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Arsenal Foudroyé

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I suppose I should have sensed the risk as I arrived far too early at the Ems for the game with the stadium empty but for the corner of Monaco fans hooting and hollering, decked out in white and red plastic sheets and evidently determined to enjoy their last 16 tie despite arriving as under-dogs.

I suppose I should have picked up the scent, despite a bright opening moment from Danny, we struggled to make any impression on the solid phalanx of Monegasque defenders with its midfield shield for the next 35 minutes. Our passing game not quite “right”, the ball when delivered a little to slow, a little behind, a little too high etc. You saw it, you know. Santi buzzed, Danny ran, Ozil tweaked but it never opened the defence. The keeper never had so much to scramble after the ball,  let alone a save to make.

Never mind I said to myself, they have come for the draw, their attacking efforts are sparse and delivered with little conviction. One man pushed up, two men at most. I understand, I forgive them, I can be generous. We will press and press and press, and a crack will appear. We had control, we had the players and the form. When our short passing clicked and they tired it would be our night.

And then on 38 minutes, out of nothing save for a creditably speculative shot and a lack of closing down, a slight but decisive deflection and the keeper distracted, the whole evening turned.

It did not turn in the sense that buoyed by their goal the visitors suddenly moved on to the front foot and delivered a display of scintillating football. No, Monaco played throughout the 90 minutes as they did from the first minute, organised and intelligent. Rather like their fans nothing spectacular, nothing we have not seen before.

Now after the goal went in like me I am sure you thought, “bugger” that was bad luck but with a few minutes to half time and a full second half to go plenty of time and quality on the field and on the bench to put that setback behind us, and set ourselves up for the second leg on a firm foundation. We have special players, a rabbit will be flourished.

What had changed, what had turned was our attitude to the game. From a patient approach, albeit one in which the gears were not quite meshing, we lost our composure. We lost, as Steww referred to yesterday, perhaps our Grace. I sensed that players were looking at one another saying “ what now” ? We took no confidence from the fact that to that point at 38 minutes we had controlled the ball and pressed the opposition.

Half time came and went, Olivier skied one over the bar just before the break, then another as the second half opened which I think marked another watershed in the game. The admirable core  that runs through  our game, of being willing and able to retain the ball, to pass accurately, to try to tease out an opening was replaced by an increasingly frantic and ever quickening assault on the Monaco goal.

Chances were created and absolutely spurned. A header from six yards out shot off at right angles to the goal. I have no idea how they looked on TV but from the Clock End the two rebounds off the keeper which looked entirely convertible but ended in both cases somewhere about 27 rows back in the lower tier were excruciating. I am not a man given to gesture but after the second I was out in the gangway on my knees. (Alright, I am a man given to gesture but it was so painful.)

And thereafter, for the next 43 minutes or so, calamity heaped upon misfortune. What we tried failed, players who normally are confident and creative looked bereft of ideas. Berby plunged a second dagger which turned a lack of composure to outright panic. Per and Kosc as twitchy as cats at the greyhound derby. Olivier departed, carried out on a metaphorical footballing stretcher.

And then, and then, and then the Ox dangled the lifeline of opportunity in the water, after 90 minutes of discomfort could it be an Anderlecht style revival could be open ? Even if not then to travel to Monaco at 2-1 down was a hill that could be conquered. Yes, Yes YES!

But no NO – not at all – not even that small worm of comfort on a night of frustration and ultimate disappointment. And on cue the Monaco fans kept up their racket to the final whistle and beyond. They may still be there. Good luck to them.

Two faint sparks of comfort to end on.

One, that Monaco players celebrated at the end in a way that showed they feel they have won the tie. The tie is not over.

Second, we travel with nothing to lose. We have done it before against Inter, we may do it again.

I suppose it is plain porridge this morning though.

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86 comments on “Arsenal Foudroyé

  1. I said ,you buy one,you get one free.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. anicoll what was our support like last night, did they do enough to get the team going.

