Arsenal: The Angel of Fortune

I’m impresed. image.jpg

Good morning Positives,

A good Monday morning indeed after a very good Sunday afternoon. And pleasing for all the right ‘footballing’ reasons.

As anticipated Jose had rolled into town in his bus, and to be fair to the Portuguese, his chosen mode of transport had allowed him to build up an extraordinary 24 game unbeaten run in the PL (14 wins/11 draws). Checking the records I see that since 1992, and despite the heights that Blue Nose took them to, that is their best ever.

From our perspective we needed a win to ensure the chance of Champions League continues to flicker, and the three points were well earned. While Citeh look to have picked up their top 4 form again if any of you saw Klopp’s touchline meltdown at Anfield yesterday, not to mention their dropped points against Saints, you will be cheerful. As for his post match explanation about the dryness of the Anfield pitch that was truly odd.

Returning to the Emirates from where I was sitting the first half was a bit disappointing. We had a lot of possession and passed well, right up to the edge of the visitors penalty area. Beyond that point we had no threat, with either Danny on his own and surrounded by three blue shirted defenders or, on other occasions, no Arsenal player in the box. Mesut seemed to be playing very, very deep. Having looked at the first half highlights again last night I was probably a little over-critical. We opened them up once/twice, with Aaron’s strike drawing a good low down save from De Gea and Danny managing (for once) to turn with the ball at his feet and get his shot away. One nasty moment was a pass back by Holding with the ball stopping dead halfway to Cech. Too much pre match watering of the grass perhaps (as Klopp might say?) The longer the half went on I thought the more we controlled the game.

Highlight of the first half ? A rousing chorus of “Fuck off, Mourinho”, a theme that united all Gooners, Inners/Outers/Fence-Sitters/male/female/young/old etc. Solidarity among the Arsenal community – Marvellous. (It brought a tear to the eye, it really did).

Going into the second half there were grounds for cautious optimism therefore. We seemed a bit more urgent and the Ox in particular was snapping into tackles and, when he had the ball , speeding up the line with the ball at his feet and straight in Darmian’s face.

The opener ? As big a surprise to me as to any one reading this I’d guess. We know Granit has a good shot on him but, other than a couple of pre Christmas efforts, his accuracy has been diabolical for weeks. I was as silent as the fans around me as the ball arced ever so slowly over the scrambling De Gea.

Bit of luck ? Yeah but we were trying to score, and they weren’t.

And within two minutes the best piece of football all afternoon. The Ox retrieving a loose clearance with Rob Holding, and whipping in an excellent cross, Aaron, Danny and Alexis all lined up on the six yards line. A controlled, strong header, Danny delighted, pandemonium among Arsenal fans. Nothing Smalling or De Gea could do. Yet again the Trafford Park hierarchy must wonder why they sold Welbeck.

Although they had more than half an hour left the Mancs never managed to put us under a period of sustained pressure. A couple of long range Rooney efforts were their high point.

I shall leave you to fight it out for Arsenal man of the match. One of those games where a lot of players caught the eye. My particular preference is Rob Holding. Elegant and growing in confidence. From our opponents Tuanzebe is a big lad for a 19 year old, he had a great game and it was his full debut. I’m impressed.

Enjoy Monday. A quick turnaround before another cracker at St Mary’s on Wednesday.

PS. And might I welcome the Seychelles Gooners.


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53 comments on “Arsenal: The Angel of Fortune

  1. We still have a chance…..


  2. We certainly do – a pity it is not wholly up to us but we have to be optimistic.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Monday our ol’ friend.

    It was a rather calm game indeed, apart from the sluggishness in the first half that both teams contributed to. If there was cause for apprehension going into the 2nd, the 2 quick goals stopped it before it gained any traction and started the party at the Emirates and worldwide.

    Koewn, Wright, Henry and Sol Campbell (who said the best we could hope for was a 0-0 draw) all didn’t gave Arsenal any chance and I for one was glad our boys kicked their bile back into their mouths. Aaron Ramsey, who had to bear the predictable wrath of twitter after the matchday 11 was announced – had many backtracking with his inspiring performance. They never learn.

    No complaints about the ref from me, he allowed both teams getting away with quite a bit, and as (I think it was) you said after the Mancity game Andrew(5), Arsenal can give as good as they get when the ref apply same rules both ways.

