43 Comments

Arsenal – “his balls are top quality”

 

danny-welbeck-434333434Hamjambo Positivistas,

What a sumptuous game we were treated to yesterday, an almost 94½ minutes of constant action, unceasing drama in which to lose concentration for a moment was weakness.

Unlike the great majority of Arsenal games I have the honour of reviewing for once it was not the eye catching quality of our technique that caught my eye. It was not a game for the technical enthusiast, nor the fan who enjoys the sight of our lads so are often exercising their silky craft and weaving a route through the opposition half. No it was primarily a physical contest, a ‘battle’ at times.

I would go probably so far as to say that for a number of our more skilled players yesterday was not one of their better games, ruffled and harried as they were by the vigour of our black clad opponents. That the Leicester goalkeeper spent a largely untroubled first half was not expected.

Having recognised that dislocation however those same players replaced their usual deft footballing cunning with a second half of relentless running, tackling and fighting. If there had been hesitation before half time there was certainty after it. The ball was now cleared decisively, passes were placed crisply, we began to push our hands around the throat of the Fox as it squirmed and snapped. The substitutions, which again I admit raised an eyebrow in Norfolk, proved pivotal in transforming control of the game into goal chances.

And slowly, inch by inch, blade by blade, we established our ascendancy on the pitch. Kante caged, Drinkwater exhausted, Vardy tripping the light fantastic as Cech played matador. Leicester crumpled back, more solid, and not much less difficult to get through but they were pinned on the ropes, clinging on, covering up, blows reining in toward a by-now desperately busy Kasper Schmeichel. Arsenal had the force of gravity on their side. 24 shots on target I see – Extraordinary – it made Frazer Forster’s recent evening at the Emirates look like a training session!

With our equalizer from Theo and more than 20 minutes to go I admit I had more or less already marked in the three points. That it took until the very last move of the game to transform the total control we enjoyed to eventually put the visitors down on their back in the most dramatic and terminal fashion was no surprise. We needed to become desperate, and by 94 minutes we were. It was the timing that proved almost agonizing. There was no luck though. The visitors ended on the mat, eyes glazed, dribbling, counted out.

As I said above I saw that not as a game in which I would shine the spotlight on individual performances or point to one player or another as decisive in the victory. The triumph was an outcome of collective will, of joint enterprise and energy. Bring those resources of character together in the coming weeks and defeat against any domestic, or indeed international, opponents, is unthinkable.

As is important when we are challenging on so many fronts it did not appear that we picked up any additional injuries yesterday. In such a physically tough game that is a benefit. That the boy from Longsight was back and sharp is obviously a boost to our attacking options. A pleasant few days break beckons to prepare for Hull and another early FA Cup start on Saturday. The Premier League title race remains wide open.

 

Enjoy the snap of Danny carried in this morning’s Independent and enjoy your break.

 

* and thank you to Amy and Arsene for today’s headline – I know, I know

 

 

 

 

About anicoll5

Arsenal supporter, 59, Dad, harmless and humourless, political militant moderate, school governor and worker bee

43 comments on “Arsenal – “his balls are top quality”

  1. That’ll do nicely.

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  2. Rantetta that second video you posted last night had me laughing like a lunatic, and what made it worse was I understood exactly how he felt. Now of to read the post.

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  3. LCFC quite simply tried to cheat their way to victory. Nothing admirable about that.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. One point I noticed in yesterday’s two games from the Etihad and the Ems yesterday was the very few Arsenal fans leaving before the final whistle compared to the flood of Citeh fans heading for the early train. One set of fans believed, the others had given up. Speaks volumes.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Agreed George _ Fook the Foxes, I lost a lot of respect for Raniei yesterday – he was channelling his inner Pulis for that match.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Anicoll5
    I was counting about 5% empty seats through the whole game.

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  7. Was it the way Ranieri was whining about the referee DC ? Very disappointing.

    I see even Pellegrini was at it yesterday – most unlike him but I suppose he no longer gives a fuck.

    Don’t know how to lose some managers

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  8. There were a few gaps but the crowd sounded well up for it, especially in the second half – it probably helped to atmosphere to go a goal down – perverse as that is.

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  9. I thought Pellegrini was fair.

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  10. You can feel the joy in your great write up A5! What a game! I still feel so pleased for Danny,what a magic moment-maybe the best AFC moment so far this season?Long may he be a Gunner! And great support, not giving up on the lads,urging them on.The Urge gebirge! Now on to the Arsehull…
    COYG!

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  11. Pellegrini would have been fair if he had reflected on the many many times in his seasons in charge of Citeh that his side had been on the lucky side of a dubious refereeing decisions. When did you ever hear a manager do that ?

