Arsenal: The moment as little diamond


Good morning the Positive Arsenal crew,

As the digital clock on the scoreboard reached 10:00 to go I had this morning’s match write-up sketched out in my head. It was along the lines of “an exciting game”….., “plenty of chances at both ends”, …..”some noteworthy performances from players on  both sides”…., “but an inexplicable result of 0-0″…. . I was going to ponder some dubious finishing by strikers at both ends, two generally solid defensive performances, great industry in midfield if not great quality, and pick a few names out on both sides that caught the eye.

I was, in fact, going to highlight what I thought was the key moment of the match, and still do, which was Bernd Leno’s save from Deeney’s volley on the 52nd minute (picture above). A curling free kick from Holebas picked out the Watford striker 10 yards out, a solid but well directed shot from Deeney, an a split second later, a  decisive leap by Leno to his left low down, very little time to react, and he still managed not just to keep the ball out  but push it round the post!! The art of goal keeping at its very best.  If that Watford goal effort had gone in ? ( Sound of sucking teeth) Well the way the match was unbalanced at that time, with Watford on top and driving forward. We were rocking. It would have been a hard road back for us. As with Lacazette’s excellent opening goal against Everton last week on such pivotal moments are games won or lost and, when they are all added up, trophies decided. Last week a world class goal, this week a world class save.

And as often happens when a flash of talent changes the game the side that benefits goes on to win the game. In our case yesterday  it took a almost another half hour but by that stage Watford wee out of energy and, like me perhaps, had settled for the 0-0.  Iwobi and Lacazette combined and the opening goal is scored, or as I saw properly last night an own goal, followed by a second similar move which opens the Orns’ back door again, and a slick finish by Mesut. The One-Two to leave the visitors flat on their back. We all go home happy. Three points, fifth place, touching distance of the top four and all to play for.

Of the players who impressed me as described above Leno stepped in after Cech went off and did everything that our first choice keeper could have done, punched, saved and efficiently dealt with Watford’s rough-housing at the dead ball situations. Above all  he kept that hard to acquire  clean sheet. If Petr is out for a few weeks with a hamstring he  may  face  a hard fight to get back in.

I thought Mustafi and Holding did well against an unusual two headed attack of Deeney and Gray. They saw off the muscle and physical aggression in the air of the ugly twosome, and it was not until Isaac Success came on that Les Hornets with his better ground game really got any space and broke through Holding. If you get booked for dissent again Shkordan, arguing over a f****** throw in on the edge of the Watford box, I will fine you a week’s wages. I don’t mind if a player argues with an official, if they feel it does any good or is to do with a game-changing incident, just don’t get booked.

Torreira was a one man bee hive of industry and ensured that the midfield battle was always vigorous. He seems comfortable enough in the PL. The Uruguayan had an eye on winding up Deeney and his spectacular tumble toward the end convinced me that Watford striker should have seen a straight red, never mind a second yellow. Looking at the incident again on the TV last night it was rather less certain which one of them might have picked up a second card, if Taylor had been in the mood.

Among our opponents Doucoure was very good all afternoon in central midfield, and Peyrera is a talented player, intelligent and quick with the ball at his feet.

On we go then with a little more confidence, another battle against difficult opponents – a long trip to Baku for an early game, I think, then the erratic Fulham at Craven Cottage to see whether we can convert 5 PL wins into 6. Interesting times.


Enjoy Sunday.


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192 comments on “Arsenal: The moment as little diamond

  1. Paddy
    ‏ @VieiraPaddy
    55m55 minutes ago

    Ospina the first goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet against Liverpool this season

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Nice to see Vermaelan come on.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Fair play to the Tottenham players for not admiring Messi’s training session in that second half.
    After Messi hit the post for the second time in two minutes after the start of the second half the rest of the Barca players were perhaps a little distracted, understandable as it looked like the little maestro was in the mood to score at will, and as I wrote at the end of the first half as they could score at will (you can quote me on that, cheers!), so a little bit slackness and lack of concentration didn’t matter for them,. As Messi could score at will against Henry Winter’s favourite/admired back line.

    That is what all could see,

    And hopefully what we all learnt is that when they have to play by the rules of Association Football that Tottenham are perhaps not even as good a Football team as Girona or Leganes?

    Fair play to Harry Kane though, hopefully after som nuch football already in 2018 he’ll be out of puff by the time the xmas crunch comes around but as his career path matches Giroud (without the trophies though) I think he’ll be fine impact injuries permitting. He’s no Andy Carroll boondangle, which is of course i why one had to milk the previous biggest club goal of his career till last night for all it was worth, the own goal against the giants from Flemish Kent – looks like he’ll be back in the EL to make amends? (n.b. A question mark at the end of a sentance usually denotes a query or question as opposed to a statement. HTH next time).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Not for first time, Messi had me musing on how he can be so good, player development in general and especially of the top players and the all time greats.

