Arsenal Middleman masters Milan


Good morning Positives,

What a good result! A 5-1 aggregate score and two legs in which we comfortably ended the games in  control is a rarity in European competitions at this stage where the ‘better’ clubs are coming face to face.

Of the game itself I thought we started a bit jittery and out of sorts, not helped by Kosc’s injury. The Frenchman immediately looked uncomfortable after going up for a corner, and not able to run so I was surprise it took 4-5  minutes to take him off.

With Laurent gone the teams traded possession for the next 30 minutes with neither side showing really testing the keeper or creating a clear goalscoring opening. Milan’s final ball was poor, as it had been to the San Siro, and our attacks ran went to the edge of the visitors’ box  before running out of ideas.

The goal from Calhanoglu on 36 minutes was entirely unexpected, for me as much as Ospina. Good goal, 30 yards, corner of the net. Could the Colombian have been more alert and at least got a hand to it? Could Bellerin and/or Mustafi have shut the striker down quicker as their shouting match after the goal went in hinted at ? We shall never know.

There was a bit of a groan around me I admit but the goal was exactly what the tie needed and we responded immediately. We  surged forward and within a minute it seemed Danny went down in a heap. Even from the other end it looked soft  as the referee and the 5th official eyed each other up coyly. The Swedish referee nevertheless pointed spot-ward and Milan players went beserk, as I suspect any group of players would do in similar circumstances. Nessun sente da che parte preme la scarpa, se non chi se la calza. For all the fuss Danny stepped up and despatched the generous gift left and Donnarumma dived right. A collective sigh of relief was heard as far away as Hampstead Heath as we knew it was not going to be one of ‘those’ nights. Referee Eriksson compounded his guilt a few moments later by denying Milan a penalty when Callum Chambers arm was up but  that  would have been harsh.

The rest of the game I admit is a bit of a blur although as I did not get home until 2 this morning is a bit fuzzy anyway. The main recollection however is of Arsenal largely controlling the game.  The pivot of that control last night being our Swiss midfielder, though whom it seemed most ball was channeled from back to front, and against Granit wall the RossoNeri battered to little effect as he covered ground and space, nicked the ball away and put a sly foot in as required. A really professional performance and capped by the killer second goal as far as Milan were concerned, a shocking cock up by a keeper who up until then in the tie had been excellent. Man of the match Xhaka. Enjoy your moment, you have worked hard for it. Merit points for Aaron, Jack, Mustafi, Callum and Danny.

Of the atmosphere 90% of Milan fans in the ground and singing an hour before kick off ! By Kick off + 5 I could see only a few empty seats in the upper tiers in the East and West Stands at the sides but it looked full to me. Plenty of noise throughout and lots of fans stayed after the final whistle to applaud all the players on both teams off the pitch. Arsenal fan next to me left immediately Donnarumma fumbled the second goal into his net – he’d seen enough.


At midday UK time we shall discover who the next opponents are in the Europa League and the hoopla will start again.

Enjoy Friday and the international break.

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270 comments on “Arsenal Middleman masters Milan

  1. Young Daley-Cam’bel nearly kicked the Brazilian player into the stands


  2. That was some goal from the no 10 for RB


  3. game ends 1-1 and I think that is enough for AFC to top the group and go into the knock out stages on Friday

    AFC seem to have a fine goalie, and the two goals he has conceded have both been wonder goals, it looks like it takes something special to beat him.

    our midfield tonight found it very difficult to get their passing game going, pitch seemed very poor, ball kept holding up,

    Liked by 2 people

  4. All this poor young Steve Smith “They’re treating him like a drugs mule”
    Come on the scrum was created by the media, they were not a scrum of ordinary working South Africans.

    He got caught doing one of the most heinous crimes in cricket , he tampered with the ball, that is serious that is Match fixing.
    At the highest level sport, top players look for an edge, some anywhere they can get it.

    Steve Smith is a super talent, a generational player he will be back, he is a very tough kid. He is young and talented enough to make this a footnote in his career but it will be there.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hmm – as I saw on Twitter this morning WWWB – “tamper with a cricket ball, get a one year ban and global condemnation” – “tamper with a referendum, and you get a Cabinet post”.

    While in no way excusing Smith’s cheating the MORAL outrage and lynch mob frenzy of the social and mainstream media scrum is nauseating.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. To be fair Test cricket playing countries need to have a serious look at player’s behaviour and acceptable standards of how you speak and interact with opponents on the pitch.

    Over the past 4-5 years players and teams just seem to have lost any mutual respect of sense of sporting perspective in what happens on the square. It is fucking ugly and not nice to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wenger missed his press conference this morning as he is ill, Steve Bould did it instead.

    team news – jack trained yesterday and should be available for Stoke, Lacazette back in full training just needs more training and game time to bring him up to speed.
    all returning internationals will be assessed today, but no early indications that any of them got injured.

    seemingly Bould has pissed off the ASB and WOB as he spoke very highly of Arsene Wenger.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. anicol one thing that I have seen come in to many sports over the last decade or so, is how rules that were being flaunted, instead of a clamp down on those doing it, the governing bodies just went “they are all doing it, so best we change the rules to allow it”

    this has come about at the very same time TV companies are pumping shit loads of money into covering sport. Now if I was cynical I would say the two are connected.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Got Utd in semis of Dallas cup then. They took four extra players and slightly older squad so lot will depend on state of lads’ legs and bodies for 4th 90 min game in 6 days.