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  12. Body blow, uppercut, knockout!!! Can’t argue with anything you’ve said at all. It wasn’t Wengerball by any means but that should not be an indictment on the team. A couple of the boys are still working up some match fitness and technical and tactical understanding have to be re-established. That being said, the whole team was relentless in breaking Leicester down for the three points, though I’ll give special mention to OG. Having a player like him was crucial in a game like yesterday’s and in hindsight, maybe Arsene should have kept him on together with Theo against the blue satan team. The sending off gave us numerical advantage but it is my feeling that made it more difficult for us, especially after we got the equalizer as Leicester shut up shop. With Kasper following the patern of opposition GKs at the Emirates, it was such an overdose of euphoria for me Dat Guy scored at the time he did (my voice is still paying the price). The squad is looking really healthy, bring on Hull. I predict massive rotation (this pundit thing ain’t hard at all).

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  13. Anicoll,

    More or less how I saw the game. Confirmation bias, hah hah. Barney Ronay wrote in the Guardian today that Leicester “simply looked the better team for much of the first half”. Not for me they didn’t. But then I wear rose-tinted glasses.

    It’s probably going down to the wire. I’m not sure Leicester having a week off is a good thing since they have just two games to play in 26 days?

    The Spuds, however, cannot be dismissed……

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  14. With you there GP – a decent break for the Foxes to recuperate but football is never that straightforward – too much time to fret about a defeat can be corrosive. As for our ‘neighbours’ Spuds they may have been lucky yesterday but a win is a win and they remain confident and on the front foot. We may have to match Leicester and Newcastle and win at the Lane. Now what a game that might be on the 5th March…..!!

    (drools uncontrollably)

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  15. I think we are getting stronger again. We should beat the Spuds in their backyard.

    Can you provide a rational explanation as to why I cannot contemplate any kind of success for the Spuds? We grew up in the same neighbourhood. Probably a slight majority of my school buddies were/are Spuds. Lots of loved ones are Spuds (for fuck’s sake!). I do remember they seemed to me to bleat too much, but why do I detest them so much?

    I’m off today. Going for a walk in the glorious sunshine…

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  16. That was a perfect description of the match Andy. It was a real battle and our boys showed that they are up for it and so were the supporters for a change. I think the way in which Vardy ‘won’ the penalty and the poor performance from Atkinson really got the crowd going. Instead of getting on our players backs they were booing the ref and the dirty cheaters in black, while urging our boys on to victory. It was great.

    Liked by 5 people

  17. It is the years of them stumbling to their knees in the final straight, of pulling up inexplicably short of the tape, of stabbing themselves in the foot with the javelin GP. Is failure in their DNA ?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Final play of the game and Mesut Özil stepped up to the plate, held his nerve and put the ball on the button. You had one job Danny and oh the joy. The bitterness from Manyoo fans makes that. more sweeter. In a an unpredictable season that couldn’t had been scripted better.

    That moment made it great believing it’s not over till the whistle has gone, and by extension, likely, the last game in May.

    What a great week to be Gooner. UTA

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  19. Thanks Andy, and thanks Stew for yesterday’s preview. Young Danny could just be dat hero you were talking about, what with cup-winning goals at OT and yesterday’s Lazarus moment. Early days, but I’ve always felt there was something about him. I followed the game on the BBC sport site and here, and wrongly thought the game was over at 1-1, only to be disabused of that by an emotional and barely coherent call from home just as I was passing though airport security. This write up gives me much more of a sense of what went on than the mealy mouthed edit that passed for Match of the Day. Well done one and all, and I rather like the way the pundits are discounting us in their haste to crown the Spuds.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. anicoll5, Pellegrini only made the point that it was the same Ref (Clattenburg) in the reverse fixture when 2 goals were given, which should have been ruled offside, while one other goal was of dubious content. With Mike Dean (confirmed Spurs fan) as 4th official, any wonder that penalty was given and Aguero repeatedly, ruled offside where common sense would suggest giving the attacking player benefit of the doubt.

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  21. I do not mind manager’s complaining about refereeing decisions Eris, it is total lack of consistency that disappoints me.

    A few weeks back Pellegrini told Martinez to “stop whining” when Everton lost out in the CoC semi final to a goal which resulted from a bad refereeing decision and a ball yards out of play.

    And who can forget the Cheick Tiote goal against Pellegrini’s side chalked off by Mike Jones against Toon;

    Hell of a strike – Pellegrini, oddly enough, thought it was ‘offside’

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  22. Well, I guess it is a case of “who feels it knows it…”. Never seen Pellegrini so ruffled, to be honest. With the likes of Mike Dean about, expect to see more decisions favouring the Spuds into the run-in. Our lads have to step things up.

