75 Comments

Arsenal: Rock, Paper, Scissors

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Good Morning Positives,

We anticipated a keenly fought contest yesterday between two teams determined to secure a Champions League place, if not better, this season and the almost 100 minutes of action did not deviate from the script. Both sets of players left the field drained of energy and great credit to them all. Last game against Bournemouth  I noted we had 20 shots  and warned we would get far fewer chanced against the pride of Middlesex in the NLD. I see we had 22 shots yesterday. Experts eh – what ARE they like ?

Of the match itself we set about the visitors from the first whistle and battered their defence. Our best opening phase of the season  and, almost,  inevitably the Totties cracked with Verthongen flailing at the ball amid a jumble of heads. A tidy despatch by PEA and the mood in the crowd around me became more confident. We ‘should’ have added to the opener but a combination of indecisive finishing and desperate defence kept the score at 1-0. And ever so slowly the opposition got off the floor, get over the half way line and  put two passes together.

And then calamity, or double calamity as it turned out! A needless free kick given away by Sokratis, a ball whipped in by Eriksen, a glance of Dier’s turnip-shaped head and in off Leno. A real kick to the guts, though followed by some commendable scuffling as the Tottie player foolishly provoked the home crowd in the corner. Our concentration wavered, it was a setback.

As for the second string of misfortune within a minute a needless challenge from Holding on the dishonest Son, Deano points again to the spot and again the net bulges. Consternation, big, big consternation. At the game it looked a sure penalty, as it did to everyone around me. Son was already being shepherded away from the goal. There was no need to slide in. Watching it again last night I don’t know. According to the Sky Jamie ‘contactscope’ multiple slo-mo review showed a positive reading hence although Son clearly chucked himself to the ground a penalty was the correct decision. Bollocks. It was the wrong decision, although the result of calculated cheating on the Korean’s part. There will be no come-back on it for Son, and no doubt Pochettino will give him a pat on the back for his alleged cleverness, but he will find it harder to get away with next  season. Bastard. He and his Milton Keynes mate took abuse when they were subbed on 80 minutes, people up on their seats and over the back of the Spurs bench.

Our collective balloon was a bit deflated going into half time and a fan one up from me stormed out at HT, never to return. I was happy to get in at 1-2 to be honest. Going into half time a goal down though ? It is the Arsenal way.

I expected Emery to make changes at HT and Mkhi was top of everyone’s list. The Spaniard was more decisive than expected though with Alex Iwobi also benched. Rambo and Laca were however experienced, strong and more direct players and that is what we required. The opening five minutes of the second phase was a bit scrappy and a third for TH would have really floored us for good.  Again however we grappled our way back in, and began to control the ball. Hard work in midfield, decisive defending, and everyone playing as part of the team.

With PEA’s sublime finish for the second we never looked back. We seized the game by the throat, with Lucas dominant in midfield, Aubameyang tormenting Hoyth without mercy and Laca twisting the Spurs Belgian centre back inside and out. The killer tackle then through pass from Rambo to Laca sent us ahead again, courtesy of the finest but decisive touch off Dier to take the ball an inch past the diving Lloris (banned smiley).  Lucas topped the contest off on 77 minutes, excellent strike.

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They were done for, the points were ours and North London is very, very Red.

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No single MotM this week. A team award.

Enjoy Monday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About anicoll5

Arsenal supporter, 60, Dad, harmless and humourless, political militant moderate, school governor and worker bee

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75 comments on “Arsenal: Rock, Paper, Scissors

  1. Thaks Andy Nic: brilliant stuff as ever, and how great to start Monday off with such a spring in the step. On the TV yesterday Gary Neville kept talking about the atmosphere, which he said was electric. Was that your impression?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent atmosphere during the game Tim, everyone noisy, everyone up and down on their feet. It went a bit quiet for 3-4 minutes after the Totties scored their second but we soon got back into the groove. Bloke next to me kept hugging me after every goal !!!! No Arsenal went for the early train, the away section was 2/3rds empty by the time Deano blew his final whistle.

    Like

  3. Good stuff, Andy. As ever.

    Interesting when you say;
    “At the game it looked a sure penalty, as it did to everyone around me.”
    as around me the gut feeling, in the moment, was that he’d dived. Different angles of view, I’m guessing. Role on VAR imo.

    Marvellous day. Also in pub when smoker comes back inside to say “hear that cheer? Guendozi in back of a car stuck his head out of window as it drove off” Good to see it confirmed that smoker was not, indeed, hallucinating or telling porkies, by the clip that subsequently appeared online as I gleefully scanned social media on train ride home.

