Arsenal: The Force is with us


Good morning you lucky, lucky Positive Arsenal fans,

The glow of satisfaction after last night’s thumping of Leicester remains, the remembrance that I saw art and science in  action. Each goal a precise, almost perfect combination of mind and sporting body, each goal a combination of players, with each the cog that levered he next, with the ball finally stroked past the hapless Schmeichel. The  canvas was complete.

Drawing back from this sighing reverie and toward the game a bit of a ropey opening from us, but fair play to Leicester who came at us hard from the first whistle. We have seen  these disjointed starts to games, for no obvious reason,  over many seasons so it was not much of a surprise. Was it playing two right backs with one on the wrong side ? I dunno. The visitors deserved their lead when it came on 31 minutes, despite Hector’s contribution.  As we all know it could have been worse by 31 minutes with Bernd pulling off a couple of smart saves and Mr Kavanagh interpreting the accidental hand ball by Rob Holding with great wisdom.

Having had the cattle prod of Leicester’s opener jabbed into the collective team rectum however the response was indeed ‘electric’. It really looked as though a switch had been flicked with players in red scurrying hither and thither with the ball at their feet, pulling the Foxes backline about, and  looking like the goal scoring side that had finished the game at Fulham. The initiative was clearly with us and our opponents were breathless in our wake.

The equaliser came, with Hector teeing up a sweep for Mesut just before the half time break which must have further punctured Leicester’s balloon. 30 PL goals for Mesut – and not one a tap in. The second half we stated well and had loads of possession without really creating a clear chance. A rather good header from Ndidi rattled the Arsenal bar to remind us that possession = good but goals = better.

Whether that let off  caused Emery to decide on changes who knows but three minutes later on rolled Guendouzi and “supersub” himself, PEA. Faced with a faster, more direct threat Leicester were cut to pieces over the next six minutes, with our third goal (I am told) involving nine Arsenal players, 16 touches and nine passes. Six minutes of lightning.


Last night’s win was one of the games when I hesitate to pick out individual players because in the victory every man played well and contributed. But as you have forced me then I shall award Alex Iwobi Man of the Match. He got the balance between creative work with the ball, and being more disciplined in his covering duties right. Alex was still running hard at the end and his stamina has built up as he has matured.

Up to Fourth in the PL and a useful two goal cushion on the neighbours who I see take on Citeh next domestically after what I hope is a wearying tie in Eindhoven. For us the road to Lisbon and a different set of challenges.


Enjoy Tuesday !!



105 comments on “Arsenal: The Force is with us

  1. don’t forget guys that its an early kick off today, 17.55

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I have certainly heard of the match assessor’s report and if a ref is deemed to have made a glaring error then he is sent for “special” training Rich – and now it is 20-odd people !! the slight problem is what you or I might think of as a glaring error is not necessarily what the refereeing assessor (or 20 of them) would recognise as a shocker.

    Allocating Cup Finals and prestige games I assumed was always done on a time served basis with even the biggest clown getting his day of fame/infamy at Wembley. High profile top six v top six games tend to be confined to a small 4-5 group of the better refs but that is exactly where the controversies are at their fiercest and errors their most glaring.

    I did not know the scores were added up and a bonus paid ??? come season end. I have never heard of a referees’ bonus. If that is what happens fair enough but because the number of games and the type of game varies so much ( ie top 6 v top 6) between refs trying to work out a fair handout of the bonus pot would be a nightmare.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What would the dear reader of the thread above infer from the appearance of the mystical Oozlem bird on the anniversary of the most important day in the career of poor benighted Mike?

    Karmic and comical coincidence? For myself, I am grateful for such alignments.