    There’s talent, of course, prodigious even, as a youth player, then first team opportunities, grasping them, acclimatising, growing, then for me there’s a period when a player basically earns the right to be a or the main man in the team. Ultimately a king within a team.

    That last crucial stage allows a player to then develop their talent fully. They basically play all the time, are very involved in the play, have trust of teammates and supporters, get to play through any blips in form. Most of all they have far more freedom to experiment, try things, explore and perfect their art on the pitch. So far removed from players desperate to do well enough with what may be limited opportunities just to keep their place or get more time in a team.

    All that within the framework of whatever team they’re in, the quality of their teammates, the understandings they form.

    It’s hard not to think, with Messi, that there must have been near perfect conditions at many crucial points to allow him to develop as he has.

    That includes the obvious and undeniable, to me, factor that he faced far less reckless play in his development and throughout than he would have on these shores.

    I don’t know what he’d have become if he had been playing here from 16 (or 13,14,15) but he wouldn’t be as good as he is. There would have been more injuries, maybe some massive ones, and he would have been forced to alter his game, running at people less, with less of those little last second swerves etc.

    Spurs gave him some of the rougher treatment I’ve seen for some time and that was them on good behaviour under the CL spotlight.

    Anyway, those are the two distinct stages for me with the best : earning the right to be a star player, and then using the platform to develop further and become the best you can be.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Nice thing about Messi is, when he is fouled which is often the only way to get the ball away from him, he gets up and gets on with game. No rolling round squealing, clutching his face/knee/ankle/bollocks. And bloody hell – when the Argentine scores a goal he smiles – like he is sort of HAPPY !!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Messi did not receive the Kevin Davies treatment as quick skillful young player,
    i give credit to Kevin as he had to rebuid his career after those early cloggings and injuries but I’d have preferred to have seen the footballer that he might have been, as would he in his own words (I can quote him on that!).

    He was not a brittle boned footballer. As per his well known latter reputation. As a young player who was still growing he just got kicked off the park. That is not an opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very interesting Fins – I don’t really se how it explains why Leo Messi is superior to every other footballer in the world (IMO), in terms of his technique, close control and in game nous. Did no other Spanish, Argentine, Brasilian, Italian, etc players have a similarly benign opportunity develop their talent ?

    I think he is a one off, always was. He would have got fuck all in England though I agree, as he was about 4’10” when he was a kid. TOO SMALL.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As you know AndyI try my best to be fair and open minded (for myself i’d draw the line with “lamentable” crooks and fixers who threw my efforts upon their behalf back into my face), and so I am open minded about the impact that growth hormones will have upon the careers of young footballers or even young english cricketers, athletes of all types.

    After all that is far more open and up front then pretending that your asthma is so bad that you can’t ride a bicycle, which if that were the case one would have to ask, why bother?

    Messi is a special case, one we will long remember. The original GOAT.
    And at least his jawbone is normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As far as I know the growth hormone given to Messi was under strict medical supervision.
    Interesting to know how Fellaini got so big though I agree Fins.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. “Manchester United have been owned by the Glazers for 13 years. No wonder they’re struggling”

    David Conn.

    Holy fuck this is hilarious. Look at the extent some people will go to in order to avoid pointing out that Jose Mourinho is not only a shit cheque book manager, but that he’s a hack who never won without someone else building a team for him. I’ve been saying for years that he’s Otto Rehhagel with a tan and look at him now, he’s devoid of ideas and has completely ruined all of his attacking players. I hope my PA friends are having the same number of schadenfreude orgasms I’m having over the implosion of both the specialist in failure and Manure.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I thought the original goat was Shaun

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Monreal and Sead both starting ?? That is it – he’s lost the plot #EmeryOut

    Liked by 2 people

  13. well anicol it will be interesting to see if its 3 CB’s, with Nacho one of them, or if Sead is actually playing wide left ahead of a back 4. the way its put up on .com, it looks like its 3 at the back, a 3-4-3

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Andy,
    Barca are well known for their strict medical supervision! Hopefully with the kind of good staff that helped to save Cazorla’s career.

    Huge arena, great experience ESR.
    Get in the Greek!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Sokratisssssssssssssssssssssssss 1-0 with just 4 minutes gone, an Elneny corner is headed at goal by Monreal and it hits off Sokratis for his first AFC goal

    Liked by 2 people

  16. My guess behind some of the thinking, and this won’t surprise you all that i believe it is fitness related, being a sport and all, is that Kolasinac needs the minutes but probably won’t last the full 90.