    So happy we put that José scmuck in his place. Roll on Wednesday!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. The old fart’s thoughts.
    Great to wake up this Monday with a smile. Not as big a win as we’d all prayed for but what a pleasure to see Maureen Jo unhappy for once.
    Both keepers showing their class in the first half and Rambo in particular shining for us.
    No goals but more than reasonable expectations that we were on the way. And so it was. I’d like to think that Granit’s shot would have made it to the top corner without any help but the “in off the back” left De Gea helpless anyway.
    A few minutes later, Danny’s header from the ever threatening Ox’s cross was as good as any and from that point on, we never looked uncomfortable. Our rear guard looked very solid and both Kos and Rob Holding allowed them no leeway. Le Coq when subbed on, made a great block to make sure that we kept a clean sheet.
    Fingers crossed for the next two games. Keep the faith

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Absolutely treflipinmendous. What a wonderful result and I’m looking forward to watching the highlights later on when i shall indeed delight in choosing my man of the match. I never thought we would win, because I never think we will, but to do so and against my least favourite football man of all time is just fantastic. I’m dizzy with pride and fizzing with hope today.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Thanks much Andy. An eye witness report from the PA man on the scene. I especially admire your efforts to be objective and unbiased as possible. That is one of the most difficult things to do in football. Even the so-called data collecting sites are affected by bias when they attempt to rate the contribution of individuals to a team.

    For example, my observation from yesterday’s game, the key to our success was the invaluable contribution of Ozil. He worked harder than ever to affect the game despite being man-marked by one sometimes two United players. I checked the usual web sites and they simply discount his contribution. According to WhoScored he was not even among the top-5 players based on the following ratings:
    Alex Oxlade Chamberlain – 8.1
    Danny Welbeck – 7.7
    Petr Cech – 7.6
    Granit Xhaka – 7.5
    Laurent Koscielny – 7.4
    They rated Ozil at 7.24. In comparison Ramsey, who was ajudicated Man-of-the-Match, earned an inferior rating of 7.2.

    No wonder it is so hard for those who are prisoners of their own bias to identify which player is an asset or liability for the club.

    PS: I always discount the rating and focus on the underlying data.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. A player who is man-marked by two throughout a game ensures that his teammates are playing 10 against 9, irrespective of anything else he does….

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Don’t forget there’s a chance to watch u23’s vs Utd tonight. Game is at Emirates and I’m pretty sure on live from Arsenal website.

    May not be one to read anything into, though eejits will anyway, as line up could well be understrength.

    u18’s play Chelsea tomorrow and a victory confirms them as age group champions, so if they go with strongest team for that it could be a strange experimental line up tonight. I’d like us to go strong there and beat those bums at youth level for a change

    Maitland Niles may well not be available either as he’s been called up for u20 world cup. No Jeff either.

    Could be any of Jenkinson, Debuchy, Yaya’s Emirates swan song


  9. 9 comments?!?! Fucking hell, we do better when we lose. We are no better than other sites.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Heady at 12:29pm – Astute observation. That is why Ramsey had the freedom of the middle of the park all afternoon. Alexis was also man-marked and their is a stat showing he had the highest passing combinations with Ramsey. Pity he didn’t score a goal. That is why MOTM and player ranking is such a malarkey. But if arseblaggeer does it then it must be good, right?

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Tis the Number of the Beast

    Liked by 2 people

  12. PG @ 2:13pm: It’s human nature. Misery loves company.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A hangover induced by too much joy?

    As a friend remarked: for a certain generation Tottenham have never been rivals, but Utd had been. The pre-petro club derby. But they too have Spursed it up no small thanks to Phil Neville & Chums Inc. what a great job they did! 300K p/w for a Rooney who’d already been dropped by the dark lord for training like Tyson Fury (not training!), amazing when you think about it…

    City and GazCorp are the rivals, and anyone who thinks that next season it’ll be easy to stop such an expensively and competently assembled squad as at GazCorp now that they don’t have the small mind of Jose (or Phil, or Gary…) disrupting a squad full of big players, they’ll need to think again.


  14. https://mobile.twitter.com/ArseneFC1996/status/861282966689001472/video/1

    Ten years of protesting, ten years of talking to themselves in their own comments sections of their own blogs, ten years of trolling other people’s blogs, ten years of talking to the same old bores on several different podcasts, do you imagine that it might feel like Groundhog Day for them? Not if they got the reward of writing for a newspaper sorry rag that no one wants to buy? Oh, right, I get it now…


  15. …a click ‘like’ and thanks from me Andy Nic! I hope you had a good time at the game.

    PG-had a listen in to your podcast, really enjoyable-thanks for the link, some very interesting points you discussed. The two lads you were with sounded like good blokes too, get them over here! Much more interesting than AFTV!!!

    Anyone seen Ranetta about on other blogs? Been a while…

    Cheers PA!


    Liked by 3 people

  16. Mills , those 2 lads are like a breath of fresh air in the podcast world. Not a hint of ego. Lovely lads.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. PG-thats what I thought too!