    Does this bird disappear into the same space from whence came and quickly returned the defence of Mike, considering timing it’s a logical conclusion. Memorable efforts such as the classy “anti-English” or “forgotten how to. enjoy the game” efforts? Worth remembering that Hunter lampooned and laughed off such offerings upon these very pages, before they were even made.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Que?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. How is Hunter by the way? Perhaps more importantly where is Hunter?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. He popped up on the naughty step about a month ago and he certainly sounded in good health and ready for the fray.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Ed

    Ha, rings a bell Townsend saying ‘get in’ but can’t remember that for sure.

    I try not to say *too* much about the telly lot being anti-Arsenal, because when added to my belief about refs and us, plus the print journo’s…it feels like it weakens credibility on any or all of it.

    What are the odds-all them against us- or something?

    I’ve tried theories in the past which could explain it. Can’t remember what they were, but probably boiled down to Wenger badly upsetting the existing order, and attitudes against us and perceptions of us falling in his era and then getting locked in, so to speak.

    Fans of a more mature vintage have told me we were not that popular to begin with, mind, but I’ve watched bits and bobs from years back and it sounds very different to me, maybe not positively Arsenal but positively Normal, maybe.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Nice write up Andrew but aren’t the games coming thick and fast?! It’s either feast or famine these days. I felt the most recent interlull came at exactly the wrong time for us as our winning streak game had been strong.

    Despite a sleepyish first half (or was that an electric Leicester side making us look more pedestrian than we were?) our second half was a spectacular, and very welcome, return to the new ‘business as usual’.

    As we’ve had so many ‘iffy’ first half performances under Emery, I am beginning to wonder if he actively plans for a second half with after-burners to take advantage of wearying opponents?

    On the subject of our diminishing stock of referees, I can only hazard a guess that their experiences under the media microscope in recent seasons has led to a loss of enthusiasm for the role amongst the existing bunch (at least 3 have left in recent times) and a deterrent for otherwise up and coming newbies.

    On that basis, the introduction of VAR should see things return to ‘normal’ by way of ref recruitment as the bulk of the spotlight should return to the game rather than the governance.

    Early start tonight and whilst not the EL’s biggest fan, I do enjoy watching the Arse irritate the hell out of rival fans and the spluttering pundits!


    Liked by 3 people

  9. Que?
    No. Andy Townsend, he never said that. Why and how could he? Ignore the easy observation, don’t be ridiculous.

    It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter.

    Please note: quoting a great English playwright is not anti-English. HTH.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Andrew,

    Andynic wrote that the Arsenal had a “ropey opening” (citation!).

    Yet I’ve been under the impression that the Arsenal have been successfully roping the dopes. More successfully then the last two seasons, similar to the 14-16/17 team/squad that trademarked the controlled 2-0/2-1 results especially at home, before the big rebuild began.

    That’s why I was already drowning in delirium as BK rightfully looked forward to the even more instinctive confident football that was to come, that we are starting to see. As you’d expect and hope for in slightly less toxic environs, helpfully with a stronger squad then of late.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. < not forgetting the getting rid of Alexis factor and playing like a team again after his ego went supernova.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Sporting are not doing too badly considering their Summer of disruption with players leaving left, right and centre. 5th on the Primeria League rather than their usual 3rd but with a D W L W L sequence in their previous five domestic games. We have gone out there with a fully armed squad it looks like to get the job done early. Not a game to switch on late for.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. << UE said that he wants more cohesive first halves, less chances. Which is reassuring! For me watching the first half of the home game against vorskla in particular made clear the partial strategy of wanting to draw out the opposition. Perhaps not in every match, but I have the impression that it is a part of the plan some if not most of the time.

    I feel that we saw some of that against a good LCFC team too? Risky as they took the lead, but isn't that attacking football?

    Yep. Loving the new gaffer's styles which are so familiar to us all. Miki could lose that right sided starting berth to Ramsey at times (if Ramsey won't be asked to play in CM) and then we'll be watching a familiar line up to the 4231/442 variant when starting with Özil and Ramsey from recent years.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I find basketball boring to watch as I just don’t see such sneaky battles between teams trying to goad each other, where one team is defending deep and trying to play on the counter and the other is trying to draw them out so they can counter themselves or at the least find the snug little channel down to the byline and a cut back or cross. Perhaps I just need to watch some more basketball, however the sport that most influences association football is field hockey so I’d rather watch that.

