In Part 3 of our gastronomic tour of UEFA Champion's League matchday 4, Chris watches the tape delayed match between AZ (prounounced ah-zet) Alkmaar and Chris' club Arsenal with some nice cold Heinekens and Good Humor Ice Cream...
4:00pm: Time for AZ Alkmaar @ Arsenal, the third and final leg of this UEFA orgy. Since Alkmaar is in Holland, it’s also time for a Heineken. Then again, when is it not?
Important note: In the interest of full disclosure, I am an Arsenal fan. Not only will this colour (note UK spelling) my coverage of this game, it also requires some very specific pre-game preparations. My Arsenal baseball-style cap must be retrieved from the car and be brought into the room in which I will watch the game. It may not be worn before or during the game. Likewise my Arsenal jersey from the glorious double winning side of 1998 must be in the room, but not worn. Then a slew of other stuff I’d rather not write about. The fact that this game is already over does not matter. It’s new to me, I don’t know the result, I’m stuffed with crap from Walmart and enjoying a second wind, probably provided by the Heineken.
As the camera pans the stands of the Emirates Stadium in London, AZ’s traveling fans are jumping up and down and singing prior to kick off. Some of them are wearing cheese wheels on their heads, a la Green Bay Packers fans. Edam! I should of thought of it. Edam is Dutch cheese and Walmart probably carries it, but it’s too late now. There is, however, a nice Good Humor/Green Bay/Cheesehead tie-in.
Kick-off: Hey, they didn’t show the UEFA Anthem. Outstanding. Two weeks ago Arsenal squandered a one-goal lead at Alkmaar late in the game. They need to put this thing away.
10’: Arsenal playing good passing combinations. They really should score soon.
This is Arsenal Coach Arsene Wenger’s 187th game in European competition. Alkmaar has a player named Pelle, but he is Italian. Arsene Wenger has never beaten Alkmaar Coach Ronald Koeman.
14’: Arsenal continues to dominate and play attractive soccer, but, as is often the case, have no goals to show for it. I think Ronald Koeman can read Arsene Wenger’s mind.
15’: Clearly, I need a chamber pot.
20’: Still no goal. Maybe drinking Heineken is working against Arsenal. Nahhh. “It’s not been a vintage start, that’s for sure.” Obviously the referee, along with Interpol and the “Dutch Underground” are conspiring against Arsenal. Wenger should cover his head with aluminum foil. (I just can’t call that stuff ‘aluminium.’)
25’: GOAL ARSENAL. Midfielder Cesc Fabregas beats AZ ‘keeper to the near post from 18 yards. Cesc Fabregas is on my fantasy team. I’ll drink to that.
33’: This is by far the most dynamic, fluid soccer I’ve seen today. Both sides are creating and attacking. Although Arsenal’s Sami al Nasri, recently returned from injury, has been a complete non-factor.
43’: GOAL ARSENAL. Sami al Nasri has scored. Shut my mouth. Nice assist from Andrey Arshavin, the friendly Russian.
Halftime: 2-0 to Arsenal and off to the potty.
46’: And we’re back. My head is swimming, stomach roiled and Arsenal in command.
52’: GOAL ARSENAL. Cesc Fabregas has scored his second off a fantastic feed from Arshavin, curling his shot around AZ ‘keeper Romero. This is fun for me but, wait, what’s this? The AZ fans aren’t sad or mad, they’re actually singing. They sing in their shirts, they sing in their shoes, they sing in their cheeseheads with suspenders and booze. Whoa there, Dr. Boddington’s. “An extraordinary amount of work now for Alkmaar to restore parity in this fixture.” You think?
67’: Cesc Fabregas is subbed out the game, dashing my hopes for a fantasy hat trick. Brazil–born Croat (really) Eduardo comes on for Robin Van Persie.
72’: GOAL ARSENAL. Eduardo played an incredible back-heel to Arshavin near midfield. Arshavin split the defense with a pinpoint through-ball to Abou Diaby. Goal Diaby. Well I’ll Diaby’d. 4-0 to Arsenal. With the game all but over, it’s time to dig into a Good Humor cookies and cream bar. Now, if I could just get out of the chair…
82’: GOAL AZ ALKMAAR. Well, there goes the shutout. Jeremain Lens has scored for AZ. I never should’ve opened that Unilever product. My bad, Arsene.
Fulltime: Arsenal 4-1 AZ Alkmaar. Arsenal have clinched advancement to the knockout stage.
Now, if I can make it to midnight, the good people at Fox Soccer Channel will be showing the Dynamo Kiev/Inter Milan game from today. Not very likely.