Arsenal : Bon Anniversaire Laurent



Good morning Positives far and near,

A bright morning in Norfolk with just a hint of autumn in the garden.

As we all saw a valuable three points gathered in yesterday against a well-organised Southampton side maintains our PL momentum. This morning we sit just on the shoulder of the leading pack, tucked in nicely with games against Hull and then Chelsea in prospect.

Of yesterday’s game it was an absorbing contest. By no means classic Wengerball but a game in which, as the cliché goes “ we ground out a result”. We started slowly in comparison to Southampton and it took the opening goal to jolt us out of our hesitant state.

Saints came with a plan which very nearly worked, and it had nothing to do with bus parking. The visitors started with three players in attack, Tadic and Redmond of the wings and Rodriguez/Long more or less up the middle and tactically it caused us problems all afternoon. With Van Dijk and Fonte resolute at the back, Classie and Romelu breaking up midfield Fraser Foster had a much much quieter afternoon than I can recall he has ever had at the Ems. I can understand why their manager went away frustrated to earn nothing but praise for his team’s quality and application.

The result turned on small events and, for once, I enjoyed an excellent view of some of them from my spot in the Clock End. Watching the incidents last night on the box I would not have picked them up or their importance without seeing them live.

Most controversial was the alleged foul on Long in time added on by Monreal that Referee Madeley refused to give and from which, via a corner, our winning penalty came. Looking at the incident from 90 degrees to the action Nacho barely touched the Saints striker, the merest of contact with the back of his heel, accidental and on the basis of which the Irishman leapt into the air like a spawning salmon, clutched his face in agony etc. The TV idiocracy last night castigated the referee for failing to punish the so-called infringement. I quote “ he raked his studs down the back of Long’s ankle”. As Nacho was on a yellow card, it would have been curtains for him and curtains for our three points. Bollocks, Long cheated, Madeley spotted it for what it was. If the Southampton manager or any Southampton fan wants to complain then have a go at the idiot who stupidly gave the away the ball in the corner, in time added on, by trying to cheat.

Of our players the two new boys both did well. Mustafi looked as though he had been with us for months and while Perez found it difficult to get any space or time against the centre backs he was constantly moving and made a few nice touches. He will have easier games to get up to speed. Santi pulled the strings, master puppeteer that he is, Le Coz worked his arse off as usual ( and did you notice Francis did not get a card yesterday?) , and Hector and Nacho coped admirably with the Saints wingers and out in their usual attacking shift. Mesut had a quiet afternoon but when you are that good people notice if you so not orchestrate the decisive moments of a game. Even Mozart hit a few bum notes sometimes.

And what a goal from the birthday boy. I saw it described last night as “the finest goal ever scored by a French defender, anywhere, ever”. I think that is just about fair. In the context of our season it may be even more notable than that.


And finally a word of praise to our fans. We worked well to get get Foster booked early, which in it own small way was also a factor in our late, late victory. Onward to Paris, and in the words of M. de Lisle;

Allons enfants de la Arsenal,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!

Enjoy your Sunday.

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61 comments on “Arsenal : Bon Anniversaire Laurent

  1. Has Adrian Clarke done this review?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The old fart’s thoughts:
    (Ian’s PC is playing up !!)

    Seeing the two new faces of Mustafi and Perez was surprising especially given the little amount of time each has played this season. I would think that both Olly and Rob were a bit disappointed. Given the bedding-in plus the interbloodynational break it was NOT surprising that we weren’t at our sharpest. But as usual we never gave up and Santi’s late penalty was just reward, as indeed was the penalty itself. It could have been given for either of two fouls on Olly, shirt pulling followed by tripping. But first we had to go one down and it was Petr’s bad luck that following a great save, the ball rebounded from the bar and went in off his back. But we were equal when Kos gave himself (and us) a wonderful birthday present with an overhead bicycle kick. Any striker in the world would have been proud of that one. So 1-1 at half time and with our back line plus Le Coq and Santi doing a more than adequate job, I think most of us were optimistic.

    That optimism seemed justified as we took control of the midfield but unfortunately our attack was showing gums rather than teeth. It was a bit of a relief to see the Ox, Wally (who in his Theo role had been quite impressive in the first half) and Lucas substituted for Olly, Alexis and Alex Iwobi . Oz immediately perked up and together with Santi (arguably our MOM) plus both Hector and Nacho getting forward at every opportunity started playing. Of course, that left us a bit open at the back and Petr had to make a really good save to stop the unthinkable from happening. His/our luck had changed as the rebound was badly mishit into his lap.

