Arsenal, La force d’habitude

Good evening Positive Ones and we have had a rather good afternoon, those of us who have had the good fortune to see the game from Selhurst Park and later ‘events’, haven’t we? For those like Tim who have responsibilities elsewhere then it is a pleasure to come.

Reviewing what for me was the first proper (competitive) game of the season is a straightforward task. I am not in position to contrast and compare with the Ammers defeat.

I saw much that I recognised, good quality passing and instinctive movement, Ozil weaving, Sanchez twisting and turning, Olivier engaged in ceaseless struggle with the Palace centre backs. Yes this is all as I remembered it. I was most impressed with both our full backs, Hector especially coming forward in the first half, and Monreal for a sturdy display in the second against an apparently reborn Zaha. When we were pressed we kept our shape and put in clean tackles, from open play the home side created very little. Could Le Coq have suffered a harsher punishment from Mr Mason ? As Glenn would say “I’ve seen them given” but in truth there was no red card worth of fouls today from any players and it would have spoiled what was a physically robust game played in the right sprit, in my opinion. Well done Mr M therefore.

Like you I thought that our dominance in the first 30 minutes deserved at least two goals, with the ball pinging around the Palace box, charged down, saved, deflected, spinning wide but not quite crossing the line. I have seen it before, I shall see it again. The equalizer was an ‘out of the blue’ moment for me. Against the run of play. Pah. The home crowd boomed. We did not panic though, composed ourselves and settled back to see out the first half.

After half time we had our customary wobble with Wickham brushing the post. And then up stepped the man, barging his 5’2” frame through the defender Ward and to force Delaney to sky it into his own net.

That Sanchez eh – what an APPETITE for the game ? And because this was an open contest it was exactly the stage he enjoys. Bravo Alexis and I hope Brendan was watching.

The game then ebbed and flowed to the final whistle, Palace showed their customary tenacity and worked the ball regularly to the edge of the box before surrendering it. We, sort of, relied on the fast break but to be honest in either side looked like scoring again and the game drew toward an orderly close with the three points properly allocated. Arteta’s introduction brought intelligence at the right time, and a great tackle proved there is life in those old Spanish legs yet. My only moments of panic were the two Palace corners in the final 5, both excellently placed and either of which could have pissed all over my chips with an equalizer. This week it was not to be though. As a general observation I thought individually our defenders played well when under pressure and as Palace attacked, very few errors, good positioning, decisive clearances, it is still not quite the organised/co-ordinated group they need to be though. It is not an full working mechanism, with each part meshing to the next. More work needed.

As for later events in the afternoon at the Etihad I suspect that while the result did not bring the same combination of relief and enjoyment that the three points earned at Palace delivered for us, it was still fun to watch. And as football fans we need fun, pantomime in case of Chelsea and their odious manager. I saw one side getting mullered by the other, despite what the man from Setubal declared at the game’s end. Aguero a class act, perfect balance.

Ragged, that is what Chelsea looked to me, ragged. Is it wishful thinking on my part that Jose appears a man under pressure ? I hope not.

The force of habit that is Arsenal football club has been restored.

On to the next one ….

39 comments on “Arsenal, La force d’habitude

  1. Arsenal being linked tonight with a double Spanish swoop, Real Betis’s Spanish U21 Midfielder Dani Ceballos(19) and Olympiacos goalkeeper Roberto Jiménez Gago(29), just the sort of double signing that will see the AAA go into complete meltdown


  2. Thank you Andrew. Is this to be the pattern for the season by the way? Usurping my match preview with an analysis on the same day? I may have to talk to my agent.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. some of our passing, especially in the first half, was outstanding. Alexis messed up two great chances, his touch was a little off today.

    I feel that the complaints aimed at Ramsey last week for not passing that time to Debuchy impacted on his game today, when he seemed overly keen to pass to any team mate that was up with him, when for me he would on a few occasions more, normally have taken on the shot himself.
    Ox messed up a couple of good scoring chances late on too.

    A five or six goal win would not have flattered Arsenal today, yet we should just be happy we won. A win is a win is a win


  4. Thoroughly enjoyable game and Palace deserve 50% of the credit for keeping the game open and competitive when most predicted a hit and run approach.

    What is particularly pleasing about the Arsenal performance is the evident tuning up that has happened in the days following our opener v the ‘Ammers. As we all know, the machine only has to be slightly at odds with itself for things to stall so today’s more fluent performance is hugely encouraging.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Like I said in the other post, had Alexis been 100% match fit he would have had a brace by the end of the first half and we would have gone to half time two goals up.