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  3. Support was ok last night – not a big buzz because we were favourites

    Got behind the team at 1-0 and 2-0 – never heard any booing at HT – plenty of noise second half in upper Clock End

    when it went to 2-1 everyone was preparing for lift off only to get kicked in the bollox

    Bit of booing/groaning because of the unexpected end and everyone streaming out as soon as the German blew the whistle

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  4. Bob Wilson has just announced Arsene Wenger has won the outstanding achievement award for service to a London club just as the haters get something to cheer about Arsene goes and wins something else. Bob also said piers morgan wasn’t an ARSENAL supporter and was a pompous git. Good old Bob hitting the nail on the head again. He also said if you can’t support ARSENAL through the tears then he doesn’t consider you a real supporter hmm interesting.
    Last night was a disappointment and I don’t think the first goal was a turning point as we had already stagnated by then. When the other team succeed in making sure Per has the most possession you know its not going well. I know Arsene said our defending was poor and in these games at least if you keep it to 0-0 you stand a chance but our flair and forward going players were poor. Sanchez was at his frustrating best and like I said earlier in the season his I am worried that his frequency of losing the ball and his reluctance to pass was why Barca got rid of him (and yes I know he can be brilliant). Giroud was doing the old arrys mum and Santi and Ozil just couldn’t find the pockets of space they thrive in. However the whole team didn’t want to make easy passes and too often tried to be the hero to make the difference. Arsene looked as frustrated as all of us and those suggesting Arsene would have instructed the team to pile forward with all eleven men must be mad. He even said afterwards his team had been suicidal going to bed last night I know how he felt

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  5. Thanks, Anicoll. You headed my plea from yesterday to not be too negative. You probably didn’t even need me to ask, though, and I appreciate that.

    Posted this a bit too late as a comment on today’s first offering, but I thought this article was good. Worth a read for perspective.

    http://footbalternative.com/2015/02/26/you-can-learn-everything-you-need-to-know-about-football-from-one-match/

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey, George? Did you leave the door open accidentally?

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  7. That’s a nice piece, AG. We simply let it get to our heads far too often. Really missed that Arteta type player to rally up the squad and sort em out. It has to be said Mertesacker had an absolute mare.

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  8. “Chances were created and absolutely spurned…after the second (rebound) I was out in the gangway on my knees.”

    Front row opposite in the North bank for me. I collapsed in agony whilst headbutting the hoarding in front me. Welbeck hitting Walcott was unlucky but also summed up the evening. OG needs to keep on working on that chocolate leg!

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  9. Eduardo:
    Anyone critiquing Sagna’s commitment never watched him play week in week out for The Arsenal. This is fairly simple stuff. Even a simpleton like me can see it. It’s why we all rate Debuchy’s contribution and experience so highly, because he has shown himself to be a good (committed & experienced) replacement. The early plunditry here on PA on Debuchy from FH was the best available on t’internet.

    If you can’t see the football on the pitch which is an inevitable conclsuion if you are prepared to write such stinking gibberish upon a public forum then this is defintely not the place for you. If as you wrote previously you thought that the Arsenal were spurning opps to shoot all first half (a couple maybe at the most – please refer to the article from Anicoll that you wisely didn’t refer to in your comment above) then it seems as if you were watching the footy through some kind of distorting filter. Before your next comment, please try to concentrate on the pitch and not on your own projections when watching the football. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Monaco beat Arsenal in pre-season. This pre-season.

    Anyone who watched the match last night & thought that the Arsenal players can be observed to be evidencing quite a large degree of confirmation bias. Not healthy.
    And not for us.

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  11. <….that the arsenal players were not trying can be…

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  12. no no no lol ..dont revisit the game in detail please , its too painful …we played like crap .finito

    sorry anicoll i disagree that support was ok ..and what does being favourites mean? but then again i admit i have a weird definition of crowd support …i want armies of good hearted lunatics with flares and drums rocking the place…certanily no sitting down..and atmosphere of intimidation ..not opera… im no hooligan ( smile)

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  13. And in my fog of disappoint forgot to thank steww and everyone for the lovely words lately. Great work gentlemen

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I agree with Fins

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  15. I agree with George, who agrees with steww, who agrees with Fins.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oohh, nooooo — George agrees with Frank and not steww — who does Frank agree with? I need to go and lie down.