    I might start listening in to their other shows.Thanks for the link George .

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Excellent podcast George. My blog tomorrow, which is already written, is all about Arsenal’s midfield. Touches on Arteta, Rosicky, Cazorla, Xhaka, Wilshere, etc. You must have been reading my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. live on arsenal.com now

    #AFCU23 to play @ManUtd: Macey, Jenkinson, Johnson, Sheaf, Bramall, Kamara, Maitland-Niles, Mourgos, Nelson, C Willock, Nketiah
    subs: Keto, Olowu, Dragomir, J Willock, Malen


  20. 1-0 to the arsenal

    willock set brahmall away and he squared the ball to the unmarked nelson to slot into an empty net from six yards


  21. 2-0 to the arsenal

    nketiah plays it to bramhall, who lays it back to nketiah who does what he does best, with a fine finish


  22. by the way matt willock is playing for man utd’s u23’s, with chris willock playing for Arsenal u23’s and joe willock a sub too. it was only last week that chris and joe played together at this level for the first time, would be nice to see all 3 on the pitch at the same time.


  23. Squawka Football‏Verified account @Squawka 11h11 hours ago

    Laurent Koscielny has made more interceptions (87) than any other player in the Premier League this season.

    He loves stepping out. 👌

    Liked by 1 person

  24. joe willock is on for arsenal


  25. malen also brought on for second half, the two goal scorers were taken off


  26. utd pull one back from a shot form outside the area, macey maybe should have done better with it, but it bounced in front of him


  27. bpl latest 35 mintues – chelsea 2-0 boro


  28. penalty to arsenal, malen taken down right on edge of the area

    malen penalty saved


  29. if middlesboro lose tonight they are relegated


  30. It would be a bold gambler who put a shilling on Boro and their PL survival at this particular moment Eddy

    Liked by 2 people

  31. its now 2-2
    og from johnson, utd have been on top for last ten minutes or so, getting in a bit too easy

    mourgos off, dragomir on


  32. arsenal go close twice within a minute


  33. 2-3 comeback it is then….


  34. FT: Arsenal u23’s 2-2 Man utd u23’s

    nelson and nketiah had put afc 2 up, utd fought back, malen missed a penalty, and afc came close several times late on to getting a winner.

    afc finish 4th for the season.


  35. 4th ?!?



  36. Surprised to see Reiss playing anyway to be honest I thought he would be saved for the chelski game.
    A5, After reading loads of papers and watching sky and bbc reports on the game, I can’t believe you have suggested we played well I was under the impression we stole the game from the unluckiest team in the world.
    Of course the game I watched was more along the lines of what you described. There was a couple of worrying thing like the fact we let shrek have two free shots from just outside the area but generally we played well.
    Going forward we have two away games at venues we don’t like, a relegated relaxed team who are playing without pressure and a team on the last day of the PL season who have managed to get a large amount of draws at our place. All this in a short space of time with players missing.
    Given that we need four wins and for other teams to drop points the goal at the top of the mountain still looks a very long way away but we still have a chance and that’s all we can ask.
    It feels like weve have had the noose around our necks for an age but no one can knock the chair away.
    So we go into another tricky game in that same situation. Normally it wouldn’t seem a massive problem however this is one of the most inconsistent teams we’ve seen.
    The strange thing is our season could still be one of the worst or one of the best in the last 12 years.


  37. Great being back at the Emirates for only the 2nd time this season and whilst anything other than a mind-numbing draw looked unlikely at half-time, we rode our good fortune to come away deserved victors. We were the only side interested in playing actual football and there’s no doubt in my mind that the game as a sport would be dead on its feet if everyone employed Jose’s tediously tired, dried up tactics.

    Felt Ramsey was outstanding but again, no-one bar young Holding made any errors of note. Even his mistake was born of that wonderful gift of (over) confidence rather than incompetence and he’ll be learning, learning, learning the whole time at this elite level.

    Atmosphere in the stadium was acceptable – more held breath than disinterest or abuse although the unanimity of the abuse directed at Jose was very much a breath of fresh air. Marvellous.

    Also felt the ref had a very decent game. That shouldn’t be a footnote; we’ve all seen how game-changing howlers by the men in black have hurt the team this season so well played Sir.

    Strange really but the reality is Wednesday night’s outing may prove more taxing than Sunday’s; either way and with a fair wind behind us, our progress back to the suddenly very respectable Top 4 is still very much on.

    Well played boys.

    Liked by 3 people

  38. bit surprised at the inclusion of so many u18 players in the u23 team as the u18’s are away to second placed chelsea u18’s in the morning and a win would see them crowned champions, might be the reason why nelson and nketiah were both taken off at half time.


