Category Archives: Arsenal

Match Report: Arsenal 4 – 2 FC Vorskla Poltava

Arsenal (1) 4 FC Vorskla Poltava (0) 2

UEFA Europa League, Group E, Matchday 1 of 6
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Thursday, 20th September 2018. Kick-off time: 8.00pm

(4-2-3-1) Leno; Lichtsteiner, Holding, Sokratis, Monreal; Torreira, Elneny; Mkhitaryan, Iwobi; Welbeck, Aubemeyang.
Substitutes: Bellerin, Lacazette, Özil, Martinez, Guendouzi, Nketiah, Smith-Rowe.

Scorers: Aubemeyang (2), Welbeck, Özil
Referee: Bart Vertenten
Attendance: 59,039

Here we go again, the start of yet another campaign in Europe, a journey that began for us way back in 1964 with an away win against the Danish side Staevnet in an early incarnation of this competition, The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. As our older supporters remember, we were destined to be victorious in this contest in 1970, when the tournament was renamed and remodelled as simply The Fairs Cup, which of course, was our first European trophy; who can possibly forget that wonderful April night at the Old Place?

Tonight’s visitors hail from the Ukraine and are at the time of writing, sitting fourth in a twelve club Ukrainian Premier League, a competition which they have never won, although they have succeeded in the Ukrainian Cup nine years ago with a 1-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk. They have started brightly this season, winning four out of six matches, and are well on the way to at least equalling their final league position of third in the 2017-18 season, if  not higher, should faith and fortune be on their side when the competition ends next June. Mr. Emery’s choice of team tonight is both a refreshing and interesting one; amongst the eight changes on the field comes Bernd Leno, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Rob Holding and returning tonight from injury, Alex Iwobi. On the bench is a collection of usual first-teamers, Mesut Özil, Alexandre Lacazette and Mattéo Guendouzi amongst others. It should be an illuminating evening of football.

The usual slow start-up with typical sparring between the two sides is something that we have become used to, so tonight came as no surprise. Arsenal slowly dominated the game, with several chances becoming available for various players at different points; ironically it was Stephan Lichtsteiner who had the best opportinity of the early stages with an unlucky attempt which was deemed to be offside. Clearly, as the first half wore on, it was plainly obvious that FC Vorskla Poltava came to the Emirates simply to hold up proceedings, which they did constantly. However, such negative play leads to mistakes, and ultimately a price was paid. Just after the half-hour mark, the chaps counter-attacked in a classic smash-and-grab movement, and the ball found Alex Iwobi wide out on the left. With the opposing defenders closing in, he passed the ball across the 18-yard box for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score comfortably. From then on until the break, Arsenal pressed and pushed the opposition and in doing so, more chances came, the best of them courtesy of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who hit the base of the post a minute or so before the break. The second half started as the first finished, with Arsenal’s domination; Danny Welbeck’s header which found the back of the net, within three minutes of the kick-off, followed by a superb Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang strick ten minutes later, his second goal of the match. After a flurry of substitutions, Mesut Özil scored the final Arsenal goal on 74 minutes. FC Vorskla Poltava scored two late goals, but it really made no difference; Arsenal ran out worthy 4-2 winners on the night, and despite one or two scares, overall were the better, more professional side.

The two goals that we conceded were worrying, particularly the second one – we appeared to switch off and allowed their player to take a shot, which we cannot afford to do as this competition rolls on; if we do, we will be punished heavily for our lackadaisical attitude. There were good points, however; it was great to see 18-year-old Emile Smith-Rowe make an impressive début in midfield, also Lucas Torreira played like the playmaker we know that he can be, with pinpoint passing and tracking back to help the defence; although Bernd Leno didn’t have a great deal to do, he looked confident and able to play the type of game that Mr. Emery requires of his players with regards to the distribution of the ball quickly from the back, and be comfortable in doing so. Anyway, Everton await for us next on Sunday afternoon, and that match will tell us more about this Arsenal squad than this one-sided game tonight. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners.

Victoria Concordia Crescit.


Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.