    Anyway, before I do, that is a really good and brave post-match report, anicoll, given the obvious disappointment of the result – but, that is football; that is life – roll on the next game!

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  17. So Henry – you want an argument ?

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  18. Hahahaha^^^

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  19. One of those evenings of dilemma

    Spuds and the Scousers both in action away – both on the edge , Spuds particularly

    Do I want them in the Europa

    Or out ?

    Tricky

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  20. Poor old Everton though

    Young Boys tonight and us at 2pm on Sunday

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  21. finsbury
    February 26, 2015 at 4:33 pm
    Eduardo:
    Anyone critiquing Sagna’s commitment never watched him play week in week out for The Arsenal

    where have I questioned sagna’s week in week out commitment, he normally gave his all in games. What I stated was

    “players don’t have the same passion or desire as most on here would, the players don’t love the club like how you or I do. for some its just their job,
    Its why Sagna was happy to go from first choice at Arsenal to a spectator at Man City”

    I clearly state players don’t love the club like we the supporters do, I’d ask, do you think they love the club like the supporters do. Why are people on here so defensive and looking to pick a fight over the merest thing.

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  22. Andy, good write up. Steww great previous write up too. I agree that some good stuff was played too.

    Just watched the “Invincibles” documentary. If you chaps and chapesses get to see it you will be reminded that the “Invincibles” were knocked out of the FA cup and Champions League within 3 days but went on to complete an unbeaten season……

    Liked by 2 people

  23. tottnum knocked out of Europa league, lost 2-0 in italy, Liverpool came within inches of going out, Ba hit bar from five yards out in last minute of normal time, game gone to extra time.

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  24. liverpool out 5-4 on penalties

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  25. Thanks Andy and thanks to all the nice contributors here. I have felt very low all day but suspect Arsene has felt a lot worse. I am interested by the way The Telegraph chose to report the game and would like someone to tell me why they are so vitriolic towards us.

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  26. GP I remember that Liverpool game after the disappointment of the two cup exits, everyone thought we were going to lose. The scoucers were on the up and confident but when they scored Henry happened, he took the ball past all their players twice and calmly slotted in the crowd were elated and relieved in equal measure

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  27. A player who suffered two broken legs whilst playing for the Arsenal (neither called a foul!) certainly showed more pashun for the Arsenal then little old me. And earned the right to a healthy pension.

    Would you like a spade to help with that hole? A torch too?

    Liked by 1 person

  28. FH

    Not a mafia/laundrette club?

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  29. Extra time and defeat for ‘pool
    Comprehensive exit to Fiorentina for the tiny ones.

    That helps.

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  30. what you on about fins, you are still claiming I have said something I have not, Sagna playing as he should and was paid to do, in no way means he loved the club like a fan, it does not even mean he cared much for the club(although he was likely to have feelings for the club), all it suggest is that he was a good pro. Have I said he was not a good pro, no, have I said he was not entitled to his move and to any money he got, no, have I blamed him for moving, no, so what is your point, as it seems you are trying to make out I have said something I have not, and I’m not sure why, is it that no one is wanted here if they disagree with some views of others, or what is the problem.

    I had thought Positively Arsenal was a place where discussions were welcomed and it was not some sort of stepford wives scenario where you have to agree with some senior posters. I really hope this is all just a misunderstanding as I really like Positively Arsenal and its regular contributors all seem to be genuine Gooners.

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  31. Does the winners of this season’s Europa League get a place in next season’s Champions League group phase and in the case of Everton if they win it would it be at the expense of the team that finishes 4th in the league.

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  32. They get an extra place Eddy

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  33. Tim Stillman is reporting that Gilberto Silva is to sue Atlético Mineiro for forcing him back from a meniscus injury too early in 2013, amongst other things.
    Reports say club knew he wasn’t fit but made him play on medication. He spent all of 2014 clubless and unable to play due to the problem. He subsequently had two knee surgeries which he paid for himself. Looks like he wants to claim those medical bills back from club.

