Arsenal: I’m singing the Bird’s Nest Blues


For a friendly I thought that was a decent game. Fair play to the RentBoys who deserved their win. 3-0 was a bit hard to take but we were regularly cut open during the first half, before they scored, and only poor finishing allowed it to stay at 0-0 as long as it did. We created very little in the CFC half during the first 45, and just one save from Courtois. Ospina really did the business on Pedro though, Floyd Mayweather would have been proud. And the referee gave the foul against Pedro ??


The second half was much more even and we could/should have got on the scoreboard. As far as I could see no injuries so unlike last year the tour games have not caused a headache for Arsene as we return to the UK.

Reasons or lessons ?

Conte clearly started with a stronger team and with what I’d guess is his first choice defence. We started with a far less experienced set up and the difference in defensive quality in the first half was crystal. That is what decided the result. No criticism of Ospina and one of his saves from Moses’ volley was a real peach. I shall not hang out AMN or Bramall. They were asked to step up but it found themselves confronted by fast, determined opponents. They struggled defensively and did not have enough quality going forward to trouble Alonso or Moses. Per was gasping early on and my impression was he was not fit, it may have been his food poisoning has not fully cleared up.

Going forward in the first half ? Attacking ? Chance (s) created?

A very flat first half. Lets move on.

Second half, as I say, I’d mark it 50/50. We made chances and on another day could have got 1-2 goals. Le Coq had a rocket up his arse – more of that please. Larry had fun. Sead is not the sort of bloke you’d want to meet in a dark alley. Alex Iwobi was probably our best player over the course of the full game. As the game went on and it became youngsters v youngsters I thought we edged the football. Pleased with Reiss and his short but confident cameo.

No complaints with referee, pitch was a bit rubbish but I am sure we will play on worse next season in the Europa.

Onwards and upwards from the Bird’s Nest to the Eagles next Saturday !

The season is surely coming – I can smell it.


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55 comments on “Arsenal: I’m singing the Bird’s Nest Blues

  1. What a brilliant review of a game that seems to have woken up all the usual suspects who were strangely quiet when we toppled Bayern.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. A sensible and forthright assessment of today’s game Anicoll, and one which would be difficult to argue with, thank you.

    As it has some bearing on your Post, I hope you will not mind my copy/pasting a comment I made shortly after the ‘new Post’ call came up – because despite your excellent highlighting of the upbeat side of today’s events, there is another purely personal and ruffled view too.

    From 18:27 p.m. today:

    I have sometimes marvelled about the magnificent resolve of salmon fighting against the downhill deluge they face in order to get to the calm waters of the river of their inception, so they in their turn can cavort with any willing salmonesses until they croak from exhaustive pleasure.

    All very admirable, most would say, but after reading the comments in this inestimable blog which stout-heartedly hold out against the likes of Le Groan, I feel that my inconsequential views are going to play the salmon and somewhat swim in the face of the popular sentiments of so many.

    You see, I am suffering from a personal dichotomy between my inadequate cerebral understanding that pre-season games are first and foremost a vehicle to build fitness for the travails of the upcoming season, and to share, up front and personal, close up views of the Arsenal players for those fans normally restricted to TV watching in some far flung corner of this amazing world, and to some extent to separate the team wheat from the chaff which will help to establish who is a worthwhile member of the squad.

    Nothing too much wrong with any of that, and this understanding allows me to rationalise the game, and its relative lack of any meaningful importance, and I can say all the ‘correct’ and supportive phrases — but deep down, the result today left me aching for the young players in a makeshift Gunners team who faced a very strong Chavs team, and were frankly outmatched and found out in a disappointing and disjointed display.

    So — here’s what the more resolute of you can do for me, and any others who may share these sentiments — you can cheer me/us up, and remind us that the performance and the result does not matter in the grand scheme of things, and a full strength Gunners team will exact retribution for this the next time we meet in the league — which we will surely do — but that is months away, and your empathy and stirring words are needed now – please.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. what you mean cfc started with a stronger team, did we or did we not have a full 4 players starting from our last league game, how many fucking more do we need, we are the Arsenal and if our squad is not strong enough to cope with a mere 7 changes, then its wenger/kroenke/gazidis fault, spend some fucking money and have at least 22 world class players in our squad and stop with all these excuses, I didn’t pick Arsenal to win me glory just to see this shit, I deserve more.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. re my last post, I have been just a couple of weeks on twitter and that is the sort of “gooner” I see claim to support the club “unconditionally”, now either they or I don’t know what unconditionally means.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. No Eddie,

    That’s not what quite what I was looking for!! lol

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The definition is quite straightforward, Eddie.

