Man in Cologne – Match Report

As most of you will have watched highlights or even the full Köln-Arsenal match, I won’t bore you with match details, and will stick to my personal view of the game, and a few bits of information picked up along the way!

Well it was certainly a gloriously day for a game – the sun shining and the wind, which had been gale force earlier in the day, dropped to a gentle breeze.

Köln is a very civilised place to watch a match! You can grab a beer and chillax on the grassed park outside the stadium – no police enforced drinking exclusion-zones here!

Chillaxing pre-match with a civilised beer

The local fans seemed to be in carnival spirit – I guess they were all here to see off Podolski. Interestingly, many of the new 2011-12 shirts worn by the fans have Podolski’s name on the back, even though he’s left. Put simply, he is their Thierry Henry!

The Arsenal fans in attendance were a strangely mixed crew. About half, I would guess, were your die-hard North London bunch. The rest were a mix of noisy Poles, smiley Swedes and a fair number of ex-Pats gooners from the local area happy get to see Arsenal in their adopted city for the second year running.

I normally wait to the last minute to go into the Emirates (one of the many drawbacks of being a smoker), but decided for once to have a look at which players would warm-up for the match. I certainly didn’t expect to be able to drink and smoke in my seat, which was a pleasant surprise!

And so to the action….

Before kick-off, Stevie Bould did ten or so laps of the pitch with Miquel Arteta, so he’s obviously not too far off from match fitness.

All the players looked fit and relaxed in warm-up, with Van Persie taking the central place in an extended one-touch keepy-up exercise.

At kick-off, we had ourselves a triple debut. Carzorla, Giroud and, of course, Podolski. Must be the first on this scale since Overmars, Petit and Grimandi back in 1997.

Podolski looked very sharp and I expect we will see him very early in the season (perhaps even straight away). He gets a massive reception from the Köln fans.

Giroud makes a lot of space – he’s tall and agile and looks like a very intelligent player. Strikes me as a straight-forward Chamakh upgrade.

But it’s Carzorla that really catches the eye. There’s a puzzle in the Radio Times every week with a wheel of letters and one letter in the centre, and you have to make as many words as possible, but always use that centre letter. That centre letter is the closest I can come to describing the role that Carzorla has in the first half. And even when he doesn’t touch the ball, his positioning and his runs make space for the move to progress. His two-footedness is quite a revelation, as is his balance, which seems impossible to read. Expect him to win a lot of free kicks this season from less intelligent centre-backs.

Cazorla’s link-up play with Oxlade-Chamberlain is pure poetry to watch. Fast, penetrating passes which leave the Köln midfielders dizzy.

The Arsenal defence doesn’t have much to deal with, but looks surer of itself that last season. I also believe that we can expect to see Arsenal holding possession much longer this season, and that, based on more passing options being available now, loss of possession will tend to occur lost further up the field. Both of which should help with the goals-against column.

So, three-nil at half-time:

Bouldy-style flick-on by Mertersacker converted by a Vermaelen bullet-header;

Ox wins a penalty which Podolski converts;

Podolski gets his second – a clinical finish from a low Gibbs cross.

The Köln fans sing Podolski’s name for both goals as if he had scored for them!

Half-time brings cool Kölsch beer delivered to your seat!

 A beer? In view of the pitch? It’s unthinkable!

And the second half kicks of with eight or nine changes, I believe (the accumulative effect of the local ale is gradually take its toll!)

Gervinho looks more settled than last season and scores a lovely goal to make it 4-0.

From this point on the game goes into kick-about mode. It’s almost as if Peter Hill-Wood had wandered into the dressing room at half-time and said: “OK chaps, one more goal and then clam it down. Don’t forget we are guests here!”

When RVP comes on at about the hour mark, the booing commences. By two big fellas who hadn’t made a single noise up to this point. A few of the Poles join in – they are by now quite drink! Most of the Arsenal fans tell them to shut up, which they gradually do. The two fat chaps carry on booing, and seem pleased with themselves.

Booooo! Booooo!

So it all gradually grinds to the halt of the final whistle. Vier-null to the Arsenal. Podolski is the very last to leave the pitch and spends a good ten minutes with the Köln fans saying his goodbyes. I expect he will be back here once his Arsenal days are over.

As I walk back from the ground I am accosted by a middle-age couple who wish to show me photographs on their iPhone. I am naturally quite anxious about this. However, it turns out that they had entered a half-time competition for the Köln fans, and had won the opportunity to talk and have photos with an Arsenal player straight after the final whistle. They just didn’t know who he was. The pictures shows a very happy, smiling Robin Van Persie, who the couple said was really funny and joking and talked to them for 20 minutes or so.

Is this the same RVP who was supposed to be sulking in a dark corner of the away dressing room, desperately trying to reach his agent for an immediate move to Old Trafford because he couldn’t stand the boo-boys (or at least that what The Sun would have us believe).

In any case, did we see the birth of Wenger’s Arsenal version 4.0 today? Quite possibly. We will see tougher opposition, and blind refs, and northern swamps, all of which will test this new experiment.

