Arsenal Gleam in the Fog on the Rhine


Guete Morge Positives,

Yet another spectacular night from our lads with Basel swept aside within 16 minutes. It was obvious from the team selection and the energy that we immediately put into the opening few moments that this contest was no “dead rubber”. This was handbrake off from referee de Sousa’s first whistle*. Whatever happened in Paris, whether the 10% chance Arsene had referred to as our prospect of finish top of Group A was more than feint whimsy, we were going to take it.

I do not think our hosts were really expecting our vigorous approach. Why would they ? Basel are not a bad side. Against English sides they have a good record at their lively St Jakob home. They no doubt anticipated a difficult match for sure but one that, with patience, they could nick a goal and take their place in the Europa League that would have been expected when the group was drawn in August.

Within that 16 minutes however, as we all saw, the Swiss were on their back, torn apart by some exquisite passing and movement, pure Wengerball. I attach below the passing diagram for the second goal. 32 or 33 consecutive passes I am told. I don’t know about you but as I was watching that move after c. the 24th or 25th pass, with Basel’s head spinning, I thought something ‘sinister’ is about to happen. I think Ferguson described that sort of football as being on a “carousel”. And when the merry go-round stopped the ball was in the net. All that was needed to complete the drama was the music from Jaws;



I do not say for a moment that our football did not shine after that 16th minute, and I could rhapsodize about Perez’s third, Sanchez’s free kick and twist of delicious fortune that allowed Iwobi’s goal scoring salvation for his OG at the Ems. It is just that after the 16th minute the game, as a serious contest, was over and the Swiss were beaten.

As is usual for me on a night in which we dominate the opposition it is very difficult to pick out individual performances. I would fail in my duty however if I did not name Lucas Perez in the report. Three shots on target, three goals! I am sure it has been a fairly frustrating time for the Spaniard since September, but he has waited for his chance to play Champions League football and it is a night he will not forget in his career. In his honour therefore the headline photo. You have earned the accolade young man.

Having performed as well as we were able in Basel the evening took a more remarkable turn as the score filtered through from Parc de Princes. 0-1, 1-1, was more or less as expected but 1-2 in the 70th minute was not. That “10% chance” to top the Group suddenly took on a much more substantial form. In fact, despite a late Parisian equalizer, the Bulgarians held on. Having watched the highlights The Bulgars earned a fully deserved point and it was not a game in which PSG dominated.

Thus the football gods smile upon us in Switzerland. May their good humour extend to Saturday and more meaty encounters to take place in North London.

Enjoy your Wednesday.

*I have no idea what happened to referee de Dousa by the way as I never heard or saw him for the remainder of the evening. I had to look up his name this morning. He clearly is a highly competent referee. Lee Mason please note.


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54 comments on “Arsenal Gleam in the Fog on the Rhine

  1. From Bootomee a moment ago;

    Not having a moan here (okay, maybe I am) but it’s been only 12 hours and I am already tired of the “Arsenal top group thanks to Ludogerets” idiotic talking point. It is akin to winning the league and thanking a team that escaped relegation due to taking points off your closest rivals. Talking points like this shows how logically deficient we are becoming a society/species. It is disappointing to see Ozil start the “thanks Ludogerets” nonsense.

    I understand the feeling of relief that we get from their result against PSG and it is only human to be grateful whenever we get breaks but not all breaks are favours. And this clearly isn’t.

    Arsene took a strong team to Romania because, as he said after the game, Ludogerets are a good team which he believed were capable of getting a result. And for the umpteenth time, the great man was proven right. But unlike when Newcastle put 5 past the scum of North London after having been relegated to send us into 2nd spot, this was no favour. In fact, Arsenal did Ludo a favour by enabling them to qualify for Europa because we ensured Basel got a worse result than them.

    I am complaining about this because I know how quickly we rewrite events and toss nuanced facts into the garbage heap of history. Considering the fact that Arsenal already qualified for the round of 16 in CL and the fact that coming 1st in the group doesn’t guarantee an easy route into the quarter finals (because of the calibre of the teams that are likely end up as groups’ runners up), our coming 1st might not serve us well at all.

    It is always great to win and I will always pick coming 1st in the group to coming 2nd any day, and Ludogerets’ result from yesterday is why this is possible, but let’s not forget that Ludogerets are only in the Europa (which I think must be a big deal for them) because of what we did to Basel. Ludogerets and their fans should be thanking Arsenal; it shouldn’t be the other way round.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. It was a very good night’s work. ANicoll.