    Unconditionally means: Do what I want, when I want, and how I want.

    For anyone wondering – I was talking about those using the word to justify their own footballing miscogyny. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  7. In Arsene Wenger’s own words, we looked ‘a bit jaded’ when slipping to our first defeat of pre-season against Chelsea at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing on Saturday.

    Fielding an experimental side with players filling in in unfamiliar positions, we fell behind to a quick-fire double from Willian and Michy Batshuayi just before half-time, with the latter completing the scoring soon after the break.

    However, despite ending our tour with defeat, the manager feels this two-week trip to Sydney, Shanghai and Beijing will benefit his players – particularly the younger ones – in the long run.

    “I played some boys with a lack of experience in unusual positions to see how they can cope with it,” Wenger told Arsenal Player. “Chelsea went for a regular team from the start on and I had a mix in one half and in the second half. We paid a little bit for it, but despite that, it was not all negative.

    “We had some very good moments in the game as well, but we couldn’t score. Overall, I think there were lots of positives in the game. We lacked a bit of experience in decisive positions.

    “They [the younger players] learned that every ball at that level is important. You cannot be at 95 per cent in these kind of games.

    “You have to be completely 100 per cent committed and they paid for every mistake. The pace of the game was much higher than they are used to. They will go home with plenty of things to think about and hopefully they will learn quickly from it.

    “As well, I must say there were a lot of positive from some young players. They have shown personality, quality and that they have a good chance at that level.”

    More than 230,000 fans attended our four tour fixtures – and the support shown to the team will live with the manager for a long time.

    “It’s unbelievable what we got in terms of attendances,” Wenger added. “The positives are that we experienced how much people love us all over the world.

    “I think it’s a great experience for the players to live with each other for two weeks. We had good and bad moments because we traveled a lot, but the preparation was positive and it’s good to go home.

    “I think we will benefit from the time we spent together. Now we go straight into the Emirates Cup and therefore it’s important to recover.”

    Copyright 2017 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 https://www.arsenal.com/news/youngsters-have-shown-personality-and-quality#gt3BiKGJsV14WLwA.99

    Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/news/youngsters-have-shown-personality-and-quality#2l5zh6m7Vf2tlRVZ.99

    Liked by 2 people

  8. fair review. thanks
    in fairness to AMN apart from maybe the first goal, he did well and i like bramall a well. he has good crosses in him. but we havnt seen the players that will likely start the season for us in the defence.
    will mustafi, holding and bellerin be available for emirates cup?


  9. The second half was delayed at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing after an argument broke out over Olivier Giroud’s involvement in the game.

    The France striker was trying to come on as a half-time substitute but, for a while, he wasn’t allowed. Arsene Wenger explained why in his post-match press conference.

    on Giroud not being listed on the teamsheet…
    Yes [there was some conflict]! I don’t understand why he was not on the list. They didn’t want to let him play, and we of course had a bit of an argument because we announced him. We finally got the green light from someone in the sky, and he could play.

    on the game…
    I think it was a game of a good level where we finally lost well. It was a bit of a combination for us, I think it was a good opportunity for me to see players at that level who have no experience. I tried to play two teams with a mixture of regular players and young players. Of course you could see that we were a bit less mature than Chelsea. Also it was the last day of our tour, it was quite long and we looked a bit jaded tonight.

    on the impact of playing in Chinese conditions…
    I think the impact is small. We are a bit tired because we worked hard. Overall, we fly back tonight and we recover. It is normal that the players are a bit tired after two weeks of intense preparation. This week we had two intense games as well but for us it’s better than playing weaker teams. We had two big teams to play and it’s good to see the potential of everybody in these kinds of games.

