Three Minutes of Madness Give Arsenal Options with Alex Song

Darius StoneContributor IJanuary 26, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 27:  Alex Song of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on December 27, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

I had only just popped out of the living room to get a second helping of the finger-licking chicken my wife had made for dinner. As I lost myself in the thought of identifying the juicy piece I wanted, the screaming from my wife in the living room made me drop everything and bolt across to see what the fuss was all about.

I think she was pissed off at Cameroon’s Geremi for his suicidal back pass that gifted Egypt the first goal in extra time. Frankly speaking, such back passes get players lynched in some countries, and you couldn’t help but think what the hell the former Chelsea and Newcastle player was thinking trying to execute such a pass.

I shrugged my shoulders and headed back for the chicken pot that I was drooling over before that untimely interruption. I had only just placed my plate in the microwave to warm the food when another scream followed.

“Now what?” was the first thought on my mind as I dashed to see the inevitable. As I watched the replay of the Egypt free kick, I couldn’t help but curse out Carlos Kameni, the Espanol and Cameroonian goalie. What the hell was he trying to do with that ball? Punching such a ball instead of catching it outright was criminal in the first place, but it was like he was smiling and celebrating while punching it, and that’s what got my goat.

My wife, though, was evidently pissed off about something else and it took me a while to realise that the ball never actually crossed the line. I didn’t know Stewart Atwell, the referee who gave the ghost goal at Watford, was on duty at the ACN. What the hell had happened in the three minutes I’d decided to go for seconds?

And it was that three minutes of madness that consigned the Indomitable Lions to defeat. I think the third Egyptian goal was criminal, and the referee should be taken out back, forced to kneel facing the wall, and given a good hiding for allowing that goal to stand. At 2-1, Cameroon had a chance, but not at 3-1 with Egypt.

I know there are a hell of a lot of Arsenal fans rejoicing today as Alex Song gets on a flight from Luanda to Heathrow some time tonight. Many are rejoicing about the fact that he could be reporting for duty at London Colney any time from Thursday.

I’m in two minds though about the Indomitable Lions going out at this stage. My rationale is that if Alex Song went all the way with Cameroon and won the ACN, it will actually be a great boost for his morale and subsequent performances for Arsenal.

The circumstances of yesterday’s exit were quite painful though. Moments of madness like that are known to knock the wind out of anyone’s sails.

Nevertheless, Arsene Wenger will not complain for having Alex Song as an option for the games against Man United and those that follow after this coming weekend.

Arsenal have had a squad of walking wounded and the return of the Cameroonian ace will be a breath of fresh air at London Colney. I suspect the young man will have to be picked up at some point following last night’s disappointment, but Wenger has shown that he is a master at putting an arm around an excellent player and making them feel that it’s OK.

One other player that will provide much needed relief in the midfield is Emmanuel Eboue. Now how many times in the last couple of years would you have heard Arsenal fans saying they’re desperate to have Emmanuel Eboue back?

If Chelsea are getting Drogba and Kalou back, and Abu Dhabi City are getting Toure and Adebayor back, then it’s only fair that Arsenal get Emmanuel Eboue and Alex Song back.

The battle for the EPL title starts tomorrow. Despite the disappointments for Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon, it’s great to have Eboue and Song back.


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