  6. As far as the game at the Etihad, I knew Chelsea were going to lose as soon as I saw Ramires in the team sheet. Jose, for all his brilliance, is a terrible coward who would rather draw a game than win it. Playing Ramires in that midfield meant Cesc was the only creative player on the pitch. No wonder Chelsea had three measly shots on target.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Certainly not a man under pressure, AndyNic He’s just signed a new four year contract. So now must be the most financially advantageous time for him to leave.


  8. Let’s hope this win will settle them a bit after the shock of the first match. Thought they looked a bit nervous after we went 2-1 up, more interested in preserving the lead than extending it. Or maybe it was just me that was nervous – I thought injury time was a real nail-biter.


  9. A third goal may have settled proceedings for us dk but you ‘know’ us at the moment. At 1-3 we would have slipped to 2-3 within a short while.

    Palace will win more than they lose this season though, esp at Selhurst Park so I think tjree points well earned. And no injuries I saw, Arteta looked smooth and a great run out for Sanchez.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. With regard to the evening posting Stew it is most likely a one-off. I prefer a night of reflection before writing as it allows for the humours to cool. First day back at the coal-face tomorrow and my time in the morning is already nailed down. Your agent can rest easy.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Great stuff from Steww and Andy today and a nice weekend for the good guys in general. Ozil was a treat to watch today WOW. We are looking pretty deep in practically every area of the pitch. Biggest surprise so far has been Cech’s form. He has been a lot shakier than I was expecting hopefully it’s just a matter of settling in. I fancy Cech and co. to tighten it up even further against Liverpool though in what should be a great match.

    Spare a thought for Mourinhos bus everyone. The guy is losing it before our very eyes. The special bully might not make it to seasons end at this rate

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Lovely stuff Andrew,Arteta calmed it all down when he came on didn’t he? Still think we’re a couple of weeks away from purring,especially Giroud,Rambo & Kos who always look better with games under their belts,we’ll be alright.


  13. Although we didn’t play well against wh the goals conceeded were poor and at bad times in the game. By contrast we started brilliantly against palace however again a bad goal disrupted our game. I felt we always looked like scoring a second although palace also looked threatening on the break . Le Coq was all about the first booking and it was this mistake , when taken in context with the game, that caused the problem for the ref.
    Overall a good performance when the pressure was on which is another thing the pundits said we couldn’t achieve.


  14. Excellent stuff Andrew.

    I doubt very much that too many of our main rivals will be getting out of Selhuest Park with as many points as our boys managed. Le Coq played to the edge of the laws of game but keep within the spirit of the game, but a very wise move by Mr. Wenger to reel him in before the home crowd made the second yellow decision from the ref an inevitability.

    Thank God for Mikel Arteta!! I think I’ve said that before a few times. Ox was also vital as a weapon to keep the Palace hunting pack guessing and wary of our counterattacking threat once Ozil and Alexis came off the pitch.

    Some donkey we have for a centre forward, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Good to see Andrew has resumed his duties as our post-match blogger. Seems the summer has not dulled his keen sense of observation and his sharp pointed pen or keyboard. Hot on the heels of Steww’s classic piece of satire, we Positivistas were over-indulged on a Sunday. I can live with that.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. It was a remarkably agile finish from Olivier – stretching, twisting, but still putting the ball on target beyond the keeper, definite goal of the month candidate I think. For a player who has taken some stick over the past few weeks hitting the back of the net must take the weight off.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. So much good football yesterday. Unusual stuff,too, a lot of it. Things like (here goes terrible description) that weird header Ozil did, 1st half, on a half swivel while being closed down fast. Beautiful.

    Ramsey’s knock down in the second half, which might have been part of that fantastic sequence which ended with his left foot shot, was another example of this brilliant-to- watch football I don’t think you’ll see anywhere else, not even at City.

    Very few of the match reports reflect just how good, and how unusual, this football of ours is. Some of it, the truth of the match so to speak, made it into the typical match report, but only because neither of those two late Palace chances went in.

    I see it as my own battle as a fan to not be completely dominated by the final score in a match. It determines my mood- unhappiness if we lose, happiness if we win- but at the same time it’s obvious craziness for,say, what happens in minute 90 to determine how we played until that point.

    It doesn’t, it just feels like it does, like a bad fight in the taxi queue after what had been a great night out

    Yesterday couldn’t have been much more perfect example : a hell of a good, open match, we created lots of chances and played some glorious football, and very nearly lost maximum points at the death after two dangerous set-pieces.

    Why should we bother ‘working’ on this and not just go with the entirely human way of letting large and recent events easily dominate us? I figure if we accept that being ‘a bit’ obsessed with football is reasonable (quick, let’s move on), and we supposedly are using reason as the basis for our judgements, then we need to bloody well do it.

    Only way to do it I figure is when the going is good. I wouldn’t be here saying this today if the defender had planted that late header past Cech, but the game would have been exactly the same one till then, with all that good football.

