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Arsenal Versus Chelsea: Just Arsène meets Violet Elizabeth

Floodlights At West Clewes
A couple of short months ago I wrote to you of a harbinger. Like the early snowdrop suggests the first death knell of another long winter, the removal of the goal posts from our local park signified that the football season was nearly over and summer lurked around its traditional seasonal corner. In what seems the blink of an eye the complimentary bookend to that perennial phenomenon has popped up in the very same park. Just last weekend I sailed down the A367 in my ailing Vauxhall Zafira and saw a group of lads bibbed and booted, balls at their feet taking turns to slalom through a row of slender red and white striped poles; pre-season training, Sunday league style.

Similarly, I was enjoying meandering with my dogs on a late evening stroll catching the last stare from the eye of a setting sun as it burned the horizon into a kiln of deep furnace red, when drifting on the breeze I heard distant, unmistakeable cries lifting from the town beneath me. The voices were carried aloft from West Clewes, home to Welton Rovers and while the ground itself lay consumed in an inky murk a twin row of white pearls glittered, an earthbound constellation distinct against the blackened town made by the floodlights used to illuminate a noisy and enthusiastic rehearsal for the approaching Toolstation Western League Premier Division season.

I’m sure these scenes are being repeated up and down the country. Boots are being dragged from under stair cupboards, football jerseys strained over summer paunches, hamstrings and calf muscles tentatively stretched in readiness for the battles ahead. For you and I there is only one point of focus today. Liverpool’s triumphant pre season victory over HJK Helsinki means as much to us as Exeter City’s use of Arron Davies at right back for their warm up against Torquay United. We have bigger fish to fry. Today is the only summer friendly watched by football fans regardless of the teams involved. The Charity Shield is the closest to a competitive game any side will play before the real blood-letting commences.

The result is irrelevant, and that fact is also irrelevant. This paradox arises mainly from two things. Firstly none of us enjoy seeing Arsenal lose and Chelsea win and secondly Jose Mourinho. The silly little man has been stamping his feet and threatening to thcream and thcream until he’th thick and all and thundry, sorry, sundry, have rushed to give him precisely the attention he so craves whether arguing his ridiculous contentions, belittling or agreeing with them. It’s all one. We as Arsenal fans didn’t need his most recent inanity to want to beat him. His club represents all that is hateful in the modern game and as such any chance to wipe the smirk from his smug mug is to be grasped and enjoyed to the full. To be honest if they brought back It’s A Knockout as a warm up for this game I’d be watching the proceedings with clenched fists willing the Arsenal side to fill their buckets of coloured gunk more quickly than their opponents.

I should probably apologise for this small departure from my usually calm and sober reflections on proceedings. Since the demise of Man United and because of my geographical remoteness from traditional North London rivalries I’ve needed a new pantomime villain and Chelsea just goes out of its way to fit the bill. Rest assured the result today will have no bearing on the league campaign, no relevance to our future performances against Mourinho’s soulless automatons nor any other side and will have no lasting emotional impact upon me. But I really, really hope we win today. If you sense a certain contrariety in my approach to this game all I can offer by way of excuse is this: Life is full of such disconnected inconsistencies and football is no different. Just because defeat in a non competitive pre-season friendly has very little actual venom in it, any triumph of our rivals at our expense still carries a certain sting, and like a schoolboy relieving himself on a wasp’s nest I will take the pleasure but happily avoid the pricks.

So what will happen today? I have no idea. Of course not nobody does. No matter how many of you spend how ever many hours debating the line up and whether it carries hints for the competitions to come, you had just as well argue as to whether or not it will snow on Christmas Day 2022. I do, however, have the ability to analyse previous encounters between the sides and can surmise from those that Arsenal will attempt to play with ebullient exuberance and Chelsea will look to contain and smother and hit with fast efficient counter attacking football. But then, having said that, I can also imagine Arsène sending his troops out to employ a more pragmatic approach like for instance that we saw against Man City lasts season and Violet Elizabeth to throw caution to the wind and prove his critics wrong with a free flowing attacking game of flair and invention. Who knows? After all if you wanted to experiment against top opposition with a little pressure but in a game where the result didn’t matter today would be the day.