    Copyright 2017 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 https://www.arsenal.com/news/story-behind-giroud-mix#ythIXPEFLMXd7A5f.99

    Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/news/story-behind-giroud-mix#hrkLK78jzz0EvYCb.99

    Liked by 1 person

  10. well its clear arsenal need to make signings urgently, in fact all sectors of the team need additions

    I suggest we sign

    Mustafi, Gabriel, Holding and Chambers for central defense

    Bellerin would be a good choice for wing back

    Cazorla would add so much to our midfield

    that Alexis guy would add goals to our attack

    I’m not sure what our scouts do, but if I can find these guys why can’t they, or is it that old stubborn french senile bastard wenger that won’t spend the fucking money.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. That reminds me – where IS Gabriel ? is he still injured !

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Chel$ki looked much fresher than us in the first half. Understandably. Disappointing though that our attackers marked their defenders out of the game. Don’t think it’s supposed to happen that way.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. yeah he is still on the injured list, if all going well he should be back very soon as he was expected to be out for 2-3 months

    Liked by 2 people

  14. eduardo792
    Don’t you think the stingy French scrooge should buy a goalie as well?
    What about that Cech bloke?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Rob Green the man we need Mick

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It’s clearly time to finally buy Sebastian Frey.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. As someone more perceptive than I am pointed out Jens is on the bench for 22 minutes and Ospina knocks out a Chelsea player.

    Coincidence you say ?

    I say there is no such thing as coincidence

    Liked by 6 people

  18. andy

    I wonder if Ospina will make a punching motion for the camera in the Wembley tunnel in two weeks.

    Liked by 6 people

  19. Seems the malcontents view the Bayern game as an irrelevance, but today’s game as a never to be forgotten humiliation. Seems you can have your cake and eat it when you are a WOB or one of the many supporters of other clubs who share their forums.
    Think some of them are still traumatised by what happened when we last played Chelsea in a game that really did matter.
    In reality, today was about gaining fitness, experience, and different players getting used to each other, I am sure a useful exercise. Good to see some youngsters in these games.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Chelsea fans are outraged over Ospina taking out Pedro.
    I don’t recall them being outraged when Alonso took out Bellerin with his elbow last season.

    Liked by 5 people

  21. Get the feeling the media will this season go for the club and manager like never before, and that’s saying something

    Liked by 4 people

  22. ospina just wanted it more

    Liked by 5 people

  23. Joe Willock at 17 years old looks interesting,shown awareness,high technical standard looks balanced .
    He’s been consistant in all his appearances so far .
    Next stop Emirates Cup?

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Everton are being praised for spending, Tottenham equally respected for not spending. Arsenal slated for losing a friendly in China with youngsters playing, and the team having suffered a virus. Confusing.
    Does anyone know how Everton will get round this financial fair play thing about wage increases that everyone is saying Arsenal are being held hostage to?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Mandy

    Signing on bonuses. I haven’t seen that wage increase thing hamper any of the big spending clubs, especially ManU. I’d bet it’s because they keep the weekly wages low by adding money to the transfer/signing fees and putting the rest in easily triggered bonus clauses and as part of image rights. RVP bragged that he took a wage cut to move to ManU, but he was also making money on the Ronaldo and Messi level.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Could well be right Shard

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Good point Shard. Think any conversation about transfer fees and wages is largely academic as you can never truly know all the facts. The midnight helicopter landing on a trillionaire’s super-yacht may well facilitate all kind’s of chicanery.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Good grief. AndyNic must have been working out during the pre-season. He was first to the ball. Unlike other bloggers, he simply “wanted it more” to quote the pundits who gloated last year when Alonso took out Bellerin. Glad to see my friend is up for it.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. didn’t the tax man win a high court case over image rights payments to footballers recently, it was said that it will totally change the tax situation with footballers. They will now be taxed heavily on these payments.
    Its similar to decades ago when David O’Leary had to pay up to the tax man on a interest free loan Arsenal gave him, that he banked and got interest payment on. It was one of the ways Arsenal and other clubs increased the wages of its top players without altering the basic wage structure. Another trick AFC used in the early 80’s was to change the Captain, but the guy who lost the captain’s armband still got a bonus payment for being captain cos we had included the bonus in his contract.


  30. “Alonso wanted it more”

    “Pedro taken out by HORRIFIC challenge”

    no difference in how media treat Arsenal they tell us.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Good stuff, a5. Thanks.

    I’m miffed that edu beat me to “he wanted it more”. I seriously dislike that phrase – esp. the context in which its used in sports. i.e: forearm smash to concuss our player – goal scored by smasher – red card not given to offender – “He wanted it more”. Hallelujah!