    And so to the penalty…just in time to make for a “happy, happy”. What’s that adage about “When a good team doesn’t play well but wins it’s a very good sign.” I agree. Now for some frog’s legs on Tuesday. Keep the faith.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Nice work Anic, thanks and excellent preview yesterday Steww. I did not see the game but caught the MOTD highlights. The template will remain the same this season for visiting teams to the Emirates – Stifle arsenal, keep men behind the ball, break away with counter attacks when they commit men forward and maximise set pieces. Our high scoring games will be when we play away, so we will have to grind out results at home. #markofchampions!
    Anyways, 3 points in the bag and roll on PSG. By the way, did y’all see the strength of the bench yesterday? Yeah, me too! No wonder lil Jack had to be lent to Bournemouth. Good times ahead.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. PG, Adrian’s The Breakdown doesn’t go up till tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it too.


  5. I agree on the bench Santi, great options that Arsene was able to throw on and still with Danny and Aaron due back before too long

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review thank you. I second that nod of appreciation to the Home support for piling on the right kind of pressure (onto the opponent, and the official!)

    Saints fans I spoke with after the match weren’t too keen on their new manager’s new formation but the Arsenal but there were less saves from Forster in that first half then in the previous two Home contests against Southampton (I think).

    Late winner for Alexis two seasons ago following heroics from Forster, a late winner for St. Cazorla yesterday.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for this great review and for all the top comments which are invaluable for a non-game watcher as I was yesterday. I listened to the BBC radio coverage of our game and also heard their Manchester derby commentary..I did see the Liverpool Leicester game on the TV, which I enjoyed. It seems to me it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the top three teams this season maybe ourselves, Spurs and Liverpool. I also came to the conclusion yesterday that my loathing of Chelsea was due far more to the United manager than anything else and that few things would give me more pleasure than seeing another implosion. What does interest me is that Sir Alex got rid of Pogba and was in the process of getting rid of Rooney before first Moyes and then van Gaal resurrected him. Is it maybe the case that Jose now has two overrated and essentially undroppable players at the heart of his midfield. I hope so.
    But back to us and I get the sense of a machine slowly meshing. And of course Cazorla is mainly the reason why Jack needed to go away for a while – and why, if fitness is proved and levels regained, we can enjoy the final couple of seasons of Santi magic without totally dreading Father Time.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Long got the short one from the ref yesterday. What a cheat. Last year he tripped Kos and ran away to score a goal. This time around he barely got touched on the back of the heels (originally on tv it seemed he just tripped over himself and it took a slo-mo replay blown up 400% to see the contact) yet he fell over in agony clutching his face. Yup, his face. Thank heavens our boys insisted on playing to the whistle even ignoring the injury to Kos in the build-up to the penalty. Karma is a bitch, innit.

    Nice one AndyNic.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Nice write up, Sir. And including praise for the ref! I do like a late win…particularly when late enough for a few miserable sods to have already hurumphed their way out of the ground mumbling at their feet. I never will understand leaving early.

    Yesterday I said I was likely to meet a Southampton fan on the way to the game and have a decent football chat but I was wrong. My unlikely, temporary soul mate was a West Ham fan on the train.

    He joined a stop after mine and sat beside me, his son opposite.

    “Like your new ground?” “Who you playing today?” Sort of chat.

    Next stop train gets filled to capacity, standing alongside us a chap festooned in red looks down at my new acquaintance and says “I hope you stuff them”.
    Hammer fan and I look at each other in mild surprise and I say to Arsenal chap, “really? I’d quite like Watford to stuff West Ham to be honest” Hammer fan respectfully acknowledged my sentiment saying “likewise with Southampton”
    “quite right” says I.

    Arsenal chap goes on to say his reasoning was because “Watford knocked us out of the cup” Fair play, one might say, his reasons are his reasons and its not for me to question (much)

    Arsenal chap now goes into an Anti-Arsene rant. He genuinely looked at me and said “he’s a wanker, hopeless. Will be glad when he leaves us after this summer”

    He also told us “I’m not paying a penny to that place while he is in charge. I’m going to watch in pub. Worst thing to happen to our club. If we lose he may leave”

    I responded “Each to his own. I hope and think he will be with us a couple or more years yet.”

    Arsenal chap proceeds to throw various well chewed lines at me (that need no repeating here) and I said “you really should not believe everything you read in the papers or online”

    His reply caused West Ham chap, his son, me and at least 3 others in the vicinity to laugh out loud, a lot.

    “I dont believe everything I read. I get my facts from Talk Sport”.

