Change is always hard at first. Changing from a sport is harder. From cricket to football isn’t at all, especially if you live in a country where everyone worships cricket and Sachin is their god.
I was introduced to football during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, mainly because of the hype created by Shakira and K’naan. But you had to wake up till late night to watch a sport that you didn’t get at all. What is a Yellow Card? Why aren’t they scoring at all? What a dumb pass! Just hit the ball in the net, goal isn’t as small as wickets, even Ashish Nehra can hit the stumps a few times!
But I was really introduced to football during 2013/14 season of English Premier League (No, it isn’t BPL, its EPL). My friend has taken up the job to make me fall in love with this beautiful game called football. But it wasn’t easy at all, you don’t know if you want to open cricinfo to check the how many wickets did Mitch take in the ashes or Goal.com to check the table.
Once you get hold, you will be completely stumped how even a 0-0 draw can be full of drama and excitement(a few beers will help you). But the problem is which team you feel like supporting, which home ground can you call your home?
Let’s look at the options. Old Tafford, obviously! Manchester United. The Red Devils. The most popular club in the world. With the likes of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, it isn’t easy to ignore them, and you have seen your other friends who watched football wear a jersey or most of your who don’t even know what a tackle is like their page on facebook because it was “cool”.
Stamford Bridge. Chelsea. The Blues. If you are on twitter and follow Jr. Bachchan you probably read a tweet or two about the blues. They claim to have the mastermind in football and Roman backing the club financially,this isn’t a name you wouldn’t miss.
Anfield. Liverpool. The reds and they have a cool crest and a striker who is a complete asshole. Steven Gerrard, the one who everyone wants to see with a League title.
Etihad. Manchester City.The Sky Blues(Really?) What Manchester has two clubs? Mumbai doesn’t have two! They have a cool bunch of strikers and how can anyone not see Yaya!
Emirates. Arsenal. Gunners. What? Is that a club? Oh, the previous club of Manchester United’s striker! I see.
Of all these I chose to be a Gunner. And was ready to call Emirates my home.
You start following and the first game of the season that you were waiting eagerly blows up and you lose it at your home with Villa scoring 3 and your club 1. But the rest of August was easy breeze.
The next big fixture with our Rivals and Neighbors Tottneham Hotspur, the club who sold Bale to Real Madrid. Which ended in a 1-0 and Santi Cazorla gave me one more reason to love the North London club.
September 2nd, Wenger signs Ozil, the midfielder from Real Madrid, considered as one of the best playmaker and called as “Assist Machine”. It was a 42.5 Million Pound contract and you are really happy with the clubs performance and Ozil coming in with 11 jersey will just make the club more strong.
September 14th Ozil debuts for Arsenal and when he finally walks on the pitch with the yellow away jersey twitter bursts out. And 11 minutes into the game the No.11 gives a beautiful assist to Giroud.
Then comes the months of October where we draw with West Brom(Oct 6th), lose to Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea in UEFA Champions League and Capitol One Cup and won the rest of the matches.
November, We beat Liverpool 2-0! How cool is that! And Dortmund 1-0, again How cool are we! Then comes the fixture most fans wanted to see, RvP play against his previous club The Arsenal. Lot of drama but still 0-0 after about half-hour and then BOOM RvP scores from a corner and he celebrates breaking hearts of many many fans at Emirates. And with wins over Southampton and Cardiff where Aaron Ramsey scored a double against his former club but din’t celebrate like RvP.
December arrives and brings with it Christmas and January Transfer Window Rumors. You start hearing names Draxler, Mata all ready to sign with Arsenal. And two big matches with Manchester City and Chelsea. When City was jogging past the defenders it was tough to watch the club I come to fall in love with, our defense collapsed and with every goal we scored they netted two! After the rundown by City we faced Chelsea and to my surprise it ended in a 0-0 draw.
January comes with its Transfer Window with a North London Derby with Theo catching and injury and leaves the pitch mocking the rivals with a 2-0 score. January ends rather on a low note, 2-2 away draw to Southampton and Mata already moving to Manchester United and we end the month with Kim Kallstrom loan from Spartak Moscow. Seriously who is he?!
February is the longest month for a Arsenal fan, with injuries and a whopping 5-1 loss to Liverpool, we were down to 4-0 before the first half! But we reply them with a 2-1 at the FA cup 5th Round. And then probably the lowest time in the season has started, UEFA round of 16, Arsenal play Bayern Munich home and just before the first half ended Sczczesny got a red card and the game ended pretty much.
March started with a 1-0 loss to stoke and with most players injured this is going to be hard for us. If it wasn’t for Per and Lolo we would have been in a worse situation. But it wasn’t that bad, we drew the second leg of Champions League with Bayern and went past the Quarter finals of FA cup and beat Spurs 1-0 at White Hart Lane(COYG!). After the draw with Swansea(really?) we managed to get a draw with City and were happy not repeat the previous mishap.
April and Everton, our contenders for 4th place beat us 3-0. What has started as a wonderful season and we were fighting for the 4th with toffees. We were on the top of the table for most part of the season but what matters is who remains on the top in the end of the season. So with one eye on the FA cup and one on Champions League slot for next season.
We beat Wigan on penalties in the Semi Finals and the rest was amazing, Aaron returns from injury and we were back on track. With 3-1,3-0,3-0 and 1-0 against WestHam, Hull our FA cup Finalists, New Castle and ended the last game at Emirates this season against West Brom.
This season has been a Roller Coaster and is this was my first season following The Arsenal I was new to a lot of things, it wasn’t easy but it was fun.
There were a few down moments with #WengerOut trending on twitter and unable to stop the big fish to score against us, the Sczczesny getting the red against Bayern, Ozil missing the penalty and made fun as Miss-it Ozil and the injuries of course!
But there are some moments to cherish too, Ozil running the pitch for the first time and assisting beautifully to Giroud, cameo by Theo in the middle and Rambo coming back on the picth.
To be fair I expected us to win the league, but that is not how things go in England. But it wasn’t a bad year, I fell In love with a football club, which I very much doubted and overall I came to love the sport and all the drama in it.
I see a great next season for us even if we don’t sign big names, we just need to avoid injuries to Theo,Jackie,Rambo,Lolo and we will win the League for sure, may be a double.
Come On You Gunners!