    But he needs some game time before the next league cup round.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. HT: Qarabag 0-1 Arsenal

    Sokratis with an early goal to put us in the lead, but since then its really been an open game, we could easily have scored a goal or two more, but they too could have scored one or two. We are struggling a bit in midfield and attack to really click, its a lot of nearly moments.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. half time sub, Torreira on for Monreal, which means Welbeck is Captain for the second half

    Liked by 1 person

  19. after we give away the ball easily qarabag get in but goal ruled out for clear offside. Elneny and Guendouzi really not at the races in this game so far

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Smith-Roweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee 2-0, after a few shaky minutes, we get our second, Iwobi plays in EMS and finally he has a chance on his right foot and he tucks it away with ease. First senior goal for the lad.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. we are really open in midfield and in turn at the back

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Leno has been our best player so far, he has made some fine saves

    Liked by 1 person

  23. ozil on for EMS, and Lacazette on for Iwobi

    Ozil gets in but for some reason he tries to set up a team mate and the chance is gone

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Guendouziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii 3-0, our third, and the third player to score his first AFC goal. Welbeck win the ball back 30 yards from our goal and we break away with our young French lad scoring from edge of the area

    Liked by 1 person

  25. we have fucked up some very good attacking positions again tonight

    Liked by 1 person

  26. FT: Qarabag 0-3 Arsenal

    Sokratis, Smith-Rowe and Guendouzi with our goals, all first time scorers for the first team. We had loads of chances, they had lots too. Leno was good, midfield was poor, attack disjointed, although I would say Iwobi was good again. Lichtsteiner, Kolasinac, Elneny and Guendouzi all had tough games, Smith-Rowe too. Welbeck caused lots of problems for their defense but his finishing was poor. CB’s were grand. But a win is a win is a win, and another clean sheet.

    Sporting had two late goals to get a comeback win in the other game in our group to join us on 6pts

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Leno had another very good game, made some saves & knows when to pass the ball or hoof it. Iwobi (again) with the assist for our second & Danny with an exquisite defensive touch to start the move for our third. He celebrated his England call up with a bad miss when set up by Lacazette, but we were home & dry by then. Both the youngsters scored which must give them some confidence.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Strange game when I tuned in and watched the first half highlights I was convinced we were the team in black.
    Some truly shambolic defending. Excellent goal keeping though Leno was amazing and that in itself is a major plus.
    The young stars were good though it was strange to play elneni so far up the field.
    Saed coming back from injury looks like he is not up to speed. He was all over the place with his defence though to because he was often left with two players running at him.
    Iwobi continues to grow and at this rate could be the final the season pace strength good control and effective in the attacking third. Brilliant.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. The back three lasted for just the first half, and we looked vulnerable because of it. The DMs didn’t really do much to help the central defenders.Back to a four for the second, but still quite shaky TBH. Their finishing was really awful.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Ah that’s how they lined up, thanks.

    Not sure if they described the line up on the arsenal player broadcast, if they did I was distracted by work. Sounds like Kolasinac needed as many minutes as he could get, happy he could stay on and happy that Monreal got a bit of a breather before the upcoming league game.

    Three at the back. Interesting. Just a shame that we’re unlikely to see Rambo in CM now, otherwise Unai would have more or less completed that page from the panini sticker album of Arsene’s tactics (all of them!) that he has stuck up in his bedroom.

    And how did that guy Danny Welbeck get on in your opinions?

    Liked by 1 person

  31. SR we were all over the place in both halves, maybe it was just having the ring rusty Lichtsteiner, Kolasinac and Elneny, plus inexperienced Guendouzi and Smith-Rowe. The change in formation for the second half did not change the feeling we were a collection of individuals, nothing compact about the team. Elneny spent a spell in the second half wide right, another spell ACM, neither position could be said to be anything other than alien to him. That was Guendouzi’s poorest game for us, reprieved a bit with his goal, EMS was not great, again his goal covers a multitude of faults from him.

    Having said all that, we won, we kept a clean sheet, we scored 3, we had 3 different scorers, Ozil was a level above when he came on, although he really should have taken a shot himself that time. Holding, Sokratis and Monreal were good. Leno very good. Welbeck the enigma he so often is, everything except top level finishing.

    A thought occurred to me watching the performance tonight, maybe this is Emeryball, its all hustle and bustle, moving constantly, relying on running and energy levels to get us out of trouble, letting opponents get at us, but us getting at them more, and relying that our quality in attack will be better than the opponent. could this be what we are to be, just maybe with a little more quality when the players settle into it. After all what we seen tonight is basically what we have seen in every game under Emery.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Can’t wait till this team starts clicking on all cylinders.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. afcstuff
    ‏ @afcstuff
    2h2 hours ago

    Arsenal’s next 6 fixtures:

    Fulham A
    Leicester H
    Sporting Lisbon A
    Crystal Palace A
    Blackpool H
    Liverpool H

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Unai Emery was in good spirits when he spoke to the media after Thursday night’s 3-0 win over Qarabag.

