Tuesday 18 February 2014

Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool, FA Cup [Molly Roffey's, Singapore]

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. Arsenal have beaten Liverpool by two goals to one (arguably our most favoured scoreline against them!) to reach the quarter finals of the FA Cup.

Once again, I was in Singapore to watch this must-win match. Having had an incredibly embarrassing outing at Anfield the previous weekend, I think many were expecting something similar at the Emirates. But, I could see from the manner in which we responded against United mid-week that we could take some much needed momentum and confidence into this cup tie.

Singapore Gooners

Locally, the match kicked off at midnight, which gave us an impressive turnout at Molly Roffey's, the home of the Singapore Gooners. Despite people working on the Monday morning, I would say around seventy Arsenal fans turned up to show their support. The singing culture in Singapore is fantastic, they really get behind the team. It's something that I deeply believe in too - despite being thousands of miles away I'm convinced that if we sing loud enough the players back home can hear us. It doesn't hurt to try, at least.

The game itself was a more evenly-contested affair than at Anfield. I'm not going to say we dominated the performance from start to finish, we had a few questionable decisions go our way (never thought I'd say that about Howard Webb) and a few individual player performances to be thankful for too, none more so than Fabianski. Once again, we responded to a disappointment in the best way that we could hope for, only this time we got the result we wanted (as opposed to the point against United).

Aside from the keeper, stand out players for me included the Ox for his direct-play and pace, Koscielny for making Suarez his bitch but being incredibly gentleman-like about it in the process (it's called class), and Yaya Sanogo for his air kicks work-rate.

Fed up with human flesh, Suarez takes fancy
to the (probably more than edible) Emirates turf
And to think that we did all this with seven changes from the goalless draw against United. It's once again a demonstration of just how far Arsenal, as a team, has come in the space of a season. But, for some reason, people still find reasons to complain.

So, for now, I'm bidding farewell to Singapore. I've had a great week here, but it's time to move on to somewhere a bit different. I'll be returning to the über-metropolis next week but as I write this, I'm at the airport waiting for a flight to Jakarta, to meet up with Gooners in Indonesia, where I'll be watching the Bayern and Sunderland games. As you can probably imagine, I'm feeling a bit anxious about going from ultra-modern Singapore, with its lightining-fast internet, immaculate toilets and graded food outlets, to a country where you can only drink bottle-water, or where the GDP per capita is, at most, 1/10th that of most other countries I've traveled to so far. It scares me but it excites me at the same time. Of course it's comforting to know that I'm going to be taken care of by the Arsenal Family, and that's what makes this journey so special.



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