The Arsenal in Europe

People all over the world know about Arsenal – that says something. Because the Premier League is so popular across the globe, it stands to reason that the club’s fan base is extensive and expanding rapidly. Each day, Arsenal FC is in communication with more than 13m Twitter followers, many of whom reside outside the UK.

It’s plain to see that, in Europe, France has the biggest number of Arsenal supporters, with 34%* of fans cheering on the Gunners. Germany is a close second with 26%*, while Latvia ranks 10th on the list – Latvia contributes to just over 21%* of Arsenal’s European following (compared to other clubs in the UK Premier League). Overall, Arsenal has 20% more European supporters than any other team in English Premiership football.

Looking closely at their Twitter followership, Africa has more Arsenal supporters worldwide than anywhere else at 29%. In fact, Africa is also home to the top 3 countries in the world whose Arsenal Twitter following is greatest compared to any other club in the English Premier League: Morocco is on top with 55%, while Togo and Ethiopia have more than 50%each*.

There is increasing support for Arsenal FC in Asia; across the continent, they have a 20% fan following. Iran and Vietnam are each home to 26% of Arsenal supporters, while Taiwan has 24%*.

The Arsenal following in the UK is concentrated mainly inLondon and the South East. Because of their popularity in East London boroughs such as Hackney South and Shoreditch (26%), Bethnal Green and Bow (25%) and Poplar and Limehouse (24%), it is this area that has the largest Arsenal Twitter following*. Naturally, North London is just behind on 20%, with Arsenal supporters making up 25%* of all Premier League football fans in the borough of Islington South and Finsbury alone.

Arsenal’s rich history means the club has a far-reaching fan base in Scotland. 18%* of their Twitter following can be found in Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, which is part of Scotland’s famous Highlands region.

One thing’s for certain, and that’s Arsenal’s commitment to maintaining a consistent online presence, which is probably (in part, at least) what’s led to the club garnering such a wide international following. Also, there’s no doubt that the diversity of its teams over the years has played a key role in making Arsenal a household name the world over.

The current 28-man team consists primarily of overseasplayers; 79% are from European countries outside the UK, as well as countries in Africa, South America and Asia. With 22 internationally born footballers in its main squad right now, it’s easy to understand why Arsenal has such an esteemed reputation all over the world.

From total number of miles they’ve travelled to their biggest wins, check out this infographic to discover facts about Arsenal FC in European football.


Tottenham New stadium chaos revealed as completion expected in 2019

The Construction News have exclusively revealed allegations that site chaos, confusion and ill-discipline lie behind the delays to Tottenham Hotspur’s £850m stadium.

“Stop what you’re doing!” cries a supervisor, halting the work of a gang of electricians on Tottenham Hotspur’s new £850m stadium.

The sudden stop is due to the appearance of workers from an air-conditioning subcontractor, who are carrying a large piece of metallic piping. These AC workers have turned up to finish their installation. The problem is, the electricians were told the AC work had already been completed.

As a result, all the work the electricians had done has to be torn out. This is made all the more frustrating by the fact that completed electrics, carried out on the exact same spot, had already been completely ripped out two weeks earlier for the same reason.

Electricians had worked all weekend to complete their work on this first occasion, only to discover on the Monday that the air-conditioning had not been installed. A fortnight later they think the AC has finally been finished; again they have to rip it out.

This is just one alleged instance of poor co-ordination and communication that sources working on the project have shared with Construction News (CN)  to help explain the stadium’s delay, announced last month.

Of all the stories CN has heard from project insiders, this one captures many of the principal problems alleged on the job.

Sources claim that an unclear management structure, chaotic organisation and poor communication led to mistakes – often by electrical subcontractors. They describe a huge site where small problems escalated rapidly. And compounding these programme setbacks were personnel issues, with reports of physical altercations and drug-taking on site.

Mace a ‘toothless lion’

Early into the project, Spurs took the decision to cut deals individually with subcontractors and appoint Mace as a construction manager to oversee the job.