    I have no idea how Sporting will set up, and I won’t be able to tell whilst watching the football but watching the Arsenal every game it’s a little easier to pick up on the trends, and the lasso looks like it is in the armoury as a tool if required.
    Scoring any goal in an away fixture is always helpful especially an early one as we saw with Sokratis in the last group game. Or at random Giroud against Munchen etc. lots of examples. Whatever the plan in my Expert opinion I can safely say that scoring some goals is apart of the plan. Heh.

    I will be eternally grateful that we don’t and haven’t had a manager who misses Fellaini when wanting to score goals. I mean no slur on the Utd player but there is more then one way to score a goal when chasing game of football!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Anicol

    Think it was Halsey’s book where the bonus thing came up.

    Sure I’ve mentioned, though you could guess anyway, I read that book and similar others in the spirit of looking for clues to support my existing beliefs (wrong un’s, I tell ye) but I think they’re worthwhile reads for anyone interested in the game here.

    The facts and feelings (upon reading) have faded but I know it felt as though it allowed, briefly, access to a different dimension of the sport.

    Even something as simple as reading about the extent of communication of the team of officials was interesting and is at odds with the experience from home, or in stands, I guess, where it’s natural to imagine what you see is what there is and that refs are truly alone out there, making their calls unassisted, save for offsides and the occasional shake of a flag for a foul.

    Be good to hear your opinion one day if you give one of the books a read. I’d predict more sympathy and understanding of them. Occasionally I was pushed in that direction but those beliefs of mine are too strong for it to stick.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. On a partially related note, that mad Liverpool supporter ex-prem linesman I like to keep an eye on, only went and liked a tweet yesterday where someone had responded to question of which player do you think of first on seeing a particular Man Utd top, with ‘Howard Webb’

    Not pals, I guess, but that guy really makes me wonder how he was fit to officiate Liverpool games. He does have one Chesterfield tweet to every 20-50 Liverpool ones so I’d guess he listed them as his team.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hunter was red carded for threatening violence to another commenter on the Positively light blog (UA). God knows or cares where he turned up next for his trolling.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. “Nobody likes Arsenal. I was bought up not liking the Arsenal. And of course they have a Frenchman as manager and not many English people like the French.”

    The inspiration that was Brian Clough
    (I don’t clumsily misinterpret his words to be either anti-French or anti-English)

    Liked by 2 people

  19. For all Hunters flaws when commenting of a football blog he never made a fool of himself when discussing the actual football.

    Eg: Imagine arguing against the historical process that led to footballers getting paid as they do? That would be ignorant. Unless you are already Punch Drunk, in which case, you have my sympathy.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Q:

    Regarding the PGMO five a side team which can only play five a side games of football against itself (with spectacular results) as there are only about five officials who reside within the sacred circle of trust (the others are allowed to train once in a while, maybe twice a season if they are lucky, but they are not allowed to play).

    Is the crest upon their badge, is it a rep restating of this Oozlem bird that magically appears once a year on Mike Riley Day?

    I ask the question as no one ever gets to see them actually play Football behind the closed doors of the indoor pitch of their bunker below the airstrip in Uxbridge?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. <representation

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Lovely chap but Hunter could start a fight in an empty cupboard – he was advised on here several times to rein in his excitement by the proprietor before being excluded from the premises. Having also been slung of various blogs it was not a decision lightly taken. H. then returned, only for another punch up to break out without a fortnight about bugger all. Thereafter the bar was permanent.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Talking of absent friends it is four years this month that ZimPaul aka Paul Brickhill left the stadium at the final whistle – time flies.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Paul would’ve enjoyed the emergence of Nelson

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Looks like we will get another look at Xhaka-Koeman!

