One nil to the… hang on a minute

Another brilliant performance by my beloved Sheffield United last night, full of commitment and hard work, set on a solid foundation of tactical genius, and backed up by 30,000 passionate South Yorkshire voices.

Some say that they could see it coming:

Arsenal have played more Premier League games at Bramall Lane without victory than they have any other ground in the competition (4 – D2 L2).

It was a great night to be a Blade and – for the moment at least – I’m rather enjoying this little Premiership adventure trip we’re on. I don’t know if people who support “big teams” really understand what it is like to have been playing Southend United (no offence, Southend fans) and Tranmere Rovers (offence, Tranmere fans) a couple of years ago and then find yourself playing the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal each week.

I’m in dreamland.

Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson has kept 25 clean sheets in the league since the start of last season; more than any other goalkeeper in England’s top four tiers.

That’s not to say that it’s always enjoyable watching the games. Sure, I’m loving seeing us pitted against the best that England (and often, Europe) has to offer week in, week out, but it still feels like every game is a cup final. That means that the pressure is constantly on and it seems that I am fully engaged, as my watch’s stress monitor showed me:

I love the way you can actually pinpoint kickoff at 9pm.

I feel like I aged 10 years in 90 minutes and I don’t even care, although I will be older than Medusa by the time the season’s over. Last night, only a celebratory brandy was enough to bring me back down from a near heart attack and I didn’t get to sleep until 3am.

Don’t even care…

Decade

It’s been 10 years since Sheffield United’s last league game against Arsenal. Sure, there have been a couple of minor cup games since then, but it’s exactly 10 years since this game at Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane:

Look at that result! And look at the strength of the opposition! Van Persie, Cesc Fibreglass, Rosicky, Toure, Clichy, Gilbeagle Silva.

And then the fact that we played the last half hour with no goalkeeper. Golly.

It’s that “small team” spirit that frustrates Sky Sports commentators, “big club” managers, and ably demonstrates the reason that Pep Guardiola isn’t going to have things his own way in the most competitive league in the world.

Things are (finally) looking up this season, which means that we may only be 18 months or so from the next Blades v Arsenal game at The Lane*.

* Terms and conditions apply.

Inappropriate photo 101

I settled down to watch the ding-dong battle between Arsenal and Manchester United last night, only to have my wish for an exciting game ruined in the first 12 minutes by some dodgy defending, some dodgy refereeing and some dodgy goalkeeping, all of which left Arsenal needing to score 4 times to win the tie and left the game as good as dead.

I was irritated. But at least it wasn’t my team that lost. Heavily.

It was Suleiman Alphonso Omondi’s team though and he could apparently take no more, as Sport24 reports:

Nairobi – An Arsenal fan in football-mad Kenya hung himself following his team’s 4-1 aggregate drubbing by arch-rivals Manchester United in the Champions League semi-final, police said on Wednesday.
Suleiman Alphonso Omondi, a 29-year-old Kenyan living in the capital Nairobi’s Embakasi neighbourhood, hung himself in his Arsenal shirt late Tuesday after the match, police said.

“We were watching the match at Bamba 70 pub, and when Arsenal was defeated, Suleiman just walked out in protest and he was crying,” Calvin Otieno, one of his friends, said.
“We didn’t know he was going to hang himself until Wednesday morning when we received the reports and came here to find his body at the balcony,” Otieno said outside the deceased’s home.

Tragic tale – and one which, if nothing else, demonstrates Suleiman’s passonate support for his team.

But having reported the story, which staff reporter looked through the files for an appropriate photo to use and came up with this?

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Arsenal players training

Was there really no other shot available? Cesc Fabregas in full flight? An upset or angry Arsenal fan at the Emirates, maybe? Perhaps a pic of the scoreboard or one of the Bamba70 pub? Even one of ugly Ronaldo. Ugh.
In fact, anything  that doesn’t feature an apparently slumped black man being dragged away, really.

Is it just me or was the choice of this particular photograph mildly inappropriate?

EDIT: Sky News gets the story and uses Arsenal badge as graphic. Better.

Bit sore

 Hmm. Take two paracetamol and call me in the morning.

Actually, better make that three paracetamol…