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  34. ok Geroge, I had seen claims that it would mean 4th missing out cos eufa had decided that no country could have more than 4 teams in the CL in any given season. If its an extra place, then I would be happy enough to see Everton go on and win the Europa League this season, especially if Liverpool miss out on CL, it would be good to have a dig at my liverpool supporting mates

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  35. a couple of questions

    one for match goers – what do you think of the atmosphere at the Emirates stadium and if you are also an away match goer, how does it compare to our away support

    one for all – what suggestions do you have for improving the atmosphere at the Emirates

    my suggestion to improve the atmosphere is to have the gooners who go both home and away to be put in the same block at the Emirates so they can replicate the support levels we hear so often at away games.

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  36. Gains69 from yesterday…. bravo man… we got this. Pleasantly surprised

    Fins..hahaaahaa relentless

    Eduardo – atmosphere at emirates…non existent…but im a harsh critic i admit..

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  37. One suggestion for improving the atmosphere at the Emirates is stop devising schemes, issuing surveys and forming fan groups dedicated to “improving the atmosphere” at the Emirates.

    If it was a serious option you would bring back terracing, cancel all the season tickets other than for old blokes in cardigans, flat caps and sheepskins, impose turn up and pay on the door and no pre bought tickets, shut the gates 45 minutes before kick off and the bars half an hour before the whistle, and bring back the tuneless Constable Alex Morgan and the Metropolitan Police Band.

    Take off the roof, a bit of rain never hurt anyone.And skinheads too – skinheads were good. I would have lots and lots of skinheads.

    But it ain’t gonna happen. Football has moved on, the Ems is the Ems.

    There is nothing the matter as far as I am concerned with the atmosphere at the Emirates. Sometimes it is noisy and funny, especially if we are playing serious opposition and from the off you now it will be a hard match. It is a bit more subdued and tutting, and thus it ever was, if we are playing a club we ought to stuff. I get up, I shout, I curse, I join in the chanting, even when I am stone cold sober. I don’t bitch about the multiple Japanese honeymooners around me. I make my own atmosphere.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. I agree with anicoll whulist also understanding and appreciating that prices for football matches could and should be reduced further. after all, I couldn’t afford to go to more then a few games a season as a teenager at the end of the nineties, and I had no travel expenses! I don’t blame the Arsenal manager.

    It’s not rocket science: Football fans need to lobby their MPs and get safe standing re-introduced, it’s the only way some ticket prices will be maintained at lower prices for football fans everywhere. Especially younger people, the type that, you know, like to make some noise in a ground.

    Celtic FC got as far as getting approval from their LA but without approval from Westminster sweet FA will happen. Because you can’t rely on the FA to look after the interests of the Game. Singing sections are all well and good but as at Old Trafford if they are full of middle aged men who prefer to groan at the younger men before them then maybe not! Any fans or fan groups that that spend more then five minutes on this subject and somehow avoid this conclusion on safe standing, they need to stop blaming Vengargh or whoever, and really put those football brain cells to work. Show some pahsun, for pity’s sake. Not sado-masochitsic tendencies.

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  39. I would enjoy sitting next to Anicoll at a match, as that’s what I like to do, but I have received some odd looks for making noise and having an American accent and my attempts to get chants started often don’t take off in the more staid parts of the stadium. I’ve now sat in pretty much each area of the stadium upper and lower tier this season. Lots of tourists at the Clock End, but also lots of teenage junior gunners standing and singing with their mates. I prefer that to the “better seats” along the centre line in the lower tier with a lot of older ST holders who can’t be bothered to make a peep other than to clap once in a while. Upper tier is hit or miss, but in the North Bank or Clock End, I’ve found that the chants are going the whole match in pockets even though you can’t always hear that in other parts of the stadium. Everywhere there are people like Anicoll making their own atmosphere.

    The one away match I attended, Brighton, was fantastic in atmosphere as everyone was chanting, singing and standing basically the whole match. That’s the difference. You are surrounded by others eager to sing and cheer. They’ve come to support the Arsenal in that way.

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  40. LG, where the fuck have you been?

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  41. I’ve read the last two posts on Georges… Stewws and Andy Nics…. it’s not often that I’m negative about our team but on this occasion i have to disagree with the posts. OK, there may have been a bit of luck with the Monaco first goal, a deflection off the BFG. Howvever, what the fuck washe doing going sideways to a player and holding his balls at the same time? He doesn’t have to protect his dangloids when not facing the shot?