    Great day, great… super… smashing.

    UTA!

    Like

  4. Eat Shit Merson you dick eater.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 2:30 AM by the time it finished here in Aus and wouldn’t have missed a minute.
    Loved the shot of the spud taking off his top under the pullover before he left the ground.
    What a piece of work.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Cracking review, good comments, but then…what else would you expect in a wonderful world!!!

    Seriously though (the wonderful world bit, not the rest) it was up the top end of football enjoyment, and that means pretty great.

    Made me laugh with Son, the clip where a commentator (Scottish?) is watching the replays and moves from (something like) a sure ‘he caught him’ to ‘yes the ankle’ to ‘maybe the top of the foot’. I just wanted him to go one more and say ‘well maybe there was no contact but it’s still the correct call’

    Liked by 2 people

  7. HE HE! Still feeling great!

    Many thanks for the review anicoll5, must have bee brilliant to have been a witness. Nice pics too.

    Poor old Eric Dire and Son diving team, thought was going to be a country barn dance knees up with Chas and Dave! But alas they forgot the old equation: A cannon is always better than a chicken. Boom boom boom boom, ( said Baldrick).

    Uncle Emery is the master of the HT talk, he knew that we could do it. King Ramsey, imagine if he could have squeezed a fifth! As you say, everyone was great.

    Anyway, feet on the ground the ManUres will be up for it.

    COYG! And may the force be with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, well, well. What a wonderful write up Andy. It was a fantastic display. I am more intrigued than ever now with what will happen with Rambo? Boy did he make a difference….

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Indeed Andrew… indeed. A bloody great morning. I’m still x-ing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Fantastic review!

    My Man of the Match was Torreira, not just for for his domination of the midfield, not just for the psychological damage he inflicted upon his opponents (“had he NO idea who they were?”) but for having the nerve to have a go, to devastating effect, in front of goal. A goal that we’ll all remember for a long, long time.

    Aaron Ramsey’s impact as a SUPER super-sub can not be over-stated not least for his roughing up of the odious Alli on the sidelines, but two of the trickiest assists you’ll likely see this side of Xmas. Personally I don’t think those contract talks are over until they are over …

    And my, how it felt like Xmas had come early, very early.

    I hope Manure make the most of their extra day off as on current AFC form, they’re going to need it. Come to think of it, on their own current form they will need something extra to get a decent result against us, such is the mood our entire squad are clearly in.

    Marvellous, marvellous stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Torreira’s goal was a beauty wasn’t it AA – superb slot past Lloris. It needed to be though as off to his left Laca was standing totally unmarked with the Spurs’ open goal in front of him !

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  12. There are no spuds fans here at work in Buxton. What a shame, where are the spuds when you need ’em?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a fucking good blog site this is, I think I’ll become a regular.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. There was a bunch of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great great game, and a wonderful write-up, what a game! A word of caution to PEA though, can he please find other simpler forms of celebrating when he scores – instead of the somersault? My heart drops every time he does that, all it takes is a mistimed landing or takeoff to injure one or both his ankles – God forbid.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Just hope we don’t do anything rash and sack Emery if he doesn’t get a win against Jose!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Maybe wrong time to ask after such a high, but how do you reckon we are shaping up, especially in terms of settled team.

    Think Leno has number 1 spot now:

    Bellerin has rb or rwb slot; 2 of 3 Holding, Mustafi, Socrates cbs, or 3 in back 3, with Holding maybe 1st choice now (Kos back in equation soon); close between Kola and Monreal for left wing back, Monreal if in back 4;

    Torreira Xhaka established as pair in centre mid; Laca shading it for centre forward, with him and Auba starting most games.

    So a lot settled, or almost, but not to extent we’d often see, injuries permitting, towards end of seasons when on good runs. Maybe that’s not the aim any more if Emery is more a systems guy than a player guy, or however it was worded a few weeks back.

    Obviously makes things harder to predict as we don’t know if the 3 centre backs is the way for time being, nor exactly what score is with Ozil (I’m assuming no more than a tricky back and possibly not starting all away games), and of course if now is the time Ramsey will be starting again.

    We’ll find out much more in this exciting, vital month I guess, with no international breaks blotting the horizon.

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  18. Only just properly realised that Lacazette’s goal was left-footed, which given the ferocity of his right-footed strikes makes him an even better (and more confident) striker than I had realised he was. And although much has rightly been made of the two key subsitutions, I thought that both Mikhitaryan and Iwobi gave pretty decent performances.
    As indeed did the crowd, and especially whoever it was with the pyrotechnics. Military trained perhaps, expert in the use of pathfinder flares?

