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United vs Arsenal: A uni student's experience

By Jahid Islam

Hey! It’s Jahid (@Jahidfullstop) for We Love You Arsenal and this week’s article talks about Thursday’s game against Yanited. Of course. What else would I talk about? But to change it up a little bit, I’m gonna focus more so on the build up to the game. The anticipation. The excitement. The butterflies. I hope you enjoy it nonetheless!

So on Thursday, I woke up early af for my placement at a GP surgery and the first thing my mind went to was the football. I literally could not think of anything else. I almost left my wallet at home and only realised once I had walked all the way to the carpark of my uni accommodation. This is what Teta’s tricky reds have done to me. They’ve given me, and loads of other arsenal fans, blinding hope and optimism.

Anyways, my placement was brilliant in terms of a learning experience, but absolutely draining emotionally. People have always said that becoming a doctor was going to be difficult, but holy shit, they don’t tell you about the emotional aspect of it.

After all that learning malarkey, I had plans to go over to a mate’s flat and watch the game. We’re all sharing a house next year, plus one guy who couldn’t make it, so it was shaping up to be a brilliant night. In all, there were 5 of us: 2 yanited fans, 1 Chelski fan, a Liverpewl fan and of course me, decked out in my 20/21 blue Arsenal away kit. Absolute stunner of a jersey if I do say so myself. We had a terrible season, but a truly stunning top. Maybe if we have a kit that makes you want to bleach your eyes next season, then we might actually win something.

The game kicked off. Absolute limbs at Owais’ flat. 5 of us huddled around a dining table, fixated on a 14.3 inch laptop screen. Our lines of sight dribbling as though they were the PSG front three, past fast food boxes, milkshake bottles and cups of Aldi Fanta before reaching the screen. Talk about ‘Uber Eats Ligue Un.’

3 corners for Arsenal in the first few minutes. The United fans were quaking in their sliders with every inswinging ball. It didn’t take long for one of these corners to come good though.

Thirteen minutes in, our number ten shoots from outside of the box and scores a stunner. There were a few caveats though that dampened the mood. Fred’s entanglement with his own goalkeeper caused De Gea to collapse onto the floor and curl up into a ball as if he’d been brutally stabbed in the abdomen or something. It’s somewhat of a miracle that he leapt to his feet about 54 seconds later to complain to the ref about the goal. Can I get an Amen?!

The boys around the table were so confused. What the fuck had just happened? For the following three minutes, it was like one of those punditry scenes where Gary Neville, Carra, Micah Richards and Keano each waffle for an unnecessary amount of time.

Regardless, once that dubious goal stood, I was gassed. Like one of those helium balloons that were used to lift that old dude’s house in that film ‘UP’, my rambunctiousness and rowdiness were ascending higher and higher. That was until Fred played Pernandes through for a shot on goal, which went in. Fuck’s sake. Definitely put a downer on half time, but my German Donner kebab came over so I wasn’t sad for long.

Ronaldo’s goal in the 52nd minute prompted bellows of “SIIUUUUU” from some of the guys, whilst I sat there calmly finishing off my takeaway. I was certain that there was no reason to be concerned, we’d surely equalise and then finish the game off with aplomb… right? Well, the first part came true about 2 minutes later, with Ødegaard precisely placing the ball into the bottom left corner. As we all know, my second prediction fell flat on its face.

Just as I was singing Ødegaard’s praises as though it was carolling season, which it nearly is to be fair, he goes and takes out Fred, giving away a penalty. I remember just shouting “FUCK” several times and way too loudly. Of course, Ronaldo slaps the ball down the middle and sends Ramsdale diving. SIIUUUUUUU’s reverberated around the common room. I was in disarray. The boys went wild. The group chats exploded.

It was a proper end-to-end game, the entertainment factor of which semi-cushioned the blow of the loss, I guess. But it doesn’t make it feel any better. We still struggle on the big occasions, and that winning mentality will arrive eventually with this young squad. At least I hope it will, otherwise the next 4 and a bit years of Uni will be absolute torment.

Despite the L, it was clear that our reputation of a ‘banter club’ has somewhat begun to subside. Not one player in our team is a meme, embarrassing, or out of place. Getting those individuals firing on all fronts as a collective unit is a job that ‘Teta’s gonna have to master, and that’s no easy feat to say the least.

I’ve been Jahid (@JahidFullStop) for We Love You Arsenal. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in a bit for the next one! Ba-Bye!

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