Former Barcelona striker raises spirits at the Emirates
Monday, 1st Aug 2011 15:07
Incredibly some sections of the sell out crowd at the Grove deemed it necessary to boo an Arsenal team that was sent out primarily to build fitness. It was a clear indication that a combination of rising ticket prices and failure to invest in the squad is leaving many fans exasperated.
Saturday saw a two goal lead cancelled out by two quick-fire goals mid-way through the second half against Boca Juniors and it was a similar story yesterday as a one goal advantage proved to be too slender against New York Red Bulls.
We took the lead late in the first half when the rejuvenated Rosicky delivered a quality free-kick for the unmarked van Persie to head home. Defender Kyle Bartley was one of six substitutes in the second half and made a good start until he bundled in an own goal with five minutes remaining. Thierry Henry returned to orchestrate the late equaliser and lift the Emirates Cup; the Arsenal legend proving to be more popular than the entire Arsenal squad as his entrance for the warm-up meant no one even noticed the Arsenal players emerge from the tunnel.
His aura was so great that he even managed to win a free-kick in the first half after he suffered the embarrassment of the ball striking him in the face. He spent much of the match strolling and gesticulating but he still had the quality to set up the equaliser and had a hero’s welcome as he completely a lap of honour, collecting scarves as he went.
Unfortunately there are no heroes in this Arsenal team because none of them have won anything for us, that is what it is all about and is why many fans have so little patience with this team. A cosmopolitan tournament was a fairly subdued affair in the warm afternoon sun. Small sections of Boca, PSG and Red Bull’s fans all made their presence felt but Arsenal fans were happy to enjoy a relaxing afternoon before the agony of the competitive season returns. At least until the final whistle when the first jeers of the 2011/2012 season were heard. To think they will be the last could be wishful thinking.
Photo: Action Images
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