153 Comments

Arsenal Versus Ludogorets: The Norway Of The Year

Bridge In Greyfield Woods

The last time I had anything even remotely resembling a proper job, and we are going back into the halcyon mists here, there was a rhythm, a recognisable pattern to my work year. I was shackled in the engine room of academia, not teaching of course – they don’t allow inarticulate, uneducated oafs from the labouring classes to stand in front of young people and tell them how the world works – God forbid.

Only the most servile and robotic clones capable of adhering to the strictest codes and never risking an original thought are considered fit to be teachers these days. Which is why it’s a good job young people have men like Arsène Wenger in their world. If you want someone to look up to, look no further I say. In a life of insane rush and avaricious clambering having a man capable of maintaining a calm equilibrium in the face of abuse, malicious misrepresentation and an all round lack of appreciation can only provide a positive counter balance.

When I was working at the college each term had a particular character and I evolved different strategies to get through the individual challenges posed by them all. November was a bastard. The novelty of the new academic year had long since evaporated, the clocks had reverted to proper time and darkness was gathering all around. Christmas was too far away and too expensive to contemplate and the true misery and futility of their surroundings had begun to sink into the students resulting in the predictable but nonetheless unpleasant behaviour patterns which inevitably ended at my door.

So I joined Nanowrimo. Because I would be writing against a deadline and under pressure every day the month simply flew by. Before I knew it I would be opening my advent calendar and contemplating two weeks off in the dysfunctional bosom of my family.

For some reason known to the universe but not to me I approach the November fixture list in a similarly uncertain state of mind. Looking back over the years the results simply do not bear witness to any annual meltdown in the eleventh month. This time last season wasn’t the most fun an Arsenal supporter can have, but generally we’ve won more than we’ve lost so I can’t explain the trepidation.

It may simply be that the bleakness of my outlook infects my thoughts  where football is concerned, and let’s face it, we all look at the world through our own distorted lens. Those who think a player is poor will, in their minds, amplify his errors and overlook his positive contribution to the team, and we all do the reverse for the players we love.

In reality then November should hold no more fears than any other month. It isn’t the time when Arsenal traditionally ‘melt down’ as the vacuous lickspittles of the press would have us believe. It simply means another series of fixtures for the players to navigate, all of which are significant regardless of the opposition.

We kick off this mini campaign with the usual worries about injuries. Our last match saw us robbed of Lucas, Monreal, Theo and Santi while Danny is not even projected to start his rehabilitation into the first team until next month. Olivier and Aaron are only ready for a few minutes from the subs bench and so we can expect a few players to be putting in quite a shift before November is out.

One thing the boss could do is rest people for cup games where he deems the opposition pose a significantly lesser threat. Do Ludogorets fall into this category? I’m not so sure. In one respect the argument could be put forward that as we comprehensively gubbed them less than a fortnight ago then yes they are a decidedly weaker team than, say, the Spurs side we will face on Sunday. Results seldom tell the full story though do they? For much of the first half the Bulgarians played some neat football and only the ever alert David Ospina kept us from falling behind. In their own stadium and with a point to prove to their supporters they may not be the pushovers that six nil suggests.

I am of course falling into an obvious trap. That of looking ahead beyond the match in question, contemplating the fixture list for the month ahead and ignoring the age old mantra  of one game at a time. Fortunately enough I’m not the one who matters here. The man in charge who’s decisions actually have an impact will be fully focussed on tonight’s fixture and whatever team he sends out will, I’m sure, be properly prepared and more than capable of getting the result.

Right, I have to find two thousand words for the first page of this year’s novel so you’re going to be on short commons today and for the rest of November I’m afraid. Unfortunately I am not one of nature’s planners. I sit down each year with an empty page in front of me and an equally empty head. They call it writing by the seat of your pants. I hate that I’m like this, it makes the world a terrifying place to navigate and I wish I could spend the preceding eleven months planning but as with every blog I write for you I’m afraid I just have to start scribbling and hope something comes out of it.

If you’re travelling to Razgrad tonight then I wish you a safe journey, if not I’ll see you here from seven forty five. Or eight forty five as my body clock still deems it to be. Either way I’m as excited for another European night as every other supporter  – whatever time of day or year it happens to be.

About steww

bass guitar, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

153 comments on “Arsenal Versus Ludogorets: The Norway Of The Year

  1. No injury time? Four goals? Someone needs to slap this official with a mouldy old kipper for that call alone (sorry Andy Nic force of habit)

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Who d’you fancy Andy? Could go either way I think. We look like scoring every time we build a few minutes of pressure, they look like scoring from every fast counter attack.

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  3. No Stew – the home team have shot their bolt. We can expect another 15 minutes of rigour from them, maybe even another goal, then they will fade. I fancy 4 for us.

    Then don’t do bus those Bulgarians though – very game.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Excellent fightback by the boys. But there are still those who doubt the commitment of this squad.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Fair enough Andy, we shall see if your prediction has merit. I fancy an Ox style quickie straight after half time would see their morale collapse.

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  6. Here we come! COYG!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hope the ref books everyone who protests from now on.

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  8. (I don’t)

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  9. He loves handballs

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  10. Well Andy – they still look like they have a bit of pace left in them.

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  11. ospina with a couple of saves in the last few minutes

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  12. Ooooospina x2

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  13. Great run and pass from Ludogorets but the guy was given so much time to make the pass. Well done Ospina.