    May I also point out that in the numerous replays of the incident, I noticed Pedro shoving our player in the back. Of course, the chatshites couldn’t see why the ref gave a foul against Pedro even though they saw the same replays as I did. (Just like they didn’t spot Alonso’s assault on Bellerin, Pah).

    Perdo’s push was illegal and surely contributed to him getting touched – cos he wanted it more, innit!

    Liked by 2 people

  32. When a footballer, any footballer to be honest, appears to have blood dripping out of his ear I tend to think he is probably quite badly injured. Why he was sent back on Gawd knows. Nope, I do not want to see that happening.

    Liked by 5 people

  33. Thanks Andrew for the best review available on t’internet for those of us who missed the match

    Liked by 1 person

  34. At least the official managed to call a foul of some sorts following an injury, therefore he did not abdicate his primary responsibility (protecting players – we see far this too often when an Arsenal player had been hacked or injured – the pgMOB is so bogus that it’s possible to observe that their officials don’t even allow the physics on the pitch as frequently for AFC when compared to other clubs fixtures, before anyone requests an empirical study on this one I’d like to see further discussion on the New Stadium charity allowance for THFC when it comes to red cards/second yellows these past two seasons).

    The official can’t be at fault for sending the player back on, usually that happens when a manager overrules a physio and this appears to happen at all clubs (less so at AFC now but it’s been known to happen – the most famous case led to a dressing room revolt against the specialist in signing players signed up to special agents).

    Liked by 3 people

  35. With our pre-season tour now at a close it is natural to reflect on the trip as a whole – and Ivan Gazidis feels the past two weeks have been hugely beneficial.

    As well as gathering momentum in our preparations for the new Premier League season, the tour also afforded the opportunity for many off-field events and engagement with our fanbase and the local communities in Sydney, Shanghai and Beijing.

    Below is a transcript of our chief executive’s full interview with Arsenal Player:

    on the tour…
    It’s been a brilliant, brilliant pre-season tour. First of all, brilliant off the field in terms of the preparation for the players, fitness work and everything on the football side that goes with that. But off the field, the welcome from the fans in Sydney and here in China has been incredible. Everywhere we’ve gone there has been hundreds and thousands of fans, 200,000 plus in attendance at the games. But also we’ve been reaching out in all the places that we’ve been. I think we put on over 100 events altogether with our players getting out and about and meeting with our fanbase in all these different places. Brilliant to experience a little bit of the culture and also the beautiful scenery as well. It’s just been fantastic all around.

    on his personal highlights…
    Well, I think one of the highlights from my perspective was going and visiting our friends at Tribal Warrior, which is an organisation which helps indigenous people in Australia, young people, and supports them with achieving their potential. It was great for us to be able to connect with that, see some of the indigenous culture in the country and also to make a contribution to the work that they do and we’re proud to do that, but it’s also fantastic to experience just a little taste of Australia’s rich history which goes back far, far before when it was colonised. It goes back into the midst of time and you could feel the depth and the beauty of that civilisation on that visit, it was a lovely thing to do.

    on the club giving something back…
    We take club values seriously and a part of that has always been our work in the community. We’ve got deep roots in our local community in Islington, we’re touching over 3,500 people every week in our local programmes. But we’re also doing work all around the world. We’ve done work here in Beijing with migrant children in Beijing. We’re doing work in places as difficult and far flung as Iraq and Syria, Somalia, Indonesia, building football pitches and giving the programmes that go around that infrastructure, those football pitches, that helps us support people to great social outcomes. So we’re taking what we do locally and bringing it around the world and I’m very proud that that’s a part of what this club does.

    on the welcome from fans around the world…
    The connection that people feel with the club and its values is very real. One of the things that you really begin to understand when you travel around the world is not just the breadth of the club and the scale of the club around the world, but the degree of personal connection that people have with the club and with the values. It’s been phenomenally positive to be able to come out here in person and see that and give them that personal interaction with the club and with our players and to see the response has been incredible.

    on the summer continuing apace in London now…
    It does. We get back to London and we’re straight into three weeks of preparation really going into the Premier League season. The next week is going to be about preparing for the Emirates Cup. We’ve got games on Saturday and Sunday at Emirates Stadium and that will be the usual fantastic event that is serious preparation, all the players getting a chance to work some more on getting ready for the beginning of the season. But also it’s always a fantastic, festive atmosphere, so that’ll be a great event for us and then of course the week after that the Community Shield, we play Chelsea again and then straight into the season.