  39. James Olley‏Verified account @JamesOlley 30m30 minutes ago

    #cfc fans take over the #afc chant…: “Tottenham Hotspur, its happened again.”


  40. Thanks Andy. I must be the only person not bored my the first half. I thought it a fascinating battle, both sides scurrying back to get as many behind the ball as possible when they lost it, then looking to find a way through the massed ranks when they won back possession.
    Just a question of who executed the plan better. In the end a bit of fortune / cowardly defending (turned his back didn’t he?) unlocked the door and then we took complete control.

    Liked by 4 people

  41. I’m with you Stew, I enjoyed the first half.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Jeorge Bird‏ @jeorgebird 42m42 minutes ago

    Arsenal U15s won the Floodlit Cup South tonight. A talented group.


  43. I’m following you all the way, and I haven’t looked elsewhere – at all.

    I’ve had to fight some kinda demons since 2nd half, Everton, and how could I come on here and tell you exactly what’d happen at Palace (before kick off)? Ars haven’t been allowed to beat spuds for ages (unless long term injuries are enacted).

    It’s not any kind of protest to PA. I imagine people squirming if I listed my thoughts on corruption, cheating and the utter ugliness involved by those desperate for Arsenal to fail. Besides, Mills, Fins, AA, TS, AG, Edu, et al (it’s 2 am & im gonna miss peeps, sorry) but you all express, beautifully, my misgivings. It’s just: I’m Fkng Livid with “Thems” utter shit!

    I don’t go along with all the ‘Arsene should make announcement on his future’ bollocks.
    It doesn’t unsettle players. It’s from the same stable as whom Ars should buy/sell/ have as physio/ director/owner – who’s lazy/should be sacked…… ITS ALL BOLLOCKS that has started with having the temerity (skill & dominance) to beat slurgy, with added, numerous, fantastic Black players (book-em Deano, try injure them everyone else) – then moving into a stadium on a new sight, having success with “kids”, doing things the right way.
    Arsene Wenger, please announce what you like – when you think it appropriate.
    Alternatively, suck up all the negativity thrown relentlessly at Arsenal, for 15 Fkng years – and run with it.

    You know my position: the refs Fk us time after time (on behalf of whomever). I know you don’t wanna walla in that, or the reasons. (Why is Santi out/Coq slightly less consistent/Xhaka vilified/Ramsey, Theo, Ox – derided? Why can any shit player try to break Alexis’s bones – and NEVER face punishment)? Why aftv?

    Steww, A5 & Shotta, I hang onto your every article – I’m full of appreciation and respect.
    I’m always reading. Given the stuff I’ve written above, you maybe allowed a sigh of relief that I don’t empty myself here too often. (Gawd, the smileys I’d like to insert here).

    Well done Ars v mancs.


    Liked by 5 people

  44. And if it pleases you Mr Wenger – on your own terms – please stay.

    Liked by 4 people

  45. Stew – I guess in the old days we’d have said the away team had every right to shut up shop and let the home side take their chances. The first half of Sunday’s encounter was more like watching a game of chess, you are right.

    Problem with Jose, as far as I can tell, ALL his games are like that.

    With added ‘gamesmanship’.

    It’s that predictability that makes it harder to stomach, but may be that’s just me?

    Liked by 2 people

  46. I thought first half of Utd game was very decent, particularly first 20 or 30.

    My ability to ‘enjoy’ a game when the result’s in the balance, against dread enemies, probably isn’t what it should be, but I remember thinking ‘I’m pretty sure this is an exciting game and good contest’

    Second half started slowly, but that lasted less than ten minutes. Quick second. Then I liked the balance we had between defending and trying for a third. Utd meanwhile looked quite dangerous for last twenty, without committing everything to attack.

    Quite unbelievable, considering some of the crap in prem these days, that Redknapp called it putrid and the general pundit consenus wasn’t far away.

    Think just a combination of them entering games with their minds largely made up- ‘Xhaka’s crap, so we’ll talk about that, wait for any mistake, and utterly ignore him hitting beautiful long passes and doing lots of good work; this fixture’s not what it used to be; etc- and, of course, the result not being the one nearly all of them wanted.

    Liked by 2 people

  47. Clearly if the Premier League is so crap, so boring, so lacking in quality Jamie, and Phil Neville said exactly that on MOTD2 on Sunday, we won’t bother paying our cash to Sky and BT anymore.

    And then two bob pundits like you and Phil will have to see if you can find a real “job”

    (Banned laughing/tears rolling face)

    Liked by 3 people

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