I’ve written many a post about the emotional roller coaster that we all ride as football fans. From joyous glory to crushing defeat. Agony. Ecstasy. And everything in between. Saturday was definitely on the ecstasy end of the scale. Sometimes things in football just seem to go your way, despite the efforts and doubts of all others, you find a way to grind out a result and that is something we’ve become very good at this season.
Going into the game a lot of people seemed confident that we’d just roll Bournemouth over. Personally I had my doubts it would be that easy but with Everton’s thrashing fresh in the mind from Wednesday I was hopeful. 9 seconds in however that hope took a dent as we were caught completely asleep from the kick off. You can argue that four of their players were in our half but the reality is that we were caught out. Their routine worked, the ball was in the net and we were on the back foot immediately.
The half rolled on and we huffed and puffed, had a couple of hand ball shouts checked and dismissed. Ramsdale pulled off some big saves that retrospectively are absolutely massive. We went in 1 down at the half but I was still confident. This Arsenal team have a never say die attitude and we’ve seen what that can produce this season. However just shy of the hour mark we were once again caught out. Partey, who has been excellent this season, was shrugged off and their man had a free header which he powered down and in. 2-0 down and it looked like we had a mountain to climb.
Football works in funny ways though, 5 minutes later, Partey (who you could argue was at fault for both goals) drilled it in off the keeper from close range. 2-1, game on! The dead on 70 minutes Ben White slammed a shot goalward. The keeper diving backwards into his own net clawed at it but it was clear as day that it had crossed. Suddenly we were level with 20 minutes to find a winner. Bournemouth setup deep in the hope of holding onto a valuable point in their fight for survival. We laid waste to their goal but without any joy. Six minutes of injury time were announced.
As we ticked into the 6th minute, I was totally deflated. If you want to win the title you simply must beat Bournemouth at home. With what was literally the last throw of the dice we took a corner. It was half cleared and fell to the feet of one Reiss Nelson. He wound up for an effort that could’ve gone absolutely anywhere. But this time, in this crazy season, it flew into the back of the net. Ecstasy, joy, delirium, noise, everything. One of those moments that make you feel alive. The bench poured onto the pitch as the jostle in the home end went into overdrive. What a moment!
I’m still high off the buzz. And as I sit here sipping a pint in the Lisbon rain, writing this has put a smile on my face all over again. Talking of which, we go again tomorrow night.