    Heading home on train late last night I smiled at the thought of Arsenal chap possibly cursing Arsene’s ‘luck’ as Santi put the penalty into the net – if he hadn’t already stormed out of pub or rioted or somesuch.

    I also felt a tinge (no more than that mind and even then only fleeting) of despair for my Hammer train buddy. 2 nil and they fucked it up apparently.

    So, I didn’t bump into a Southampton fan but still had a nice chat with a West Ham one and a not so nice but nonetheless entertaining interaction with a fellow Arsenal fan.

    If I do meet a Southampton fan in the near future, however, and have a chat about football fandom, there really is, based on yesterday’s train ride, only one thing I could say.

    “It’s a funny ol’ game, Saint”

    Liked by 5 people

  10. wasn’t it lucky for our greatest ever player, Bergkamp, and our record scorer, Henry, that we did not have uber bloggers and twateratti around when it took each of them 8 games to score their first Arsenal goal, otherwise they would have been written off like Lucas has this morning, as not being good enough, and not Arsenal class, not the world class striker we need, etc etc etc.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Thanks Andy – good to have a perspective from someone actually watching live. From Radstock the star performer appeared hands down to be Coquelin. Whenever our bubbles started to go flat he shook the bottle to great effect. Turning over possession, closing down Southampton players all over the pitch and very, very assured when he had the ball. A far better footballer than most ever give him credit for.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Andy Nic, that’s a great review.

    I haven’t watched MOTD or any full match replay so far this season. Last night I watched the full match on ArsPlaya, having watched a scratchy stream in the afternoon. Commentary on the stream was the usual anti Arsenal shite fest inc. lies about Santi’s booking, and that Nacho should’ve been hung, drawn & quartered for his vicious attack on Long.

    I’d like to point out that Nacho, along with most Ars players – when they foul/think they’ve hurt someone, they’re instantly apologetic. Monreal was sorry for his tackle that lead to the opening goal, though the replays didn’t pick out the contact. I’ve no doubt the Soton player made a meal of any contact, presuming he didn’t invent it in the first place. The ArsPlaya comments on the Monreal/Long contact wasn’t nearly as damning, though Martin Hayes can be marginally Robsonesque most games he’s plunditing.

    Therefore, your report, A5, including your live view, and comparisons with the MOTD crap, is excellent, along with noting the crowds response to the time wasting.
    (I think UA deserve a shout out here as they’ve been pointing out our fans baying when visiting teams are time wasting – for a couple of seasons at least).

    For me, Soton were allowed to get away with plenty of cheating, diving and dissent. I understand where they’re coming from. After all, the last 3 seasons they’ve got away with murder when playing against Arsenal, inc. J Moss’s 3 gifted goals to them on Boxing Day, and for handing Ars a good kicking at the Ems – last season. (Can’t remember who reffed that). “Raking” is what a totty player done to Theo, Jan 2014, and what a Reading player done to Mesut in the cup semi. These same plundits don’t describe these assaults on Arsenal’s players in the same way at all (Not enough on that for me, they say).

    All of which makes Ars’s win all the more magnificent.

    Well done Andy Nic. Well done Arsenal.


    Liked by 4 people

  13. Steve_I.
    Fantastic post. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great review Andrew, ditto Stew on the preview and all comments it was most enjoyable.

    There’s everything to celebrate and none to be miserable about when you got what you want – 3 points. So I’m happy our boys got much needed minutes getting back into form, Arsène got a look at formations, new boys had a run and Ramsey an extra weeks rest. Smiles and high 5 all around.

    Which is why I was a bit taken aback last night on twitter, many fans express “anger” and outrage, pundits and media went to town on us for beating a very competitive Saints outfit. A mere 2 weeks ago these same ppl praised a star studded Manutd’s elite winning mentality for beating a newly promoted managerless and 13 fit men Hull team in the 96th minute. Strange ppl.

    Roll on Tuesday – we can go on a good run.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. still no foul to be seen here

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Mustafi and Lucas getting the Ozil “stealing a living” treatment from the daily mail, oh what a surprise.


  17. Ryan ‏@RyanTomes 2m2 minutes ago
    If that goal by Koscielny was scored by someone like Ibrahimovic we’d never hear the end of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Paddy ‏@VieiraPaddy 1h1 hour ago
    Lacazette injured again, viva Wenger and his voodoo curses. God bless that fucking man.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Squawka Football ‏@Squawka 6h6 hours ago
    Shkodran Mustafi completed more passes (85) than any other player in the Premier League yesterday.

    Duck to water.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you for your kind comments.