By choosing to have a direct commercial relationship with individual companies rather than appointing an overall contractor, the club limited Mace’s liabilities on the scheme.

However, insiders have told CN this approach also limited Mace’s influence.

Multiple sources claim this arrangement led to subcontractors focusing only on completing their own tasks, without considering the wider implications for other trades or progress of the overall project. The lack of co-ordination or logistical planning frequently led to confusion on site and costly mistakes that delayed work significantly, the insiders claim.

Mace’s visibility on the site prior to the delay being announced was also limited, according to the sources. However, CN understands that Mace has maintained its staff numbers at similar levels thoughout the project, but that some of its personnel have increased their visibility on site since the delay was revealed.

The construction manager’s ability to control the actions of subcontractors is limited because it is only able to “advise” rather than instruct the trades on site. The lack of a commercial relationship changed the power dynamic between the construction manager and those on site, CN’s sources allege.

“They are like a toothless lion, they have got no claws and no teeth,” a source with in-depth knowledge of the management structure tells CN. “This situation is quite strange. [Mace] can only say, ‘This area is ready, could you please deploy someone and sort it out?’”

Further confusion has been caused by the presence of Tottenham Hotspur’s own project managers on the scheme. “I don’t really know who the construction managers really are – Mace? Tottenham?” the same insider says.

‘No communication’

Poor communication is a common claim in almost every problem described by CN’s onsite sources.

The lack of dialogue between trades on the scheme is said to have resulted in confusion between trades on site, compounded by the scale of the project and the number of subcontractors. “What should take a week normally takes a month, because of the sheer scale of it, but also because the communication is horrendous,” a source on the site tells CN.

As well as electrical wiring being ripped out on two occasions because of a lack of communication, CN has heard other alleged instances where the work of one subcontractor hindered that of another.

One further example was when a team of electricians is said to have tried to connect two sections of wiring, only to find that access had been blocked by the installation of a ceiling. Another alleged case saw an electrical subcontractor team arrive to work on executive boxes, which were understood by other subcontractors to have been completed.

“There was just no communication,” a source tells CN. “Everyone was rushing to finish their jobs; it didn’t matter whether the other ones did or not.”

Sparks fly

The electrical work on the project has received more scrutiny than any other part of the build.

Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds has said “faulty wiring” was the cause of the stadium’s delay, and there has been repeated tabloid media coverage of the rates being paid to electricians on the site.

A number of sources on the project claim that electricians have been working in chaotic conditions, which only began to improve in the wake of the project’s official delay.

CN has heard how staff employed on the stadium felt unable to work effectively because they were not provided with the right tools for the job.

One worker tells CN how the platform they were working on to install ceiling wiring was not high enough to reach the spot they needed to. This meant they were constantly leaning over the edge, which they described as “difficult”.

They also claim they were unable to power their tools properly because the transformer provided only lasted for four hours, but they were working for 12. When they tried to charge the unit, they realised they had not been given the wires to do so.

The inability to get the materials on time and to order was another problem for gangs of electricians on the project. “Things would go wrong because people didn’t have materials,” one electrical source alleges.

The insider reports that vital materials ordered days in advance would not be delivered to the store, meaning advance planning was often scuppered and teams had to work ad-hoc based on whatever supplies were available.

“They should have known exactly what they needed for next week and had it there ready for then, but somehow it wasn’t done,” they claim. “We’d have to reorganise everything based on the information we were given that morning from the store. I’ve never in my life worked like that.”

Work was also delayed by the night-shift team taking equipment and supplies and leaving it in other parts of the site, insiders report. This meant that some days began with electrical subcontractors roaming the site looking for the equipment they had been using the day before.

Recent reports are that the stadium will not be ready for completion until “early 2019”. This increases the likelihood that Tottenham will be forced to play the entire season at Wembley.

As it was well known prior to season ticket renewals that the stadium will not be completed in time, you have to wonder if the Spurs are going to be investigated by the Advertising Standard Authority for false advertisement.

Especially their tube advert which claimed the new stadium would be the “only place in London to watch the Champions League”. Clearly now a false claim.