    Like

  19. My latest Yorkie Show, where the music is Rockingly Good

    Like

  20. Our utter dominance of energy, technical skill, intelligence, and endurance meant that all they had left was gamesmanship. That worked for about 15 minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I’ve just watched Adrian Clarke’s Breakdown on the Arsenal site. As ever he is superb.

    Liked by 6 people

  22. Fabulous performance, coming out on top of two teams who really went for it.
    The Spuds looked a little leggy, but are no mugs as players or play actors.
    What a team we were on Sunday, and hopefully, will be with increasing frequency.
    Not sure Spurs knew what hit them in the second half, although I am sure Poch had them prepared.

    Like

  23. FA Cup 3rd Round – Sollihull or Blackpool v Arsenal

    Like

  24. Like

  25. why is it that because there is contact and a player throws himself onto the ground, it is always a penalty?

    Surely if the contact is to have any meaning it must be that the contact was the direct cause of the fall.

    If there was contact yesterday, and I believe there was none, it did not cause the fall, directly or otherwise.

    You can see Son pulling is left foot back so that he can fall down.

    Do the refs get no training as to what or what is not a foul?

    Clearly not, as we see week in week out penalties are given when the contact was not the cause of the fall. Indeed, on many occasions, the player is on his way down before the contact, a la Rooney

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Now I know (thanks to Clarke) what the tactics were I’m even more impressed with the plan and the way the players executed it. One thing that seems obvious to me is the cohesion of the current squad: I get the sense they are loving their football and loving playing for The Arsenal – and it seems that the crowd are loving it too. The Ems yesterday must have seemed a hostile place for those Spurs boys.

    And for all of that enormous credit must go to the senior managment team, and to Gazidis and Wenger in particular who worked so hard to put systems and philosophies in place in order that the change of regime would be not only painless but also invigorating. The signings in the last two years prove to me the truth that real greatness lies in planting trees whose shade will never be enjoyed by the planter.

    Liked by 4 people

  27. @foreverheady – I couldn’t agree more. Strengthening the foundations on which the organisation is built without compromising on principles has been key. Also it was three years ago now that Gazidis said that two thirds of the squad would be ‘homegrown’ in the future and I can see that being delivered within the next couple of years.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. so Arsenal on a 19 game unbeaten run, with a win in the NLD and out comes the usual ex arsenal players in the media to slag off some of our players, mostly Ozil and Ramsey, the likes of Wright, Merson and Parlour are disgusting, to think some still call them Club Legends, they are nothing more than fifth columnists sowing seeds of doubt and disharmony, shower of cunts

    Liked by 1 person

  29. jigsol

    Good points. I’d add they should be looking at whether a player positions their body to pursue a touch they take in box- i.e. if they knock it to left of onrushing keeper, they should be twisting to left at same time, to follow ball. That’s how I remember it from playing the game: lot of rounding keeper, no pens, lot of difficult angles out wide, close things but few goals.

    Few do go round keeper and follow ball. Vardy’s pens, including weekend one, are a classic for this. Monreal one with him was same.

    It’s forgivable to struggle with them in real time- players have undoubtedly been working on their techniques to deceive- but there’s no sign the refs battle afterwards, when they can review it all, to be better prepared for the next time.

    I don’t think it’s all their fault though- as well as players making it so hard, it feels like the game, including how it is reffed, is massively shaped by the media and the premier league itself, and I sense it couldn’t be otherwise.

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  30. Jigsol & Rich

    It was easy for everyone where I was sat to spot the dive. So that was how everyone called it.

    This was becasue from side on, the attacker falling over after the defender has gone past him with his slide is just a little bit of a giveaway. Regardless of one’s subjections this was an easy observation from which one can make an informed opinion.
    Unless you have a record of giving pens against the Arsenal for defenders having their hands down by their side. And no interest in conferring with your lino when you can guess from an oblique end on angle.
    Who could predict such an attittude or call (or a pen in the other direction. For the first time in eight years, almost a decade. Oh. I did. Wow. Good thing I am not a soothsayer!)

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  31. Torreira with another backheeled tackle in this game after the first against Wolves.

    He is quite a good player!

    Sokratis with a soft teddy-bear hug foul on Kane that was so sly he somehow avoided a yellow and had the likes Baresi and Arteta standing and applauding with approval.

