Wednesday, 16 November 2011


The last competitive game at Highbury saw us clinch a Champions League place at the expense of Sp*rs with a thrilling encounter that saw a hat trick from Thierry Henry and left us buoyant for the Champions League Final in Paris. At Highbury we had enjoyed 13 league titles and numerous cups
7 May 2006 Arsenal 4 Wigan 2

Arsenal: Lehmann, Eboue, Toure, Campbell, Cole, Hleb (Van Persie 79), Fabregas, Silva, Pires (Ljungberg 74), Reyes (Bergkamp 79), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Almunia, Djourou

The First competitive game at The Emirates was a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa; Gilberto equalising Melberg’s opener for Villa. That season the following players; winners to a man, had left the club, Bergkamp, Campbell, Cole, Lauren, Pires and Reyes. Since the first Emirates game we have seen no silverware, save for the Emirates cup. 

19 August 2006 Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 1

Arsenal: Lehmann, Eboue, Toure, Djourou, Hoyte (Flamini 80), Hleb, Fabregas, Silva, Ljungberg (Walcott 73), Adebayor (Van Persie 65), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Almunia, Cygan.

The move to the Emirates was more than just commerce,it was symbolic, and things have not been the same since. The character of the team changed, the personell that had been champions and winners gradually faded away and the heart of the team was replaced not with men, but with boys. How many clubs would thrive when losing Bergkamp, Campbell, Cole, Lauren, Pires and Reyes? particularly if their replacements were, by and large, nowhere near as good. 

Of course being boys in itself is not an issue, if they have the right mentality; most of the new breed didn't. For me the stadium with it's attendent lack of character has been matched by  an Arsenal lacking that character. This season, for the first time at the Emirates I feel that I am watching a proper Arsenal team; a team with heart and a team that are not just eleven players in red and white. 

To cement Emirates' place in our hearts we need a team that we can feel empathy with, a team that we can believe in. Of course a trophy will help but in a way it's more important that we see this Arsenal team give their all each game and achieve something despite every Tom, Dick and Harry having it in for us. A bit of the seige mentality goes a long way. It's something we saw against WBA two weeks ago.

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