    Lucas was a panic buy, remember?!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh, and a word about Basel.
    Very good home support, and they were very good in the first half, unlucky to keep the scores closer a few times. Shame they can’t defend.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Anicoll,

    Thanks for reposting my comment from the last thread BUT more importantly, thanks for not thanking Ludogerets in your erudite article.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. To be honest Basel could have scored more than one goal with their striker Janker failing to hit the target at least twice. If Doumbia had been on from the start they might have made more of a game of it but you can only beat what is in front of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. A joyful uplifting performance. Even if PSG had scraped a win, it would have been a travesty if we hadn’t topped the group.

    Now be honest. How many people – like me – when they’d recovered from the elation, thought “so . . . . . . . . . Bayern’s turn this year”?

    By the way, I’m delighted the spellchecker has given us the phrase “feint whimsy”. Sounds like a perfect description of Alexis’ stepover on Saturday.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Stew and Andy are a tag team to rival the Royal Brothers.
    Their new contracts are my priority.
    Brilliant work Andy.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. The old fart’s thoughts:
    How spoilt we’ve been in the past 5 days. 9 goals and two hat-tricks? Plus the joy of looking at a bench last night that was the strongest I can remember even with Le Coq and Hector missing. Real pleasure also from our mid field that took control of the game and allowed Oz and Alexis to merely display their outrageous talents without having to risk limbs. They were both outstanding. But having all that in mind, what can be said of the Keiran and Lucas show? Three assists from Kieran and a pure hat-trick from Lucas. All goals having had plenty of influence from both Oz and Alex.
    It was definitely a night to savour and store in the memory bank. With a much revised back line all played their part and Gabriel again impressed. With Granit showing his brother how the game should be played, Rambo up and down the pitch with yet another performance mindful of Duracell, and young Alex regaining confidence with an Oz assisted fourth, all we really needed was for Alexis’s thundering, swerving free kick to have hit the net instead of the bar. It was a pity that Rob Holding , who’d had a great game, should slightly blot his copy book with an error that led to the Basel goal, but maybe they just deserved that consolation.
    How is AW going to keep everybody happy? We’re close on having two great teams available once the injured return. Happiness is.
    Now for Stoke and please, please, pretty please, another display like the last two. Keep the faith.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Congratulations to the team, a bit of a masterclass, and some very impressive performances leading up to it. Good time to get a first hattrick for the club, and Xhaka was outstanding.
    What next…well, either Madrid or Munich are very pleasant visits


  10. Thanks Andy for a top report – and especially invaluable to those of us who didn’t see the game. I only got home deep into the second half, just before our fourth goal. I am delighted for Lucas, but am puzzled as to what position he was playing? Striker (see he was wearing 9), or right wing? And I was glad to see Holding make a mistake which led to a goal (despite apparently being otherwise excellent), as that will help his development far more than just blithely sailing through the match. And on that sort of theme, I did see Callum Chambers play the night before, and he was very good too.
    And we will keep everyone happy by the sort of intelligent rotation that we saw last night – and, of course, by winning games and staying in competitions for as long as possible.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I’m the handsome one;

    (and don’t call me Shirley)

    Liked by 4 people

  12. well said bootoomee, I posted the following question last night

    what have the following teams in common

    Nottingham Forrest
    Ludogorets (again)
    Man utd
    PSG (again)
    West Ham
    Basel (again)

    clue to the question is – Arsenal have only played two decent (not great) teams this season

    well the answer is simple really, they were all deemed to be shite, by a section of our own fan base, uber bloggers and super fans 5=1 v west ham, 4-1 v Basel, even the 3-0 v chelsea, all put down to how poor the opponents were, not how good arsenal played, and of course they two defeats we have had confirm arsenal are shite. Don’t forget we don’t even play good football anymore, and two defeats in the last 32 games is just papering over the cracks.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It was all very fluid across our striking front last night Tim, with Alexis playing deep at times, and allowing Perez to lead into the penalty area, then Iwobi or Ozil popping up on the edge of the 6 yard box. I am not surprised the Swiss were confused.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Another ace Post, Anicoll, and your prose is something that I delight in reading because of the clarity off your views and then the dropped shoulder dummy leaving the reader in a spin following the occasional non-sequitur.

    I agree with everything you said about the game and the players, and hopefully there will be more upbeat reports like this!

    Now as to those non-sequiturs — ‘Guete Morge’ is clearly a greeting from?? And the reference to a carousel; “Ferguson described that sort of football as being on a “carousel”. And when the merry go-round stopped the ball was in the net. All that was needed to complete the drama was the music from……….. Jaws”

    The first is probably showing my ignorance, and the second threw me as I thought you were certainly going to give us a musical verse from ‘Carousel’ — but – Jaws?? (lol)

    How about;

    Round and round like a horse on a carousel, Arsenal went,
    Will Basle catch up to the Gunners team? I could never tell, I know,
    Chasing after them is like a fairytale, but I,
    Feel like I’m glued on tight to this carousel
    Come, come one, come all,
    You don’t need to be tall
    To ride this ride at the carnival.