    People will continue to wonder if Mustafi is much better in a three or at RB, but the transistional team’s more recent acquisitions are settling in nicely as the result on Sunday marked the end of the transitional phase required to rebuild of the great cup winning squad led by the likes of Koscielny, Arteta, Mertesacker and Cazorla. It was the second 5pur2 victory which allowed us to see the potential in the squad that went on to haul three cups, including the two greates in the club’s history and a record haul.

    it was a painful wait for replacements for Coquelin and Gabriel to come into the squad, but replacements of such quality match the spirit of the club’s oft mentioned yet seldom described values. Dortmund are doing ok at the back this season, be interesting for me to hear Dortmund fans opinions but that would require the blaggers, , the less successful AFTV media out there, to stop peddling their gibberish and actually discuss the footy. I won’t hold my breath.

    Here’s a good study of the game to go with your dose of Clarkie:
    https://arsenalcolumn.wordpress.com/2018/12/03/arsenal-4-2-tottenham-hotspur-energised-gunners-victorious-in-derby/

    Like

  32. Torreira with another backheeled tackle in this game after the first against Wolves.

    He is quite a good player!

    Sokratis with a soft teddy-bear hug foul on Kane that was so sly he somehow avoided a yellow and had the likes Baresi and Arteta standing and applauding with approval.

    People will continue to wonder if Mustafi is much better in a three or at RB, but the transistional team’s more recent acquisitions are settling in nicely as the result on Sunday marked the end of the transitional phase required to rebuild of the great cup winning squad led by the likes of Koscielny, Arteta, Mertesacker and Cazorla. It was the second 5pur2 victory which allowed us to see the potential in the squad that went on to haul three cups, including the two greates in the club’s history and a record haul.

    it was a painful wait for replacements for Coquelin and Gabriel to come into the squad, but replacements of such quality match the spirit of the club’s oft mentioned yet seldom described values. Dortmund are doing ok at the back this season, be interesting for me to hear Dortmund fans opinions but that would require the blaggers, , the less successful AFTV media out there, to stop peddling their gibberish and actually discuss the footy. I won’t hold my breath.

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  33. Fins

    It’s a given for me that Mike Dean is Mike Dean and will be Mike Dean. A fourth in 65 of whatever can’t change that.

    More interesting is the league wide trend: the lack of any impact whatsoever on diving from the diving panel. if anything it has sharpened players minds’ and made it even clearer that getting any contact is the thing, gives carte blanche to go over, and that the nature of falls relative to contact has completely escaped reality and…by and large, all parties are happy enough for it to continue that way.

    My belief is that the reactions of pundits and journos are an ultra reliable guide to the line that referees take and will continue to take, into VAR age, regarding pens and all else.

    So if there had been uproar and condemnation towards Son, or even widespread questioning of whether the fall and the rolling had anything to do with contact, if there was any (looked like underside of Holding’s foot brushed lightly over top of Son’s foot- though the angle I saw that on didn’t show if Son had moved his foot for that contact) that would allow hope that in VAR age here such a pen is far less likely.

    As it stands, no.

    Wouldn’t mind knowing if Dermott Gallager took a cheeky week off from his normal newscorp analysis of weekend’s big calls. I think Son one would put him in too tricky a spot.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Fins

    Also, I developed the tactic, pointlessly I suspect, over years of trying sometimes to tone down my condemnation of pgmol and even Dean.

    It became more and more obvious that no one who doesn’t share that view could ever be persuaded in the slightest towards it by coming on too strong, especially if implication is that anyone who doesn’t agree is inexcusably something-bad or other (daft, blind, etc).

    I think it’s helpful for strengthening argument and allows that glimmer of hope of changing opinion at least slightly, or at least getting a conversation going.

    That said, I’ve not the tiniest shred of proof it works at all, and in gloomier moments wonder about how anyone changes their mind on anything in football and far beyond. It does happen, I’m sure, but beyond being hit personally by something I don’t know about the how.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Little worried what our line up will be for Checkatrade later.

    Results been drying up for group (aside from good win in same comp last time) and felt it would probably take near strongest team to get job done tonight, and potential of a thumping if not near strongest.

    Portsmouth top of league one and might opt for stronger team than used so far. Also wonder if they’ll get much bigger crowd for it.

    Talk Willock and Nketiah trained with first team so that could be two big misses.

    Guessing Ballard and Osei-Tutu suspensions could kick in.

