Arsenal – Better half a donkey than half a camel


ElnenyGóðan daginn Positivistas,

Another Sunday morning, another FA Cup victory to ponder. On seeing the starting line up I admit a little quiver of nervousness crept in. Multiple changes of personnel from what would be regarded as our PL starting eleven at the moment, a start for young Iwobi, two returners from two months out through injury in Alexis and Le Coq, and the debut of a player who no one had heard of five weeks ago. And not just the starts but looking at the bench Mesut and Aaron had been given the weekend off to catch up on those long delayed DIY jobs that had been on their to-do list for months. Yes I felt just a twang of concern.

Needless to say my worry was misplaced and swiftly set aside by a strong opening with Arsenal controlling the ball and pinning back the custard shirted/rhubarb shorted opposition in their own half.

The Ox was at number 10, pulling the strings, constantly busy, running at the opposition, trying to slot THE PASS through to Olivier. Alexis was doing what he does, bouncing like Tigger, after a long sleep. Le Coq showing absolutely no sign of rustiness as far as I could see and the way he was getting stuck into tackles there was no hesitation that can crop up after a player is seriously injured in a challenge. Credit to Iwobi all afternoon who tried to play his game. He is still raw but was not put off by the physical approach of the opposition and the lack of time he was given to play.

On 19 minutes we took control of the tie through Chambers excellent finish that curled into far corner. Any strike with the outside of the boot that beats a keeper from the edge of the box deserves praise and I see in the media we have a multiple Samba theme. I am sure you will all have seen in on television from several angles. The nice thing was the time Callum takes in choosing how to hit the ball, and where to place the shot. That is a really very confident finish from such a young player.

Just after our opener there was a big roar from the Arsenal fans in the West Stand lower as Tomas began to warm up. And picked up round the stadium. He has been away far too long.

There followed another 25 minutes when Burnley, to their credit, did what they had to do and forced their way back into the game. They played two strikers throughout the game and Vokes and Gray were ever eager to pounce on any error along our back line. I was also impressed with Burnley’s centre back by the name of Michael Keane and their full back Darikwa, both comfortable on the ball. As is our style we fell victim to a little carelessness with the ball in defence, and the visitors struck with what was a very good header. As the half finished however we were back in control.

Ten minutes into the second period the tie was effectively over. Having stuck to the job of defending in depth and in numbers Burnley were unable to cope with the speed and movement of first the Ox and then Alexis. The Chilean’s finishing was efficient and unstoppable. Once in front there was no chance of our allowing Burnley back into the game. It would have made life smoother to have converted one of our many chances for a third but Gabriel and Kosc policed Burnley’s strikers carefully and Ospina did not have a busy afternoon. And what our Colombian keeper did have to do, particularly when called on to deal with crosses, he did impeccably I should say.

And so to mention the man we have all been waiting for Mohamed Elneny. I was not sure what to expect and the reports of him being a holding midfield player seemed to be accurate as, in the opening few minutes he and Le Coq both patrolled a narrow corridor in the centre of the pitch. No disrespect to our East Lancashire cousins but that did seem slight overkill. After that little defensive phase however Mo spread his wings and popped up all over the pitch, at various points taking on Ramsey’s job on the right wing. He is a big man, with big hair, who is not going to be easy to knock off the ball. He was calm, he tackled cleanly, he stayed on his feet. We have a BFE I’d say.

Great to meet up yesterday with the chaps.

Enjoy your Sunday, 5th round draw tonight. All the usual suspects are still in it. I fancy a big game.








49 comments on “Arsenal – Better half a donkey than half a camel

  1. All doom ad gloom again about Jack suffering a set back.


  2. Can I too greet in my first language?

    Goeie middag Andrew.

    Arsenal had one job and they did it with relative ease in the end.

    The boss used the match to keep the fringe players match fit, have a look in at Big Mo and get Alexis and Coquelin a chance to get back up to speed. Was great seeing Rosický back and see him do what he does, get the Emirates faithful to cheer in one voice. Tired legs was enjoying a rare day off too. All in all it was a day we really ought to be pleased about.

    If I had one wish ahead of tonights draw, it’s that our rivals draw each others. It really can’t always be us being the team that must do things the hard way.