    None of us here are the type of people in real need of these arguments, i.e none of us would be savagely tearing into the team had the ball bounced differently off Mutch’s head, but I reckon that battle to view the game right (know your enemy : Emotion) is an ongoing one.

    All our good football yesterday earned us the same points as what Utd did on Friday!! Now that’s worth thinking about the next time we’re producing the stuff we did yesterday, whether it ends in win, lose or draw.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. I have just read the transcript of Giroud’s post-match interview which seems both articulate and intelligent. That it was delivered not long after the game in which he had battled hard throughout – and conducted in English, not French – strikes me as remarkable. To have made such an effort to learn the language suggests to me he is a young man who is constantly seeking to learn and improve both on and off the pitch. Small wonder he is pilloried by the types described by Stew on Saturday morning. If Arsene Wenger is really looking to sign Benzema to replace OG I would be most surprised. It was a wonderful goal, and I sense there are plenty more of those to come.

    My take on the game is that at times we were very impressive, and at others we looked worryingly vulnerable, largely because the transition between defence and attack (or vice versa) lacked a little synchronicity. The last stages of physical and mental fitness are still there to be added I suspect, and how good it is that we don’t have to shoehorn two Champions League qualifiers into the schedule. I thought Monreal was particularly good yesterday, and I am also surprised that so little was made of Bellerin’s absence the week before as a contributory factor to the disappointing West Ham performance: I suspect his non availability caused all sorts of last minute adjustments. It was good to see him back.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. fh – agree whole-heartedly, especially with your second paragraph.

    I’m wondering if the lime-green boots are affecting Kos’s performance – they’re certainly distracting my viewing.
    And the debate of the day seems to be, “Should Coq have been sent off?”
    Yawn. He wasn’t – live with it.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Look, Benzema is not an upgrade on Giroud…..


    He really is not…………..

    Liked by 1 person

  21. How did this performance compare with the early 2-1 victory, at Home, over Palace last season?

    Palace had a few more chances, chasing the game or trying to get a lead at home that would to be expected but overall considering this Palace team has got a better squad and is in a better place at this moment then this time last year it’s fair to say that AFC’s away performance was better then the home win last year. though one or pelanty calls were missed I recall the official (moss) sprayed his magic spray on himself and cazorla and didn’t have as good a day then as his colleague yesterday (or himself later on last season) during what must have been a tricky game to call, a rare and pleasant experience. Certainly we can say that Mason had a better day then the useless, transparent & screaming bungler otherwise known as Apprentice Taylor (we can tell why he’s still an apprentice!), but then that wouldn’t be too hard in this Game.

    We were not only spoiled by the PL results but also with the Royal Arsenal Academy Derby in the old League Two, Wolves vs. Hull.
    Looked like a game almost as exciting as the arsenal palace encounter.

    Hayden and Akpom starting for Hull and Martinez and former graduate Afobe starting for Wolves and all of them playing well.

    There can be no doubt it. Arsenal football club: by far the greatest team the world has ever seen.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. The craziest thing about the benzema rumours is the attempt to avoid the obvious:

    Why would any club as in any club let alone one managed by a French football manager want to have two CFs the same age who are competing for the French national team’s starting berth. It makes no sense.

    Let’s pretend the player would be willing for such a move (haha!), how would any club or manager even attempt to keep both players happy in such a situation? That’s all ignoring the consideration that when France went out of the last WC that perhaps they should of subbed of KB for OG earlier in the game, even started them the other way around.

    In short: lots of drivel. Never going to happen. People hunting for clicks and gullible people just as they were with the F Word rumours. I won’t mention the F Word, but I think all but the biggest Arsenal holes are starting to understand why AFC are better off without, and that’s only sticking to the footy no need to mention te corrosive influence off the pitch.

    Having written the above when the dominoes start to fall on DDay bendy will probably be having his medical at Colney!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Fcuk – only two weeks to go and nothing happened on the transfer front.
    We’re doomed, I tells ya – DOOMED!
    Wenger OUT!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. No sign yet either of the “Diego Costa – one season wonder” articles.


  25. I saw a very good comment on today comparing Aguero and Costa’s performance yesterday Dk along the lines of one of them spent the whole match trying to play football, find gaps in the opposition defence, dribble past players and score goals while the other spent the full 90 minutes trying to pick fights, trying to get opposition players cards, shrieking his head off at the referee and doing bugger all to help his side win the game. Spot on comment – Costa was dreadful yesterday – a completely pointless tosser -embarrassingly bad.


  26. Ha, anicoll5 – didn’t watch the game (more respect for my stomach) but it sounds like he’s reverted to type. Long may it continue. What with red cards and dodgy hamstrings, he’s becoming a liability.
    I did though see on Danish TV’s coverage of the game a point where Aguero applauded Begovic for a save and they tapped fists – astonishing behaviour – what do they think they’re playing – tennis?


