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Arsenal Versus Burnley: To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

gather_ye_rosebuds_while_ye_may

Damn the coffee tastes good this morning. I had a long and wearying day yesterday, entirely missed any football related news and gossip and have woken to thin watery sunlight washing through chill autumnal air. Only one thought could kick me out of the womb like warm coddling of my memory foamed paradise; Turf Moor, sixteen thirty hours, and the return of our all conquering heroes.

There is a superstition among fans that travelling north of Watford on the weekend following a European midweek match is a tricky affair. The best we can hope for is to survive and nick the points and return home to prepare for the next game when, refreshed and rejuvenated, the boys can once again turn on the style. That mood has not so much lifted as evaporated this week.

Such is the atmosphere of joy and goodwill within the Arsenal family right now that everyone is licking their lips in anticipation, revelling in some sparkling performances and generally not coming down off their post Chelsea buzz. I’m a naturally cautious character. Having predicted a good day when Costa and co visited the Emirates I agonised over removing the offending paragraph. Terrified of hubris, of misplaced optimism, and (whisper it) being irrationally and unforgivably concerned at ‘jinxing’ the result it was a genuinely difficult decision to leave it in.

In the end the sense of gathering momentum, the hints of a joyous return to the wonders of Wengerball were so strong as to be irresistible and my inner editor waved the white flag and skulked off to sulk in the corner. Of course I didn’t ‘know’ we would trounce Chelsea and produce a performance of breathtaking superiority over Basel. I didn’t dare to even guess but I had to express the feeling, to try to articulate the warm spread of confidence that came not out of the blue but from the steadily growing assurance with which the team was playing. The signs were there against Watford, and they proved themselves true.

So now the point in hand. Can we continue the momentum against Burnley? Is this side on the verge of putting together an indomitable run or have we just witnessed a flash in the pan? A quick survey of the coffee grinds reveals nothing of note and certainly nothing pertinent to the football. Our opposition promises obdurate, methodical defence and a George Graham like miserliness whenever they take the lead. Arsène said, in one of his many interviews last week, that Sean Dyche has come up with a system for Premier League survival, honed over his four years in charge, and based around efficiency and organisation.

This suggests that we will need to be at our fast, inventive and free flowing best to bypass an obdurate midfield and well drilled defence. We have of course had plenty of experience of siege warfare over the years. Teams are alleged to have hit upon two ways to frustrate Arsène Wenger’s side; kick ’em up in the air, or pack the defence and hope for the long ball counter attacking goal. I have often seen people bemoaning the fact that we appear incapable of dealing with either tactic to which I have a one word response. Phooey.

If we were truly unsuccessful when faced with the tactical defence employed by ninety percent of our opponents then we would hardly be finishing in the top four year on year would we? While it can be frustrating to watch sometimes the team generally does get their reward. The exceptions which prove the rule of course stick in the craw and take on a distorted importance in much the same way as the single grain of sand renders the Vaseline less efficacious than one might otherwise wish.

Having said that it is a gruelling business wearing down a dogged defence and can delay the crucial breakthrough until very late in the game. I suspect that rather than going fishing and assuming all will be well on the day, the greatest coach in the Premier League spends many of his waking hours turning over solutions to the problem in that overstuffed Gallic noggin of his. I also believe we are seeing the fruits of those mental labours played out on the pitch.

A subtle shift in tactics enabled by being able to augment the squad with the right kind of players, by patiently allowing key personnel to return to form after long spells of injury and shifting others positionally have all combined to a new, dare I say more ruthless version of Wengerball. Fast direct running with simple combinations such as that which left Theo romping into the open spaces behind the Basel defence for his second goal. Lofted passes over the massed ranks exploited by lightning quick, intuitive footballers coming from all over the pitch whether nominally wide midfielders, fullbacks or strikers. All of this combined with the tried and trusted patient passing moves designed to keep possession, frustrate the opposition and draw them out from their lair has achieved a heady brew of irresistible football.

My pesky inner editor wants me to sound a note of caution now. This entire caffeine fuelled piece, he says, has a ring of triumphalism surely out of place in a preview of events yet to pass. Once again I squash his objections and counter with this. I’m not predicting an easy win, heck I’ve not even predicted a win. All I’m doing is revelling in a purple patch, enjoying the sun while it shines and gathering ye rosebuds, in time honoured fashion, while I may. I don’t predict nor expect the wonderful form of the last two games to continue for the rest of the season, that would be a fatuous exercise in trying your patience. However I do firmly believe that if we can’t be happy and enjoy the sport when our team is playing well and winning then really, we should question whether we ought to be following the game at all.