    The Saints await!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The old fart’s thoughts:
    I’m not quite sure if we learned all that much from a much changed Arsenal side, 3rd in the Prem, playing 3rd in the Championship, Burnley but it was certainly interesting. We had Mohamed Elnany making his debut; first time starts after injury from both Le Coq and Alexis; rotation with Calum, Kieran, Gabriel, Ooospina and Alex Iwobi starting. My eyes, for one, concentrated on Mo and he was impressive. A wonderful pair of bellows and ability to find space. Not sure that he’s ready for PL action yet though; for sure he got brushed off the ball a bit too easily on a few occasions and probably needs to go through a few sessions of upper body strength improvement as did Oz. But he most certainly fits the Arsenal ethos.
    Much the same may be said of Alex Iwobi. This is an exciting youngster and he looks set for a good future.
    Whilst purring about these two though, the rear guard of Kos and Gabriel was giving cause for fur raising at the back of the neck. Ooospina had to make a good save from Gray, who was a handful all afternoon, after a slip by Kos. Gabriel looked far from the level headedness he’d shown early in the season and Le Coq looked as though he needed time to adjust. One beautiful tackle later in the half suggested he’d adjusted.

    But overall we were on top, several shots but mainly blocked until AO and AS combined to set up a snap shot from Calum. A snap shot with grace, poise and stunning accuracy. A goal to stay in the memory and his career “boast book”. And strangely enough, his second against Burnley.

    Burnley’s equalizer was a bit of a shock; there’d been little hint of trouble since we scored, but yet again a cross from the right caught us napping. Should Ooos have gone for it? Either centre back? Whatever, a good firm header and we left for the HT break at 1-1.

    Early on in the second half we retook the lead with a goal of real quality. Iwobi to Ox, Ox to Alexis…our lethal finisher is back in business. 2-1 and with Southampton on Tuesday, on came the subs…Theo, Mikel and for the first time this season, Little Mozart whose appearance was warmly greeted. Good to see him back. No change to the score, though Theo should have made the game safe when 1 on 1 with Heaton in the Burnley goal. Now who do we deserve in the 5th round?

    Keep the faith.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Weird thing about the Burnley goal was the way their right winger had free rein to put the cross in because Gibbs was busy hacking Coquelin down by the D. It looked very strange. Good thing it wasn’t Monreal he injured, people might have started wondering… ( banned winkey thing) Really good idea putting Mo alongside Le Coq for his first game, took the pressure off him a bit and he revelled in it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks A5 as always a great epilogue to Stewws prologue.Hope you and the lads had a great time at the game yesterday(he said with a green eye).
    I think everyone hoped for the third goal,but cup games are odd sods.Anyway many great things to take from the game,Chambers great goal, Elnenys debut,Le Coq back, Iwobi le short sock looking good,Ospina making some good saves,and the list goes on.
    Now time for revenge on the Yoolis-tide debacle at St.Marys…
    ps, he was a Spud but RIP Terry Wogan.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wary of our written press, but a few reports saying TR sustained another injury. Really hope that is not true. Such a magnificent player


  7. Good afternoon Andy.
    Good match report -game was functional and controlled, nothing too excessive. Good to get back to winning ways.
    One thing that always blows my mind when watching Arsenal up close – from the 4th row in block 5 no less, (connections, mate, connections), Is the terrifying silence the players use while zinging the ball around at 100 mph. It’s one impressive mind trick to freak out your opponents.

    As for reports of bad news Immedaitly After An Arsenal positive result? I will wait until I hear the Boss’s match presser tomorrow.


  8. Seems Rosicky has a thigh strain, and is out for 4-6 weeks

    I see Gooners saying Wilshere has had another set back, but has there been any official announcement of this, or even media reports, or has this rumor come from Wenger saying on Friday that “Jack is now running and I count 6 weeks till he plays” for the first team again.


  9. RIP to a fine Irishman Sir Terry Wogan.


  10. I think we on here watched a different game yesterday than a lot of Gooners, you’d think we lost to read some of the reports and comments, “average”, “boring”, “lucky”, “useless” just some of the ways our performance and players are being described, and some of it seems to have stemmed from the self publicists on AFTV, where they decided weeks ago our new midfielder was not good enough, as he did not cost £20M+, and so despite him having the most touches of the ball of any player on the pitch, the most passes, and the best pass accuracy, and a couple of shots on target, and a fine tendency to pass forward as much as possible, AFTV are leading the attacks on the “useless Egyptian”
    Ospina, Chambers, Gabriel, Kos, Ox and Theo should all be sold, you see it would never do their “weak squad” soundbite if they admitted that a team with 9 changes actually strolled to victory, in everything but the scoreline, also this was the “meaningless” FA Cup, and with 3 very important BPL games coming up in double quick time, why should the players do much more than was needed.
    Cech, Bellerin, Per, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey, Ozil, Campbell either were not in the squad or play a minute of yesterday’s game, but our squad is shite if we were to listen to the AAA

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes I must say the good mood of yesterday across the Arsesphere has swiftly been dissipated today across social media with rumours about Tomas’ thigh, Jack’s calf injury (is it ?) – and to cap it all Wogan goes and snuffs it.