  27. The really stupid thing about Costa is that everyone knows how easy it is to wind him up – so they do, of course.


  28. Tbf any hack could have made that comparison or observation of these two footballers at anytime during there careers. If even a numbnut like me can have Aguero down as his fantasy signing (before he was snaffled up by a petro club and then replaced in my starry sky with the constellation of Alexis), it shouldn’t be that hard for the pen pushers to note the difference.

    There was an omertà around the fouling lump that is Diego Costa last season. City definitely targeted him yesterday.
    I asked some one who told me they rated Costa after the west ham to tell me what Costa was doing when he was the same age Welbeck is now. Welbeck has been busy winning PL, CL & now also FA Cup medals through his formative years as a player etc. though of course he picked up this medium serious injury before the final who could forget his answer to LVG in the earlier round. They couldn’t answer the question about Costa and neither could I. It’s like asking people to tell you their memories of Falcao, there are none.

    These players are not even close to the top league. That’s a fair assessment.

    I once saw Falcao before the hype and special transfers. He played for Porto when they were tonked 6-0 at the new home of football when he was around about the same age that Welbeck is now, possibly older. He did not catch the eye.


  29. If I were a suspicious man I would say Diego is not that bothered about remaining a Chelsea player and would not be averse to someone rescuing him from his (well paid) slavery in Fulham

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Rumour is it is our favourite referee in charge against the Scousers – Mickey ‘the Golden Whistle’ Oliver


    Liked by 1 person

  31. Andy: your 1618 comment. Are you talking about the centre forwards or the managers? Plus hope all OK with your daughter.

    And thanks Fins for continuing to champion Arsenal hero elect, Danny Welbeck.


  32. Correction: Utd won the CL in 08 and Welbeck wasn’t in their squad back then he’s not that old!

    Think it was on loan with Steve Bruce at Sunderland where people first noticed Welbeck’s quality and now Bruce has Akpom & Hayden under his charge.


  33. The comparison of the two managers is another sharp contrast FH, the measured and sensible v the raving eye rolling nutter – Aguero v Costa in the technical area !

    No 1 daughter and boyfriend in Bangkok fine – bizarre as it sounds they were unaware of the carnage until receiving my ( over-excited) demands to get in touch – despite being at the airport and in the city. Not a good hour or so at my end.


  34. Benzema would be an accompaniment to Oli not a replacement. I don’t believe he will be available but we are now in a position to buy players for rotation not just automatic first choices.


  35. Well, Liverpool join the 6-pointers but only just. Pretty dismal display considering they were up against a newly promoted side which, for all its commendable attacking intent, was half a yard off the pace for much of the game.
    Nothing to fear there. Ox or Theo should start because they have a right-footed left back who is very sub-standard on this evening’s showing. Looking forward to next Monday evening with relish.


  36. Controversy of the day seems to be Liverpool’s offside goal last night, from which I’ve learned that they’ve changed the offside rule – again. WTF. Who’d be a linesman? Sorry, assistant referee, or is it referee’s assistant? Whatever. No wonder they get it wrong. Why can’t they just go back to “if you’re offside, you’re offside”? K.I.S.S.
    All this “not interfering with the game” and “new sequence of play” rubbish. So many things to take into consideration in the blink of an eye.
    As Bill Shankly (allegedly) once said, “If one of my players was not interfering with the game, I’d want to know why.”

    Liked by 1 person

  37. “Chuba has a chance, doesn’t he? Wow,” said Bruce, who has already seen Akpom net his first senior goals with sumptuous finishes against Huddersfield and Accrington.

    “He has a lot to do and a lot to learn. But, in terms of raw talent, you don’t have to watch him long to realise the natural ability that he has. Only a few are blessed with that…
    …He has an outstanding chance because of his ability.”

    Liked by 1 person

  38. http://arseblog.com/2015/08/tactics-column-understanding-coquelincazorla-partnership-v-crystal-palace/

    Good stuff as always from Anam.
    Coquelin sets up the attack for the first goal against Palace, first with the press then as Arsenal regain the ball Ramsey and Coquelin and swap, Coquelin dribbling with speed past his man on the right side touchline before returning the ball to Ramsey who finds Cazorla who finds Alexis who finds Ward but fortunately Wards give him back the ball and he can try again…
    …interesting game for Ward, he was involved in all three goals!

    Assuming Arteta won’t be starting every three days do Arsenal then have different CM combinations for the season? Cazorla & Coquelin and Ramsey & Arteta? There’ll be occasions when we’ll see Ramsey with Cazorla and ignore the prospect of the double D**Mers delight, Areta with Coquelin.


  39. < who could ignore


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