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


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

bass guitar, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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

  1. Alexis taken out of it off the ball, ref seems to see it but takes no action.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. its game like this that the loss of Ramsey is most felt, no one making runs from midfield into the box, Iwobi should be making runs into the six yard box when ball out wide right with bellerin

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 70 minutes – Elneny and Oxlade-Chamberlain on for Xhaka and Iwobi


  4. I thought that shot from Alexis was in,

    come on Arsenal


  5. COYG! Come on lads give us something special!


  6. ooooooooooooooooooooooooooo






  9. Mils the king said it and he fucker was right !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fuck off Burnley!!!!!!!!!!!!




  10. ARSENAL WILL never win the league when the game has not ended?

    well so now they have broken in so, means they will win it right?


  11. Thought Ox’s shot had gone out for a goal kick, moved mouse to turn off, missed the button and just noticed that actually we had a corner. Phew.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That went rather well in the end

    Liked by 2 people

  13. One attacker on the bench. Does the job!



  14. the sequence of comments on the BBC commentary.

    LOL. waiting to hear that this is what champions do!

    Chris Crampsey: Arsenal will never win the league & this game shows why. They can’t break defences down, same every season. Pass around the box.

    Antoine V: A game that would have suited Giroud down to the ground.

    Ben Franklin: In seasons gone by this would be a 0-0 but I think a team will nick it with a few minutes remaining today.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. So who scored?


  16. Five wins on the trot and the two Mancs dropping points today is what I’m talking about. Have a good rest of your Sunday.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Just picked this up – brilliant

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Ref playing over the two minutes stated, two players offside, handball, how many things was wrong with that goal? That just doesn’t happen to ARSENAL in recent times.
    So all of a sudden we are getting penalties, becoming lucky ARSENAL again and some of our injuries are clearing up before they’re supposed to. Am I dreaming or has the universe tipped in our favour.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. I was on twitter giving it to the uber tweeps who were incandescent that Arsenal will never be perfect every match and will often have to grind out wins over stubborn obdurate opponents. Apparently none of them are aware that in our Invincible year we had 12 draws. All them uber tweeters were in a competition to demonstrate who is best and slagging and slating the efforts of our boys to get a win. The team won despite their anti-support. Fuck them all.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. That was no pen a_or_b. Ball to hand. The most resilient team won. You make your own luck by being persistent to the end.


  21. well guys, I actually have not seen the goal, had to miss from the 78th minute, so was it offside, was it handball, or was it just the sort of decision that Arsenal don’t normally get, and so is being deemed controversial by not only the media and pundits, but by our very own malcontents.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Today’s win – 5 in a row now – leaves just one question to be answered, “how are arsenal going to claw back the five point lead Wenger’s negligence, dithering, incompetence, stinginess and stupidity has given to Man City, Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd, you know all those clubs with modern managers”

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Paddy ‏@VieiraPaddy 53m53 minutes ago
    GOAT dab


  24. Kick Arse ‏@kickarseHD 1h1 hour ago
    Think about how many people that goal has pissed off. I’m in heaven.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Every team will do their best to avoid defeat.

    Experience tells us, that a team with roughly a week’s rest, will test any team involved in a European competition!

    The team won, so ignore the “knockers”.

    Looking at the prelim accounts for 31st May 2016, our first team players lost a Champions League trigger bonus point.

    It appears that if there is a prelim round, to qualify for the group stages, there is a bonus. The next trigger point, is qualifying for the last 16 from the group.

    As far as the Arsenal players are concerned, fourth place in the EPL, is a trigger point for a bonus.

    Source: Stuart Wisely, Chief Financial Officer.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Today I learned about football.

    Manchester United should have had Herrera sent off, and Pogba was allowed to strangle an opponent with the most expensive headlock in the world. Conceded from a goalkeeping error (which wasn’t an error according to Owen as he tied himself up in knots and said it was while explaining why it wasn’t) from the best goalkeeper in the league. Scored via a chance created from a defensive tackle. But they were unlucky to not win because they were by far the better side who just missed their chances from the best striker with a man bun in the world.

    ManCity and Pep Guardiola were unlucky to not have De Bruyne available and with their players not turning up to execute Pep’s perfect tactics of…. uh..whatever it was is too high brow for me.

    Arsenal were shit in the first half, and also shit in the second half and only won because the ref played extra time, and awarded them an offside and handball goal, which wasn’t intentional handball but still was handball. Burnley’s unintentional handballs (plural) were not handballs. Their blatant spoiling tackles weren’t yellows either. Arsenal were lazy, but somehow played till the last second of the game. No intensity after Chelsea and Basel, meaning they took this game for granted. No Giroud to win crosses, no Ramsey to run into the box, no strikers even with Lucas, Welbeck and Akpom all out with injury (and Alexis is not a striker) and not even Coquelin to press and get turnovers in midfield. And we got the three points. Pfff… We should be outraged as Arsenal fans. This is the crap we’re served up every year by Le Fraud Wenger.

    I really know nothing about football (must be deluded) Oh well, you live and you learn.