But it’s looking promising. Very promising. Can’t wait until Saturday!

Written through a beery haze by mjc

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22 Responses to Man in Cologne – Match Report

  1. I know it’s a bit late but mjc was at the Cologne game on Sunday and had promised a match report which due to his beer consumption didn’t materialise until yesterday :) I’m going to publish it now and then something else later on this morning ……

  2. 26may1989 says:

    Hi, am just passing through but just wanted to add one point to the tip-top discussion this morning between Bobby (welcome, haven’t seen you here before) and various others. Although I don’t share Bobby’s views, one thing that supports his view that the club still haven’t done as much as they could in terms of expenditure is the effect of the new TV deals. The domestic one will bring in an extra £40m per year starting 2013-14, and the new overseas deal will likely add another £15m-£20m per year. That’s the money that will get City within the bounds of FFP, that United are looking to splurge on van Persie and Chelsea are using to overhaul their squad. If Arsenal wanted, we could start spending it now too. Not saying we should but it’s there.

  3. Mdi89 – b/f from your comment on the previous post – I didn’t swear once on that youtube video so I reckon Peachy’s would have been quite happy. She might even have liked the riffing although I have her down as more a grindcore fan than one of classic metal, like me.

    Anyway. it’s got over 100 views so I’m happy to achieved that target at least :)

    mjc – nice, beer-infested match report, the type I like best. Interesting point you raise about our errant dutchman appearing to be relaxed and happy chatting with fans.

  4. MickyDidIt89 says:

    MJC,
    “Drinking and smoking” in your seat. I quit. I’m no longer an Arsenal Supporter. Cologne is the place to be. Brilliant write up, thanks.

  5. COYG says:

    Brilliant blog…Let’s hope your observation is better then the spicy newspapers and Van Persie stays …COYG

  6. Candid gunner says:

    Micky, I thought I was alone on this view? Hahaha

  7. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Candid,
    Which one was that. The bloody awful racket our Chary makes, or the smoking and drinking? :-)

  8. Probably about the bloody awful racket Mdi89, you cheeky so and so.

  9. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chary,
    Unusually for a metallist, you are an intelligent and very pleasant man. Strangley, you drink fizzy Italian beer, whereas your typical metaller likes warm brown ale to pour over his clothes.
    I’m putting you down as confused, in the nicest possible way.

  10. Dandan says:

    Interesting MJC. Perhaps you saw the birth of our new tomorrow. As for eating in your seats, Arsenal played Burnley away in the cup some time in the 70s and I have a memory of sitting in my seat with a view of the Pennines, eating fish and chips purchased in the ground, That was in the Bob Lord days Anyone remember him?wonder what that kind of owner would make of today’s scene? With close season tours ans all,.

  11. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Work calls.

  12. Mdi89 metalheads come from a wide variety of backgrounds and are a varied lot – but we all share the love of the riff-charged high energy rock sound with screaming guitars and vocals. But as I also like classical I am probably a bit conflicted and mixed up admittedly.

    Lemmy is a fine example of a thoughtful decent chap as most of us are. :)

    I used to like Bruce dickinson(lead singer for Iron Maiden) but when I found out he’d not only competed at Olympic level for GB in fencing but he also has a commercial pilots licence I went off him – the jammy git !

  13. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chary,
    Leave me alone, I’m working, but I sometimes leave this page up on the side.
    Ever heard of “World Peace?”
    It actually refers to peace and quiet, a world free from the kind of din your lot make. :-)
    Right, where’s the “hide page” button.

  14. Another One says:

    MJC,

    That was a top ddrawer report andd gave a TV watcher like me the addditional ddrama of the dday in the staddium from the true fans beery view.

    (Sorry about the ‘ddd’s’ they seemeddd to have appearedd out of de blue. Can’t you control your blodddy keyboard, Evonne, anddd stop them migrating?)

  15. Ha ha Mdi89 – you need volume to get lift off mate ! Rock on \m/ \m/

  16. brian says:

    Walcott,Chamberlain and Kos have withdrawn from international duties with what are described as minor injuries.So if our medical staff have reached their normal levels already I am assuming that we shall see Walcott around Xmas,Chamberlain sometime in the new year and Kos is probably out for the season.

  17. glic says:

    Fine report mjc, sounds like you had a great time. I would have to be the reverse of Micky though, being stuck in the middle of a few thousand people smoking would be a nightmare, thats without taking into account the Health and Safety aspect !. :)

  18. glic says:

    Oh and e va va vonne, very funny stuff without your “d” working ! :lol:

  19. Rasp says:

    Morning all, this is a rare day indeed as we have just published a second…….

    ….. New post …….

  20. chas says:

    Great report, mjc.

    I almost felt drunk reading it.

  21. Candid gunner says:

    Micky,
    Smokin’ and drinkin’ part!

  22. Terrific work! This is the kind of information that should be shared around the internet.
    Disgrace on Google for not positioning this post higher!
    Come on over and consult with my site . Thanks =)

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