Stories and pictures of the beautiful game.
Arsenal FC vs. Olympiacos Piraeus 3:1 (1:1)
October 3, 2012 | attendance: 60,034 (sold out) | pictures
When Arsenal took the lead in their Champions League match against Olympiacos Piraeus a few minutes before half-time, Arsenal supporters were briefly shouting at the away fans with great satisfaction: “You’re not singing anymore!” To me that was evidence of something I had suspected all along, based on my two previous visits at the Emirates: Arsenal fans must truly hate singing.
So not only do they like to stay quiet most of the time, they also don’t like others to spoil their silent football experience with lively chants and cheers. That did not stop the Olympiacos supporters from doing it, most certainly not after their keeper fished the ball out of the net after Gervinho put it there. I was still typing my thoughts about singing, and missed the moment when they were rewarded: Kostas Mitroglu headed the equalizer just instances after Arsenal’s goal.
At half-time, best-of scenes from the other games in progress were displayed on the video screen, and the Arsenal crowd seemed at least equally emotional about the goals scored there (“Whooooo!!!”, “Aaaaah”) than about those scored at their ground.
The home side took the lead back soon enough early in the second half when Lukas Podolski forced the ball through defender and goalkeeper alike. Something unexpected happened then: the Arsenal fans were singing. Even my neighbor, who criticized Podolski’s performance heavily in the first half (“Make yourself un-useless”) wholeheartedly joined the chorus of “Lukas Podolski – he scores when he wants!” It didn’t last very long but it was a song after all. And it took a German to get it started.
Not much happened after that, on and off the pitch. Arsenal were comfortable hanging on to their lead, and even Marko Pantelic could not turn the tide for Piraeus when he came on ten minutes before the end. Hertha BSC’s fans will still be sentimental about the Serbian striker who scored 56 goals for Hertha in 139 games. It might ease their pain to know that when he doesn’t get the ball the way he wants it, his gestures of disbelief are still the same.
There was another Arsenal goal that night, apparently a nice Aaron Ramsey lob after a counter attack, four minutes into stoppage time. I can’t tell you anything firsthand as trying to avoid the logistics madness that breaks lose around the Emirates after the final whistle required the sacrifice of leaving just a little bit earlier, “Lukas Podolski – he scores when he wants” still on my mind.