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  23. That was a rollicking good bit of prose Andy. Charged along as breathlessly as yesterday’s second half. Of course we should have won by more, we created plenty in the first 15, had a clear penalty ignored and the opposition were rewarded by not playing with nine men as they should have and given a penalty that never was and were allowed to dive again with impunity if no reward.
    Olivier Giroud was head and shoulders above all others. Worked tirelessly for the team and made the vital, equalising goal. I saw some thought Calum’s appearance spelled disaster but he was assured and composed. A very good footballer.

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  24. There was a beautiful moment at the Etihad after the final whistle when Pellegrini had to push Mike Dean out of the way to go and congratulate Poch with a handshake.

    The look on Deano’s face was priceless.

    Rest assured however the FA and PGMOL will send him to an Arsenal game again before the season is out.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. The old fart’s thoughts
    Could this game be termed “The ultimate cliff hanger?” Just as our hero seems destined for oblivion, over the hill comes the 57th Cavalry with but seconds to go and we all return home happily ever after. We do owe something to Wasilewski whose idiotic foul paved the way for Oz’s free kick so delicately headed home by Welbz, back for the first time this season.

    It was definitely a day for our substitutes, Theo having scored the equalizer after the most deft cushioned pass from Olly left him free. What a pleasure to see him come alive after several weeks in the doldrums. Hopefully this won’t mean a return to the bench for the Ox, who quite honestly was more dangerous than others in our attack.

    It was easy to see why Leicester have turned into the surprise packet of the season; much improved defensively since we gave them a larruping in September with a solid midfield and Vardy and Mahrez ever dangerous. They have been willing to concede possession whilst waiting for the chance to break away quickly. Just before the break, Vardy broke through and was (?) brought down(?) by Nacho inside the area. Personally I thought he pulled off the trailing leg stunt, which Bobby Pires had made infamous at Highbury, but for once, Atkinson could not be lambasted for his decision and Petr was left helpless with Vardy’s penalty kick. Petr’s save of a Vardy header some time previously was worthy of note but even if he’d gone the right way this time, it would have hopeless, such was the power of the penalty.

    It had been a good half of non-stop end to end football with both sides happy to keep the supporters on tenterhooks. Whilst we’d had most of the possession, we weren’t able to do all that much with it and Schmeikel kept an admirable clean sheet, including one save where it seemed one of three things might happen. Rushing well outside his area he managed to stop Alexis in full flight without conceding either a goal or getting a red card…both of which seemed probable beforehand. Pity.

    The foxes didn’t stay clear of a red card however when Atkinson sent off Simpson after his second yellow. This gave us not just a man advantage but also had the added benefit of bringing Wasilewski on in place of Mahrez. In retrospect, this really was a game changer. We took the game by the scruff of its neck and gave Schmeikel and the fans behind the goal a hell of a peppering but nothing until Theo. Then Welbz doing the cavalry bit. Happiness is.

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  26. I have never seen such a spirited, evocative piece of post-game reporting by A5 ever since he assumed these duties. This is not a man who dishes out praise loosely, seemingly immune to disease of bandwagonitis that affect most fans once there is a major victory. To be honest, it is difficult not to suffer emotionally when we lose and to be euphoric in victory. I am not that arrogant to believe I am immune. Football as we all know is a game of fine margins but yesterday it felt, as Shakespeare said in Julius Ceasar:
    “There is a tide in the affairs of men.
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune…”
    The mental strength, resilience, teamwork, defiance against all odds particularly the cheating by “plucky” Leicester and the ineptitude of Atkinson, the Lazarus-like performance of Danny, the points gained, the gap closed, the false narratives smashed, the confidence gained, this could indeed be a turning point.

    PS: Where the hell is Eduardo? Strange he is not around to celebrate such a significant win.

    Liked by 4 people

  27. Anybody on PA who does Photoshop? I need a special piece of graphic for my next post.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Shotts I may be able to help but I need a few days to be able to sneak any extras onto my to do list.

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  29. It was a great game from the Gunners first time they’ve come back from a goal down at HT to win in the league in a while. I’ve still got goosebumps.

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  30. We all remember the strange pattern of offsides called in City’s favour that season I guess that it was just another repetitive and random pgMOB sequence of data that I wouldn’t waste my time debating here. A pattern is a pattern.

