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Arsenal Versus Burnley: Slow and Doubtful

Trainspotting

The problem with us football fans is that we will insist on taking sides. Maybe it isn’t just football fans. Perhaps it’s part of the human condition. I was musing on this during a frosty morning dog walk along the trackbed of a now sadly defunct rail line. Don’t get me started on Ernest Marples or we may never get back on topic.

The town of Radstock was built on coal and steam. Now that it has neither it is a strangely soulless place lost in a modern age for which it wasn’t designed. Once upon a time it boasted not one but two stations serving two separate rail companies. As I crossed from the trackbed of the S&DJR, the Somerset and Dorset or Slow and Dirty as it became known, to that of the old Great Western Railway I did so with my lip curled.

You see I decided some time ago I was an S&D man – the obvious truth plain to anyone who cared to consider the facts was that it was just a nicer railway, superior in every respect. Smarter livery, prettier scenery, more desirable destinations. As I waited for my three legged collie to catch up I couldn’t help wondering where this need to endlessly choose a camp and stick with it arises. It is, on sober reflection, utterly bonkers.

Having a favourite bygone railway and despising its closest rival, this is surely the product of a deranged psyche. Yet there it is. I will argue the superiority of the Serene and Delightful over God’s Wonderful Railway, as its deluded followers would have it known, and I won’t budge an inch. As football fans we too take this approach to the very limit and never doubt the sincerity of our beliefs.

Take Danny Rose. When you watch him play what do you see? The same as me I’ll wager. We see but two defining qualities. Violence and cheating. He will go out of his way to kick his opponent and will roll on the floor as if shot, clutching his face if anyone comes within two feet of him. These twin traits are not the product of a weak mind or a lack of self respect, or self control. These are two parts of a careful strategy, and of a long game. Injuring your opposite number has the obvious potential to make your life easier. Provoke him into retaliation and you have the perfect opportunity to try to get him sent off. The two dovetail beautifully.

Now, go out and find yourself a decent and honest Spurs fan, then ask what she sees and do you know what? She’ll tell you she sees the best left back in the league. Neither you nor she will be lying. How can these circles be squared? How does such an untenable paradox exist? I can only imagine it is dear old Nye Bevan‘s “This is my truth tell me yours” in action.

There is no reconciling two opposites. To those gymnastic centrists able to balance on a fence of their own self righteousness the people on either extreme seem so far distant that they are all but indistinguishable from one another. Hence the feeble minded old cliché of both extremes being as bad as one another. To them extremely good and extremely bad are somehow one and the same.

What happens when this polarisation becomes internecine? Civil war. Strife. Irreconcilable enemies no longer listening. Brother against brother. Friend against friend. Or The Arsenal Family, as we call it.

I’ve come to the conclusion that using this platform to fire my truths over no man’s land at an enemy trench filled with people wearing the same uniform as me hasn’t just become old it’s become pointless. As pointless as picking sides in an obsolete dispute over who runs the best local rail service. I’ve had enough of it. I’m never going to convince them of my truth and I sure as hell don’t want to hear any more of theirs.

So from now on I’ll just focus on the football if it’s all the same to you. It won’t be as spicy and those of you who just enjoy a fight will no doubt find it dull but you can always go score some points off your nemesis du jour to buck yourself up.

Today we host Burnley at the Emirates Stadium in a match which is the beginning of what Arsène described as a “moment of truth”. A pretty long drawn out moment as it lasts from now until May but I think we all know what he meant. With Chelsea in dominant form and the clubs around us dropping points we need to establish a long winning sequence if we want to be in the mix at the end of this ‘moment’.

Burnley will take heart from Swansea’s heroics at Anfield yesterday and will look to add weight to the ‘no easy games’ mantra to which I for one subscribe. I expect the visitors to provide obdurate opposition today. They’ll be looking for counter attacking goals and especially to force corners and free kicks around our area. I don’t expect them to time waste from the kick off but rather to follow the example set by Preston which Swansea attempted to emulate and get at us early.