    Ozil, lost so many balls in possession during that match i started to wonder if he’d had a bet a Paddy Power for Monaco to win. The mentality of the charge of the Light Brigade has to be controlled by Wenger, if he says do this, the team have to fo;;ow that tactic… don’t they? If not, why have a manager? He is there to make things right if they are going wrong?

    Steww was very positive yesterday, very commendable, but at the end of the dy… someone has to be responsible for the catastrophic performance against Monaco? Who do you think that is?

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  42. I support George, Fins, Steww, Loomer, Anicoll, Gains, LG, Alabama, ForeverHeady, Arsenal Andrew, IanSpace, Cannon-Hunter, Georgaki, HenryB, NOTNA, Notoverthehill and even Frank. Get it?

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  43. Well NB now you have identified the guilty party, or parties, what do you intend to do about IT ??

    The difficulty is (I think) that the same guilty party or parties are those who have for the past few weeks eased us up to third in the PL, to a very tasty FA QF tie at Trafford Park and had, until Wednesday’s blast, and settled into a decent CL run after a poor start to our group campaign in Dortmund.

    I do not seem to recall much negative comment about the “Charge of the Light Brigade” when in the final moments of the game in Brussels we snatched a 2-1 win when were still down by a goal after 89 minutes. Gibbs got one, Poldi the other. That would be the same Gibbs who was trying for the equalizer on Wednesday night.

    I dont know – maybe you did criticise the win – I know I said something about what a great virtue it was playing for the full 90 minutes and never giving up on the chance of the three points.

    Anyway what do you think the right punishment should be for the unexpected performance and result on Wednesday ??

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Who do you think that is?

    all of us mate

    the owners, the manager, the players and the fans

    the owners have no clue and rely only on Wenger on how to place/guide arsenal
    the manager; philosophy is about trusting players, but you need big characters for that , which you cant afford now and like fuck if wenger goes and spends the money hes worked for to agents and posers..keep building i say..preparing..and the dynasty will come eventually when/if owners decide to get in the faces of the big clubs.
    the players who played like arseholes in an important european game, as if they need a manager to tell them to be serious on champions league nights and last the fans who just go and sit and expect goalfests or else they moan and boo. were all in it..we are a team.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. but i do insist….we can do the job there. mission is clear.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. hahahaha .I love you Andrew.

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  47. Brilliant piece by Tony Attwood on Untold:

    http://untold-arsenal.com/archives/41405

    Excellent post in the comment section following Tony’s article:

    “brdgunner
    February 27, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Ozil is virtually identical to Silva in stats for last season, his first season in the prem and playing with less accomplished players. Yet he is considered a flop and Silva the best number 10 in the league.

    IF you compare creative midfield stats of Ozil and Hazard, you will be shocked to see how far behind Ozil Hazard is. Yet Ozil is a flop.

    He has been disappointing, however, please, as gooners, can’t we just support our own f***ng team without drying about how x or y is better.

    Stats referenced to can be found in this link

    http://www.squawka.com/comparison-matrix#premier_league/2013/2014/mesut_özil/126/64/123/0/p|premier_league/2013/2014/david_silva/126/64/308/0/p|premier_league/2013/2014/eden_hazard/126/64/454/0/p|premier_league/2013/2014/philippe_coutinho/126/64/2673/0/p#successful_passes/assists/key_passes/goals_scored/total_passes/possession_score#avg

    COME ON THE GUNNERS”

    Liked by 1 person

  48. It’s lovely to be missed, PG. But I popped over to see if my spirits could be raised. And I have to say that this is a tough one to feel better about. I don’t want to drag anyone else down, though. But the subject of atmosphere has always interested me from afar and this season while I am around, I thought I could offer the perspective of a fresh attendee this season.

    I think NB is ruing all those tickets he’s been buying for the return leg! Don’t worry, NB, we’ll make an interesting tie of it over the course of that 90. Reversing it or even getting to a replay might be pretty unlikely, but we do have a habit of worrying teams in the second leg. There, a bit of positivity! But I’m afraid that’s all I can muster.

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