    Think we’re managing Coyle and Mcguiness carefully after their big injuries, plus another player who there seems to be no trust in whatsoever, so squad is very stretched.

    Just had a look at youth schedule and it’s a busy old month with 8 games in about 14 days. 3 at Emirates, 1 at London stadium.

    Hopefully a couple on Arsenal.com, though believe rules for the u23 cup stipulate no games can be televised (uefa gits were against the competition, and no tv plus all games in England was only way it could go ahead)

    Lots to play for. Hopefully the u18 vs Chelsea will be re-arranged as u23’s play Villarreal at Emirates in semi same day.

    Whatever happens from here, has been good year for academy but a trophy would be mighty nice.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. So today Bould is a yes man, instead of a frustrated, old-school, good guy being denied the chance to help by the arch fiend?

    Could be both, I suppose, though it would take some extreme contortions to assert that without concluding Bould isn’t a strong character.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Steve Bould On Wenger
    I admire him immensely. He’s takes an unbelievable amount of stick off an awful lot of people. He is one of the great managers, it’s a pleasure for me to sit next to him.

    Do you think he has been treated fairly?
    I’m not here to answer those questions. I’m sitting in for Arsene to talk about the Stoke game, I’d much prefer you concentrate on football if possible.
    He has done a great job as far as I’m concerned. He has done for an awful long time.

    Can you give us an exclusive that he’ll be here next season?
    I’d love to.

    Do you sense Arsene’s hunger is still as great as ever?
    Absolutely. He’s remarkable. Behind closed doors I’ve never met anyone who is as hungry and determined to win football games.

    Is that hunger still as big as you’ve seen?
    It’s as big as I’ve ever seen.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I don’t think the ever increasing cash going into a lot of sports does much for the the Corinthian ethos eddy, and the pressure that having to earn the money muddies the moral water.

    But players in most sports are not stupid, they have the power to make choices about how they behave, if they respect opponents and the rules of their sport or not. Personal responsibility for the decisions you make and what you do needs to be a bigger feature ( maybe not just in sport!!!).

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Tape and some rigorous Grit is not too different to a little bit of “dirt in the pocket”, which begs the simple question: why use the highly visible yellow tape?

    I am appreciating the humour and comedy in this story.


  14. Rich its as clear as day that Steve Bould is now suffering form Stockholm syndrome, how else can it be explained that a man with such pashun can now come out and say he honored to “sit” next to his captor

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I agree anicol, I know here in the GAA in Ireland where its an amateur sport, and so not actual money to be gained by the players, all sorts of dirty deeds are done. For instance I know of one manager who got his opponents investigated, to find out personal details about their families and friends, things like any player with marriage problems, a death in the family or friends, especially suicide, anything that he could get his players to sledge them with. Totally abhorrent behaviour
    I’ve seen county boards, despite all the rhetoric just bury incidents of racial abuse. My own clubs u18’s were involved in a bit of a brawl when their black players were being constantly being racially abused by opponents and fans, Ref claimed to have heard nothing said, and my clubs chairwoman’s evidence would not be taken as “she was not an impartial witness”, so the county board ignored the racial abuse and suspended both teams for the brawl. So they can claim no racial abuse is happening in the GAA. After that incident my club lost many of its black and foreign youth players, they were disgusted by the GAA stance. Claim they won’t tolerate racial abuse but when push comes to shove, they just finds ways to bury it. Some counties will not pick black players in their teams at any level – thankfully this is becoming less and less, as the desire to win trumps racist views. The old line is trotted out, about these players not having a tradition in the game so are more likely to give up the sport sooner than the Irish lad, so no point wasting time and money on them when an Irish lad that will stick to the sport can be picked. The GAA has had several very high profile mixed race players get to the very top of the games, and one or two counties have several black players in their senior squads, Westmeath seem to have the most. But by and large black players get a very raw deal in the GAA, from Refs ignoring racial abuse, to not giving frees to them no matter what the hit they take. To not getting picked on merit. It will take one of the big counties to have a black player become a big star for it to improve, and of course for the GAA to actually take action and not just make fake claims about how they do not tolerate abuse.

    Governing bodies in sport have to have the will to stop the nasty elements and the cheats, but as we see in the BPL, the brand is all that matters, and if anything negative can be hidden or denied it will be, and nothing will ever be done to stop these things.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Bould’s obviously a man whose spirit has been broken and physically he looks a wreck – all he needs is the orange jump suit to complete the ensemble.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Free the Bould one!

    Should be a few beauties about him on twitter today-how do you call him a stooge without damning his character? though not nice but Tim is probably busy bleating on about how Wenger lost his voice taking big bucks to talk about club, conflict of interest, blah, blah

    Could be in a pickle if we get through in youth cup. Semi is on 22nd or 23rd.

    Final is two legs, week apart. U17 Euros start May 4th and we recently had six in that squad. Be a shame if that messes us up.

    Liked by 4 people

  18. Jeorge Bird
    ‏ @jeorgebird
    52m52 minutes ago

    Arsenal v Man United set to kick off at 6am UK time tomorrow. Should be a stream.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. A “stooge”

    Lovely word – rolls round the lips like the kiss of pouting angel

    Liked by 1 person

  20. New post is up.
    I’ve put my shoulder to the wheel.

    Liked by 2 people

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