Get a goal and then man the barricades is a fair approach when playing Arsenal but it does leave cracks through which we can slip. It isn’t a risk free strategy but a more capable side than Preston could have made it pay and Burnley are without doubt more capable.

Expect patient build up and a gradual tightening of the screw until the first goals come. It has become a pattern of late and not one I see changing against this level of opposition. Try not to panic if we have to defend occasionally and remember fast free flowing football is almost always played on the counter – you can’t play like that against two lines of five camped on or around the eighteen yard line.

My prediction is that we’ll win but it will be hard going at first. I particularly want to see Aaron on the score sheet but it would be a brave punter who bet against either Olivier or Alexis getting the goals again today. Why Aaron? Quite simply when he finds his groove and starts scoring he is a force of nature and can be the kind of player to push us up that extra gear we need if we are to win something this year.

Enjoy the match I’ll see you here at two fifteen.

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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77 comments on “Arsenal Versus Burnley: Slow and Doubtful

  1. Seven minutes how come?

    Like

  2. 1-1 gray scores the penalty, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck it all

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  3. Moss has now sent off Wenger

    Like

  4. penalty to arsenal in last minute of injury time, kos brougth down

    Like

  5. Alexisssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss 2-1

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  6. Arsenal! Arsenal! Arsenal!

    Like

  7. PGMOL don’t want us to win.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Fuck Jon Moss.
    Justice!

    Liked by 6 people

  9. FT: 2-1

    I can’t take much more of this, that was nerve wrecking.

    Fuck off sean dyche and your pie munching cunts,

    Moss is a prat of a ref too.

    Seems kos was offside in the incident where we won our penalty, he took studs to the side of his face. Alexis then chipped it straight down the middle.

    come on the Arsenal

    we are 2nd and 5pts behind cfc

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well that was emotional

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Big respect to the security guard
    He is now an Arsenal legend
    “Don’t touch our Boss!”

    Liked by 6 people

  12. xhaka now misses the games v

    Southamton in the fac

    Watford, Chelsea and Hull in the league.

    sent off twice, both times by Moss

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  13. Well deserved…. so proud of the fight from the team with the ref lining up on the other side

    Liked by 5 people

  14. Paddy ‏@VieiraPaddy 1m1 minute ago
    Banter > trophies, what other club in the world is going to have a player scoring a 98th minute Paneka penalty under a banner of his dogs?

    Liked by 5 people

  15. alexis is currently BPL top scorer for the season, with 15 goals

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Ran around the living room like a mad man shouting blood claats, rass claats and F-bombs when Alexis had the balls to chip that penalty in. That man has elephantine balls tbf.

    Liked by 6 people

  17. Shotta, how rude…..

    Liked by 4 people

  18. Well, we did deserve the win. Moral of the story? don’t take my predictions seriously….

    Liked by 2 people

  19. In a hurry to check out of the hotel I’m in, but just enough time to say great blog, great fight from the boys and a great, GREAT win. And screw offside. As I saw someone say on Twitter, an offside goal was voted PL goal of the month. So fuck off with that. Oh, and I wish Arsene had flattened Anthony Taylor.

    Liked by 8 people

  20. I thoght the team tried to be measured in their approach, then tighten the noose slowly.
    Which they achieved in the most part until the ‘Big’ mistake Xhaka and Defour must have some history. They were both at it from the first half.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. What did Moss send Wenger off for in the first place?

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  22. No pashun!

    Liked by 3 people

  23. The balls of the man!

    Liked by 3 people

  24. new post up

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Eduardo, you could not be more wrong about Kos being off his game today. He was my MoTM. He was an absolute warrior today and took quite a battering today from Burnleys beefy forwards. I had a very good vantage point today behind Adrian Clarke – good job he was wearing headphones and could not hear the language emanating from my mouth when that dive almost gifted Burnley an undeserved point. But up stepped our warrior to take a boot to the face to give us a last gasp chance at the 3 points. And thank you Alexis for converting that penalty. I love a controversial win against a 12 man team

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