    I have just received an urgent message from No 1 daughter. She spotted Eddie Howe wheeling, and I quote here, ” a huge trolley piled with party food” out of the M&S store in Bournemouth.

    I think we can expect the announcement before the PSG game. #ITK

    Liked by 5 people

  21. Great write up your train journey Steve. On the train back from Kings X there were loads of ‘Ammers looking far from ‘Appy. The ones who were not incoherent with alcohol were in a state of shock as to how things have gone so badly wrong since the end of last season. The new stadium received a general thumbs down and most seem resigned to a relegation battle.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Well Steww called it right when he said the game would seem like the first of the season and when your that right in a preview it cant be bad.
    A5 your right the crowd played a vital part in getting foster booked so early in second half but the the ref should of also booked himself for the amount of timewasting he did. I was saying to a feller next to me it must be strange what goes through a refs mind when he gives most of the 50/50’s to one team for 90 minutes only to givethe other side the major decison at the end. It not surprising that overall I thought the ref had a bad game, I know A5 and many others might disagree, but I felt he played right into the saints hands. He blew up when he shoud of let the game go and he just wasnt consistent with the type of fowl he was blowing up for or booking. The fact until late on we had two bookings to their zero was criminal. On at least two occasions he did let play go only to fail to go back and book the saints players. These may seem like little things but it really cramps our style, slows us down and gives the other side licence to fowl more often. In the long run I belive the general performance of the ref through the 90 minutes has a bigger effect than the one off incidents. lastly on the ref the four minutes called by the ref at the end was ridiculas when you consider the injuries, subs and obviously the time he was supposed to add on for the keeper time wasting. Although once Santi despatched the spot kick I was glad it was cut short.
    Overall I thought both teams played some good football in patches and will get better as the season goes on. On the new guys, I thought they done well for an introduction but Perez will need to learn to stop moaning and get on with it when he is kicked up in the air but thats usual for new foreign players who cant quite believe what defenders are let get away with. We did look vunerable in the air partly because southampton are very good and partley because Holding, Xhaka and Oli are stronger in that department.
    It does show the strengh of squad when one of second choice midfielders can play such a prominent part in the game and only lose out to Motm by a superb display by his collegue.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. Another big plus for the strengh of our squad was all three subs made an impact, good times ahead.


  24. After a slow start (thanks to the Inter-minable-lull) both Steww and Andy N really into their stride now. And what a magnificent stride it is, too. A very good write up Andrew, as was Steww’s 24 hours earlier.

    As one who is amongst the first to defend our much-maligned men in black, your highlighting of Shane Longinthetooth’s antics are most appropriate.

    And, I have to say, this has been the best start to the season for many years by our referees. They won’t get it all right but at least this season they APPEAR to be trying and I hope it continues. Play acting and penalty area ‘rough and tumble’ being two of the biggest scourges of the game.

    I just want one of them one day to send Rooney off. What for? Take your pick – foul language or just fouling, his two chief ‘attributes’ that are now his rapidly diminishing stock in trade. That he will likely end up at the next World Cup is depressing beyond belief.

    Back to AFC yesterday – I don’t think we were at our best but we weren’t bad. But the (3) point(s) is – we still won.

    With a little help from Andy N and his friends in Clock End, of course.

    Well played.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. The second half started at 16.04 and the final whistle blew at 16.56 Seebs so the actual time added on was about 6-7 minutes in the second half. You’re right though it could/should have been more.

    I felt too many Saints players went down too easily and theatrically which posed the referee some problems. Long and Tadic were both guilty of ludicrous overacting which impressed no one.

    Fortunately the cheating did not grow to epidemic proportion as it did in the Manchester derby yesterday where both sides dived and writhed with no respect for the game, their opponents or the occasion. Any opportunity to deceive the referee, to get an opponent booked or sent off, is taken. While it was difficult to choose one on the Trafford park pitch who was worse than the rest I suspect we will hear more of Nolito and his cheating antics this season.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Arsenal has the best away record in the last couple of seasons it’s been at home we are having the problems.
    Not sure if it’s the extra pressure put on the players because of the spilt in the fan base which is leading to there not being 100% support for the team on pitch.
    Or teams come play defensive football which we are finding hard to over come.
    Maybe the answer is it’s a bit of both but we as fans can change one of the issues we need more home support like yesterday’s.

    Liked by 5 people

  27. By the way, the kick to Kos’s face was deliberate. You’ll see the Soton player not aim his foot to anywhere near the ball, and if memory serves, the offender writhed around as though he was kicked, heavily – in his back:



  28. If he meant to kick Kosc in the head then it was a brilliant combination of dynamic movement, anticipation and timing.