    From what is said in the mainstream media our Czech artiste will be having tests to day to determine the damage and the prognosis, so I imagine we shall be told tomorrow at the pre Saints’ Presser.


  12. Transfer Window closing day tomorrow, as of yet not even much rumors of Arsenal doing much,
    Gnabry to be brought back from his ill fated loan at WBA, and then to be sent out on loan again, possibly a one or two month deal with a championship club, so he can get match fit.
    Debuchy still likely to be sold or loaned out, if loaned there could very well be a call back option in case Bellerin gets injured,
    on the in coming front it looks like two youth signings from Nigeria is on the cards,

    the only first team player rumors of note that I seen is that we are still trying to push through the signing of young Ben Chilwell from Leicester City, he is a left back, but its said he can play RB and wide midfield,
    reports in Italy that have been doing the rounds for a couple of months now is that Arsenal are trying to sign Marcelo Brozovic from Inter, and that the delay is due to Inter having to complete his buyout from Zagreb, something they are obliged to do by the coming summer. Brozovic is a very versatile midfielder, he is usually a box to box for Inter, but for Croatia he plays as a deep playmaker, and for Zagreb he often played DM. Reports suggest Inter want £15M for him, this would be a sizable profit for them as they are paying less than half of that to Zagreb for him.

    Leicester City seem to be bringing in a few players, which could be crucial in their bid for top 4/title, they have already added a couple of players and are now trying for a couple more with Remy of CFC a real possibility.


  13. Thanks A5. It bears repeating that your post-match reports are an important contribution to countering the negative narrative that the mainstream media has adopted towards our club in general and the manager in particular. Unchallenged much of this reporting (simply propaganda in my opinion) is uncritically accepted and re-echoed by most bloggers and tweeters who prey on the emotions of the fanbase to earn their readership/followers. It is incontrovertible that both mainstream and social media thrives on the emotionalism of sports fans. Most of us can attest to the fact that our state of mind is often dependent on the results of an Arsenal-game even it is a meaningless friendly in the middle of nowhere. Appealing to fear and uncertainty is the oldest trick in the world as the ancient and modern-day victims of witch-hunts can attest (I give you David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal). But state of mind has nothing to do with the objective reality as any amateur psychologist can attest.

    Thus yesterday, while the club was performing well within its potential and even beyond, the English commentators on my American tv broadcast (Fox) were predicting a Burnley upset with every opportunity they got the ball in our defensive 3rd, every miskick by Koscielny, every time an Arsenal attacking move broke down, worst when Burnley equalized. The whopper that topped it off was, sometime midway the second-half when the Arsenal had already scored and clearly in charge of the game, when one or both commentators opined that Wenger and Bould were worried and nervous, as the cameras panned to both sitting in their seats watching with the usual attentive ness you would expect from manager and assistant.

    Post game we had the spectacle of the media (Independent and Express) trying to spin this as a dodgy debut by Elneny in contrast to Wenger who saw it as a fantastic start to his Arsenal career. We at PA are lucky to have A5 giving us a sober assessment of the game, most times a ringside view of home games, Yesterday fully confirmed that even with our reserves we have an excellent squad that can counter the best that the League can throw at us and, with some of our our best players returning from injury, we will be a force to reckon with in the title run-in.


  14. Positively Arsenal ‏@Blackburngeorge 4h4 hours ago North West, England
    I support the club because of its ethos, values and playing style, I do not support the values,ethos and playing style because of the club

    brilliantly put George, although I have and I would remain a supporter of the club even will a less attractive playing style,
    the AAA don’t know what they support, I so often see them say they hate the majority shareholder, the board, Gazidis, how the club is run(ethos), the manager, most of the players, so I can’t see whats left.
    I’ve said it before and really mean it, I never want AFC to be run like CFC or MC, and if Jose was ever to become our manager, I would withhold my support of AFC till he was gone, regardless of success or not, as I could never support a club that would abandon its principles and appoint a cunt like Jose.


