A look at the weekend’s events from the perspective of the tracksuited one.
Arsenal. Arsenal. They’re no Valencia, are they?
I tell you, I was rubbing my hands with glee when I found out we’d have Arsenal so close to the start of the season. As were the fans, probably. Either rubbing their hands with glee, or shaking them around madly. Can’t always be certain which. He got his excuses in early as well, did the big French pudding, complaining that the grass was too long. I know! That man will whinge about anything.
And I tell you what, speaking of puddings, when someone told me Mannone would be starting I thought they meant they were serving desserts before the main course in the executive suites. Until somebody reminded me that he’s the other goalkeeper they have after that Polish chap, and that this is Stoke, which means that there are no executive suites. Or three course meals, for that matter…
So of course, I tell the lads to get out there and be tough. You know, be strong. Show the work ethic I come to expect and boss the lightweights about a bit. Wenger is pretty much public enemy number one up around these parts, so I had to give the fans a show. Worked too, cos Huth and Wilkinson got themselves a yellow card each and we kept a clean sheet. Not that I encourage foul play, of course, but you know, these Arsenal teams hardly crock up with a coach load of Keowns, Winterburns, Vieiras and Adamses anymore, do they? And Wilkinson’s block in the first half was outstanding.
Nice to see Wenger waste no time in flapping his arms around like he was about to take off, over this that and the other. He waved his arms at me and looked at the fourth official at one point. Apparently I was outside my technical area, but I think he’s just jealous of my cap. Though, he didn’t look that amused when I pointed out to him that whilst he may have lost his own Song, I will always have mine, sung by the herald angels of Newport themselves…
Couldn’t help but notice how pretty the Arsenal players were looking in their nice purple kits, too, a shade not too dissimilar from the shade the referee was wearing. Yeah, I went there. I thought the decisions were well against us today, so it looks like it’s another season of Me vs The Premier League. As you were, then. Well, me and Big Sam. I like Big Sam, he’s got some cracking ideas on how to play the game, Big Sam, can’t wait to see him again. But until then, business as usual. Pissing off visitors to Stoke is something I do very well. Almost as well as Stoke does on its own, in fact.
Did shit a brick when Walcott and The Ox came on though!
“Bugger me,” I thought, “I’ve only gone and forgotten to plan for this.”
So I hauled Crouchy off. Don’t get me wrong, I like ol’ Crouchy. He’s good, ol’ Crouchy, but he can’t defend to save his life, so I took him off. Don’t tell him I told you this, but I only tell him to track back and help out in defence cos he makes me laugh when he does it. He sort of bumbles backwards in a loose assembly of limbs that brings to mind a daddy-long-legs bumping into window…
On a more serious note though, whilst I do love my fans, I do, and I do like being the only glimmer of hope for them in a city that offers little else – no, Port Vale don’t count – for all their wind-ups and japing, they don’t ‘alf make some stupid decisions sometimes. I mean, booing a player that once broke his leg here? That’s shocking behaviour, that, totally not on at all. I mean it. Despicable.
A draw it was in the end though, and a draw we had to be happy with. Just don’t come to me later in the season and yap on about Giroud-this and Podolski-that, cos I bet they can’t do it on a mild Sunday afternoon in Stoke.