to kick the ball. Crowdwise the Celtic obviously had a lot of life in them, the Emirates roused itself barely a few times; in response to the Scots' "Shall we sing a song for you?" the Londoners couldn't even be bothered to sing much of "Shall we score a goal for you?". There was a song to the old Adebayor hit (Sloop John B) which ended "We've got Arshavin, fuck Adebayor", but I failed to pick up what the first bit was, doth endeth my career as terrace scribe (but where my ears fail me, google shall prevail - it starts: "He's five foot four/He's five foot four"); the best bit of wit was when the Celtic crowd were lustily leaping up and down in their fluorescent tops - reminding me of when I watched a I think Croatian side here and their fans jumped up and down, shirts off to a man, for more or less the whole game - anyway the Celtic were leaping up and down in celebration of I guess not being in Scotland for a few hours and the bemused Arsenal crowd responded by singing: "Jump up/If you're 4-0 down." Which was nice.

A brief mention of last night's "organised hooliganism" down at West Ham - Millwall, but rather than a return to the old days it seems to have been a ruck for old time's sake. I don't think the two teams have played each other in the last ten years, so perhaps their two "legendary firms" were just reacquainting themselves with each other. Certainly there was no hint of knuckle in the bourgeois environs of Ashburton Grove, even with Glasgow in town.