  15. shotta did you see Everton goalie Tim Howard condemn his fellow studio pundits for laying blame for the Burnley goal at the feet of Ospina, Howard told them they knew nothing about goalkeeping if they thought Ospina was to blame.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Thankyou Andy – another peerless piece of reportage. You saw what I saw even though we sat so very far apart.
    Us radio wannabies are in mourning today for TW. Taken the shine off that has.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. a couple of questions for any of you who were at the game yesterday,

    it looked like there was a lot of empty seats, how many thousand seats not filled

    from TV it seemed that the AFC crowd were awfully quiet, was this the case

    as far as I know yesterday’s game was a Cat C, so prices reasonable enough compared to the higher end games, and it looked like there was about 10K seats empty, yet every time AFC ticket prices are mentioned all we hear from the naysayers and the head naysayers AST, is that AFC are pricing a whole generation of new fans out of attending games, and here we have a 4th round FA Cup game, featuring a new signing, the returning Coq and Alexis, and one of our young prospects starting, and there are empty seats all over the place. The Club also have pointed out that the £10 Junior enclosure is very rarely sold out. the AST never care to put forward any explanation of these things. Odd much.


  18. I have no idea how exactly how many thousand of empty seats there were but plenty of spaces around me – I would guess about 10% empty overall although it may be 10,000.

    If you looked on the Exchange on Friday there were hundreds of seats still on offer, same as Saints on Tuesday. I presume most went unexchanged. The game as not televised yesterday so god knows how empty it would have been if also on the box.

    I suspect the staying away may have something to do with ST holders having a certain number of vouchers for a total of 7 Cup games ? A ST holder might clarify that.


  19. but isn’t the main point of concern re attendance, is that the tickets are not being taken on ticket exchange, we have 80k on a season ticket waiting list, why are they not taking any opportunity they get to take a ticket, we also hear so much from AST about tickets not being available to “ordinary” fans, then we have so many games like yesterday where thousands of tickets go empty.

    one thing I would note, the German league had their return to action last weekend after their winter break, and we are told tickets are extremely cheap over there, yet ground after ground had thousands of empty seats too.


  20. OT(apologies)

    Liked by 1 person

    Screen shot 2016-01-31 at 15.46.37

    Arsenal have offered six players scholarship deals for next season, with Reiss Nelson the most high profile player to be given a contract.

    The winger, who has already featured for the U21s this season, is expected to form part of next season’s scholarship intake along with goalkeeper Joao Virginia, who joined the club last year and winger Emile Smith-Rowe.

    Winger Nathan Tormey and central-midfielder Josh Benson, who have both featured for the U18s this season, have been offered terms along with striker Jay Beckford, who previously played for Leyton Orient.

    Several of the other players under consideration, including goalkeeper George Phillips, have been told that a concrete decision has yet to be made on their future.

    It seems likely that the club will again seek to make several new signings at youth level to bolster next season’s U18 squad.

    Good luck to all of the U16s in their future endeavours.

    Posted in Uncategorized on January 31, 2016 by Jeorge Bird. Leave a comment


  22. Eddy @ 1;36: No I didn’t see Howard. he was not on my feed but good for him. TBH the commentating crew on duo tried to find some fault with Ospina but gave up in futility after concluding it was a delicious cross.


  23. Andynic,

    FOR SEASON 2013-2014

    4.4 The Season Ticket shall admit the Ticket Holder to the following matches played by the Club’s men’s first team during the Season at the Emirates Stadium:

    (A) the nineteen home matches in the Premier League; and

    (B) the first seven Relevant Cup Matches played during the Season.

    If, for any reason, it is decided that any of the Club’s nineteen home matches in the Premier League Championship during the Season or any of the seven Relevant Cup Matches referred to above is to be played at another stadium, then one alternative ticket will be issued to the Ticket Holder in respect of that match. Any such tickets will be either sent electronically or by post by the Club to the Ticket Holder at the registered email or home Address, at the risk of the Ticket Holder.

    I assume there has been no change?

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I see Valencia got another beating today, at home to Sporting Gijon.

    I suspect we shall see a sadder and wider Garry Neville on his way home with his tail firmly tucked between his legs.

    It might not make him a better pundit, but it may make him a better human being.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Ta NOTH – so three CL games and Sunlun make 4, and Burnley would have been 5, the next FA Cup round is weekend 19th – 22nd Feb so that might be the 6th, which would then make Barca the 7th Cup game.

    I can see the method in their absence


  26. Mid you it does say the FIRST seven Cup games – so maybe you don’t get a bye ?


  27. The Moray, Durham Road, Finsbury Park, closed in 2007.

    According toi the Islington Gazette, a book has now been printed about the old pub.. It seems that Rocky was gatecrashed a birthday party there? I do not need to tell you, which Rocky, now do I!

    I wonder if the young reprobate. Northbank69, was a regular? I would place the blame for all-seated stadiums at the feet of the reprobate.