    Copyright 2017 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 https://www.arsenal.com/news/its-been-phenomenally-positive#qVphz7qp5dW7BluG.99

    Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/news/its-been-phenomenally-positive#ItjzhAGyZzRbcGav.99

    Liked by 2 people

  36. There is a quiet full commitment to David Ospina,I’ll never forget him dosent seem to like blue shirts

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Mean Lean

    If you’re reading I’ve just swiped past a comment from one of your podcastateers trying to compare Oxlade-Chamberlain to Barkley.


    Everyone is certainly entitled to an opinion. Unless this person is on commission from Chambo’s reputable agent then fair to say that he knows nothing about the Football.

    Don’t think I’ll be able to tune back in an listen to that stinkin’ nonsensical shite anytime soon.

    You’re still the best out there Meanie and I respect your reasoning. Can I humbly suggest a transfer or even better a substitution on your panel ( after all they’re not shy of such a discussion ) & mentioning no names but please Meanie just sign the damn thing, you’ve lurked in the shadows for too long now. Enough is enough!

    Liked by 2 people

  38. The Arsenal squad have arrived back in England from their tour in Australia and China

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Squawka Football @Squawka

    Highest Champions League take-on success rate since 2012/13 (100+ attempted):

    Modric (71.4%)
    Hazard (69.3%)
    Oxlade-Chamberlain (68.0%)


  40. Watching the Women’s Euro England v Spain
    It would be the same style game as if it were the mens team
    England are winning but hanging on for dear llife ,with no control

    It’s how you see football
    If Spain had a striker
    How was that not a pen?


  41. 2-0 England


  42. But England have a striker….
    The Arsenal Striker!

    Liked by 3 people

  43. Dodgy Italian referee – knocked off an England goal then unawarded a Spanish penalty


  44. Not enough chucking themselves on the floor and rolling round in exaggerated agony though

    They don’t get this football lark

    Liked by 1 person

  45. anicoll5
    Bardsley came flying outof goal missed the ball took out the Spain striker or Ellen White hand ball otherwise known as hit on knee


  46. Francisco Franco King Juan Carlos Julio Iglesias Pablo Picasso Don Quixote and Sancho Panza – your girls took a hell of a beating

    I know I know


  47. anicoll5
    But that is one of the things I love the most about Womens football no faking
    some rough old ‘Marshes’ challenges and they just get on with it.
    They’re absolutely clueless!

    Liked by 5 people

  48. Ball to hand apparently Wwwb (coughs politely)


  49. anicoll5
    I tried to use that defence once..
    You can guess how that was recieved.

    Liked by 2 people

  50. Before he left China on Saturday night, Arsene Wenger had one final media duty to fulfil – a chat with newspaper reporters.

    Alexis was the main subject – as he has often been at press conferences on tour – and here’s what the boss said about the latest speculation.

    on if he thinks Alexis is in Paris…
    No, I don’t think so.

    on the French media claiming Alexis has been in Paris…
    I read L’Equipe in the last three or four days. It has moved from Sanchez to Neymar. Today they speak about Neymar, three days ago they speak about Alexis. They need as well, like you [reporters], subjects.

    on PSG surely not being able to sign Neymar and Alexis…
    No. They cannot get Sanchez so they go for Neymar.

    on if he’s adamant that Alexis will be an Arsenal player on August 31 and if his mind could change…
    No, my mind has been made up for a while now.

    on if he needs to make that stance…
    I think I made it clear a few times.

    on whether Alexis has specifically asked to leave Arsenal…

    on the club being in a different situation to 2011 or 2012…
    We are in a strong financial situation. So we want to keep our best players. You can see that there is a fight everywhere to get top players.

    on whether he expects to move any players on – such as Kieran Gibbs…
    There are talks, yes. There is contact but we are not close.

    Copyright 2017 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 https://www.arsenal.com/news/wengers-latest-comments-about-alexis#JsFujCKAxYpjqkoQ.99

    Liked by 2 people

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