There was a point in yesterday’s match where I realized I was so engrossed in the match that I wasn’t really watching the game. You know that feeling, all sports fans do, it’s more like you’re part of something and less like you’re a spectator. So I took a step back from the game and took a moment to reflect on the match. It was 0-0, about 80 minutes in, and I thought “Milan’s going to steal this, but that will be OK. They don’t deserve the win, but it will be OK, because I will have seen Arsenal play football the way it was meant to be played.” Sure, the limitations and frailties of Arsenal were apparent: Adebayor doesn’t always have the best touch, Eboue is a steaming pile of dog shit. But I could forgive them those problems if they played every game like they played last night’s game. Their ball movement was impeccable, their courage in the face of a referee who clearly was a 12th man was inspirational, and when they did lose the ball they won it back fiercely; win lose or draw that was beautiful to watch.
And then it happened.
Fabregas’ 30 yard stunner.
He’d had such an amazing match up until that point — he was winning the ball and directing the match from his midfield perch with such ease and grace — that when he took the ball and drove forward between Gattuso and Pirlo and uncorked a shot into the lower right corner I was simply stunned. I thought it was slight of hand, or maybe that the camera had caught a bad angle but there was the ball, bulging the onion bag. And there was Cesc celebrating like the boy he is. For a moment I didn’t believe it. I thought for sure the ref would call it back for offsides or something comical but as the celebrations lasted it dawned on me, “Arsenal have scored!!!” And the replays show the goal is something special — Arsenalist has them on his site and evidently he’s going broke or something so click on his links or something.
8 tense minutes later where I swore the ref would give them 3 penalties in order to make up for Arsenal’s beautiful play and Theo comes charging down the right channel and plays a perfect cross for Adebayor. Who, since a great touch wasn’t required, simply plays the ball into the net. OK, now this has to be a dream, right? There’s no way that Arsenal could get a 2-0 lead over AC Milan at the San Siro with the referee fucking them at every opportunity? Right???
Maybe it is a dream.
If it is, I don’t want to wake up.