    No …… maybe ‘Jaws’ after all. (lol)

    Liked by 2 people

  15. i’m glad that the seeing as wenger does not do tactics that the players took it upon themselves to alter our attacking play now that hector is missing at right back and we have the more defensive Gabriel there, and we seen first Monreal give west ham all sorts of problems, and then Gibbs run Basel ragged,


  16. There was something about our tactics last night that does not appear to have been raised in blogdom.

    Arsenal have sometimes (often?) been castigated for our endless cross field passing that ends with us losing the ball, and causing problems for the defense.

    But there we were passing beautifully, with players running into position to make each pass easy, and if there was no way through, back went the ball and round and round the passing, like your carousel it went, Anicoll, until an opening materialised and like a nest of vipers we struck leaving Basle gasping.

    That is why AW employs the possession game with the endless passing and moving – the tactic is sound, but occasionally the implementation has not been perfect, leading to the chorus of complaints. Last night that tactic came very close to being perfect!

    I for one loved it.

    It bothers me not a jot what others say about my team – who cares? not me. We won, and I could not give a royal stuff who was thankful to whom – that is totally irrelevant.
    There are foreseeable consequences, and there are unforeseen consequences – both are outside the control of the teams playing, other than the ‘winning’ bit, and that is how it should be — otherwise the screams of ‘fix’ would be ringing out – heavens forfend! (lol)

    Liked by 3 people

  17. I seen one pundit last night lambast Lucas’s performance, and oddly enough used his first goal as one of the things to prove how poor he is and how poor a control of the ball he has. You see to this pundit (Brian Kerr the ex republic of ireland manager), the fact that Lucas did not panic and snatch at the opportunity first time, but instead showed awareness of the time and space he had, by taking the couple of touches and stroking the ball into the net with a defender sat on his arse, showed that Lucas had poor ball control, and was not Arsenal standard. Kerr basically said of his overall performance that Lucas is too weak, has poor first touch, poor control, is a poor passer of the ball and although he scored 3 goals, it was only Basel.


  18. Anicoll @ 10:50

    The tall fat one looks like me with a beard, so the hirsutely challenged one is presumably you?? (lol)

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Arsenal have so far in 2016 suffered two away defeats, Man Utd in the league, and Barcelona in the CL, but despite this fact I see uber bloggers blast wenger for saying our team plays with more freedom away from home, how dare he imply the home fans create a negative vibe that our away fans do not.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. that photo is of how Alexis and Giroud will look in 20 years.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Lucas stats so far

    5+3 games

    5 goals

    2 assists

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Wenger on Bellerin: “It just sends out the message that the media have to find a different name of somebody who wants to leave the club.”

    media – Alexis wants to leave for china, Ozil too.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Lucas a panic buy? Yet it was he who disclosed that Arsenal contacted him as far back as the last winter transfer window. Thank heavens Vardy decided he was too good for Arsenal.

    Liked by 5 people

  24. Arsenal have scored 57 goals so far this season in 23 games.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Sign em up George!

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Lovely stuff. Particularly enjoyed Ozil’s performance.

    Think he trusts opposition players and the ref a lot more in Europe and so is willing to sprint with the ball more. A wonderful sight. He was also supremely good at retaining possession with clever movement and passing in central areas. Again I think this had much to do with him trusting he was less likely to be manhandled or clattered, and that the ref would deal with it if he was.

    Gibbs excellent, Xhaka really looking the part, Holding again looking like he can be a top player. Another good performance from Gabriel. A welcome goal for Iwobi, whose confidence has dipped a bit by the looks of it. Bloody good night.

    Back to the prem. Stoke. Mason (liked him more when he was Bobby in King Of The Hill). A different ball game. The only things relevant from last night will be the players confidence, touch and fitness. Protection gone. Bookings for anything remotely bookable.

    I’d prefer Coquelin (if available) or Elneny to come in and partner Xhaka for the game, as Ramsey, who did plenty of good work, still looked a bit too incautious about when to push on. Though maybe, as that’s probably the best partnership available, it has to be worked out through games together

    As always with Stoke, I want to get it over with, unscathed and with the points. Nowt else.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Ozil & Sanchez
    Maradonna & Valdano (as players not managers!)
    Bobby & Jack Charlton
    Bergkamp & Henry

    Andrew & Steww

    Good times!

    Liked by 3 people

  28. So:

    Is it safe to say that the senile old has been Venga bought in Alexis and Ozil with the promise of improving them, and that he has!

    Let’s look at the evidence:
    Since arriving at AFC –

    Has won two club cups, a World Cup, improved his strength and stamina and ultimately he’s started to nibble at that carrot that AW has been beating him with for two years, goals.