    A useless piece of information perhaps, that happens when making an inquiry, about Southampton FC and Tuesday..


  28. No upset at MKD, shame I was hoping for an upset there.


  29. “I suspect we shall see a sadder and wider Garry Neville”
    He likes the paella then does old Gazza Nev?


  30. Arsenal v Hull in the 5th round of the FA Cup,

    Arsenal usually allow their loan players to play against them so Akpom and Hayden likely to feature against us


  31. chelsea v man city
    spurs v Crystal palace
    Shrewsbury v Man Utd
    Bournemouth v Everton


  32. Chelsea v Manchester City

    Reading v West Brom or Peterborough

    Watford v Leeds

    Shrewsbury Town v Manchester United

    Blackburn v Liverpool or West Ham

    Tottenham v Crystal Palace

    Arsenal v Hull

    Bournemouth v Everton


  33. Piers Morgan ‏@piersmorgan 30 Aug 2015
    I’d take Gary Neville tomorrow as Arsenal manager.


  34. Arsenal’s fixtures in February

    Southampton – Home
    Bournemouth – Away
    Leicester City – Home
    Hul City – Home
    Barcelona – Home
    Man Utd – Away


  35. There will be an undignified scramble to get the BBC Friday night slot


  36. Piers Morgan would rather have Neville?(adopts Orson Welles voice): “Morgan;probably makes the dumbest statement in the world”.
    Did the heavens take the wrong man and it should have been Piers and not Terry Wogan?Can we swop?

    Liked by 2 people

  37. So when Neville comes and people dislike him, will we see the formation of the Neville Out Brigade? NOBS?


  38. anicol we know Man Utd game will be one of the games on TV, and CFC v MC will be another one


  39. mills, as if morgan will end up in heaven


  40. its been confirmed that chelsea are losing one of their most loyal and biggest racists, John Terry is not having his contract renewed, he says he won’t play for another English club, Cardiff it is then.


  41. Eddy -good question! LMFAO!!!!


  42. wearethenorthbank ‏@northbanklower 3h3 hours ago
    Remember that time when Gary Neville called Wenger ‘naive’?


  43. Great write up A5.
    I thought Iwobi was number 10 as everything was going through him, although with Ox Alexis and Iwobi all interchanging it was difficult to see. Wengerball that good we dont even know who’s playing where.
    I was in block 11 and it was full but that corner always is and yes season ticket cup vouchers are the first 7 CL and F.A, cup ties dont turn up lose the voucher (league cup ties dont count).
    Hull’s a good draw especially just before the Barca game. A few lads can be rested in that game as well. Not sure whether the rules still allow Chuba and Issac to play and although it would be good to see them again, i’m not sure I want to see them play against us.
    City will be the Friday game unfortunatley, although I would like to see them knock chelski out so it keeps the amount of games city play up and the strain on their squad high.

    Liked by 3 people

  44. Checking the fixture list Chelsea play in Paris on the 16th – Citeh travel to Kiev for a game on the 23rd

    My paranoia is (momentarily) quelled

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Well written yeterday srew and well rviewed anfrew….

    well qualified and Hull is a good draw so the FA cup adventure is unfolding nicely… the league being over more games is still okay although a few more point here and there and we would actually be clear .. Liverpool and Sutton spring to mind even Chelsea home and away… none of those 6 points were deserved by chelsea…


  46. afcstuff ‏@afcstuff 3h3 hours ago
    PL teams drawn in FA Cup since 2014:
    Arsenal 8 of 15
    Spurs 5 of 6
    Chelsea 3 of 8
    Man Utd 2 of 8
    Man City 4 of 10
    Liverpool 4 of 11


  47. Wenger’s comments on Iwobi –
    “His decision-making is spot on and his awareness is very interesting,”
    “He’s a boy who, two years ago, not many would have said: ‘This will be.’

    “He develops very well. He’s very clever. I like the timing and the quality of his decision-making. He always turns where you want him to turn and he plays the ball where you want him to play the ball. He’s very interesting.”

    “I have a hesitation about loaning him because I think this guy could very quickly play,” he continued.

    “I think it would help him a lot to see the quality of the players around him. He can play on the left, on the right, behind the striker, even No. 9.

    “He scores goals in training. He’s one who, when he was a kid, could pass you by if you don’t watch well in training but I personally like his game.”


  48. Shrewsbury town vs Man Utd.
    A BBc Sports producers wet dream.

    Even Utd fans must start to cringe with how jammy things are going to keep their club in this competition.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. We want a replay at least out of Chelsea vs City.

    El Plastico.

    Liked by 3 people

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