    Liked by 6 people

  27. WhoScored.com ‏@WhoScored 48m48 minutes ago
    @BetVictor Shkodran Mustafi: MotM vs Burnley, Rating 8.69 Clearances 13, Tackles 6, Aerials Won 5, Interceptions 2, Touches 110, Dribbles 2

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Here you go Eddy-the big bundle!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Some really great comments, and a good day, and a brilliant week.
    Not at our best, but kept going, against a team, why mostly were happy to sit back, as is their right.
    Not at our fluent best, and perhaps fortuitous circumstances about the winner…..but funny, when City, Utd, Spurs, Chelsea win in such circumstances, you make your own luck, when we do , the WOB/media go into meltdown…..which makes it all even better.
    Good on the boys for fighting to the end , in a tricky fixture when some were clearly, and understandably jaded after the week they’ve had.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. jeez the malcontents are butt hurt over Arsenal winning today, they are whinging more than any Burnley fan over the winning goal.


  31. thanks Mills, well no offside that I could see, and for handball to be given it has to be deliberate or trying to gain an advantage, as Kos was trying to kick the ball himself, he was hardly trying to handle the ball.
    Having seen a couple of handballs by Burnley defenders dismissed as “not deliberate”, I find it amusing that Kos handball is being deemed a foul by the same people.


  32. Was Mustafi actually thinking the ref was a Burnley player? LOL


  33. FPL ‏@OfficialFPL 2h2 hours ago
    The goal is awarded to KOSCIELNY and the assist to WALCOTT #BURARS #FPL

    Sky Sports Statto ‏@SkySportsStatto 2h2 hours ago
    300th @Arsenal PL clean sheet under Wenger
    Keepers with most
    72 @thedavidseaman
    54 @jenslehmann
    48 @13Szczesny13
    43 Almunia
    19 @PetrCech


  34. ts he was merely showing the ref what vokes was doing, and explaining that it was no foul, and you know it worked, he avoided a booking

    Liked by 1 person

  35. TS-No, I think he was showing him what had actually happened to him just prior from a Burnley player.


  36. Real madrid drew 1-1 at home to Eibar today and Barcelona are currently losing 1-0 away to Celta Vigo, it seems games after midweek CL games are tough for all.


  37. The old Mustafi looks a great buy so far. Also another great moment was seeing all the subs go crazy and swamp the lads after the goal-good sign when the squad are all together.
    Kos looks like his eyes were closed when the bundle started anyway sure wasn’t pushing the ball around deliberately.
    Fantastic win today, Burnley have one tight da of an defence and that was one heck of a moment the goal going in-just look at the away fans going nuts,I still feel elated and I wasn’t even there. Never give up!

    Liked by 3 people

  38. Ed: “Real madrid drew 1-1 at home to Eibar today and Barcelona are currently losing 1-0 away to Celta Vigo, it seems games after midweek CL games are tough for all.”

    According to the arm chair coaches, Wenger should have rotated against Basile.


  39. oxlade-chamberlain and walcott called up for englands 2 up coming games


  40. Gains, who the hell are Eibar, imagine the malcontents if AFC drew at home to a team with a stadium capacity of 6,300


  41. – ‏@AnfieldRd96 7h7 hours ago
    Stoke’s first point at old Trafford since 1980. Mourinho breaking records with Man Utd.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. barcelona now 3-0 down away to celta vigo, 50 minutes played


  43. we have played 10 games so far in all competitions,

    our next run of 10 fixtures are

    Swansea – Home – BPL

    Ludogorets Razgrad – Home – CL

    Middlesbrough – Home – BPL

    Reading – Home – EFLC

    Sunderland – Away – BPL

    Ludogorets Razgrad – Away – CL

    we then have

    Spurs – Home – BPL

    Man Utd – Away – BPL

    PSG – Home – CL

    Bournemouth – Home – BPL


  44. According to that photo, edu, could it be that Mustafi found a way to please the ref?

    Probably not, as Mussi hadn’t made a foul. BesideS plenty of fouling by Burnley I swear I saw a good few handballs from them. I didn’t see any of them penalised. (I’ll re-watch the match as live sometime in the next 48 hrs, then I’ll be able to satisfy myself as to whether the pitch was pretty ‘orrible and the extent of Burnley’s norty ness).

    Sometimes whilst watching I think; did that player just do ‘such and such’. For example, I thought I saw a Burnley deliberately push a ball away with his forearm/elbow, in their penalty box. I definitely saw a forearm smash on Musti from their No. 9. The commentators are talking their usual shite when these events happen, but there’s a telling hesitation when they see summat happen that should stop the game – before they carry on describing anything but the match.

    I found it a bit painful that a combination of dogged defending by them and misplaced passes by us meant we had to wait until the dying seconds to get the goal, but I refused to give up hope. At half time my thinking was that Ars would come out with a new plan to break down that defence. I acknowledged to myself that we looked tired (and I felt that way myself). But I always had in mind that our defence looks secure and we’d probably get a goal at some point due to multiple attacks taking place. I’m not sure there was significant improvement from Ars in the 2nd half, yet I still found it all way more entertaining than that which I watched when I started supporting Arsenal.

    I hadn’t thought about el Nen coming on as sub but that looked like a very good move to me. Ox? Obviously.

    Your summary has me in fits (given that we won)

    How do you do it? (Monitoring and exchanges with the twatteratti).

    Funny, on the previous thread, right near the end of comments, I posted a vid of Danny getting the last minute goal against Leicester. (It includes the forearm smash on Nacho, which could’ve been Red).
    I’d like to think that the combination of my positive thinking and this positive blog went some way towards pushing our boys to the last notches. It’s more likely that the Arsenal players were determined despite being dead on their feet, and Arsene #20, Stevey and our supporters combined to make it a great day. I retain my delusionment entitlement.


    Liked by 1 person

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