The fact that there is such debate as to our best first eleven or the possible permutations for future fixtures speaks loudly as to the incredible depth of talent in the squad. Put simply, it is impossible to name our starting line up. Whichever way you slice it Arsène has assembled a group of players of such an outstanding calibre that more than one man who would walk into any other Premiership eleven will be sat on the bench today and, injury Gods willing, for many matches to come. It is of course the very extent of the squad which will assist with our injury situation. Look how long the manager was able to give Theo to properly recuperate. With high class cover in so many positions there is simply no need to rush a man back from injury nor play him when in the fabled ‘red’ zone. Given that outrageous bad luck with injuries has been the principle if not the sole reason we haven’t won the league at least once in recent seasons this augurs well for the future.

Anyway, I’d love to share more of my wild assumptions and reckless assertions with you but I am taking part in a film today and need desperately to attend to both hair and wardrobe lest I disgrace the Black family name before an adoring Youtube audience. Before I go allow me to make one small suggestion. All this afternoon should really mean to any of us is the chance to see our boys have another run out before the real stuff starts next Sunday lunchtime against West Ham. Of course I know you’re getting a bit excited and I am too, so how about this. I submit that we celebrate in an entirely over the top and inappropriate fashion if we win and shrug it off as an irrelevant pre-season warm up game if we lose. Think about it – it’s win win. The only people who should get bent out of shape if we fail to raise the shield today are the same troglodytes who always come blinking out of their holes after a setback, and they provide us with the perfect distraction while we come to terms with defeat.

It’s a day out at Wembley in the sun for those lucky enough to be there and a pleasant couple of hours in front of a screen for the rest, no more no less. Next week the proper games begin, today is your last opportunity to simply relax and enjoy a match so why not do just that? Before you know it the goal posts will be taken down at the local park and summer will have rolled around once again. The more time you can spend happy in between then and now the better your life will be.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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96 comments on “Arsenal Versus Chelsea: Just Arsène meets Violet Elizabeth

  1. 65 minutes Giroud on for Walcott
    cfc have been on top in the second half

    Like

  2. Chambo forces a change at LB for Chelsea

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 76 minutes Arteta on for Oxlade-Chamberlain

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  4. 80 minutes Gibbs on for Ozil

    arsenal finding it hard to get out

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  5. FT: Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea

    we won it much like cfc have beaten us so many times recently, took the lead and then stifled the life out of our opponents, cfc had couple of decent chances in first half but really did not have a good chance in the second half despite all their possession, in fact arsenal had the more clear cut chances.

    don’t know who was our man of the match as no one really stood out, it was a team performance, maybe mert or kos as they had the cfc attackers in their pockets all game long.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. The good ship Arsenal went one nil up, sailed into the docks and transformed into L’Autobus.

    1-0 to the Arsenal.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. What was the kerfuffle about? My stream went down at just the wrong moment. As it usually does.

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  8. Everyone saw the difference Giroud makes to us. We held the ball better once he came on, we moved the ball better and started creating chances. Vital player.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Don’t know.
    Maybe Coquelin said “boring boring Chelsea” to the F Word?
    (the Arsenal fans just sang a song for Chelsea as they came down the steps).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. someone needs to tell Cech that there is no trophy celebrations next week, 3 games 3 trophies for him.

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  11. Nice to watch Arsenal win and Chelsea lose isn’t it?

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Steww, you can say that again! I’m carrying about with as smug a grin as possible. I could live with this scoreline against this opposition every time henceforth. It’s been long overdue.

    I get it is only a meaningless friendly but for once good has triumphed over evil in what seems to have been an eternity! More of the same, please. COYG!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Stew you can say that again. I can do with more of the same week in, week out! COYG!

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  14. Sorry about the duplicate post. It’s all in the spirit of the win. Darned device wouldn’t let me post first time in peace. Alls well that ends well

    Liked by 1 person

  15. It was a beautiful site. The Arsenal app displayed the score whilst I was using google maps to find my way around the Epirus in. Greece. I may have been lost but Arsenal won….

    Liked by 1 person

  16. jose being all butt hurt, whinging about us defending in numbers, Jose denying that he did not shake Wenger’s hand despite the interviewer saying we all saw it, what a clown. Some of the journos are finally speaking out about jose and his nastiness

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Positivistas this was an important win for the club but most importantly it was the quality of the performance. We created chances, goal scored by someone we expect more goals from (Chamberlain) and chances to score more including two nailed on opportunities for Santi and Gibbs. Better yet we kept clean sheets with resolute defending. I think we need to improve defensively; too many clear cut chances were created by Chelsea but strong goalkeeping and poor finishing kept us in front.