    None of that would reduce the respect and admiration MP has around the world (a world class manager? One reason why no Groaners or mafia club wannabes ever knew who he was when suggesting the likes of Moysie) and none of the favours the Petro club have been on the end of would have reduced the smiles and cheers from football fans up and down the land as MP kindly asked Dean to move after the final whistle and provoked that idiotic expression and body language from the stand up official that tells us all more then words ever could. Subtle but classy from the outgoing City boss he knew what he was doing in front of the cameras. I think MP went up in many people’s standings yesterday.

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  31. Anyway – on to the next game.
    It looks like we will have a very decent line up of 2nd stringers for the FA Cup Game against Hull.

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  32. Wasn’t Chambers impressive too yesterday…….

    Liked by 5 people

  33. The most common description of Chambers’ performance is “did not put a foot wrong” which I think is accurate. Cool calm and collected in a heated atmosphere – I could not ask for more from the young man.

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  34. Chambers’ passing out from the back caught the eye, yet again

    The BFG’s heir apparent

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  35. Due to the ridiculously early kickoff yesterday, I didn’t get to read Stew’s wonderful piece beforehand. And, due to other obligations, I didn’t get time to comment until it was past time anyone would have been around to read it. So…I just decided to wait until today.

    I will say this: games like that should not be played while I’m still struggling to open my eyes in the am. All I could think of were the medical studies that show peak hours for sudden cardiac death to be between 6 and 10 am. I fear I did not give the game my full attention after the “penalty” call, for fear I would become a statistic, what with anger and stress in full flow before 7 am!

    But the boys never gave up, did they? And what bold, bold moves from Arsene. If anyone had any doubt how hungry they are to win the title…not that anyone here does, but if one did, well, one should be over that thought by now.

    I won’t comment here on pundits or referees or other stupid people and their stupid opinions. You guys have handled that. That win was bloody brilliant, and I want to savor it as long as I possibly can. I couldn’t really pick out a MOTM – it was a team effort, and I am proud of that team to a man. I will reserve, as others have, a special word for Calum, though. That boy kept his head under extraordinary circumstances.

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  36. Best one of these I have seen;

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  37. Great article on a terrific and memorable game.

    Welbeck seems to have adopted the somewhat engaging habit of scoring very important goals at critical moments and in so doing, makes an early foray into the ‘legend’ making process …

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  38. One for the memory. And, despite what sulking pundits would have you believe, fully deserved…..just look at some of the match stats for starters.
    What a moment for Danny, great to see Theo on the score sheet….Monreal, Chambers, Bellerin….all of them really.
    Yes, we battled well, Leicester are good, but cynical as well, ultimately, our players stood up to that.
    DC, a few of us have been predicting Mike Dean to be unleashed at the Lane!

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  39. Great write up from a great finish to a game A5.
    the fact that the knockout blow came so near the final bell was unfortunatley down to another terrible reffering display, one were getting used to seeing. It was no coincidence as soon as the leicester players started going into book our dominence grew and was more telling. The fact Le Coq was the first player in the book was an outrage and really the ref should of been put down there and then for that decision alone.
    While I can understand a ref getting a 50/50 like the penalty wrong, to quite blatently ignore a mamouth amount of challenges from one side and then punish the other is either neglegence of the highest order or a bias which is driven by money.
    I have long said we are naive to believe the league where the most amount of money is at stake would not be influenced by money.
    around me (which was just above where Danny and the gang ran into the crowd) there were people leaving because I remember saying to my mates are they doing a five minute protest.
    Also A5, Kos went of injured and he was limping for about five minutes before hand so we will have to wait and see the extent of his knock, but yes Calum was excellent especially considering both CB ‘s like to play on the right hand side of the pairing. Gabriel also had a knock so thats could be an extra two added to the list.
    Anyway to overcome all the odds and still come out with the points was amazing and very emotional, I almost cried with hapiness, relief and maybe a bit of tiredness
    (12’o’clock is to early for a kick off when your trying to cram in a cooked breakfast and a couple of beers) for some reason was shouting I love you Danny Welbeck when I got outside the stadium.
    It was difficult to pick a MOTM they all done well including the subs, but Big Oli got through alot of work and the nod down for the second week running was superb. He almost got a double assist for the nod down to Danny a few minutes before the goal.
    Onwards and upwards.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. seeing as Ed, is not about just thought i let you know our U18s have just gone to pens after a 2-2 draw with coventry in the youth cup

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  41. SAVE KETO! The goalkeeper denies Hendricks! ARSENAL ARE THROUGH! #AFCU18
    ARSENAL win 7-6 on pens after Keto saves three pens ( Ben Sheaf and Jeff misses)

    Liked by 1 person

  42. happy fir the young uns…..future is bright!

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