    I guess that we’ll also see a strong leg for the return fixture and if all goes well more chances for younger players to play in the last two games. Similar to the usual CL run from the last twenty odd years.
    No trophies in AW’s final season, transitional squad plus Sanchez, but one achievement from last season was the investment made in some young players. No reward with McGuane responding to games in Europe with a move to Barcelona but certainly some impact in Nelson’s willingness to commit.

    Exciting line up for the Arsenal. Arsenal have never won in Portugal? Won’t be easy but they can do it..


    Liked by 1 person

  26. < strong team for the return fixture

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Sporting will be a tough game today
    Like all Latin teams they play decent football but they also have a ruggedness about them.
    I reckon we still start favourites not least due to all the upheavals they have gone through so far. But they are in form in Europe so they will give us a stern test.
    Lets hope we stay focused and keep a clean sheet. The attack should take care of itself with the way we are playing this season

    Liked by 1 person

  28. finsbury 12:22 pm

    I love it. The small plastic team that only gets to play itself, behind closed doors, on a plastic pitch …. ha ha!


  29. Bright start for the no.12.
    Driving most of arsenal’s early attacks and a smart and harmless foul when high up the pitch.
    Xhaka with the modern equivalent of a ‘reducer’ on the opposite flank, I’m guessing the ref will remember that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. A boot in the head as reward for the RB’s efforts, he’s ok just a glance, but the wise old pro taking his time as that would be to the Away team’s advantage.

    Holding with a strong foul, but not a sly nasty one, the ref is happy to keep his cards for now.

    At the other Elneny is hoping for a pen but it’s a well judged foul from the opponent this time to bring him down outside the area. First shot on target for Miki from the free kick.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Sokratis imperious whilst snuffing out a counter after Xhaka is beaten for pace in the opposition half.

    Holding gets away with poor pass and Nani doesn’t convert from distance, perhaps and fortunately he also made the wrong choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Hah Sokratis nutmegged shortly afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Litschtsteiner and Sokartis showing all their experience and goading the opposition into earning the first yellow for raised studs.

    Welbeck with a strong run which might’ve broken the Sporting RBs hamstring.

    And Holding now combing with Xhaka to stop Nani at the other end. Both teams ending the half stronger then at the start.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. HT: Sporting Lisbon 0-0 Arsenal

    a frantic half, with little quality, or control, both sides with half chances. We are disjointed in midfield and attack, all individual stuff, lacking real team moves

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Aubameyang and Welbeck with great chances to score

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Elneny off, Torreira on

    Liked by 1 person

  37. welbeck has a headed goal ruled out for a foul

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Welbeck with a fine low drive from just inside the area puts us in the lead, he had pounced on a mistake from the defender

    Liked by 2 people

  39. 10 minutes to go, Welbeck off, Lacazette on

    Liked by 1 person

  40. The sporting no.9 having a breather whilst rolling around and trying to beak up the momentum after a flurry if arsenal attacks.

    He tempts the fates and a colleagues slight error allows Welbeck a chance that he finishes with skill, power and confidence.

    And to follow up he leads the defence whilst blocking two shots in succession on the edge of the area. He is that kind of a guy!

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Nine minutes to hold out.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. These are the minutes players like Holding & Guen. need to develop and progress.

    Sporting with a shot from fourty yards.
    More of that please.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. 85 minutes Aubameyang off, Iwobi on

    Liked by 1 person

  44. 5 minutes stoppage time to be played

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Litschtsteiner hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. That’s one way to eat up the minutes.
    Hopefully the younger players were taking notes.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. FT: Sporting 0-1 Arsenal

    Welbeck with our winner late in the game, no more than we deserved as PEA and Danny both had great chances, while I don’t recall sporting having a shot on target

    we now top the group on 9pts, sporting with 6 and Vorskla on 3pts

    Liked by 2 people

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