    Two Copa Americas, acheiving Chilean and S.American “great” status.
    Made Messi cry.
    Made Suarez cry
    Learned how to pass the ball, sometimes (There’s hope for the rest of us!)

    Yes. It’s true. When the previous two global superstars left the club it was certainly the end of an era. But, well, things have a funny way of turning out and I’m glad it’s these two chracters that in the end brought in the baubles & hopefully more to the club.

    This is a ‘great’ era, and it is a great time to be watching this football team.
    No English club has put on a display like that in Basel before, they tried, and the locals will remember that football for a long time to come.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. Michael Gooner ‏@MickTheGooner 6h6 hours ago
    Basle’s home record vs English sides in Champions League:
    2011: Man Utd 2-1
    2013: Chelsea 1-0
    2014: Liverpool 1-0
    2016: Arsenal 1-4

    Liked by 4 people

  30. As I mentioned earlier, I watched a fair bit of Middlesborough Hull on Monday evening, but only 20 minutes of us last night. Two different games of football,, but I might have been watching two different sports. The way this team passes when on song and the angles they find is quite unlike anything else in the UK.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Granit & Talant
    Rocastle & Davis


  32. I watched Boro Hull on Monday FH

    I was reasonably sure what game the home side were trying to play, albeit a bit clumsily. Hull on the other hand …. ? No – It reminded me of something certainly – but I could not place it.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. how is Ray Wilkins not in a full time coaching role, he is a massive loss to the progression of the game in England with insight such as

    “Arsenal should sell Ozil and replace him with Wilshere”

    by the way when I say he should be in “a full time coaching role”, I mean he should be in “a full time mental asylum”, cos care in the community thing is not working out for him. With his latest uttering I fear he is back on the bottle, that is if he ever stopped it.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Absolute Disgrace ‏@PainInTheArse 2h2 hours ago
    Apparently we’re making a banner for the stadium about Sanchez’s dogs. The fun police will be seething so I’m 100% in favour of this idea

    Liked by 1 person

  35. If the Scarfists hate it I am all in;

    Woof Woof

    Liked by 4 people

  36. lovely looking pair along with their master too… is that the pix on the banner?

    Liked by 2 people

  37. lovely looking pair and their master too

    Liked by 3 people

  38. ha ha ha tickets for spurs game at wembley tonight are on general sale


  39. Ro-sický ‏@Brosicky7 7h7 hours ago
    How often does David Ospina prove himself? Every time he plays it’s ‘not this prick’. Class performance ensues.


  40. RYO_cleverfish ‏@RYO_cleverfish 11h11 hours ago
    Arsenal finally confirmed that we hired Takahiro Yamamoto as a Soft tissue therapist in July 2015


  41. Let’s keep Sp*rs in our thoughts. They must not lose tonight. European Thursdays have not been the same without them. I hope they qualify and make it to the semi-final before losing in the most hilarious manner possible.

    Liked by 3 people

  42. Much as watching Spuds stumble yet again it is the Bernabeu for me tonight

    Come on you Huns


  43. The scum are trying to escape the Thursday football birthright.

    Tinies 0-1 CSKA

    Sneaky bastards!


  44. Tom Gordon ‏@GoonerGordo 4m4 minutes ago
    Spurs are definitely throwing this to avoid the Europa League. Which is ironically, their best chance of getting back into the CL.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. It’s 1-1, the scum are back!

    Come on you glorious bottlers, don’t spurs it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Alpha Plus for Stew and A5! Sign the workaholics up!

    Once upon a time, there was a Muppet.

    Back in 2011, Muppet had a debate with Tim Payton, a spokesperson for the AST, it would seem.

    The debate was based on the merits and demerits of the Arsenal and AW in particular, at that moment in time.

    On July 26th, in the year of our Lord, 2011, Muppet wrote – Arsenal: Serial Over-achievers Or Par For The Course, ACLF decided no query mark.

    In short, Muppet devised a method of weighing the Arsenal results, over a period of 5 years, which encompassed the removal to the Emirates.

    I assume Muppet used a certain amount of detail, from a site called GunnerArchitect? Both Muppet and GunnerArchitect, are alas no longer on the scene. To fight the disbelievers, that still attempt to defile OUR CLUB.

    The bases, for the article was apparently transfers fees (Transfermarkt or TransferLeague) and Wages (culled from Football Intelligence, actually Sporting Intelligence).

    The article will be available from that former site and of course, GunnerArchitect is also still available, by using google.

    It has been a long struggle, against the ill-informed.

    Liked by 3 people

  47. Muppet is indeed about and will be writing on here in due course.

    Liked by 2 people

  48. Good news, George


  49. Real do look beatable.


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