    Kicking a player in the head, if they are not prostrate on the ground in front of you, must be every bit as difficult as executing a bicycle kick. Who would you practice on to get really good?

    Either that or an accident.


  29. Well said Gunnerjoe (2.24 pm).

    Is it just me or did Kos enjoy a near-scandalous degree of media indifference to his overhead equaliser yesterday? Sky Sports Twitter feed ran a poll for goal of the day which inexplicably omitted our defender’s critically important strike.

    Seem to recall fat Wayne Rooney’s overhead number from last season (or the one before) being hailed as the greatest shot since Pele.

    Strange how these things are played out, intentionally or otherwise.


  30. * 2.25 pm – sincere apologies everyone.


  31. well aa of course kos goal not in contention, that would take away from the set media line that arsenal stole the game.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. how does Costa keep getting away with his antics


  33. And Kos hit it clean, Rooney shined it

    Liked by 4 people

  34. SlovenianGooner ‏@slovenianGooner 1m1 minute ago
    And Costa scores again after he should be sent off. 3 times this season. No mention of it in the media.


  35. good… points dropped although dropping 3 would have been better, but there are games ahead


  36. Is it wishful thinking on my part or are CFC actually shite at the back ?

    Courtois has turned into a Belgian Joe Hart, Terry and Ivanovic look slow and past it, and Cahill panics every time he is put under pressure.


  37. Keenos ‏@KeenosAFC 29m29 minutes ago
    What’ve we learnt this week?

    Rooney & Costa can do what they want without being punished. But someone like Santi gets a yellow for dissent.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. anicoll, After the initiall 4 minutes had been signalled the delay in taking the pen and the booking for the player defacing the penalty spot (which should of been a red and been locked in a room with our ground staff) while an injury was treated and another for decent accounted for the extra minutes so no the ref still got it wrong. You are of course right about the chelski defence looking shit.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. The other interesting thing we learned was that if you are a club whose players consistently dive and pretend to be injured then, as in the boy who cried wolf, and the referee has your number there are consequences.

    Cahill should bear that in mind next time he folds up under a heavy challenge.


  40. The Soton defender stretched his left boot to stud Kos. Yet the ball hit the defender on his right breast. I don’t think that was and accident. Watch the .gif again (and again and…).

    Abu Diaby’s effort on JT in the milk cup – I’ll hold my thoughts on that one, though it was a magnificent clearance!

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Thought the ref did a good job yesterday.
    Just hope the universal media reaction that we were lucky, and got away with it doesn’t mean undue pressure is put on our next ref.
    What is it with these idiot punters. The laws of the game as they are written don’t have to mean the laws of the game that Shearer and co may want. Alan, shirt pull in the area is a penalty end of….just because it doesn’t fit your agenda filled version of a proper mans game etc.

    Liked by 3 people

  42. I have to say I’ve never had trouble kicking a moving head.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Troublemaker


  44. Master Ninja, if you don’t mind.


  45. This thread is making me distinctly anxious.


  46. woah: I’m now an expert in head kicking.
    I wathced the Olympic kickhead comp, where that lovely lady from Wales done very well, and the poor guy from London got kicked in the last second. So I know, innit.
    BUT, PG, the slowmo replays of that last min kick – to my eyes – looked like it was blocked. Was the kick blocked by Mo’s hand, or is it irrelevant if the buzzer goes off due to the force of the kick? 2) Do you wear studded boots when you fight?

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Is it just me, or does Chris Sutton quite like Chelsea?


  48. I thought I’d watched all the Arsenal game and in fact watched all the main talking points several times, but it seems I missed one incident, i know I seen Monreal accidentally step on Shane Long’s foot, but it seems I missed a piece of outrageous dirty play from our Spaniard, as he in fact according to several leading football journos “raked his studs down the striker’s Achilles”. I really hope the FA bring charges, as there is no place in the game for the raking of an opponents Achilles, and I hope his ban is for the length of time Long is out of the game with the serious injury that such a dreadful act has surely left him suffering.

    Now the only thing that maybe we should consider about the incident is that, as a group of English finest football journos discussed the finer details of the game, one of them said “Shane Long reacted as if Monreal had raked his studs down the back of his Achilles”, and a lightbulb went off in their collective minds, and as if one, they all had the angle their editors would want “Monreal raked his studs down Long’s Achilles”, job done, never mind truth, fairness, facts, or any old bollocks like that, “lucky Arsenal got away with it”, you could not ask for more.

    Liked by 2 people

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