    I already wrote my pre-season analysis for PA and after today my conclusions remain the same. All today did is reinforce my view on how we need to play this season.

    BTW: How about them cowards who decided years ago that Wenger was past it and unable to build another title-winning team. Anybody remember the meme that the Emirates Cup was the only trophy disturbing the dust in the trophy cabinet?

    Liked by 3 people

  18. its just been revealed the five incidents that raised the noise levels at Wembley most today.

    5. Arsenal lifting the trophy
    4. Oxlade-Chamberlain scoring
    3, 2 and 1 all Hazard roars of fake pain as he dived.

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  19. Shotts, they’ve got four more to contend with. 2 FA cups, 2 Community shields, another Emirates Cup…plus the Barclay’s Asia whatsitsname! I guess I’m dyslexic beyond the number 4. Long may it continue. The dust there has overstayed it’s welcome if for no other reason than to rile the moaners some more. I could live with that as well

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  20. unbelievable the amount of arsenal fans who are siding with the poison dwarf over the handshake incident.

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  21. iDibs @ 5:37pm – I am not looking beyond the Premier League but we have some unfinished business in the Champions League.

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  22. Yeah Steww was so right if we had lost we could have said it was a meaningless friendly but now we won it feels Fucking great.
    I didn’t see it but kept my phone under the table at breakfast to keep updated with the score. I couldn’t refresh the final few minutes to confirm the win for ages so it was a big relief once the result came up. I
    I love you you rip roaring reds

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Someone sent me this on Twitter. Lets all have a laugh at Moaninho:

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  24. The strategy was simple, tie up Hazard and Chelsea can’t play. Bellerin did a masterful job of taking him completely out of the game.

    If there was something different about this team today it was how solid we looked down the middle. Le Coq looked just as good or better than Matic. I’m thrilled to bits for the kid.

    Ozil and Santi looked well good today.

    I’m sooooooo happy for Arsene. He was walking around as if he had a foot long dong.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Meaningless? Slight echo of Quadrophenia here, but it certainly meant something to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Ah poor Jimmy…

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  27. @ FH, it certainly meant much to me and obviously to JM considering the amount of moaning over a handshake or not

    Well done to the lads for the re echoing of 1 – NIL to the arsenal with a solid performance

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  28. it only matters when Arsenal are not the team winning it

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  29. fh – well, my arabic’s pretty ropey but I think we can safely assume he was arsenal fan.
    Certainly expresses my emotions at that moment – my wife thought I was having a heart attack.
    Good solid performance – we got the goal and kept them out. Had we not got the goal, we would certainly have seen a more attacking display. The win was bloody important, no matter what anyone says.
    Coquelin goes from strength to strength – I can hardly believe it – keep expecting him to drop his level. The whole back line was superb, as were Le Coq and Santi. The rest were adequate. A 0-0 draw transformed into a 1-0 win by a moment of magic.
    This will give them all a massive boost in belief for the season. OK, CFC were without Diego Costa but we were without Alexis and I think that was more important. Long may Costa’s hamstrings give him trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Anybody share my gut feeling that, with 3 or 4 world-class signings – say a GK, a CB, a DM and a striker, Chelsea might be in a position to challenge for the EPL this year?

    Liked by 4 people

  31. if only Coquelin had a bit of passion about him he would be a decent player

    Liked by 1 person

  32. bet365 ‏@bet365 5h5 hours ago
    Shots on target:

    Arsenal – 5
    Chelsea – 2

    Jose Mourinho: “The best team lost and the most defensive team won.”

    Liked by 2 people

  33. It may just be a pre-season ‘friendly’ but I’m so glad the good guys won!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Akpom will have his Hull medical tomorrow and Alexis will return to Arsenal training.

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  35. A superb preview once again.

    Another very well played match by Arsenal.

    Aston Taylor shows it’ll be the same old, same old, as far as reffing goes. Ditto commentators and plundits.

    Still, the team showed quality. And the comments hereabouts, too.

    Come on Arsenal.

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  36. Ed, I thought the U19s lost to Ajax or was that just in the group stage.
    Can anyone post Oxs goal as I’ve still not seen the build up yet with Mezut and Theo.

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  37. Goal, irritating music – above.

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  38. a_o_b the U19’s lost 1-0 to PSV Eindhoven through a comical own goal from Keto, but Celtic done us a favor by beating the local side, so AFC got to the semi.

    Like

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