    We extended our winning run to eight matches in all competitions, with a host of players impressing in Baku.

    Here’s a full transcript of what Emery said in his press conference:

    on a comprehensive scoreline but a testing fixture…
    Good evening. Yes, each match for us is not easy. Firstly, because when we are playing away, we are playing against a good team like Qarabag today. Good players also and with a very great ambition and excited to play against us. Their mobility, their quality in above all the first half, I think we suffered in the match. But I want to suffer. I want to not find easy matches, like today. Then, in our moments, to show you and show them our possibilities, our quality and our organised moments. I think in the 90 minutes today, the team worked very well.

    on what he said to Emile Smith Rowe when he came off and how far can Emile go…
    Well, first I think that every player needs to feel that we have the option to give them chances an an opportunity to play with us. Above all, the players with us, they are coming from the academy and today they are here. Deyan Illiev is here also, Eddie Nketiah is here also, and also is Joe Willock. We want to give them [opportunities] but also they earned their moments in the pitch because, in pre-season for example, Emile Smith Rowe worked very well with us. He knows how we want to play and he is very humble to continue improving and progressing with us and in every training and match, like today. I said to him, after he left the match, that before he had one action and with ambition, he can go inside the box and score more.

    on what qualities in Emile stand out for him to make him want to pick him…
    A little bit of all the qualities he has: physical, mentality and quality with his right foot. Working in combinations with other players. If I can say one condition, for me, it’s his mentality. He is humble and he is humble to listen every day in training, in the video analysis and also before the match to continue improving and to keep taking one step more, like today. The last matches he played, for example against Brentford, he had three actions in the opposition boxes and didn’t score. But today, he had two and one was a goal. I think this is one step more for him. I prefer to not speak a lot about him, because I think it’s best for him to continue to be humble and continue working in every match to keep his feet on the ground.

    on how he views Qarabag…
    When I saw different matches, in their domestic competition and in Europe against Sheriff and Sporting Lisbon, for us their best performance was against Sporting Lisbon with a good match. Our respect is more thinking here, for example Atletico Madrid didn’t win. They played very well in the Champions League. That’s the reason, today also, we analysed and worked with the respect against them. On the pitch we were thinking that we need also to take the best performance to win today.

    on Alex Iwobi’s performance and whether he will start in the Premier League – plus updates on Aubameyang and Ramsey’s availability for Sunday’s match…
    No, first I changed Monreal because we wanted to play with a back four in the second half. Also, we needed to put one midfielder more on the pitch. Secondly, Aubameyang and Aaron are in London and we will look tomorrow and Saturday to see how they are for Sunday to see if they can play. For us, each match is very important to show us and for them to take responsibility, take confidence and take rhythm. Each match is one exam for them. I am very happy with how they are responding on the pitch. Alex Iwobi is another player who is the same. When we arrive on the match at Sunday against Fulham, it’s also very important that we decide the best first eleven and the players on the bench for continuing together in this way, away at a very good and difficult team like Fulham.

    Copyright 2018 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.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Daily Mail headline rated Arsenal as ‘rampant’. The article made Smith Rowe MOTM and compared him to Wilshere.
    Not quite the match I saw, but very nice of the Heil all the same.


  36. Daily Mail headline made Arsenal ‘rampant’, Smith-Rowe MOTM & Wilshere’s successor.


  37. Daily Mail headline made Arsenal ‘rampant’, Smith-Rowe MOTM & Wilshere’s successor.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. …and The Guardian are equally generous saying Arsenal ‘pass Qarabag test with ease’
    They’re all on our side, and it makes me nervous.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Ed

    V interesting stuff with final paragraph of your 8.50 comment last night.

    Still don’t feel I’ve figured out what changes (apart from extra playing from back and, apparently, a lot of intense training) Emery is implementing or what his style actually is

    Memories have faded alas, but I feel the Europa league final win vs Liverpool is probably a good guide to what he’s all about ; Liverpool’s hard running and intense pressing looked like it would win the day and was making it almost impossible to play as they wanted to; then an incredible transformation as (Sevilla’s) passing, skill and cleverness got on top 2nd half, produced some wonderful football, made Liverpool look utterly ordinary, and led Sevilla to a well deserved victory.

    I don’t know what the keys to it were. Liverpool tired of course, but Sevilla, despite being assembled for far less money presumably, simply seemed the better footballing side. Much bolder and braver in possession, technical ability and nous right throughout team.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. New post up


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