Recap: Arsenal have recovered from that start to sit 4th going into the New Year. Zac returns from his Christmas trip to Chile and continues his journey…
Episode 3 – (un)Happy New Year
Liverpool (A) – Carabao minibus
Coming back fresh a chilli from Chile, it was time to get back to it.
It was an early start for the minibus up to Liverpool, but due to traffic on the wretched old M6, we made kick-off by the skin of our teeth.
People who watch a lot of games on Sky say that the atmosphere at Anfield is to akin to a ferocious cauldron that bubbles away, making it hell for the visiting side.
It’s anything but.
All we could hear were chants of
‘Fuck the Tories’. This was simply ironic as the man many Scousers once adored, Jeremy Corbyn, presided over the constituency of Islington North.
Granit Xhaka had one of his all too familiar hot-headed moments, but after going down to ten men, we dug in.
That was until Takumi Minamino had the goal at his mercy, only to blaze over in front of The Kop. Enter stage right Ben White, who gave us one of the images of the season by leaping in front of Minamino to celebrate.
Anfield cleared like wind in a desert storm, aside from 6,000 Gooners, who virtually had to be forced out to head back to London.
If a Liverpool fan tries to convince you that their atmosphere is unmatched, they are lying. Their support was worse than even Southampton’s, but that’s for another day.
Liverpool (H) – Carabao pins
Still on a high from an unexpected draw in the first leg a week earlier, the Arsenal faithful had strong reasons to believe they would make it to Wembley come the end of the night.
Catching up with an old school friend in The Twelve Pins was a lovely way to start proceedings, but it only went downhill from there.
We were abject on the pitch, certainly undeserving of a place in the final, but the fact that we got ourselves in a position to do that after the first leg made me incredibly proud of Mikel Arteta’s men.
In the Pins for the pre-game once again, a scarcely believable occurrence took place.
We were moved outside for “chanting too loud” and refused entry back inside. Needless to say that was the last time I went there before a match for the rest of the season.
The game was the most nondescript affair of the whole campaign. Burnley stuck 10 men behind the ball and were disciplined enough to earn a point.
A winless January with one goal scored across the entire month, combined with zero signings despite numerous outgoings, meant this month can rightly be looked back on as a missed opportunity.