    Like

  36. Bizarre response to the Son dive from Keith Hackett where he explained ‘contact’ is not actually required. Not as ridiculous as it seems as if you lunge dangerously at an opponent but miss them
    It is still a foul. Not the situation with the Holding/Son challenge but another wrinkle in the process.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Dean did not award us a penalty, the Lino did.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. I still can’t decide if it was a penalty on Son or not. The footage is so ambiguous you can’t really trust anyone coming out for sure one way or the other.

    But the first goal looked a bit suspect. Son seems to react to a feather touch by SP’s hand, and then Dier is probably just offside, though Kolasinac may have played him on. Sokratis was still complaining about Son at the end of the match I think.

    So Son suddenly looks like a slippery customer, but I wouldn’t lay any of this at the ref’s door.

    Later I thought Aubameyang was dead level with the ball when he missed and was called off. Had that gone in it could have been v contentious.

    But we’re a better team than Spurs so none of this mattered!

    Like

  39. Missed that anicoll, but some situations where definitely applies. ‘Wrinkle in process’ good way to put it.

    Technically think any where one player- normally attacker- could reach it, but sees opponent steaming towards it at pace about to go off feet, and wisely leaves it, could constitute foul for recklessness or endangering opponent.

    Basically you have to imagine what would happen if player did go for it, staying on feet looking to keep ball, as attackers have to do, and opponent still made the lunge, which probably committed to early. Not sure it’s ever enforced like that.

    There was much of that to it when Theo was unfairly savaged for pulling out few years back against some giant defender- Morgan maybe?- where it was a case of defender motioning as if he was about to launch in off feet, while Theo’s touch would have been standing one, leaving him totally exposed to danger (and for v low reward).

    lamela’s of world mitigate against threat, and accusations of shirking challenge, by delaying and going over ball.

    If you watched couple of Wolves televised games recently may have seen their player Conor Coady make three very powerful sliding tackles, each time got ball and then smashed into opponent at great force. Some players develop real ability at spotting those opportunities to get ball and smash.

    Commentators really enjoyed them but not sure if any were permitted by rules.

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  40. No complaints about their free kick. Replay showed pretty clearly he stood on Son’s heel, deliberately.

    Heard someone else say Lino gave us our pen. Wasn’t aware of that so presume eagle-eyed folk in stadium of at home spotted flag?

    Weird truth is in most cases- unless flag raised or they talk- we don’t know what impact linesman has on decisions and naturally assume it’s all ref.

    Those rare experiments when you get to hear mikes, like snippets after this years cup final, make clear there’s near continuous input, similar to in rugby when you can often hear them guiding, advising, answering ref query.

    Webb also makes clear in book he trusted his team completely, and sometimes relied on them entirely for big calls, beyond offsides, when he wasn’t sure or didn’t have a view.

    Don’t understand how that works when they point instantaneously for pens, mind. That would deny chance to get extra input, though i suppose linesman could be bellowing pen at that instant.

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  41. Rich, oh I see – the left boot. I was expecting the contact to come from the right as it was swinging round. Fine, so no complaints there.

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  42. At the game it certainly looked like the linesman spotted the handball and flagged for it Rich

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  43. Thought it was linesman who prob gave us one at villa park few years back for foul on Theo .

    Ref seemed totally unmoved for a while before giving it.

    20 secs in

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  44. Anyone who wants to watch Pompey game, option is there…but will cost you a tenner.

    Step too far for me on a platform I know nowt about.

    https://www.portsmouthfc.co.uk/news/2018/december/watch-arsenal-game-live-on-ifollow/

    Like

  45. Arsenal Academy
    ‏ @ArsenalAcademy
    37m37 minutes ago

    📝 Here’s how #AFCU21 line up against @officialPompey in the @CheckatradeTrpy this evening… 🏆

    Starting XI: Iliev, Osei-Tutu, Ballard, Koscielny, Medley, Bramall, Omole, Gilmour, Olayinka, Saka, John-Jules

    Subs: Hein, Bola, Olowu, Thompson, Tormey, Zelalem, Coyle

    Like

  46. Monreal was back in full training today. Nketiah and Willock trained with first-team too

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  47. something Ballard is especially great at

    Arsenal Academy
    ‏ @ArsenalAcademy
    2m2 minutes ago

    Walkes charges forward and chips the ball over Iliev… but Ballard on hand to make a stunning goalline clearance 👏

    🔵 0-0 🔴 (7)

    Like

  48. Arsenal Academy
    ‏ @ArsenalAcademy
    2m2 minutes ago

    Walkes charges forward and chips the ball over Iliev… but Ballard on hand to make a stunning goalline clearance 👏

    🔵 0-0 🔴 (7)

    Like

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