If you’re travelling to Lancashire today, wrap up warm and I trust you’ll be in good voice. If you haven’t heard from me by four o’clock, send someone round to give me a poke, it’s just possible the coffee may have worn off and yesterday’s exertions have caught up with me. I’d hate to be sleeping when the the next chapter in this fascinating football story unfolds.

 

About steww

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

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124 comments on “Arsenal Versus Burnley: To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

  1. what a panic buy

    I’m not sure if Mustafi is bat shit crazy or merely just a little odd. But by God he is one fine defender.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Tom Gordon ‏@GoonerGordo 3h3 hours ago
    We fully deserved that win. We were a bit lucky, but Burnley stuck 11 men behind the ball and didn’t even try and win the game. Fuck them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. a new angle of the koscielny goal

    Liked by 2 people

  4. FT: Celta Vigo 4 – 3 Barcelona

    so Barca, join Real, and Bayern Munich, and of course Man City in dropping points this weekend after playing CL midweek.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. leicester, southampton and man utd also dropped points after midweek european games.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. and some say refs don’t screw arsenal over

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There’s nothing like a last minute victory for the good guys. Let’s hope the international break does not put a break on our momentum.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. D ‏@Mesut1079 55m55 minutes ago
    Will Wilshere wanna leave Bournemouth now he’s not made the England squad?..

    Like

  9. Imagine if he tried that o Mike Dean!
    Oh. My. Days.

    If he’s going to start cuddling the refs then he was worth every penny and then some!
    I thought Arteta was smart…

    Like

  10. I was shocked to read somewhere that we only went after Mustafi after it was clear we were starting the season with defenders injured? really? as if AW has ever spent less than 6months to a year checking out players before buying him… some panic buy indeed

    Like

  11. ΜċGεε ‏@Labo_Goon 8h8 hours ago
    Both David Moyes and LVG did better than José Mourinho in their first 7 PL games. Lol. Put that in your Manutd pipes and smoke it

    Like

  12. Sanchez is not tall… or rather AW is quite tall… LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  13. TS Mustafi said Arsenal were in contact with him from before the Euros, and that he had many conversations with Ozil at the Euros, about Arsenal, and what he could expect here. Of course the malcontents would rather believe that he was a panic buy, and that Wenger did not want him at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Manchester city will not win any league with their current defenders.

    Like

  15. Joel Campbell was an un-used substitute as Sporting Lisbon drew 3-3 with Vitoria Guimaraes. That’s 3 games in the last 8 days where he has failed to get game time, after a good start for Sporting, Campbell has fallen out of favor, with his work rate called into question after he was subbed off at half time in his last game for them.

    Like

  16. ah DC, you fail to take into consideration that it was the brilliance of spurs that beat them, not poor defending, now it would have been poor defending if it had been a loss to Arsenal.

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  17. as usual match of the day analysis is so one sided, “arsenal lucky cos it was hand ball” – yeah lets ignore the rule, it has to be intentional. But seeing as they ignore the rule, then why did they not say the Burnley defender who handled a ball that was hit from over ten yards away from him, by another burnley player, got lucky not giving away a penalty, oh no they said “he could not do anything about that, as it was fired at him”. Its only a couple of weeks ago that Match of the Day, stated the rules wrong on another Arsenal incident – the handball sending off of the Hull defender – it really is sad that the Beeb employ bias cunts

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I now understand how Stoke managed to get a draw v man utd today, they finally dropped shay given, who has been woeful, not only this season, but for some time now.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. translation of commentary of Herrera’s foul on Allen

    Commentator – “a different ref on a different day and that would have been a card of a different color”

    Translation – “this ref, on the same day, with a player of a different team(not man utd), and that would have been a red card”

    Like

  20. Gracenote Live ‏@GracenoteLive 5h5 hours ago
    Arsenal win a PL away match by a goal in injury time for the first time since Robin van Persie netted the 2-1 at Liverpool in March 2012.

    Like

  21. Graham Poll says on the Kosciellny goal
    “I watched the replays three times and I still don’t know whether it was deliberate handball on Koscielny’s part.
    The defender’s arms are only up because he was trying to play the ball with his feet”

    good God, he can’t decide if it was deliberate handball or not, it explains a lot about why he was such a numpthy ref, the man is clearly an idiot.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Quite incredible, seems some of the WOB are still really upset by this result, even Spurs winning hasn’t cheered some of them up

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Did anyone else spot that the ref added on the extra seconds after two minutes were up, because the Burnley fans refused to give back the ball for an Arsenal throw-in when one of thir own players hoofed it out.
    Justice was done.

    Liked by 1 person

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