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  14. Granit lucky that isn’t his second yellow

    Rough bugger

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  15. where is john moss when ludogorets needs him, xhaka only booked

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  16. He’s made a couple of sly fouls, needs to be cute or be careful if he’s going to play like that.

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  17. 75 minutes – ox on for rambo

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  18. Good sub. Ox will put a bit of vim back in us.

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  19. BMGB 1-1 celtic

    the germans down to ten men, defender sent off for conceding the penalty celtic scored from

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  20. Xhaka walking the old tightrope.

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  21. Fuck me – that’s the headline

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I don’t think you understand mesut ozil is arsene wenger’s man

    Liked by 2 people

  23. The truly great players stay so calm when it matters. Three guys he took out then. Genius. Love that guy.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Ozil has been threatening and finally beat the offside trap. What a quality finish. Took 3 players out.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. well then… we’ve got Ozil

    Liked by 3 people

  26. that was an ice cold finish by ozil, the way he took the ball over the keeper, then calmly round two defenders to have an empty net to fire into was just awesome

    Liked by 4 people

  27. was it elneny who had the assist for ozil’s goal, just seconds after coming on for xhaka

    iwobi on now too

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  28. Up the Arse.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Think his celebration tells us how Özil feels about that finish

    The clip over the ‘keeper. Let’s see how long it will take for Sanchez to try and copy/repeat in the near future.

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  30. The right result – well done to ozil – that was an exceptional finish

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  31. Always loved how Mesut can pass to himself never seen it done over a keeper though!

    Liked by 3 people

  32. FT: ludo 2-3 Arsenal

    outstanding goal by ozil to win it, following up goals by giroud and xhaka that brought us back from 2-0 down.

    we were shaky in defense and ospina make a couple of great saves when it was 2-2. We showed great fight to come back and scored 3 fine goals, with ozil’s a thing of beauty.

    AFC have qualified for the last 16, as have psg, all that is left to be settled is who finishes top, as things stand AFC are top courtesy of our 1-1 away at psg.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Giroud I think with nearly a foul to win the ball back and Elneny mimicking Cazorla’s assist for Özil last time against Ludo.

    I think the gaffer’s fruit-tile plan to coax more goals out Özil is starting to bear fruit

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Stants ‏@Stants_Official 3m3 minutes ago
    Different gear from Giroud busting his bollocks to win the ball back for elneny to put Özil in for the 3rd goal.

    Great to see.

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  35. Danny Welbeck ‏@WelBeast 42m42 minutes ago
    OZIL just sent the Ludogorets defenders back to Europa league last 32 to wait for Manchester United and Paul Pogba. 😫😫😫😫😫😫😂😂😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Arsenal’s best run of results in the group stages in 9 years

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  37. He went round the two defenders to stay on his left, not opting to take the shot on his right. Amazing stuff.

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  38. I’m to dream about Mesut’s goal….goodnight Positivistas…

    Liked by 2 people

  39. ‘OZIL ALWAYS MAKES THE OPTIMAL SOLUTION’

    Mesut Ozil scored an 88th-minute winner as Arsenal came from behind to beat Ludogorets 3-2 in Sofia on Tuesday night.
    The media asked Arsène Wenger about the Germany international’s performance after the match, and the manager had this to say:

    on a crazy game…
    We were caught cold and were 2-0 down and after that I felt we didn’t panic, kept our composure and came slowly back. It was good to be 2-2 at half-time. In the second half we dropped a little bit physically and we continued to dominate the game, but we were exposed to their counter-attacks. After, I would like to say three more things. First of all our keeper made one or two saves in the second half, we managed to score a great goal just before the end and Ludogorets are a good team who maintained the intensity tonight that they couldn’t maintain at the Emirates.

    on the winning goal…
    You know, I would say the great players make the right decisions in the game situations they face. They always make the optimal solution. To me it didn’t look for a while like the optimal solution, but when the ball was in the net I thought it was! You wanted him to take maybe his chance earlier but at the end he had enough skill to prove that he was right.

    on a test of character…
    I give credit to the team spirit because it’s linked with belief. When you have positive results it shows a healthy mentality in the group together, and that comes out in these kind of games.

    Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20161101/-ozil-always-makes-the-optimal-solution-#HTyEHZSRmlizJtfb.99

    Liked by 1 person

  40. seemingly the Telegraph when AFC was 0 – 2 down, tweeted the pic of AW slipping over in the train station, with a derogatory comment. Seemingly they’ve took it down now.

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  41. My twitter one-liner:
    “Poor old twitter. Ozil just burst your pessimistic hearts.”

    Liked by 3 people

  42. ΜċGεε ‏@Labo_Goon 2h2 hours ago
    To celebrate his 200th career assist, Mesut Özil gifted himself an assist and shelved in top drawer… #YaGunnersYa #Arsenal

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Spanish Gooner ‏@ElSpanishGooner 1h1 hour ago
    Marca claim Mesut’s goal is one of the best in UCL history, almost every outlet here saying it’s an historical goal. Difficult to disagree.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Pérezident Lucas ‏@RancidPotato 48m48 minutes ago
    Giroud did Elneny’s job, Elneny did Ozil’s job and Ozil did Giroud’s job

    Liked by 1 person

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